Interview with Ana Davis
Welcome to Behind the Cottage Door, a weekly radio show about all things Cottage Door Press.
Today we’re talking with Ana Davis, author and illustrator of three beautiful board books published by Cottage Door Press—Big Day for Baby, 123 Count With Me, and ABC Animal Party.
Ana Davis: It is great to be here. Thanks for having me. But where’s my microphone and headset?
BCD: Oh, this isn’t really a radio show. We’re just pretending.
AD: Perfect. I am very good at make-believe!
BCD: So Ana. When you first started making art, what was your favorite medium? Crayons? Finger paints?
AD: Yarn. Truly. I learned to knit and crochet in first grade. I loved it. I made “dresses” (they were really just flat pieces of knitting sewed together on one side to make a tube) for everything from my dolls to the cat. I also knit scarves, slippers, and other pieces of apparel.
BCD: Did you stay inside the lines? Or were you a freestyle kinda kid?
AD: Freestyle! I was given a lot of blank books for writing stories and drawing. My grammar school did not use textbooks. Part of the curriculum was that the children illustrate all the lessons themselves. We studied German and Spanish, too. One thing I remember is drawing a LOT of rainbows.
BCD: You have children of your own now. How do you encourage them to express themselves artistically?
AD: We make sure they have everything they need for a fulfilling creative life. Art supplies are always at the ready. And our basement is filled with instruments. I’ve helped my six-year-old write down song lyrics and he records his singing on my phone. My experience with blank books has come in handy, too, because he likes to draw and write his own comics. He has big plans for setting up a comic book stand in lieu of a lemonade stand. During the last school book fair he asked if he could set a booth up where he could sell his comics.
BCD: What was your favorite book when you were a little girl?
AD: I had so many! As a small child I loved it when my mother read to me. Winnie the Pooh and Curious George were favorites. As I got older I read myself Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.
BCD: Do you read those books to your boys?
AD: I read everything to the boys—picture books, comic books, the books I wrote, even catalogs! My two-year-old really enjoys our visual encyclopedia. He can’t say that word, though, so he just calls it “heavy,” as in, “Read heavy?”
BCD: And what do they think about their mommy’s books?
AD: They love them! The bunny page in 123 Count With Me is a big hit. Big Day for Baby is great for our toddler, too. I’m glad he likes it because it is really based on his life so far. He recognizes the kitty as our own “Mr. Vincent.”
BCD: Give us the elevator pitch on your “day job” work at Ana Davis Design.
AD: Oh, I have the greatest job in the world. I spend many days painting and writing. A good deal of my time goes into designing patterns for fabric. I love that work because I draw the patterns and then change the colors over and over. It is really exciting and surprising to see how the artwork changes when colors are swapped out.
BCD: Wow, Ana! Do you have any downtime? Any “me” time?
AD: Well, as most working families know, the idea of “me” time changes when young children enter the picture. Rather than me time, I have a lot of “mini-me” time.
BCD: We love your new wall decor with RoomMates! How did you and RoomMates meet?
AD: I met them at a trade show. I am familiar with their products, as many parents are. I was thrilled when they said they wanted to work with me!
BCD: We should all get together sometime. Have an Ana Davis celebration or something.
AD: How about a giveaway? With your books and RoomMates wall decals?
BCD: Great idea!
AD: I’ll have their people talk to your people. [Ana laughs]
BCD: Ana, it has been so much fun talking with you today. We have about 40 seconds left on the show. Anything you’d like to say to our listeners, in closing?
AD: Thank you for inviting me to talk with you. I am so happy to be here and truly excited to be working with Cottage Door Press!
[FADE OUT COTTAGE DOOR JINGLE]