Friday, July 20, 2012

Friendspiration Friday: Julie Rowan-Zoch on Jon Agee

Welcome to the third installment in my new Friday series in which YOU get a chance to guest blog about someone who has inspired you in the writing community! I look forward to hearing from many of you.

Today Julie Rowan-Zoch joins us from her garden in Colorado to introduce her to her Friendspiration.

Please welcome, Julie...

First a round of applause for Marcie - it looks like the beginning of a beautiful inspirationship!

I am honored to introduce Jon Agee to anyone not yet familiar with this talented author/illustrator of numerous picturebooks for children, and a series of wordplay books enjoyed by all ages. His first was published in 1982 (If Snow Falls, Pantheon) but his fourth finally put his name on the map: The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau (1988, Farrar, Straus, Giroux).

I only recently discovered the work of Jon Agee, but its impact on me as a picture book maker has been none-the-less powerful. He is as capable with words in telling stories as he is with pictures, a trait I don’t find to be common. His books on palindromes, oxymorons, spoonerisms and tongue-tanglers are visual proof of an artist in love with words. Agee mentions on his website ( that he was influenced by the work of Tomi Ungerer, also one of my top favorites in the picturebook pond. Between the bold, simple lines and casual yet careful use of color I feel Agee’s straightforward and quirky humor, like butter in my belly-fly!

How could I not be taken in by someone who says this about writing: “I like taking an implausible, off-the-wall idea, and seeing where it will go.”

Esteem for a master craftsman is one thing, but each book of his I read convinces me to embrace my crazy ideas and run with them instead of fretting their salability. I think I’ll stick to his advice: “Absorb stuff and see what happens.”

Graphic designer and picturebook maker Julie Rowan-Zoch is a NY transplant soaking up the sun on Colorado's Front Range.   When she's not writing or illustrating she can be found with a garden shovel or local brew in hand, or biking to the library.

Do YOU have a Friendspiration you would like to introduce us to on a future Friday? Please send an email to and we will make that happen.


  1. I haven't seen any of Jon's books yet, but now I'll be on the lookout for them.

  2. I really appreciate this opportunity Marcie. Delving deeper to gather info for this post was a multi-level learning experience for me!

  3. The kids and I have been reading MY RHINOCEROS, by Jon Agee. This is great example of an implausible, off-the-wall's so much fun!