The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, Episode 46: Tony DiTerlizzi
Tony DiTerlizzi is a force to be reckoned with. The roots of his career as an artist and illustrator can be traced back to his phenomenal contributions to both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. In fact, his much of his artwork from that era was recently compiled in the gorgeous Realms: The Roleplaying Art of Tony DiTerlizzi.
Tony then burst on to the children’s publishing scene in a big way as one half of the creative team (along with Holly Black) behind The Spiderwick Chronicles. In addition to that series and the follow-up Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles, Tony has illustrated or written and illustrated several other amazing children’s books, including Kenny and the Dragon, The Spider and the Fly (which won him a Caldecott Honor), and his recent collaboration with Mo Willems: The Story of Diva and Flea.
Over the last several years, Tony turned his attention to writing the monumental WondLa trilogy (which clocks in at over 1,500 pages). Most recently, he wrote The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight, which retells Luke’s entire story across the original trilogy and uses Ralph McQuarrie’s iconic concept art as illustrations. It’s also the first book that Tony wrote but didn’t illustrate.
In this episode, we chat with Tony about his career, writing for kids, the process of creating new characters and worlds, concerns about telling the familiar story of Star Wars yet again, and our mutual love of Beverly Cleary.
Regarding the last, Tony mentions an exhibit he’s curating at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. The exhibit – Louis Darling: Drawing the Words of Beverly Cleary – opens this May and lasts until November. If you’re in the area, you should definitely check it out. I know I will be.