H.B. Lewis began to display an interest in the visual arts at an early age. His parents claim to remember that he was doing portrait painting at the age of four and a half, but some family members dispute this, saying that he was already well into his “blue” period by that time, and wouldn’t have been caught dead doing figurative work.

Actually, Howard was a pretty normal little fellow, who liked to draw airplanes and tractors a lot. He was fortunate to have his parents nickname him Bucky, because Howard was an awfully large name for such a small person to use. Bucky liked to invent things, or at least that’s what he would call it when he dumped a coffee can of junk onto the living room floor at night after dinner. He would collect parts from broken radios and toys, and pieces of wood and parts from his Erector Set or building blocks. These all helped form the nucleus of his inventions, which for the most part were non-functional, but did provide hours of peace and quiet for his parents.

Fortunately for H.B., his parents courageously supported his interest in the arts all the way into college, even though there was no actual evidence that one could get by as an artist (the closest family member with any arts background being H.B.’s grandmother on his mothers’ side, who worked as an interior decorator.)

That little boy is gone now. And Bucky is Buck, or H.B. if you’re so inclined. The popsicle sticks and glue were replaced by motorcycles and sportscars. But the intense figure that his family saw hunched over a table, churning out images of the world in crayon can still be seen in his studio today. Only bigger. And now people are using them on the covers of magazines like Forbes and Newsweek, and on a Kellogg’s Cornflakes box, or in movies like Dreamworks’ Antz, Disney’s Tarzan, Kingdom of the Sun, Dinosaur and others.

And Buck has, of course, illustrated several books for children, including Can I Have a Stegasaurus, Mom?, Santabear’s First Christmas, Mother Goose Stories(a pop-up book), The Klutz Book of Magic and The Klutz Book of Shenanigans. Winnie Mae, his latest, is the first book he’s written the story for. Now his family has proof that even artists who aren’t interior decorators can do okay for themselves.

And he’s not really that old yet, so there’s a good chance there’ll be plenty more to come.


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