From the Zita the Spacegirl trilogy to his latest graphic novel, Little Robot, Christendom alumnus Ben Hatke has shown an immense talent for combining entertaining storytelling with beautiful artwork. His talents will next be showcased in one of his most high-profile projects yet: illustrator for a new Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series, as he helps reboot the beloved 1947 children’s classic.
Hatke earned his B.A. in history from Christendom in 2000, and has been combining his passion for art and storytelling ever since. His graphic novels have been highlighted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and by countless comic conventions across the nation, enough to catch the eye of Feiwel & Friends, a division of Macmilan Publishers, earlier this year as they prepped the reboot of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
With this high-profile assignment, Hatke now joins distinguished illustrator Maurice Sendak, famous for penning the classic Where the Wild Things Are, in drawing Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s adventures.
“It’s such an honor to be asked to be involved with something that Maurice Sendak once did, too,” said Hatke, in an interview for Publisher’s Weekly. “He’s always been a hero of mine.”
Hatke will create all of the covers and interior artwork for the new series, beginning with Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure next fall. Newbery Honor author Ann M. Martin will be co-writing the new work with Annie Parnell, the great-granddaughter of the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle author.
In his fifteen years since leaving Christendom, Hatke has produced colorful adventures that entertain people of all ages, making him a perfect fit for a children’s series whose popularity spans multiple generations. When asked about the connection between his art and his Christendom, liberal arts education, Hatke says that the education was essential in his study and understanding of art as a whole, leading to his current success.
“Art and storytelling have been constants in my life, and most of the jobs I’ve been drawn to have included those things in some way. My liberal arts degree has given me flexibility,” said Hatke, who will be a featured speaker at one of the career development office’s upcoming “Life on Tap” events on February 9.
“The foundation of reading, classics, and good study habits gave me the basic skills that I needed when, in 2006 I took a year to seriously study art,” he says. “I participated in drawing and painting courses in Florence, Italy, but I also put myself through a sort of intense self-study course focusing on art history and the Italian Masters. Studying history at Christendom helped me to approach primary sources like Vasari’s Lives of the Artists.”
For more information on Hatke’s work with Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, please visit here. For more information on Ben Hatke, please visit his website at benhatke.com.