Ok Stella, Let’s Read a Story… 5

The art of Daniel Miyares graces 
children’s books around the world

Before bed, 7-year-old Stella hears these words and is given a peek into a story no one else in the world has yet read, but one that has a good chance of being a favorite for children everywhere and an award winner in the eyes of adults. Stella’s dad, Overland Park artist Daniel Miyares, shares his ideas, characters and rough illustrations with his harshest critic and greatest fan.

Miyares is quickly finding his place in the world of children’s books both in the U.S. and internationally.

Miyares always carries a sketchbook. During conversations, he draws and doodles. Instead of gesturing with his hands; his marks on the paper reflect his thoughts, emphasize his point. For Miyares, drawing is not just a job; it is a way to process life and has been since the last day of school in third grade when his teacher, Miss Sullivan, pulled him aside on his way out the door, handed him a package wrapped in plain, brown craft paper – his very first sketchbook – and inspired him when she said, “Always keep this with you, never put it down. There is value in the way you see the world.”

Believing her, Miyares started drawing, filling up that first sketch book and immediately starting another.

“Drawing isn’t just a fancy thing people can do. It is survival. It helps us process life’s hard places: getting left out, divorce, staying up late – the big and small pieces of life.”

From that day in grade school to the present, Miyares has set his path to not only draw, but to live, and contribute to the world as an artist. When asked what he would do if he was not a professional artist, he claims, “I’d be an unprofessional artist.” His road has taken tenacity and commitment. Growing up in a modest single-parent home, Miyares wanted to attend Ringling College because he could see that it produced artists who did what he knew he wanted to do. Heading to Ringling with only one semester’s tuition, he developed the inner characteristics of tenacity and commitment, semester after semester, working toward his dream. These qualities  have also led him to become a master artist for Hallmark Cards where his work is seen on clothing, home decor, gift books and greeting cards.

His new series, That Neighbor Kid, done mostly with dark ink on a yellow-toned background, depicts the common, everyday actions of a young boy. Adults feel nostalgia and remember their own childhood spaces and adventures while children see themselves in That Neighbor Kid’s actions and encounters. Occasional splashes of color surprise and excite.

His passion to tell a story through art has also led to the creation of delightful and engaging children’s books. Miyares has illustrated with authors including Neal Sedaka in his book Waking Up Is Hard To Do. Released in 2015, Pardon Me! was Miyares’ first book to both author and illustrate, followed quickly by FLOAT, a wordless book. FLOAT has already been listed as a notable book of 2015 by the ALA.

Most recently released in February 2016 is Surf’s Up! written by Newberry Award Winner Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Miyares. Surf’s Up! is already in international markets as well as U.S. Bring Me A Rock! is set to hit the shelves in June.

It looks like Stella will hear, “Let’s read a story,” for many years to come!

Miyares’ work can be seen at DanielMiyares.com.