An Interview with Illustrator Floyd Cooper, by Berrie Torgan-Randall

Coming Home

We are excited to have award-winning author and illustrator Floyd Cooper on our faculty at our upcoming Pocono Retreat in April. Our Eastern PA SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator, Berrie Torgan-Randall, interviewed Floyd in preparation for the event. Here’s what they had to say.

Berrie: Thank you for agreeing to be our featured illustrator for the SCBWI Pocono Mountain Retreat. I’m so excited to see you again. We first met over 25 years ago when you were a visiting illustrator at the Westtown School where I was working as the Lower School Librarian, and more recently I enjoyed your presentation at the Bucks County Book Festival.

new-yorkCan you tell us a little about the path that led you to children’s book illustration?

Floyd: I arrived into Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel, hungry. For work! Taking whatever door that opened for me just to get some duckets. Publishing doors opened for me.

Berrie: You work in oil primarily, using erasers and negative space. Where did you pick up this technique?

Floyd: My infamous oil eraser technique was incubated in the bowels of Hallmark Cards in the 1980s where I worked alongside fellow Hallmarkers Thomas Blackshear, Dean Mitchell, Alex Bostic, Davis Hannah, Deb Edgerton, and the late, great Mark English.

Berrie: You’ll be talking with many children’s book writers and illustrators at our upcoming Pocono Mountain Retreat. Can you give us a sneak peek at your session topics and what attendees can expect?

Floyd: “The Importance of Visual Voice” and “Developing Your Perspective Eye to Ground Your Fantasy World Order.”

Berrie: What are you looking forward to most at the retreat?

Floyd: Meeting my PA neighbors after living here in Easton since 2006.

Berrie: Okay, now it is time for the lightning round! On your marks, get set, GO . . .

The Big Box coverFavorite sport: BaskFootBase Ball
Favorite Chef Amanda (chef at the Highlights Foundation) meal: Turducken (see Sport) —(Berrie’s Disclaimer—Chef Amanda doesn’t serve Turducken but has served turkey, duck, and chicken separately.)
Favorite book that you illustrated: Unachieved yet
Favorite children’s book that you did not illustrate: The Big Box by Toni and Slade Morrison with illustrations by Giselle Potter
Favorite thing to do with your grandson: ROK-N-BOK! (Rokenbok Construction Set) —(Berrie’s Disclaimer—I had to do a Google search for Rokenbok. My son didn’t play with this construction set as a kid but would have loved it as a break from his LEGO world.)

Thank you, Floyd!

I’m excited to reunite in the Poconos!


Floyd-Cooper-150x150Floyd Cooper is the Coretta Scott King award-winning illustrator of more than 60 books for children. Floyd started his career in illustration at Hallmark. After a successful career in the industrial side of art, he made the leap into picture books with Eloise Greenfield’s Grandpa’s Face. Since then Floyd has worked with best-selling authors, including Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes, and Virginia Fleming. Floyd has illustrated and authored his own books, including Jump!, about the life of Michael Jordan, and the ALA notable book Coming Home, about the life of Langston Hughes.

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3 Responses to An Interview with Illustrator Floyd Cooper, by Berrie Torgan-Randall

  1. Kathy says:

    Thanks for this awesome interview!

  2. Anni Matsick says:

    Truly a master’s work, just look at those glorious covers! The children seem alive with thoughts in their heads. Congratulations on another wonderful addition to your treasure trove of titles, Floyd!

  3. Rona Shirdan says:

    Great interview! Thank you.

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