In researching his piece for Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, Timothy Basil Ering was inspired and amazed by studying the art from military (trained) artists, including Winslow Homer, who, he says, “created on the spot, on the scene by these combat artists who were right there!” Some of the art was “such quick aggressive sketches—some so painterly—but all capturing such emotion.”

For his illustration of civil war soldiers sleeping in the White House, Tim says he “imagined that he was a Union Soldier artist quickly sketching and knocking in loose gestural color to capture this scene that I was a part of, where after a long night of battle, these Union Soldiers camped out in the East Room of the White House. They slept soundly as the morning sun rose and gently lit the beautiful room, and there in the background two Union Officers escort Abe Lincoln into the room to tell him the story of the night before and to show off their brave troops.”

Raised by a French mother and Lithuanian father, Timothy studied at a design college in Pasadena, California, before going to sea aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.

Annexation and Division by Timothy Basil Ering
OUR WHITE HOUSE. Illustration © 2008 by Timothy Basil Ering. Reproduced by permission of publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

“I always think of illustration as a form of acting,” says Tim. “Each time I approach a subject, I need to become the character I’m depicting.” And then he chooses his medium.  For his double-page spread illustration in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, he first sketched with charcoal, sealed it, and then painted light, thin washes of oil.

Tim’s artwork has appeared in books, magazines, theater sets, private murals, and fine art galleries. The invariably paint-splattered artist lives and works in Massachusetts.

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Selected Books by Timothy Basil Ering

The Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger (Candlewick)

Necks Out for Adventure: The True Story of Edwin Wiggleskin (Candlewick)

The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone (Candlewick)

The Tale of Despereaux, written by Kate DiCamillo, winner of the Newbery Medal (Candlewick)

Diary of Victor Frankenstein, with an introduction by Roscoe Cooper (DK Ink)

Mr. and Mrs. God in the Creation Kitchen, written by Nancy Wood (Candlewick)

Don’t Let the Peas Touch, written by Deborah Blumenthal (Arthur A. Levine)

Dear Saint Anne, Send Me a Man, written by Alice La Plant and Clare La Plant (Universe Publishing)