Frequently Asked Questions
Mike enjoys visiting with his young readers. They seem to come up with interesting and thoughtful questions for him. On this page, Mike has answered his most frequently asked questions. If you have questions for Mike Venezia that aren't answered on this page or on his Getting to Know Mike Venezia page, please feel free to use the Contact form.
How do you know so much about artists?
I read a lot about each artist. I get books out of the library and buy them at book stores, and visit art museums whenever I get the chance. I have a background in art, and I went to The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. It was easy to go into the museum from the school. I looked at paintings almost every day, and got to know paintings by different artists from all parts of the world.
Who is your favorite artist?
Usually my favorite artist is the one I’m working on at the moment. I feel like I’m getting to know the artist really well as I’m studying about him or her.
When did you start drawing?
I know I was drawing pictures at the age of three or four. My parents kept some of them. Here's one that I did when I was three and a half:
I also remember drawing World War II airplanes and ships with my dad when I was about five. He was in the Army Air Force, and taught me how to draw all kinds of planes.
How old are you?
I was born on June 8th, 1945. This may be a shock to some of you when you figure out the answer.
Did you like to draw in school?
Yes, very much. Sometimes I’d get in trouble for drawing cartoons when I was supposed to be working on science or math. But sometimes I would make drawings to go along with a report or a story, and I’d get really good grades.
How do you make your drawings?
I usually start with a rough pencil drawing. When I feel good about that, I’ll put a sheet of see-through paper over it and start doing my drawing in ink. Sometimes I have to go over it three or four times until I think it’s just right. Next comes the color. Sometimes I use colored pencils and magic markers, and sometimes I use watercolors. Lately I’ve had some help coloring my illustrations because I’ve been so busy. My daughter, Liz, has colored a few books. Sometimes one of my best friends from high school, who has an art studio, colors them.
Do your kids like art?
Yes, my son, Mike, has always enjoyed drawing and painting. He was asked to do a 12-foot mural in his high school. He chose Star Wars as a theme. He is now going to Art Center School of Design in California.
My daughter, Liz, studied art in college. She traveled with her school to Florence, Italy for two summers. Florence is a really cool art city. My wife and I got a chance to visit her there. It was great seeing paintings and sculptures by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and many other Renaissance artists.
What’s your favorite color?
Definitely blue. Maybe that’s why I like Picasso so much.
Would you draw a picture of yourself?
Sure, here’s a picture of me on the right.
Do you play an instrument?
No, but I did take piano lessons when I was a kid, and I played second trombone in the school band. But today I can’t play a note.
What’s your favorite kind of music?
I love all kinds of music. It can be rock, jazz, classical, or folk songs. As long as it makes me feel good, I think it’s great music.
Are the music books harder to write than the artists books (because you can’t show the music like you show the artists paintings)?
The music books are a little harder. I usually end up doing more illustrations in the music books. I try to describe a composer’s music to get kids interested in listening to it at home, on the radio, or a CD, or a tape.
Who is your favorite President?
Hmmm. That's a hard one. I think it would have to be Dwight D. Eisenhower. To find out why, check out my book on him. It should be out soon.
Where can I buy your books?
My books are available at many bookstores. If you want to buy them online, just go to my Bookstore where all of the "Getting to Know" books are listed with links to Amazon.com, where you can buy them online.