Author Timothy Ering also illustrates his world
Vail CO, Colorado
Timothy Basil Ering may not have been the illustrator parents were pining for their children to adore when he illustrated the macabre “Diary of Victor Frankenstein” in 1997. They likely had no idea that he would go on to illustrate Kate DiCamillo’s Newbury Award winner “The Tale of Deseperaux” in 2006, or that, eventually, he himself would become an illustrator-turned-author for the little ones.
Ering’s most recent work, “Necks Out for Adventure,” is his second foray into the world of illustrating his own writing. The book follows Edwin Wiggleskin, a slimy little clam who is willing to do just what the title says in order to find his place in life. By doing so, he takes himself out of the ocean he knows and loves, and into a world he’s never experienced before, experiencing, yup, you guessed it, adventure.
This story isn’t all that different from Ering’s life in some respects. Born and raised on the beaches of Cape Cod, Ering knew that he needed some adventure.
“And so I sailed around with the Navy. We went to Hawaii the Philippines, Australia, Africa, met a ton of people from all over the U.S.,” he said. Ering knew being a lifer in the Navy wasn’t for him, but it did give him a chance to hone his other big passion, illustration.
“In the Navy, I was drawing all the time. A bunch of my buddies writing home would want me to draw cool images on their cards, they saw me do it, and then I would do it for favors, a few bucks, whatever.”
Knowing though that his time in the Navy wasn’t meant to last, Ering began courses at Grossmont Community College in San Diego, where he immersed himself in all things art.
One day an art director from White Heat Publishing in New Mexico came up to check out portfolios and Ering pulled a Edwin Wiggleskin ” he took a chance and was rewarded. White Heat offered Ering an opportunity to illustrate a book with “a lot of anatomy drawing” and offered very little other information. It wasn’t until months later that things finally started coming together with the book. Ering had plans for a father and son 3,000 mile sailboat trip. Fortunately, the publisher didn’t make him choose one or the other, and so Ering’s first major piece of work was done on a boat, between Florida and Guatemala, in between spear-fishing and “knocking food off trees.”
Although his career began as an illustrator, and Ering himself acknowledges that it was very fulfilling and that he wasn’t searching for anything else, he ended up finding it.
“I really got into the thought that being a children’s book illustrator would be really cool. I would look back at one of my favorites, and wanting to make killer art is one thing, illustrating other stories is really cool, it’s a rewarding challenge. I just kept thinking I’d like to write my own book and illustrate my own world that I’m writing,” he said.
Knowing that Tim’s worked with award-winning authors before, his response to who he would most like to work with in the future is as telling as his brooding, thoughtful illustrations.
“Tom Waits. If we were buddies, I would definitely say Tom Waits, his writing drips paint,” he said.
This is an awfully apt choice from a man whose illustrations scribble down their own volumes of stories, even without their accompanying words.
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VAIL — The lift operator in the maze at Vail Village’s Gondola One tilts his head back and hollers: “Masks up please!”