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Writing From the Heart

Mar 11, 2013

Brownies earning a Painting badge or Juniors earning a Drawing badge can take inspiration from illustrator/writer Judy Cooley. She remembers how, as a young girl, her parents proudly displayed her art on their walls. “The paintings really weren’t very good,” Judy admits, “and even clashed with our decor! But what it did for my confidence as an artist was beautiful. I grew up believing I could be anything I wanted to be!”

Judy eventually majored in fine art in college and exhibited her work at shows, winning art competitions across the country. But it was one trip to New York City that turned Judy’s life around. While visiting the Museum of American Illustration, Judy saw a display of drawings for children’s books. At that moment, she knew that writing and drawing children’s books was what she should be doing. Her first book, I Love You More, about a girl and her dad declaring their love for each other, took 10 long years to get published. “Never give up on your dreams!” Judy advises.

Despite her busy life—the Utah-based artist is mom to four kids—Judy’s constant accessory is a camera, so she won’t miss snapping a photo of a “great painting in the making,” to later use as a model. “Life is perfect when I’m either camping or playing outdoors,” she says, “and then painting it!”

Check out The Studio to find out more about Judy’s books for young children, why she writes about families, and what it takes to get published.