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Some FANTASTIC Friday Fan Art!

July 17, 2009


I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned the fact that my mom was a doll-maker when I was a kid. She made all sorts of dolls and puppets out of all sorts of materials. Sometimes she made them for us DiTerlizzi kids, other times she gave them to friends, family and even sold some to local boutiques.

I loved watching her cut the peachy fabric and fill the bodies with wads of cloudy stuffing. It was magical to me. I’d go to bed and she’d be hunched over her Singer sewing machine on the kitchen table making tiny elven clothes. I’d wake early the next morning and see a little cowgirl, sailer boy, teddy bear, or gnome, patiently awaiting her finishing touch.


That grew into a lifelong love of puppets and dolls, not mass-produced plastic molded manikins, but well-crafted, expertly sculpted little beings. Fine art really – as there is certainly a fragment of the creator’s soul in each and every piece.


The field of one-of-a-kind dolls has really prospered in the shared universe of knowledge on the internet. Artisans can exchange ideas and methods, sell their work, and inspire one another. Such was the case with Michelle Bradshaw, a fantastically talented sculptor (and mom) working out of Atlanta. I was first shown her work by Brian Froud’s Goblins collaborator, Ari Berk, and was blown away by her amazing talent for crafting tiny creatures. Her pieces have that spark, that animus, that is so incredibly hard to capture in Sculpey, fur and feathers.


Needless to say I am thrilled and inspired by her interpretation of two of my favorite creatures in Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You – a little sprite named Toadshade, and the enigmatic phooka. I hope you enjoy them too.

Check out Michelle’s site,, you won’t be disappointed.

Have a great weekend!

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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.