With his debut picture book, “Please Say Please!” Kyle T. Webster has created a useful — and entertaining — tool for parents.
It’s a colorful book with rhyming text for children ages 2-6. It tells the story of a little girl who learns that good things come to those who say “please.”
“It is filled with surprising moments, humor and even a touch of magic,” Webster said in an email.
Webster, 40, saw a need for the book when his children were young.
“When spending time with my very young children, I was appalled by the manners of many small children on the playground and in preschool,” he said. “It’s not their fault, and I don’t think manners are difficult to teach. Simple pleases and thank-yous can be learned by a child as soon as they start to speak. So, I decided to give parents a fun tool to help with this — a story that can be read over and over again, with lots of colorful art and wondrous moments that help children understand the importance of the word, ‘please.’ It’s a start, anyway!”
Webster wrote and illustrated the book, which is published by Scholastic and will be available in August. It will be available in North America and Greece, he said.
Webster, a full-time artist and digital product inventor, spends most of his time drawing, and he also has a business, KyleBrush.com, where he makes digital brushes for other artists and has 150,000 customers. He teaches approximately 12 hours a week at UNC School of the Arts, which he enjoys.
According to his website, Webster is an award-winning illustrator who has drawn for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Entertainment Weekly, Scholastic, Nike, IDEO and others. He has created two, top-50 mobile games.
For more information, go to www.kyleTwebster.com, instagram.com/kyle.t.webster or email kyle@kyleTwebster.com or call (336) 253-4612. Find his book in August at www.scholastic.com/parents/book/please-say-please-0.
Q: Describe your art.
Answer: My illustrations vary greatly in style and subject matter, which is what has helped me have a healthy career as a freelancer for a dozen years. I illustrate for national magazines, book publishers, advertising agencies and other clients. I change the look of my work to suit whatever project comes along. I like working this way because it keeps things interesting and keeps me learning new things every year.
Q: What media do you prefer?
Answer: I work in a 100 percent digital environment, but I do so using all of the traditional media techniques I learned throughout the first half of my life. I use an advanced drawing tablet and my own custom brushes to work with digital watercolors, inks, pencils, oils, etc.
Q: How do you find your subject matter?
Answer: Most of my story or art ideas come from simply observing what is happening around me. There is just so much going on in the world, and I could never make all the art I want in a lifetime to fully process all of it.
Q: How have you evolved as an artist?
Answer: I continue to focus on the basics every year; the fundamental elements of art and design never bore me, and one can always improve in these areas. My goal is to always be able to look back in five years and cringe at the work I was doing then. This means I’m doing something right.
Q: Who has influenced your art?
Answer: Artists of old: Degas and Bouguereau; illustrators from the past century: Albert Dorne, Mort Drucker, Mark English, Jillian Tamaki, Gary Kelley.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
Answer: Trying to read the future — illustration is not unlike fashion, and it’s hard to stay fashionable. Clients and publications are fickle. My challenge is to remain relevant and continue to offer art that people really want and will pay good money to have.
Q: What does your art do for you?
Answer: It is the purest form of self-expression and joy for me, so it is a necessary part of my life. This is why I work so hard in my business to keep it going; doing anything else for a living would probably make me depressed, with the exception of teaching, which I enjoy greatly.
Q: What do you hope your art does for the observer?
Answer: Being mostly a commercial artist, my goal is for the art to communicate clearly. That is the hope.
Q: Do you have any advice for other artists?
Answer: Practice your craft because your skills are all you have. Marketing can be learned in a book. Making good art takes thousands of hours of active work.