Top 59 Chris Van Allsburg Quotes

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“At first, I see pictures of a story in my mind. Then creating the story comes from asking questions of myself. I guess you might call it the ‘what if – what then’ approach to writing and illustration.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“Your house is all about routine, not the unexpected events of your life.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“The whole idea of being mesmerized and not in control of your own actions is fascinating and a little spooky. I remember hearing about someone who’d gone to a magic act, and a person in the audience had become hypnotized by observing too closely what magician was doing on stage, and thought it was spooky to lose your consciousness that way.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I think most people agree there is a component of skill in art making; you have to learn grammar before you learn how to write.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I’m not a perfectionist. I’m just very observant.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“The Polar Express is about faith, and the power of imagination to sustain faith. It’s also about the desire to reside in a world where magic can happen, the kind of world we all believed in as children, but one that disappears as we grow older.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I don’t like to travel. Yet all my books seem to involve a journey.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“As the years went by I became a writer and illustrator, although exclusively of fantasies.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“As much as I’d like to meet the tooth fairy on an evening walk, I don’t really believe it can happen.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“Following my muse has worked out pretty well so far. I can’t see any reason to change the formula now.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I write for what’s left of the eight-year-old still rattling around inside my head.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“Santa is our culture’s only mythic figure truly believed in by a large percentage of the population. It’s a fact that most of the true believers are under eight years old, and that’s a pity.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“Some artists claim praise is irrelevant in measuring the success of art, but I think it’s quite relevant. Besides, it makes me feel great.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“The Dick, Jane, and Spot primers have gone to that bookshelf in the sky. I have, in some ways, a tender feeling toward them, so I think it’s for the best.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“The idea of the extraordinary happening in the context of the ordinary is what’s fascinating to me.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“The opportunity to create a small world between two pieces of cardboard, where time exists yet stands still, where people talk and I tell them what to say, is exciting and rewarding.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“There was a great deal of peer recognition to be gained in elementary school by being able to draw well. One girl could draw horses so well, she was looked upon as a kind of sorceress.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“The general effect of viewing ‘Jumanji’ is thrilling. I was able to see on film a thing that at one point had only existed in my imagination. I got to see the images from my book come alive.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I’m always a bit disappointed when I’ve finished working on a book.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I am never really surprised at the way my books take shape. They are just not as perfect as I’d like them to be.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I believe that there will be many things that happen to me in my life that I will not be able to explain. Some of those might be magic. I’m not sure.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I was about 28-29 when I wrote my first story, and that was called ‘The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.’”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“Brainstorming, for me, takes place in my bed at night between the time I turn out my lights and I finally fall asleep. It is not a very violent storm, but what’s happening is I am just thinking about different ideas and maybe things I’ve seen that day that I think might make a good story.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“Authors of books are not given very much control over the films that are made from their books.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“It was the case for a number of years that I was doing a book a year, but that was back when I was part-time teaching – and since 1991, I’ve been a parent, so that cuts into the time!”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“It did occur to me that certainly African-Americans are not underserved in picture books, but those books are almost all about specifically black experiences.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I have very positive memories of reading biographies of unusual Americans as a child.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“There’s definitely a value in being literate.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I’ve heard stories about authors filled with this kind of Lotto-winner hubris. I’m a Dutch boy from the Midwest. We don’t have hubris.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“They don’t send people from large corporations to hire people to make sculptures.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“The theory of isolation of certain tasks in certain hemispheres of the brain suggests I shouldn’t even be able to speak, never mind write.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved to draw. But my interest in drawing wasn’t encouraged very much.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“Growing up in the 1950s, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, boys were supposed to be athletic.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“’The Polar Express’ began with the idea of a train standing alone in the woods. I asked myself, ‘What if a boy gets on that train? Where does he go?’”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“A good picture book should have events that are visually arresting – the pictures should call attention to what is happening in the story.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“People have asked me a lot, ‘What comes first? The pictures or the story? The story or the picture?’ It’s hard to describe because often they seem to come at the same time. I’m seeing images while I’m thinking of the story.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I’ve always thought of the book as a visual art form, and it should represent a single artistic idea, which it does if you write your own material.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I don’t know if what kids really want is a hamster. What they want is a dog. So the hamster ends up being a substitute: ‘Well, would you accept this?’”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“Peter Rabbit’s not a rabbit. Peter Rabbit is a proxy for the child who reads the book, and they imagine themselves in the rabbit’s position.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“My stories are often a little mysterious.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“It seems to me that not only the writing in most children’s books condescends to kids, but so does the art. I don’t want to do that.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I think it’s difficult to forget things that are unresolved.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“The crudest thing I’ve done as a teacher was to require students to write a national anthem for their country and sing it themselves.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I love the idea of a tiny window between the back stoop and the pantry, where the milkman would pass through the cheese. But of course, there is no milkman anymore. So somebody coming by the house and seeing the window would say, ‘Oh, that must be original, because that’s where the milkman passed the cheese through to the pantry.’”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“In the same way that a mundane object can have a personality somehow, I try to suggest that a mundane setting can have some menace behind it.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I like the gizmos that transport people.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“When somebody says, ‘This must be a children’s book,’ basically they’re saying, ‘You must be a child.’ And so my answer is, ‘Well, yes, I guess I am a child.’ But I don’t think of myself that way.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I think parents generally know what’s best for their children. But I suppose it’s possible to be overprotective.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I don’t like to get scared – it’s not one of the emotions I enjoy. So I have to assume that if there are scary things in my books, they aren’t very scary.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I’m sensitive to the things I see.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“If I’m not working on something, I’m eager to work on something because it’s so gratifying.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“Even the most complicated stories start with a very simple premise.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I think, for the most part, our culture embraces that artists are born, not made.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I try to satisfy the desires that people have to have their books personalized. That’s a value, or feature, of bibliophilia that may vanish. How do you get your e-book signed? The idea of people standing in line to get my signature in their book, it’s hard to turn them away.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I sculpted for four or five years. Mostly for my own amusement, I decided to do a picture book, and that was kind of a turning point.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“My ideas are not meant to suggest dreams or reality, but a surreal quality.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“I’m not surprised that my books appeal to adults.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“It’s not in the interest of the artist to think of his market.”

― Chris Van Allsburg

“What kids are exposed to on television is more frightening and horrifying than what they see in my books.”

― Chris Van Allsburg
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