Monkey Business by the fabulous author Vivian Walsh who has collaborated with J. Otto for much of their children's book career. Illustrated by J. Otto Seibold
J. Otto has been an inspiration for me ever since I picked up the book Monkey Business over 10 years ago. I looked through that book with a mixture of starry-eyed desire and green-eyed envy. Desire because he was doing something that I wanted to do, and he was doing it so originally for the time, so unlike anything else I'd ever seen (as well as hordes of others -- just look at J. Otto's style and trace it to so much current artwork that his style has clearly inspired).
J. Otto was a total maverick! This was the future for digital art - it worked for children's book illustration, and, in his hands, SPLENDIDLY. Was J. Otto the first to do it? I have no idea. But, he was the first that konked me over the head with no less powerful an impact than a frying pan. My desperate appreciation/fandom for J. Otto's art after that fateful day 12 or 14 some-odd years ago, and the fact that he got there before anyone else, really helped to spur me to dig deeper to find my own voice as an artist. Ironically, my work and J. Otto's work looks nothing alike. It just goes to show how inspiration knows no creative medium pigeonhole.
Is all of this too earnest and sanguine of me to say? All I can say is, it's true.