If Kids Ruled the World

A Drawing a Day

By Kayla McGrady ’05
Illustrator David Huyck ’98 doesn’t just want to tell stories—he needs to. “It’s like an itch that I have to scratch,” he says.

David Huyck ’98 has been drawing all his life. Growing up in Evanston, Illinois, his favorite pastime was drawing with his two brothers. Later, as a studio art major at Carleton, he discovered through an independent study project that he loved writing and illustrating children’s books. That project morphed into his comps project, a series of children’s books.

His focus on children’s books was diverted for a few years while Huyck (pronounced hike) worked in web design, earned an MFA at the University of North Carolina, taught art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and Washington State University, and launched Cloudy Collection, a project in which Huyck invited illustrators, designers, cartoonists, and other artists to create and promote work around shared themes. Most of the prints made for Cloudy Collection, which ran from 2009 to 2011, were printed at Boxcar Press, run by Harold Kyle ’98.

Huyck decided in 2010 to focus on making children’s books—serendipitously coinciding with an offer to illustrate his first book, That One Spooky Night. “I was sitting next to an artist friend at a booth at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival when a children’s book editor came up to talk to him about working on a book,” says Huyck. “But he was unavailable, so she started looking at my work, which was stylistically similar to his. Two weeks later she called to ask me if I wanted to do the book.” That One Spooky Night has so far led to three more books, including If Kids Ruled the World, which went on to earn two 2016 Children’s Choice Book Awards in Canada.

Recently, Huyck has turned his energies toward writing picture books as well. “I love the world of children’s books,” he says. “The people in this community are open-minded and curious. I like being around people who share that mind-set. They inspire me.” Though Huyck began working last year as a web application developer at Carleton, he continues to draw and write every day—for audiences of all ages—in part because it’s a relaxing departure from everyday pressures.

“When I go into my studio and pick up a pencil, the world vanishes,” he says. “It’s Zen-like.”

Mufabot 2005 posterMufabot 2005 poster Photo: David Huyck ’98

If Kids Ruled the World, written by Linda Bailey, 2014If Kids Ruled the World, written by Linda Bailey, 2014 Photo: David Huyck ’98

“I’m always sketching during meetings,” says Huyck. “It gives my restless hands something to do. Here, I started by drawing noodles, and when they started to take the shape of a figure, I added the meatballs for eyes and it became Spaghyeti!”“I’m always sketching during meetings,” says Huyck. “It gives my restless hands something to do. Here, I started by drawing noodles, and when they started to take the shape of a figure, I added the meatballs for eyes and it became Spaghyeti!” Photo: David Huyck ’98

Animal alphabet A–GAnimal alphabet A–G Photo: David Huyck ’98

gorilla with catgorilla with cat Photo: David Huyck ’98

Nine Words Max, written by Dan Bar-el, 2014Nine Words Max, written by Dan Bar-el, 2014 Photo: David Huyck ’98

wee werewolfwee werewolf Photo: David Huyck ’98

Yessyu at ScreenYessyu at Screen Photo: David Huyck ’98

Cloudy Collection: Volume I, Edition 2Cloudy Collection: Volume I, Edition 2 Photo: David Huyck ’98

maggot pilemaggot pile Photo: David Huyck ’98

polar bearpolar bear Photo: David Huyck ’98

Fox Bread HoleFox Bread Hole Photo: David Huyck ’98

Cloudy Collection: Volume I, Edition 1Cloudy Collection: Volume I, Edition 1 Photo: David Huyck ’98

Hoak: a feral self-portraitHoak: a feral self-portrait Photo: David Huyck ’98

“I handed out these little books along with the candy at Halloween,” says Huyck. “I drew the comic to celebrate my first book deal for That One Spooky Night.”“I handed out these little books along with the candy at Halloween,” says Huyck. “I drew the comic to celebrate my first book deal for That One Spooky Night.” Photo: David Huyck ’98

View more of David Huyck’s work on his website or follow him on Instagram at huyckd.

Watch a short video of Huyck sketching.

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