“My greatest strength and my greatest weakness comes from the fact that I am self-taught… There is still a lot I don’t know, and some stuff that has taken me years to learn that I could have picked up in the first semester of art school… But it always looks like my stuff. I didn’t set out to create a ‘look.’ It was organic—I didn’t have anyone teaching me, so it became mine effortlessly.” ~ Mark Teague
Mark Teague likes to find humor in the everyday events of childhood. Having never taken an art class in his life, through trial, error, talent, and a love for drawing, Mark Teague has become one of today's top illustrators for children.
An artist at heart, Mark Teague grew up in San Diego, California. Before he was old enough to write, he used to dictate stories to his mom. Once she typed them up, Mark illustrated the tales, which for some reason were often frog adventure stories. Mark Teague had always enjoyed sketching and doodling, but he had never considered illustration as a career. In fact, Teague's books start, he explains, as notebooks full of sketches and scribbles, strange little drawings, and phrases that seem mostly cryptic that suddenly come together. After finishing college with a degree in American history, he moved from San Diego to New York City. His first job was at a large Manhattan bookstore. Arranging window displays introduced him to the latest picture books for children. Inspired by the beautiful, full-color illustrations, Teague wrote and illustrated a story of his own. It was about a boy who takes a magical subway ride from the city back to the countryside.
In 1989, Scholastic published his story, The Trouble With the Johnsons. That same year, Publishers Weekly featured Teague as one of eleven prominent new authors to watch. Since then, Teague has illustrated over 40 books, and written stories for more than a dozen. He is perhaps best known for The New York Times bestselling How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen, now with more than fourteen million copies in print, the Poppleton series, and The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant. Yet, Mark Teague also writes his own memorable tales, such as the widely popular The New York Times bestselling Mrs. LaRue series, Funny Farm, Firehouse!, The Doom Machine, The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf, and How I Spent My Summer Vacation.