What inspires your heart with art? Modern archeologists say that long ago people were painting in caves to communicate to others. The paintings are more than 30,000 years old.

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day is an annual celebration observed on Jan. 31.

Michael Hale, author and illustrator, has wanted to do art since he was 5 years old. “I wanted to be a cartoonist when I was younger,” says Hale. “I learned a lot about art when I was in school. I eventually became the Creative Director at the Phoenix Zoo.” Hale designed the artwork for ZooLights and got to design and make Jengo the talking giraffe.

Then Hale decided to become an author and illustrator. The first book Hale illustrated was “Up, Up, Up” published in 2017 and written by Phoebe Fox.

When doing illustrations, Hale makes a lot of extra drawings. “I draw over and over again. Characters have to be just right.” It takes Hale six months or longer to illustrate a book.

Hale prefers color palettes that are muted. “I like the cooler ranges, blues and greens,” says Hale. “I am working on one now with deserts, and I am using lots of browns.”

Hale says, “If you want to do this and enjoy it, feel good about it. A pencil has two sides. Mistakes can always be corrected. Keep drawing.”

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Karen Golden