1. When you were my age, did you like to read? I’ve always loved comics and comic strips. When I was your age I liked to read fantasy and sci-fi novels, especially if they had humor in them, but around that time I was also discovering superhero comics like X-Men.
2. What is a book that impacted you? Jeff Smith’s Bone had a huge impact. Like I said, I liked reading superhero comics and following their adventures, but the kinds of comics that I drew as a kid always looked more like the comic strips I enjoyed, like Calvin & Hobbes or Bloom County. Bone showed me that I could blend the two styles of comics together into one thing, and from then on that’s exactly what I wanted to create.
3. Is it hard to come up with book ideas? It can be hard to come up with ideas. The good thing about making graphic novels is that it takes so long that you have time to let ideas come to you for what you want to work on next! Ideas can come from all sorts of different places, for instance thinking about your life, or reflecting on the books and movies you like, or just letting your imagination wander.
4. What author or illustrator have you read lately that impacted you? Lately I’ve been very interested in the work of Shigeru Mizuki, like his awesome Kitaro series. Kitaro’s fun but spooky mood was a big influence on Ghost Hog.
5. Is there a newer or less known author/illustrator that people should know about? Mathew New has just announced that his mini-comic series Billy Johnson And His Duck Are Explorers has been planned for publication as a graphic novel in 2020! Those comics are so fun, I highly recommend checking them out!
6. What advice do you have for kids who want to be an author/illustrator? Write and draw as much as you can! Think about why you like the things you like and try to use some of those same qualities in your work. But if you write and draw as much as you can, every day if possible, you almost can’t help but get better!
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about it?I hear from readers a little bit. It’s always very encouraging to know that people are reading my work, because that’s why I create it! I really see my comics being read as the final step in the process. That’s why conventions and school / library visits are nice. I get a chance to see my readers and hear about what they think of my work.
8. If you could portal into any book, which would it be? There are some really cool islands in Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece. I’d love to visit the island made of candy, or the floating island in the sky… except they are always way more dangerous than you’d want in those stories!! I’d want to visit a peaceful version, I guess.
9. Why do you think graphic readers are important for children? Comics are great because they have a hand-made quality that shows that not only can you read the kinds of books you want, you can also create them yourself! This isn’t like a movie that takes dozens or hundreds of people to make. All you need is a some drawing materials and you can tell the story in your head.