I was born in Syracuse New York in 1929 my father loved animals and he would take me for long walks and the woods and grassy areas in the lift rocks and there were little bugs there and we talked about the bugs and the bees and the frogs and the ants and how they lived so this was like an education didn't appear to be an education was just lots of fun and he truly loved me you know this I realized much much later my father gave me very few gifts but this gift of his were study Saturday morning and we automatically Sunday morning automatically go for long walks and talk with each other about all kinds of things through my books I honor him even today I don't know plans I don't know the names of plans but I knew I wanted a patch of red I wanted a patch of blue I wanted a little white I wanted the yellow so it's all thought out in a way that I would design my illustrations my collage illustrations I think my illustrations are collages I start out with tissue paper and for the first layer ie for the background I take a fat brush I'm very stingy with the pains I guess I love color and I have this one frustration that I cannot be even more colorful that out the range of what our eye sees is so so limited yeah you forget about the world it's just you with this piece of paper and a brush and kind of being intrigued by the wiggles and the dots and the colors of the brushstrokes looking back I had a very good mother when I went into my room in true pictures you do not disturb Eric he's in his room doing pictures that was it that was holy place to her as far back as I can remember yeah drawing pictures with all of my love and when my relatives came well my mother would pull out my drawings and have the people look at it I started relatively late in my life doing picture books books for children I was my late 30s when I started out when day I played with a hole puncher kind of innocently and just playfully and I punched holes into stack of paper and I looked at the holes and I thought of a bookworm the first version of the Very Hungry Caterpillar was a week with really the worm and it was just the way it is today except the ending was different really warm crossing a big fat worm and then I showed it to my editor and Ben adduce and she didn't like the warm so much so he talked back and forth about other possible animals or bugs or something and and at one time she said how about a caterpillar and I said butterfly making pictures sitting down and starving a picture and then it gets quieter and quieter and then the world goes away and you live in this world with colors and your brush and your you forget everything it puts me in another world and I'm all by myself you know it cats purr I think that's the kind of state you are in and this feeling I'm describing of this being closed off at peace in another world has always been the same from age it's far back as I can remember four four five six to this very time that I was sitting here that's easy anyone can do it I can do it you can do it when we came to Germany when I was six years old my mother told me that for months on I said when are we going back to America when are we going home again sir Koosman told me and I always knew I would come back always the kids called me the American for a while which was shortened to ugly my grandfather my mother's father bought a four-story house and filled with opted relatives you know my mothers sisters and brothers and wives and grandchildren and mothers and laws and you know one day they hated each other next they loved each other then that parties and they won't stalk doubt I mean this was pretty lively stuff so my maternal grandmother we lived upstairs she tell me stories one one story was how the pretzel was invented so I wrote a book Walter the baker Walter was also relative of mine who had a bakery and so I mix the two together uncle Adam I made a book about him empty plastered houses and in his own business and I just loved the white apron the oldest war and I was maybe eight years old so my aunt made me a white apron and I went off the work with him I was so proud maybe that's not where my storytelling Jean comes from I have an idea Oh flashbulb no idea I begin to throw my story in here and it just serves my own purpose it looks kind of like this in fact here I didn't even draw anything in there I just rolled they called thumbnail sketches because they're so small they fit in your thumbnail practically after I've done the thumbnails I take eight sheets fold it four times a 32 pages so it's called a dummy about 10 little rubber ducks this book is about little rubber ducks that fell off a freighter and I read this in the newspaper and I mean my own story all of it so then after this I like to talk to my editor about this book and I do more elaborate books so she can only do the same size as the Pope you're supposed to be but it's still a rough sketch but my editor knows how I work he is a rubber duck fat factory either dr. rolling off the conveyor belt I even wrote on their conveyor belt this lady's packing the butt that's ten rubber ducks per box man wheels Raj puts it on his truck they put it on a boat and the boat goes out there and it's a storm and the Box falls off and here they're floating all over the place and this is what happened the first dock this happened to the second dark third and so forth and so forth and so forth a strong wind whistles across the sea whistles across the sea a big wave lifts up one of the boxes and throws it into the water the Box opens in ten little rubber ducks so loud ten rubber ducks overboard shouts the captain ten rubber ducks overboard after some time the storm calms down the ten little rubber ducks pop in the big white sea as far as one can see only water and sky war and sky that the ten little rubber ducks begin to drift apart the first little rubber duck drifts with the dolphin jumps over it the second little rubber duck drifts ease the seal barks at it the third little rubber duck drifts north up all of their growls added the fourth little rubber duck drift south a flamingo stares at it part of my training it has to do with book art making books illustrating books selecting typefaces integrating the picture with the typefaces the cover at the end she pagination paper quality so this has been with me for a long time even in advertising we did booklets and things of that sort like books it is getting dark the mother duck and her ducklings swim towards their nest the little rubber duck floats along with him goodnight says the moon walk says the mother duck walk walk say the ducklings squeak says the little rubber duck I used to work in advertising part of advertising this is to surprise the shock you have to be different I did a series of ads for antihistamine in collage technique and those illustrations Bill Martin became aware of and asked me to illustrate his brown bear brown bear what do you see so that was the first time I Illustrated a picture book it was something so special and later my life I found out why I related so much to Bill Martin he couldn't read until he was 20 years old and this person taught him to read through rhythm and the brown bear book is this very simple rhythm it's the heartbeat brown bear brown bear what do you see I see a red bird looking at me this is the simplest poetry and that comes from the heart Red Bird red bird what do you see I see a yellow duck looking at me yellow duck yellow duck what do you see I see a blue horse looking at me a deer and his phone and all animals and their young the deer mother will only walk a certain amount ahead of the farm if the distance is too great the fawn cannot follow it and if the depth of the mother deer is too close to the phone the phone is not gonna learn to walk and that's what I feel about educating children you have to have that right distance now I also know that each child is different and I often say I hate this use the word children because it's a child in a child in a child and a child I think I do my books for a child and part of that is me the child the child in me several years ago a child wrote to me and said you are a good picture writer and that is stuck with me and I really like that and that's what I am a picture writer I haven't set out to educate them the children of the world I really haven't what I do with children is part entertainment part letting them into my world part teaching them a little bit now you're gonna tell me about your favorite animals what's your favorite animal ah bunnies oh good now I'll tell you about my favorite animal okay and you tell me what I'm doing draft giraffe and you're a failure a horse of course dragons a dragon you like dragons dinosaur a dinosaur how is that great a person is a person an adult oh yeah yes very good now you tell me what this is so now we have the cover of a book what do we need after we have the cover of a book tell me what we should call it the animal mix it makes okay very good what comes after the title the author and who is the author yeah you did it you told me what to do so you so you are the author bye bye you get my name you know a lot of people ask me where ideas come from and now you see how our NGO was crying this is kind of the beginning where our ideas develop and that's how this book was made I had some children who helped me make the picture dedicated to all the children who have worked with me on this book so in a way it's dedicated to you too isn't that something as you know all my books for most of my books you can learn something from but I the learning part I always camouflage every way maybe the best example is my first own book is one two three to the zoo and it's a wordless book I didn't think I could write so I thought I do a worthless book it is a very simple book it's the usual counting book one elephant in two giraffes and that type of thing but I put a little mouse in each picture you have two things going here you can learn to count one doing them or you can talk about that little mouse the future mathematician is going to count one two three four in the future writer is going to make a story about the little mouse but some children are not going to pick up my the mouse that's fine this is a Papa please get the moon for me my daughter looked out the window or she's maybe five four or five and she looked out the window this night I'm in the moon was pretty low and was it looked like the moon was in the tree and she said Papa take my kids call me Park I said Papa please get them on free it seems such a simple task just go outside take the moment out of the tree and give it to her it's a love story I'm telling my daughter I love her I don't do this all the time but I sometimes put the names or the initials of my children here's a C for Kirsten in an hour for all my wife's name is Bobby and here I put my wife's name in the Bobby well hope looks a little autobiographical I mean this guy looks like me – doesn't he with a beard I really don't set out to write books for children you speak the creative people where there are musicians or painters or writers they write for themselves they compose for themselves they make pictures from so so primarily this is something I would like to do I had never thought about having a museum we were in Japan Bobby and I were in Japan we saw several picture book museums that's some are small and some are big some are mom and pop kind of failures and some are big beautiful things and I think that's that gave us the idea even today when I get to me say him I'm amazed at the size of this building and the richness of it and the beauty of it we have the Smithsonian Museum the Metropolitan Museum museum of modern art ICI Modern Art in that in ours you see picture book art from all over the world not just mine Gulabi these big windows into them the light coming in I mean it's the light like in my kindergarten my first grade in circulars my teacher was Miss Fricke she discovered my talent and love for drawing and she called in my mother and it's my mother being German of course expected if the teacher calls in does you know trouble that's the only reason reason the teacher would call you anus trouble but she walked down she tells this story I don't remember that but she walked down the hall in the school there were all his pictures drawn to Eric and she she didn't know it was her Eric and then the teacher told my mother that this little Eric is very loves to draw and he's very talented that she and my father should always nurture their talent and they always have that is terrific yeah when I was in art school I this wonderful professor who discovered my talent for big bowl shapes and he nurtured that but he told me that's good and keep going this way these kids are putting me out of this is aren't they this is such a big lobby and it's all white I wanted to add color so in a way these paintings here are enlargements of the smaller collage papers I make I got the material Tyvek Tyvek you may have seen that used for houses I painted these colors on them this was a real fun job I had never worked in such a large format this I made with a carpet I take a piece of carpet I paint on it I make a print this this is a maybe of the broom I just dip the broom in paint paint and painted it and here I used a big brush and I just splashed it the the unifying element in all four panels I won't let you guess I'll just tell you the dots building was saying the consists of many elements it's not just one thing one is that I was getting older that I accumulated all these originals that have been successful that it's time to give back in my books whitespace is very important I call white a color it's a very important color the the empty space in a painting is as important as the covered space and here in the museum it's also mainly white so that the colorful things can pop out at you this is the original energy from the caterpillar you may have noticed in the inside title page of up to hereabouts all little balls and reds and blues and greens and yellows well my intention was to make the entire double spread with these little colored balls but when I got up halfway or 1/3 up I was pretty tired cutting our things and pasting them down so I looked on the floor and these are the leftover papers I'm a very lazy artist so instead of throwing those away I use it for therein cheat after The Very Hungry Caterpillar you too can grow up and be beautiful and fly into the world with your talent despite our very busy spider that we must work we all must work in our lives it's not only a must it's also very satisfying the very quiet Cricut the Cricut is looking for a companion and for love the very lonely Firefly we all have to deal with loneliness the very clumsy click beetle is about persistence the click beetle falls on its back and has to learn how to click into the a or info on his feet and I also do what I call code uncalled art and we have a two samples of it here and it's also done with my tissue papers 'yes I just make for fun after I have done my work I am a commercial artist and I suspect most people who work in that field deep down would like to paint into art and have the complete freedom and that's why I do this just draw enjoyment he's a man lives not from bread alone we need music in art we need books many poetry we need ballets banette Jasmina classical music it's very important to bring pictures and art and paintings to young children you're good you're good [Laughter] you


  • Krazyed13 says:

    I watched this when I was a little kid and have been looking for it forever….thank you for posting it!

  • Timothy Zimmer says:

    I showed this as a vhs tape twenty years ago to my class of second graders. The tape is now long gone. I love how this gives us such an endearing glimpse into his life. Can’t wait to show this to my next class.

  • Melanie Horton says:

    my fav ❀️ children's first Eric Carle book was "The very hungry caterpillar" this is my first look at him up close and personal…tfsπŸ’ƒπŸΏπŸ‘‹πŸΏπŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ™‹πŸΏ

  • Laura Belen says:

    What a lovely documentary! I love how open he is, so willing to share and teach. Very inspiring.

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