Thanks to the wonders of technology and the world wide web, illustrators can live anywhere, which is fantastic! Our field is e-mail driven. I've worked with people all over the world, but have never even spoken to most of my clients; seeing them at all, even two-dimensionally, is rare.
In the past three years, I have made art for ten books, all with a super nice guy named Mauricio. After countless Skype conferences and e-mail messages reaching into the billions, this past Saturday, we finally met in person. And for a brief moment, the earth stood still.
Mauricio Velázquez de León owns Duopress, a small children's book publishing house specializing in "innovative books for curious children." (Duopress is five years old this year, by the way. Happy b-day, Duopress!) Using the pseudonym "Puck," Mauricio writes books for kids, several of which I had the distinct pleasure of illustrating. He also wrote the book Twenty Soccer Legends, and is a regular contributor at Saveur Magazine.
Jet-setting M had a five o'clock appointment in NYC with IPG (Duopress's distributor); we planned to meet for lunch at two. I took the train south from snowy Saratoga Springs and enjoyed a chilly walk from Penn Station to bustling Grand Central, while he was on a train coming in from Baltimore. I got to see the lions at the public library and the windows at Lord and Taylor, and still had time to sneak in a little work at the end of a crowded bench at beautiful Grand Central station, before claiming a couple of seats for us at the Oyster Bar. M joined me shortly after, and we ate soup—clam chowder and split pea with shrimp, if you're interested—and wrapped things up over coffee at the Waldorf.
I got to see dummies of the books my newly three-dimensional friend was about to present to IPG—especially exciting, since I had a little something to do with most of them.
Was it worth it? I could write a book about all of the reasons why, but I'll give you the short answer instead: YES!