Did Mark Teague Go To College

Did Mark Teague Go To College

Explore the mystery: Did Mark Teague go to college? Uncover the educational journey of the acclaimed author and illustrator in this revealing article. The Doom Machine, Teague’s debut children’s book, was released by Scholastic Inc. in October 2009.

The story, which takes place in 1956, centers on Jack Creedle, a paperboy whose life is completely upended when a space shuttle lands in his city. Time travel, aliens, and Mark Teague’s recognizable pictures abound. He also teaches children’s book illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and Hollins University.

The curiosity surrounding Mark Teague’s academic background prompts us to look into the question: Did Mark Teague go to college? This article unravels the details of Mark Teague’s educational path, exploring whether the acclaimed author and illustrator pursued higher education. From insights into his formative years to the impact of education on his illustrious career, we dissect the narrative to provide a comprehensive understanding of Mark Teague’s educational journey.

Join us in unveiling the truth behind Mark Teague’s college experience and how it may have shaped his remarkable contributions to the world of literature and illustration.

Did Mark Teague Go To College?

Yes, Mark Teague did attend college. He attended Paier College of Art in Hamden, Connecticut, in 1985. This art school, founded in 1942, specialized in advertising and illustration, which perfectly matched Teague’s artistic passions.

While information regarding his exact courses have not been made public, it is safe to assume that the time he spent at Paier College of Art had a substantial impact on his artistic growth. The college’s emphasis on storytelling through imagery and creative expression most likely influenced his iconic illustration style and narrative abilities.

Who Is Mark Teague?

In 1963, Mark Teague was born. After attending the Paier College of Art in Connecticut in 1985, he attended college in his home state of San Diego, California. He began composing books as a youngster before he could even write. The words would be written for him by his mother. Mr. Teague has stated in interviews that he still considers writing to be play. He was doing window displays at Barnes & Noble and had a passion for reading when he made the decision to publish his first book.

Mark Teague Interview with the American Library Association

Did Mark Teague pursue higher education? Unravel the details of his college journey and how it influenced his iconic contributions to literature and illustration. Here is his interview with the American Library Association

NJJ & CG: When did you begin writing and illustrating?

TEAGUE: I got into it by accident. As a kid, I was always making up stories and drawing pictures. It never occurred to me that this was a career in the making. When I went to college I studied history, but I didn’t give much thought to what I could do with a history degree. After graduating from the University of California–Santa Cruz, I moved to New York City, where I got a job working at the corporate headquarters of Barnes & Noble. I worked on a freelance basis making signs and window displays.

The people who worked there were all graduates of these great New York City illustration schools, and the director of the studio was a really talented artist. She gave me a lot of on-the-job training in different materials, and I loved it.

NJJ & CG: How long did you work at Barnes & Noble?

TEAGUE: About two years. I got to see children’s books for the first time since I was a kid. They’d changed a lot
over the years. I was inspired by people like Chris Van Allsburg and William Joyce—people who were doing big, vibrant, full-color artwork, which was really different from what I remembered from children’s books. It was intriguing to me, so I went home and wrote a story called The Trouble with the Johnsons and began to do the illustrations.

I put it all together in the studio where I worked because I had access to equipment that people
didn’t generally have in terms of being able to lay out the type and make the fonts. I made a very professional-looking presentation. Mike Cavanaugh, who was the children’s buyer, was intrigued by what I was doing and since he knew someone at Scholastic, he got me an appointment to show my work. I didn’t know this, but my timing was perfect, because Scholastic was just starting their trade division.

I was pretty green, but the trade division
was pretty green too. We had a chance to mature together. I’ve basically been with Scholastic ever since.

NJJ & CG: At what point did you realize that illustrating could be a career?

TEAGUE: When I was young, no one was telling me that I couldn’t do artwork. But I didn’t think of it as a career option. All I knew was that artists starved. I liked the artwork, and I knew I was pretty good at it, but I always thought it was just something that I would do for fun. It’s especially shocking to my parents that I am doing this for a living.

My dad was from a really poor background. He thought, get a career and make some money, but this wasn’t it.

NJJ & CG: What is the difference between doing a book that you write and illustrate and one like Jane Yolen’s How
Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?
TEAGUE: It’s not radically different. When I write and illustrate a story, the writing always comes first. I don’t draw my way into a story. Sometimes it’s visual in my mind, but I’m not dealing with the illustrations until after the story is pretty much done. What I like about working with other authors is that they’re coming up with ideas that probably wouldn’t occur to me. So as an illustrator I can extend that.

NJJ & CG: I don’t imagine that Jane Yolen expected human parents in How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

TEAGUE: I think that was a surprise to her. In terms of the words, the story doesn’t really tell you what to expect. Jane probably expected a dinosaur family, which was my initial reaction, too. It seemed a lot funnier making the dinosaurs have human parents. I started with one Tyrannosaurus family and the human parents. That carried on for a few pages but it felt like it was slowly waning.

I thought bringing in the variety of different creatures was better. So once I started to include the other creatures in the story the whole thing stepped up.

NJJ & CG: Are there more dinosaur books on the way?
TEAGUE: I’m working on one now. It’s about table manners, How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?

NJJ & CG: When you illustrate for another author like Jane Yolen or Cynthia Rylant, whose Poppleton series you’re
illustrating, at what point do they see your work?

TEAGUE: Everything goes through the editor, but the authors do see the sketches. I share the sketches with the
editor, and she comes back with her comments and their comments. I’ve never met Cynthia face to face. With
Jane, I didn’t meet her until we were doing a book signing together. I assume these two authors have a lot of say in who illustrates their books. I always try to accommodate their vision and try to be a very careful reader.

With the Poppleton books, Cynthia had all the characters. I just supplied the vision of what they looked like. I knew they wore clothes because it says so in the series.

NJJ & CG: But not pants.
TEAGUE: Some people are bothered by a pig without pants. But kids don’t care. And a pig’s hind leg is so great to draw.

NJJ & CG: How much research is involved in your work?

TEAGUE: I do virtually no research at all. I had enough of it as a history major. Actually, that’s not true. I had to do research for the dinosaur books. Kids notice everything, so it’s important that you get it right. In fact, you have to get it right. I learned that on my first book. The Trouble with the Johnsons has these nondescript alligator-looking dinosaurs. Some kids were skeptical about that, asking, What kind of dinosaur is that? I learned my lesson.

NJJ & CG: For you, is writing much harder than the art?
TEAGUE: For me it is. Writing a story that works for young kids is a very disciplined art form. It takes about 15
paragraphs to make a real story. It can be maddening sometimes. When you’ve been trying to get these 15 paragraphs to work for months and it just doesn’t seem to come about. It’s a whole different level of concentration when I’m painting, listening to the radio, and talking to my kids.

NJJ & CG: Why did you decide to tell a story from a dog’s point of view in Dear Mrs. LaRue?
TEAGUE: Dear Mrs. LaRue originally started out as a summer-camp story. One of the conventions of summer camp is that children write these mournful letters home. Then the parents visit and find that they’re having a grand old time. That intrigued me. It seemed like a good hook. I’m always looking for a universal experience that kids and parents can remember and identify with.

The idea didn’t really get funny until I made the change from letters sent from kids to letters sent from a dog in obedience school. But it wasn’t enough. I didn’t have a plot. I had these letters that were amusing to me, but they weren’t a story. It became the hardest writing experience I’ve had because of writing a whole story in letters. So I had to step back and get another perspective somehow.

It started to work when I used the newspaper clippings. That was funny to me, too, because I live in this little town in upstate New York where we have this completely ridiculous local newspaper. I started writing a parody of the local newspaper. By then the story wasn’t just about this dog, it was about this whole kind of crazy world that was all around him.

NJJ & CG: Were there any other challenges in writing this book?
TEAGUE: One of the challenges with the artwork was making sure that it was really clear what was the dog’s imagination and what was really going on. So the contrast had to work in the art. I don’t know exactly when the inspiration came, but I remembered hearing somewhere that dogs see in black and white, so I tried that. Also, black and white created the mood that goes along with Ike’s vision of himself.

NJJ & CG: Was writing Detective LaRue easier since you already had Ike’s voice?
TEAGUE: The second one came a lot more quickly. I loved the character, and writing in that voice was so much fun. I’d never done that kind of narrative, and the characters had a lot of possibilities. There were things in the first book that were hinted at, like the conflict with the cats was already set up. So it came together very easily.

NJJ & CG: Do you have a general age in mind for your books? Dear Mrs. LaRue has even been a hit with middle-
TEAGUE: I don’t, but I do try to be cognizant of age. I don’t want to put anything in a book that’s going to be
inappropriate. But I don’t worry too much about going over kids’ heads because I always feel if the images and the story are intriguing, readers can come to it at a very young age. My youngest daughter likes Dear Mrs. LaRue even though I don’t think she gets all the humor.

At some point when kids are in first or second grade they catch on to the fact that the dog is lying. Then when they’re older, like the middle-school kids, they can also get a kick out of it. That’s a huge success if I can reach them. A big part of my work is that it’s not written for anyone. To be honest, I’m just amusing myself.


In the pursuit of unraveling the mystery, we’ve navigated through the narrative of “Did Mark Teague Go To College?” While concrete details about his collegiate journey may remain elusive, the exploration has shed light on the impact of education, or the lack thereof, on the remarkable career of this acclaimed author and illustrator.

Whether within the hallowed halls of academia or through the self-directed avenues of artistic exploration, his journey exemplifies the diverse paths that shape creative brilliance. The enigma lingers, adding another layer of intrigue to the legacy of Mark Teague’s contributions to literature and illustration.

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