I am Vincent X. Kirsch.
I am an author, illustrator and designer living in downtown Los Angeles. In the past, I have lived in Florence (Italy), New York City and Boston. My most recent illustrations are a two-dimensional adaptations of the “Paper Box Playhouse” toy theaters that I have been fiddling around with for most of my life. My work is very influenced by theater, puppetry, poster art, classical painting techniques and Hollywood films. My whimsical character designs and storylines range from the fantastically out-of-this-world to inspiringly down-to-earth.
My black-and-white and color illustrations appeared regularly on the pages of The New York Times Book Review & Op-Ed pages, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and a wide array of magazines (see sample to the right).
Coincidentally, the illustrations on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times landed me a three-year job designing and directing the windows of Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue. My work with mannequins and small window spaces lead to the creation of three-dimensional characters and revived a fascination with puppetry and Victorian toy theaters.
An editor at BloomsburyUSA discovered one of my illustrations in The New York Times Book Review and thought it a perfect match for children’s books. Out of all the sketches and dummies books that I showed her, she noticed a teensy-tiny doodle of two girls, one neat-as-a pin and the other clown-like. Those two girls became Natalie and Naughtily Nopps who live on top of “the greatest department store in the world” which became my very first book.
With that book, I landed in the very happy land of creating and illustrating picture books, chapter books and middle grade fiction and have lived happily ever after.
Thanks for visiting,
~ MY BOOKS
NATALIE & NAUGHTILY / Author & Illustrator / BloomsburyUSA / Fall 2008 / Selected for the 2008 Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators
TWO LITTLE BOYS FROM TOOLITTLE TOYS / Author & Illustrator / BloomsburyUSA / Summer 2010 / Selected for the 2010 Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators
FORSYTHIA & ME / Author & Illustrator / Farrar Straus Giroux / Winter 2011
THE CHANDELIERS / Author & Illustrator / Farrar Straus Giroux / August 2012
NOAH WEBSTER & HIS WORDS / Illustrator / Houghton Mifflin / October 2012 / Golden Kite Award 2012: Best Non-Fiction Picture Book / Selected for the 2013 Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators/Included in the traveling Original Art exhibition
FREDDIE & GINGERSNAP / Author & Illustrator / DisneyHyperion / January 2014
FREDDIE & GINGERSNAP FIND A CLOUD TO KEEP / Author & Illustrator / DisneyHyperion / January 2015
GINGERBREAD FOR LIBERTY! / Illustrator / Houghton Mifflin / January 2015
THE HOLE STORY OF THE DOUGHNUT / Illustrator / Houghton Mifflin / Spring 2016
~ INTERVIEWS & ARTICLES
Writing & Illustrating Blog by Kathy Tamean, read it here
School Library Journal article, read it here
Henry Herz’s Blog, read it here
McIntosh & Otis Blog, read it here
Tots, Tweens & Teens Blog, read it here
Warburton Labs blog, read it here
Amazon Look Inside How The Book Was Made/Gingerbread For Liberty!, scroll down on this link
~ FQFA (FAVORITE QUESTIONS FREQUENTLY ASKED)
Does the “x” in your name stand for xylophone, x-ray, xiphophyllous, or xoxogram?
It does not stand for any of these words. It stands for Xavier. And what do you think a “xoxogram” might be?
Where did you grow up?
A little town called Massena, New York very near the Canadian border where it snows from October to May. The great thing about growing up on the edge of the United States was that I got to play in foreign cities like Montreal and Ottawa.
What was your favorite school subject when you were little?
History because I loved writing and illustrating my reports. I still really like history and biographies. They are stories that really happened. Oh yes, there was a subject that I really really loved: music! I went to catholic school and art was frowned upon.
What was the subject that you liked the least?
Mathematics because the answers were either right or wrong and I prefer something in between.
Were you a good student?
I used to get into a lot of trouble for “day-dreaming” which eventually came in handy.
When did you first become an artist?
When I finally got to take an actual art class. The first project was to create something called a “bas relief” which was a shoebox filled with sand where I carved out a design and then filled the shoebox with plaster. The final art was the white plaster that filled in the negative spaces. I made a fellow fishing in a boat. From that moment on I was truly hooked.
Where did you go to college?
Syracuse University where it snows from November to April. But when it snowed it really snowed!
Do you like snow?
Oh yes, now I do. The doorman shovels the snow for me. It makes me happy to stroll about in it!
What did you study in college?
Advertising Design, but what I most remember were the classes I took in Filmmaking, Printmaking, Scenic Design, Music Theory… and a semester in Florence, Italy.
What was your first job out of college?
Working as a stock boy at a fancy food store in Soho in New York City called Dean & Deluca, while I was waiting to start a fancy office job designing Broadway posters. I loved the stock boy job and hated designing beautiful posters that never saw the light of day (or of Broadway).
What other sort of jobs have you worked at?
I have been an art director at television networks, book jacket designer and illustrator, window designer at Bergdorf Goodman, and visual merchandiser at Dean & Deluca (the same fancy food store where I got my start in NYC).
What was the greatest influence on your earliest work?
Walt Disney animated movies, the Bil Baird puppets, travel posters.
What are your favorite kind of books?
I love reading biographies, history books, and rediscovering children’s chapter books that I have not read since I was very small.
If you weren’t an artist and writer what would you have been?
A puppeteer, a filmmaker, or an urban designer, which is someone who designs cities and parks.
Do you have a pet?
Yes, I have a little toy red teddy-bear poodle named Ogbert. This is true.
If you could have any other sort of pet, what would it be?
A dodo bird named Oddo.
Who are your heros?
Fred Astaire, Oscar Wilde, Harpo Marx, and teachers who love to teach.
If you could have lived in any other historic time, what would it be?
I would have liked to have lived in Paris in the early part of the 20th century.
Where do you live and work now?
I live and work in an apartment on the 9th floor of a very modern high-tech building in downtown Los Angeles, California. I have lived here since the Spring of 2014. I have a swimming pool on the seventh floor, where I do my best thinking during my daily swim!
Do you have a favorite quote or any words of wisdom?
Yes, actually… It is a lyric from a strangely wonderful Stephen Sondheim musical called Anyone Can Whistle. It goes something like this:
Everybody says don’t,
Everybody says can’t,
Everybody says wait around for miracles,
That’s the way the world is made!
I insist on
Miracles, if you do them,
Miracles – nothing to them!
I say don’t,
Don’t be afraid!