About the Artist:
TOM SHEFELMAN'S childhood home in Seattle, Washington, was blessed with a library of beautifully illustrated editions of the classics such as Robin Hood and The Last of the Mohicans. He knew the stories through the pictures before he read them. On his ninth birthday he was given a set of Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia. He remembers opening one of the volumes to a picture of the Temple of Karnak on the Nile River and marveling at the mighty columns that dwarfed the man standing between them.
His mother, a singer and sometimes painter, "tried but failed to make a musician out of me,"Tom says, "so she settled for an artist." He was always drawing and cartooning. It became his ticket to social acceptance and good grades. Only "mediocre" in elementary school, he began to excel when teachers let him illustrate his reports.
In high school he drew cartoons for the school newspaper. But when an architect visited on Career Day and showed his drawings of beautiful buildings, Tom, still dreaming of the Temple of Karnak, decided on architecture. "My attorney father was relieved. He was afraid I might become a starving artist!" As it turned out, Tom is now both architect and artist.
When he married Janice, they traveled around the world by freighter for a year, living several weeks in a Buddhist temple. Along the way Tom painted and Janice wrote articles for newspapers which he illustrated. It was their first collaboration. Since then they have published many books for children as an author-illustrator team. Research for these books as well as painting keeps them traveling, everywhere from Venice, Italy to Comfort, Texas. And everywhere Tom takes his sketchbook, easel and watercolors.