Meet the author: Jane Smith

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Author/Illustrator name: Jane Smith

Author website/social media:

Tell me a little about yourself: I’m a Midwestern girl who spent my childhood writing stories and making pictures. While attending the Columbus College of Art & Design, where I earned my BFA in Illustration, I discovered my joy for all things collage. After graduation, I moved to sunny Los Angeles, California, where I got my start in book publishing art directing children’s novelty books. I now create artwork for a variety of publishing and licensing clients in my beach bungalow studio. I love collecting paper, patterns and fabric, and playing with my graphic designer husband and superstar daughter.
When you were my age, did you like to read? Yes! I always loved reading! And I was lucky enough growing up to have a wonderful mom who was a school librarian who filled our home with tons & tons of books!!
What was your favorite story? Watch Out For Chicken Feet In Your Soup by Tomie de Paola

I even wrote to Tomie De Paola when I was in elementary school to tell him how much I loved this book!! And he generously wrote me back and sent along a poster & a signed sticker for my book. And I still have my book with the signed sticker today! It is a part of a large collection of treasured signed picture books!
How do you get your ideas? I get my ideas by observing the world around me—people young & old and how they emotionally react to each other and the places they live & visit. I’m also inspired by own childhood as well as by a million little things everyday—cupcakes, sunshine, succulents, my daughter, flowers, stickers, cartoons, novels, cookbooks, fabric, flea markets, running, yoga, fashion, toys, sewing, art museums, gardens, trees, furniture, Japanese dishes, tea, vegetables, holidays, television, the beach, the zoo, bugs, folk art…and the list goes on and on!
Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? It can be! Sometimes I just intuitively know what to do with a story or a picture or a character. But sometimes I don’t and I have to feel my way through it. That can mean taking lots of extra time to sketch and sketch some more or do some research or seek out visual inspiration or sometimes stepping away altogether from a project for a little bit.
Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? I love my Chloe Zoe picture book series!! I’m not sure I could choose just one book from the series though! It would be like choosing a favorite child!
What author do you really like right now? Ooo! There are SO many! David Soman & Jacky Davis, the creators of the Ladybug Girl series! The Ladybug Girl books have such a strong emotional core wrapped in lightness with a fabulously fun main character. Bob Shea, the creator of the Ballet Cat series! I love Ballet Cat—she is so hilarious! And Oliver Jeffers! I really enjoy his quirky sense of humor and his often unusual approach to storytelling.
What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Read a LOT! Write a LOT! And don’t ever stop!

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