Quotable Tuesday-Don Tate

Today’s quote comes to us from my friend, fellow Austinite and illustrator Don Tate. Don came to children’s literature as an illustrator but has begun to write picture books as well. What I love about Don is that he takes his craft as seriously as he does being a role model for children, a good father and husband. When I asked Don what quote inspires him as an illustrator and writer, he said, “I don’t have a favorite quote, but I found one in Vibe magazine by Tupac Shakur that resonates with me.”

“I truly believe I’ve been blessed by God, and God walks with me.”

Says Don, “I’m an African American male. My mom and dad divorced when I was a teen. I had a child when I was 17-years-old. Some of my best friends from that same time period are either dead or in prison. I’m employed (as of today). There’s a crisis in this country with African American males. Statistics say I wasn’t supposed to grow up to become a successful illustrator, graphics reporter, or published author, husband for 18 years. Somebody has been looking out for me. I think Tupac’s words nailed it.”

Then, in true Don Tate fashion, he smiles and says, “I found the following quote by James Brown, which cracked me up because it’s just so me:

“Hair is the first thing. And teeth the second. Hair and teeth.
A man got those two things he’s got it all.”

“Say that James Brown!”

You, dear reader, have just witnessed both sides of Don Tate. Serious and hilarious.

As for what’s coming up, Don is putting the finishing touches on his first authored book, It Jes Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw. It is a nonfiction picture book about a former slave and self-taught artist and will be published in 2012. Says Don, “Currently I’m double-checking the timeline against my sources, and tightening the text to make it read sharper. Writing is a craft, much like creating visual art. I love it!”

Me too, Don. Thanks for stopping by to visit. You’ve brightened my day.