Terry Border

“Here is a story to believe,” she said. “Once we were blobs in the sea, and then fishes, and then lizards and rats, and then monkeys, and hundreds of things in between. This hand was once a fin, this hand once had claws! In my human mouth I have the pointy teeth of a wolf and the chisel teeth of a rabbit and the grinding teeth of a cow! Our blood is as salty as the sea we used to live in! When we’re frightened, the hair on our skin stands up, just like it did when we had fur. We are history! Everything we’ve ever been on the way to becoming us, we still are. Would you like the rest of the story?”

Tell us, said the hiver.

“I’m made up of the memories of my parents and grandparents, all my ancestors. They’re in the way I look, in the color of my hair. And I’m made up of everyone I’ve ever met who’s changed the way I think. So who is ‘me’?”

—  A Hat Full of Sky, Terry Pratchett

Welcome to one of our favorite new features: Penguin Teen Meet the Illustrator! Today we’re sitting down with the lovely Terry Border, whose new picture book, PEANUT BUTTER & CUPCAKE, is about to hit shelves. Does his name sound familiar? It should! Terry is the mastermind behind Bent Objects, and he’s here to tell us how he’s just like his favorite color, the many different places he makes his photographs, and why if you find yourself thinking of Robin Williams when reading Peanut Butter & Cupcake, there’s a good reason for it.

Name: Terry Border

Book: Peanut Butter & Cupcake

Date Available: July 29, 2014

What media and materials do you use to create your illustrations Food, wire, and numerous other materials, which I combine, pose, and then photograph.

What’s your favorite color and why? Orange, because it is bold and yet beautiful, like me.

Who’s your favorite artist or illustrator, living or dead and why Alexander Calder is my favorite artist. He was incredibly inventive, and refused to take art too seriously. He also worked a lot with wire, which I started to work with several years ago because of his works.

Where do you do your work? I build things at our kitchen table and in our loft, and then I compose the images and photograph them in a small bedroom that I use as a studio.

Aside from the text of Peanut Butter & Cupcake, where did you find inspiration for your illustrations? I watched the movie “Toys” with Robin Williams before starting the pictures, because I remembered seeing it years ago and being impressed with the art direction.  In the end there isn’t a lot of in-your-face evidence of that inspiration on the books pages, but the mood of the film is there for me personally.


Thanks, Terry! You AND your picture book are definitely “bold and beautiful.”

You can find Terry on Twitter and his website.


PS – if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out Bent Objects!


Terry Border  - Bent Object of My Affection: The Twists and Turns of Love 

Another dose of Terry Border and his surreal, creative art using bent wire and other props to sum up various aspects of Love and the way we view it. Each image has a different slant and the viewer can take as much or as little from it; leaving it open to a wide audience which adds to its appeal.

Get hold of the book here.