Born January 11, 1969
Meet the author/illustrator Brian Floca: https://brianfloca.com/index.html
Author bio: https://brianfloca.com/about.html
Bio from Book Links Nov. 2008 (vol. 18, no.2) by Jeannette Larson
The creator of the Sibert Honor Book Lightship discusses his life, his work, and finding new inspiration.
Brian Floca jumped into children’s publishing in 1993 by being in the right place at the right time. Hand-picked by Avi to illustrate City of Light, City of Dark, Floca, then a student at Brown University, was able to skip a lot of the waiting and rejection faced by many aspiring illustrators. Since then, he has illustrated more than two dozen books written by others. He has also illustrated his own stories, beginning with The Frightful Story of Harry Walfish (Orchard, 1997), a whopper of a tale set in a natural-history museum. I first met Floca, a native Texan, at the 1998 Texas Book Festival and got to know him better when he created the art for the 2000 Texas Reading Club, a statewide summer reading program. Interestingly, after all these years and so many books—including the Sibert Honor Book Lightship—little has been written about this prolific and highly respected illustrator. Hoping to fill that void, I recently chatted with him about his life and work.
JL: You are something of a man of mystery. You’ve written or illustrated more than two dozen books, but it isn’t easy to find information about you other than basic details about your life. Would you share a bit about yourself? Floca: “Man of mystery” makes it all sound so interesting! At the risk of stripping away the mystique: I was born on January 11, 1969, and raised in Temple, Texas. My mom, a former teacher, stayed home with my younger sister and me, and my dad ran the family business, a soft-drink bottling company. (My appreciation for gears and machinery is at least partially owed to childhood visits to the bottling plant.) I grew up reading, with frequent trips to the library; exploring the woods behind our house; enjoying the company of the family pets (one cat, one dog, occasional hamsters); watching too much television; and drawing. I went to Brown University for college, where I studied art and history and, while still in school, got involved in children’s book illustration, which I’ve been doing ever since.
JL: When did you start drawing and when did you realize that you wanted to make a career out of your art? Floca: I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved it, and I suppose early on I recognized that it was something I could do well. Still, for a long, long time I didn’t have a clear idea of whether I was good enough to make a living at it, or how I might do that. By high school, for instance, I knew that I was the go-to guy if you wanted a cartoon for your t-shirt, but what does that really tell a person? Then at Brown and also at the Rhode Island School of Design—Brown students can sign up for RISD courses and vice versa—I could hold my own in the art classes, and I began to think about some post-college connection with art. My first choice would have been to have my Brown Daily Herald comic strip syndicated, but the national syndicates and I did not see eye to eye on that point.—by Jeannette Larson
(See more of this interview at Book Links Nov. 2008 (vol. 18, no.2))
Books written by Brian Floca:
Keeping the City Going
The Racecar Alphabet
Books written and/or illustrated by Brian Floca:
Contact Brian Floca:
He can be reached by email at: [email protected]
Note: “It’s sometimes hard to know if email from an unfamiliar address is spam or not. It will help me realize you’re not trying to sell me pharmaceuticals if your email’s subject heading includes mail from brianfloca.com. Thank you!”