About

Eric Carle: Picture Writer The Art of the Picture Book is an intimate portrait of Eric Carle, creator of more than 70 books for children including the best-selling, classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Now 82, Eric Carle is still at work in his studio making books and creating art. Watch as he methodically layers a tissue paper collage of the caterpillar, pours over thumbnail sketches and drafts of his books. “I can do it, you can do it,” is his message and his mantra. The documentary taps into that deep creative need in each of us, a spirit that started in Eric as a very young child and is unceasing today.

In this unique film, a beloved icon shares his childhood memories of taking walks with his father in the woods on Saturday mornings. “Through my books I honor him even today,” Eric Carle says of his books about animals and insects. He remembers growing up in wartime Germany, listening to the tall tales of “colorful” relatives who all lived together in one house, “one minute they loved each other, the next they hated each other…” stories that became the inspiration for many of his picture books.

Founder of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the first international museum of its kind in the United States, Eric Carle’s gift to future generations is a beautiful, light-filled building on the grounds of an old apple orchard. Children, parents, teachers and librarians will all enjoy footage of Eric Carle as he engages children in a playful exercise filmed in the bright museum studio; the same exercise that was the original inspiration for his book The Mixed-Up Chameleon.

Eric Carle’s sense of connection to the child he once was and his sensitivity to each child’s unique individual nature will inspire and delight anyone interested in children, education, art and creativity.

When Eric Carle describes in this short and remarkable film, the feeling he achieves when he is working in his studio, the sense of being at peace, all alone, when everything grows quiet and it is just himself and his work, one feels a secret has been shared by a giant from the world of children’s books. Eric Carle describes the most simple and spiritual aspect of being a creative person. It is human reflection, a rare and uncommon thing in today’s fast-paced world and it is the essence of Eric Carle’s stories and pictures, work that has captivated generations of readers.

About Eric Carle

Eric Carle is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has eaten its way into the hearts of literally millions of children. Since the Caterpillar was published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than 70 books, most of which were best sellers, many of which he also wrote.

Born in Syracuse, NY, in 1929, Eric Carle moved with his parents to Germany when he was six years old; he was educated there, and graduated from the prestigious art school, the Akademie der bildenden Künste, in Stuttgart. But his dream was always to return to America, the land of his happiest childhood memories. So, in 1952, with a portfolio and 40 dollars in his pocket, he arrived in New York. Soon he found a job as a graphic designer at The New York Times. Later, he became the art director of an advertising agency.

Eric Carle’s art is distinctive and instantly recognizable. His art work is created in collage technique, using hand-painted, colorful and textured tissue papers, which he cuts and layers to form bright and cheerful images. Many of his books have an added dimension, die-cut pages as in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, twinkling lights as in The Very Lonely Firefly, even the quacking sound of a rubber duck in 10 Little Rubber Ducks – giving them a playful quality: a toy that can be read, a book that can be touched.

In the late 1990’s, Eric Carle’s success with his work made him want to give back in some way. Devoted to encouraging the appreciation of picture book art and inspired by their visits to picture book museums in Japan, Eric and Barbara Carle co-founded The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. The Museum, which opened in 2002, houses three galleries dedicated to rotating exhibitions of international picture book art; an art studio; an auditorium; a reading library; a café and a bookshop.

Eric Carle has two grown children, a son and a daughter. With his wife, Barbara, he divides his time between the Florida Keys and the hills of North Carolina.

For more information about Eric Carle, please visit eric-carle.com and to learn more about The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, please visit carlemuseum.org.