After high school, Tony attended several art schools and obtained a degree in Graphic Design. He then worked freelance for TSR, the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, a game that inspired him so much as a child. Tony illustrated many fantastical images of warriors, wizards and monsters, and also contributed to the collectible card game ‘Magic the Gathering’.
A move to New York City in 1996 brought Tony to publishing and his dream of writing and illustrating children's books. He created several children’s picture books before meeting writer, Holly Black, a fellow fantasy and folklore lover. Tony showed her sketches he was working on for a field guide to fantastic creatures and together they created the chapter series 'The Spiderwick Chronicles'.
Tony’s work crafting picture books and chapter books continues, and his work has been nominated for many awards. He works with his wife, Angela, and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with their daughter. [Source]
Q: Where did you get your vivid imagination? What inspires you?
TD: This is a common question, many think I am a never-ending fountain of imagination, so what keeps it flowing?
The truth is there are times when I do get stumped, where I do not feel inspired or very imaginative. So I go back to one of the things that started me off in the first place: nature.
Being in nature is very inspiring. From hikes in the woods to walks on the beach, the endless textures, designs, and colors in our real world is the most amazing (and overwhelming) amount of inspiration one could hope for. And it is where most other artists get their creative muse to begin with.
I also find inspiration from reading stories and looking at art in books. Whether I’m reading Beatrix Potter’s “Jeremy Fisher” or looking at the “Art of Star Wars”, there are many things in books that get my brain ticking.