Studio Feature: Michelle Nelson-Schmidt
Before Michelle Nelson-Schmidt became a writer/illustrator, she painted pet portraits. “After painting over 800 dogs and cats, I finally had the courage to go after my real, true dream: to write and illustrate books for children,” she says. “I almost need to pinch myself when I realize that this is actually my life. You just have to have the courage to look for it and work for it.”
Besides talent, courage, and hard work, Michelle credits her vivid imagination with driving her success. “I not only see the characters, but I hear them and can write down what they say. It’s like watching movies!” she explains. “When I write and draw one of my characters, I say that’s the day they were ‘born.’ I simply have to tell their stories, or I would never have any peace inside my head!”
Michelle believes imagination is our most powerful tool. “Imagination makes up pictures, stories, worlds where anything can happen!” she says. On The Studio, Michelle shares a fun activity in which girls can let their imaginations take over and create stories and characters. “Just let your mind go free,” she advises. “Don’t worry if it sounds crazy, silly, boring, impossible—just write it all down and see what happens.” And maybe, Michelle says, freeing your imagination will unleash the idea that will one day become your book.