Eric Carle started drawing when he was a little boy and has asserted that he “will never stop being a scribbler.” Born in Syracuse, New York, in 1929, he spent his early childhood in America before moving to Germany at the age of six. Carle learned German and studied at the prestigious Academy of Visual Arts before fulfilling his dream of returning to the U.S. in 1952. After working as a graphic designer and art director of an advertising agency, Carle collaborated with Bill Martin, Jr. on Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, launching his remarkable career as a beloved children's book illustrator. Since then Carle has also written and illustrated many well-known titles such as The Grouchy Ladybug and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has been translated into more than 30 languages.
To create his beautiful pictures, Carle uses the technique of collage. He loves it when students tell him they can make pictures in the same way! Carle first paints over colored tissue paper with acrylic paint — sometimes using a wide brush, sometimes a narrow brush, sometimes his fingertips, and often using a sponge, burlap, or other bumpy material like a stamp to create texture. Then he cuts out shapes in the colored papers (which he stores in color-coded drawers after they dry) to make the different parts of his scenes and characters.
Most of Eric Carle's characters are animals, and he thinks this might be his father's influence: when he was growing up, Carle and his dad would go on walks in the forest. They would stop and observe all the little animals and insects living there, and Carle's father would tell him about how they live and grow. Growth and discovery are major themes in Carle's books. He says that moving from home to school was “traumatic” for him, and he hopes that his books, many of which are not only beautifully illustrated but have cutouts, flaps, raised textures, and lights and sound, are “half toy and half book” to show young readers that growth and change can be a lot of fun.
Carle lives with his wife Bobbie and cat Annie in Massachusetts. He has two grown-up children, his daughter Cirsten and son Rolf.