Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Emma Lazell

Author website/social media: Instagram and twitter: @emmallazell Website:
www.emmalazell.co.uk1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
Absolutely! I loved quite a mixture of books at 9. I remember reading and loving all the *Horrid Henrys*, especially *Horrid Henry’s Nits*, that really made me giggle. Enid Blyton books, I loved *Mallory Towers* and *The Secret Seven*. And of course Roald Dahl, I adored *The BFG*.
2. What is a book that made an impact on you?
Certainly Judith Kerr’s *The Tiger Who Came to Tea*, I think this impact is very evident in *Big Cat*. Also Michael Rosen’s *Quick let’s get out of here* poetry book. A book full of absolutely hilarious poems that I can remember my headteacher at primary school reading aloud in a whole school
assembly and having us all in stitches.
3. You are both the writer and illustrator, is that hard?
I always answer that I am an illustrator first, and then a writer. Although I’d love to have a go the other way round, and write some longer fiction. With Big Cat, the illustrations and characters certainly came first, and then the words came very naturally afterwards. When I attempt to write the story first, with picture books, it almost always ends up completely changing once I begin working on the relationship between the words and the pictures and the characters.
4. What author or book have read recently that impacted you?
At the beginning of the year I read the *Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children* series by Ransom Riggs. I read them all really quickly, I got hooked. I hadn’t read an adventure story in a while, and this one was
addictive.
5. Is there a new or lesser known author or illustrator you think kids
should be aware of?
I met so many amazing illustrators and authors while doing the MA in
Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art last year. Lots of
them have really exciting things coming soon. I’m really excited for Natalie Labarre’s *Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard of* coming soon with Nosy Crow. It’s a highly illustrated, action packed, non fiction book which looks like its going to be equal parts exciting, gross, and hilarious. (My favourite book ingredients!)
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author or
illustrator?
Go for it! You can find inspiration in anything, so always carry a notebook
or sketchbook and draw draw draw or write write write. Nobody else needs to
see your early ideas, so they can be as whacky as you like, just get them
down. You never know what you will come up with when you are flicking back
through those strange ideas you doodled down once.
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about
that?
I get to meet my readers at schools visits and book festivals and bookshop events and it’s great! When I read *Big Cat* I love seeing how exasperated children become at Grandma when she still hasn’t figured out why her ‘cat’ doesn’t quite fit in.
8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
OO, this is a hard question. Perhaps I’d like to be *The Hungry Catepillar* because he gets to spend his time eating, or even better, *Willy Wonka* in *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*. Running a chocolate factory sounds like even more fun than drawing cats for a living.
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author or
illustrator?
Go for it! You can find inspiration in anything, so always carry a notebook
or sketchbook and draw draw draw or write write write. Nobody else needs to
see your early ideas, so they can be as whacky as you like, just get them
down. You never know what you will come up with when you are flicking back
through those strange ideas you doodled down once.
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about
that?
I get to meet my readers at schools visits and book festivals and bookshop events and it’s great! When I read *Big Cat* I love seeing how exasperated children become at Grandma when she still hasn’t figured out why her ‘cat’ doesn’t quite fit in.
8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
OO, this is a hard question. Perhaps I’d like to be *The Hungry Catepillar* because he gets to spend his time eating, or even better, *Willy Wonka* in *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*. Running a chocolate factory sounds like even more fun than drawing cats for a living.
Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Joey Weiser

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.
Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Jim Petipas

 

Website: www.TheCowsGoMoo.com

 

Social media:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecowsgomoo/?ref=bookmarks

The Cows Go Moo

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCowsGoMoo1?lang=en

@thecowsgomoo1 

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the.cows.go.moo/?hl=en

the.cows.go.moo

 

You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJnAfZzwegSjTET0U3D0kw

The Cows Go Moo

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thecowsgomoo/

thecowsgomoo

 

Questions from Bridget:

 

1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?

Absolutely! My parents weekly brought me to our public library in Hingham, Massachusetts. I can remember exactly where the children’s section was. I would always gravitate to books on how to draw animals and cars, two things that I love! I would also check out a lot of picture books to bring home and read either on my own or with my parents. Of all those years spending time in libraries who knew I would eventually become a children’s book author and illustrator and have my own book on the shelf!

 

2. What is a book that made an impact on you?

If I were to choose one of many, I would choose, “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycoskie. He is the guy who started TOMS shoes. When you buy a pair of TOMS shoes another pair is donated to a child living in a place or situation where they might not have access to good footwear. He calls this, “One for One.” The very evening that I finished reading that book, I said to myself, “I want to do something like that with my book!” Since my book series is about cows I came up with the, “Buy-A-Book / Give-A-Cow” project. Ten percent of the profits from all of my sales of my books and Moo Merch goes to providing real cows to a family’s living in poverty through Heifer International. The families are trained on how to care for their cow and start their own cow milking business to help provide for their family’s needs. I am very thankful that I read that book when I did!

 

3. Is it hard to come up with book ideas? 

I am full of ideas! So are my family members. Whenever we come up with a book idea, I write it down on a piece of paper and put it in my book ideas file, or I type it into the “notes” on my iPhone. As of right now I am focusing mostly onideas for, “The Cows Go Moo!” series. I have some other animal-based stories that I am working on as well. One of which, is about our Silver Labrador Retriever named Earl! Both of my daughters encouraged me to write, “The Cows Go Moo!” based on a silly song I wrote back in high school. A song I wrote in college has become thebasis for my second book, “The Cows Go Moo Shuffle!” Which will hopefully publish before the end of the year. Then my youngest daughter Sophia said, “Dad you should do a coloring book!” “The Cows Go Moo! Udderly Crazy Activity & Coloring Book” will be available in May 2019! Ideas are cool already, but when you see your ideas become a reality it is very cool! 

 

4. Like why do a book that supports a nonprofit?

Since middle school I have been involved in supporting non-profits such as World Vision, Compassion International, Boston Rescue Mission and others. Over the years I would regularly volunteer at homeless shelters, clothing drives, soup kitchens, food banks and as a youth worker. My dad was a homeless person for the majority of his adult life, so I have a special desire to support people in need. I have also had the opportunity to serve in schools, camps, and orphanages all around the world including Guatemala, Russia, Haiti, and Peru, as well as in many cities within the US. My support of Heifer International provides the opportunity and the training to families in need of assistance and this not only provides money for food, clothing and school, but it also builds other important aspects within a person’s life. Heifer International also does this cool thing called, “Passing on the Gift.” Whenever one of these family’s cows gives birth to a calf, that calf is passed along to another family in need within their community to continue the means to help end poverty! I have personally been given so much in my life and it is a privilegeand joy to pass that on to others.

 

5. Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of? 

For sure! There is an author who lives near me whose author name is G. Johnson. She wrote a wonderful children’s picture book entitled, “Seacoo.” The book was beautifully illustrated by Yifan Luo. The story is about a little panda bear named, Seacoo who loves to read. The story is a fun tale about his family, making friends with Coco and the beauty of change. When I was first considering turning my song into a picture book, I met with G. Johnson to get her advice based on her own experience of writing and publishing. The best piece of advice she gave me was, “finish the book!” This became a driving mantra and encouragement to help keep me focused and MOOving forward to finish the book! I encourage you to check out, “Seacoo!”

 

6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

Be curious! What I mean by that, is to look for the amazing, funny, mysterious, and fantastical happenings in the world (or universe) around you, within your family, school, friends, experiences, likes, dislikes, dreams and imagination. Gather these ideas in a file and write about some of them. One helpful tool that I learned about writing was to do a Story Map! Take a blank sheet of paper, put it horizontal and write your idea right in the middle of the page. Now start brainstorming! Write down as many funny, strange, challenging, etc. etc. elements, memories, personal stories, etc. etc. that you can think of… this is often called a brain dump! Draw little pictures, circle words and connect themes. You can occasionally take this Map out and add to it again and again. Then you can start to write about it. Get the ideas out, have fun and learn as much as you can from others about becoming an author. Keep at it and don’t forget to, “finish the book!”

 

7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

Yes! Because I have a catchy song that goes along with my book, I have received many videos on Facebook of kid’s singing the song, holding up the book, dancing and mooing around! It has been very funny, encouraging and heartwarming to see and hear that my book is bringing joy into people’slives and homes. I also hear a lot from parents. One just told me, “My son loves your book!” One of my favorite reviews was from a grandmother who said, “I was playing the recording of “The Cows Go Moo!” song and reading the book to my five and half year-old grandson when all of a sudden he exclaimed, “Grammy this is better than “Who Let the Dogs Out?” isn’t it?” Great job with the book and catchy tune!” Some of the best experiences are on author visits when we sing the song together, read the book and do some drawings of the characters. Instant feedback and great fun!

 

8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

Great question! There are many books I can think of where that would be very cool to be able to do. The book that comes to the front of my mind right now is actually a series of wordless picture booksby Aaron Becker, Journey, Quest & Return.” I love the fantastical settings, the colors, the way the main character can draw a boat or anything rightwithin the story to be able to escape danger or travel to a far away land. Being a wordless book allows the reader to imagine the words for themselves, to scream, to greet, or to cry with their own voice. The intricate artwork and vivid colors are amazing. I have always loved the medium of pen & ink with watercolor. That was actually how I started doing my first book, but then I moved into using all ink with Copic markers. More recently I have been doing some digital artwork on an iPad that I received for Christmas! Aaron Becker and I both live in Massachusetts, so I guess the both of us currently journey in the same land! Moochas gracias for interviewing me for your terrific website!

 

Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Kevin Sylvester

My website kevinsylvesterbooks.com

I’m on facebook at facebook.com/kevinsylvesterbooks

I’m on twitter @kevinarts

and also check out neilflambe.com

Instagram @sylvesterartwork

check out my blog kevinarts.blogspot.com

1. When you were my age, did you read a lot? I was not a great reader when I was a kid. That’s actually only half true. I loved to read Spider-Man comic books, the backs of baseball cards and anything with images. But that also got me into reading Beatrix Potter and then the Hardy Boys and finally longer books such as the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Sp I loved to read, but wasn’t able to read the books more “word literate” kids were reading.

2. What was your favorite book? Spider-Man. Anything with Spider-Man. Also, the Tailor of Gloucester and then the Hobbit.

3. How do you get ideas for your books? By being a curious person.. The ideas for books often come from bits of unrelated ideas banging into each other like charged atoms. So, Neil Flambé is the Hardy Boys mashed together with celebrity chefs. MINRs is a space story mashed together with some of the bad things that happen in the real world around mining colonies.

4. What authors do you like right now? There are so many amazing authors that I love. Some are friends (such as Debbie Ohi or Jonathan Auxier) and others are people whom I only know through books. Nerd Camp was amazing for that. Dogman Dav Pilkey is amazing. I absolutely loved meeting Arree Chung and reading his amazing book Mixed: A Colorful Story.

5. Do you have any new or lesser known authors to recommend? Hmmmm.. Lesser known depends on where it is that people don’t know them. For example, I live in Canada and we have so many amazing authors here that aren’t huge in the US. Authors such as Heather Camlot (who just released her first book – Clutch – which is great!) I’ve got a new series coming out with Ted Staunton, Richard Scrimger and Lesley Livingston (link is here http://www.scholastic.ca/books/series/almost-epic/ ). They are all amazing and successful, and everyone should read their books.

6. Do you have any advice for kids who want to be authors? Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. And think about what the authors you like are actually doing. What verbs do they use? What images? What excited you about their plots? Steal that stuff for your own story.

7. Do you hear a lot from readers and what do you like? I hear from kids a lot (partially because I do a lot of school visits, and also because kids like to send me letters, and I answer them all). I like hearing why they like a boo AND why they don’t. Some things (like the ending to my book MINRs) can really make some kids angry! And that lets me know if I’m writing stories that actually mean anything to kids. The worst thing is to write a story that makes a kid shrug and go “yeah, that was okay”. Authors want readers to feel and think alongside their characters. Also, when we write a story (or draw pictures for them like I also do) we are often doing that alone in our studios. So we have no idea if there are real kids out there who will like our books.

8. If you could portal into any book, what book would it be? I want to eat at Chez Flambé and have Neil make me an amazing meal.

9. What do you use to make your illustrations? Everything and anything. I do a lot of my illustrations using pens and simple blank paper. Nothing fancy. But I do also do a lot of editing and even original drawing on my Cintiq tablet. It lets me fix mistakes really quickly and make edits (my editors always want changes) without having to start over from scratch.

10. Any advice for kids who want to be illustrators? Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. And think about keeping your hand loose. Also, pay close attention to MATH. Knowing how shapes and spatial relations work will help you draw better stuff. The best book I’ve ever read that helped me learn those lessons? How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.

Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Meet Karen and Darrin

Www.karenanddarrin.com

So, for starters we are totally amazed at your website and the intelligence and charisma that you have for your age, Bridget! We think your love of books and reading is so wonderful.

 

1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read? 

 

Not really, and because of I didn’t enjoy reading, I wasn’t doing very good in school. That was until I had a teacher who gave me a Nancy Drew Mystery Series book. After that, I developed a passion for reading, which has continued through this day. Since then, I just can’t read enough – too many books, too little time.

2. Who was your favorite author or what was your favorite story?

 

When I was young, it was Carolyn Keene of the Nancy Drew Mystery Series, who we now know was not really Carolyn Keene, but several different ghost writers.

Today, I love reading so many different types of books, that I really can’t pick one author. But of course, Dr. Suess will always be one of my favorites, and Shel Silverstein, and I like other books written by comedians (Woody Allen, Steve Martin, Tina Fey) and biographies.

3. How do you get your book ideas?

I always wondered about myths – aliens, Bigfoot, Champ. When I initially had the idea about myths, I started researching them, and that’s’ when I was hooked. If found it so odd and mysterious that so many people actually say they saw alien spacecraft, or that they saw Bigfoot, so I just had to write about it. And, at the time I started our series, our son Mick was ten, and I decided he would be the perfect main character for the book.

4. Is it hard to work together or does it help the process?

That’s a great question, and a lot of people wonder how a married couple work together – but since we have worked together since we did comedy together, it is actually a lot of fun, and yes, for us, it does help the process. We know that at times we might have different ideas for the art, but we can always laugh about it – and that is the key to getting through anything in life.

5. Why did you become an author and illustrator?

Karen: I was originally a copywriter, and wrote for radio, magazines, etc. Also, when we did comedy, although it was improv, we would write sketches, too. Years ago when Darrin was illustrating children’s book covers for other people, we decided  to do our own children’s books – especially since we love sharing our creativity and humor with children.

Darrin: I had been drawing since I was very little. I always loved creating art. I was working at a creative agency – which I still do now, I’m the VP of Creative for Helloworld. With Karen being a creative writer, and with my art, and our comedy background, it really seemed like the perfect mix for us to do our fun, scary humorous books for children.

6. What authors and illustrators do you like right now? Any recommendations on lesser known ones for kids?

 

Karen: I have so many that I love, it would take up your whole blog! I have always been a fan of many of the famous ones…But, there are so many wonderful local authors I enjoy reading, that are just as fantastic as famous writers and illustrators. My suggestion is to go to the Michigan section in the bookstore, or your local library and ask for Michigan authors. It’s amazing how many wonderful books are out by Michigan people.

7. Any advice for kids who want to be an author or illustrator?

 

Karen: To start with you have to have it in your heart – whether you want to be a writer or an illustrator, you have to have passion for it. You have to practice, a lot. Which means you have to sit down and do it, even when you don’t feel like it. As an author, you should also read as much as you can. And, go different places, see different things – to help your imagination grow (museums, parks, plays, etc.). Keep a journal with you so that you can take notes when you see things that inspire you. Also, have fun, laugh, and don’t take your writing or yourself to seriously, that way when you sit down to write – you can make it something fun. Oh, and practice – did I say practice, well yes I did…PRACTICE, a lot, and don’t judge yourself.

Both Darrin and I read lots of books on writing and artwork. We spend so much time in bookstores and libraries (they are some of our favorite places).

8. Do you like hearing from readers? What do you like about it?

 

We love hearing from readers! It is our favorite part of our writing and illustrating. Especially when we do school visits, because if we are inspiring children to read, write and draw, and of course laugh – then we have accomplished our job.

Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Meet Chad Sell

I am @chadsell01 on Twitter and Instagram, and the official CK account is @thecardboardk on IG and Twitter.

When you were my age (9), did you like to read?

Yes! Although I read all kinds of things, I was obsessed with comic books! I would eagerly seek out the comics section in every book store (if they even had them) and beg my parents to take me to comic shops whenever we took trips!

What was your favorite author or book?

Since I was such a huge comics nerd of the 90’s, my favorite comic was probably Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men!

how do you get your story ideas?

I think a lot of my writing naturally emerges out of whatever it is I’m thinking a lot about. But it can be hard to take those big ideas and make them into a story! It takes me a long time to work through different options for a character and many drafts of a script. Sometimes I get stuck on something, or I don’t know how to resolve part of the plot. Most of my breakthrough moments are during long walks that I take to clear my head!

is it hard to write a book?

Yes! Very! That’s why I had a team of ten writers to help me with The Cardboard Kingdom!

what authors do you like right now? Any lesser known ones you can recommend?

Oh wow! Well, I still read a lot, so I have several recommendations. I loved The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore. One of my biggest author crushes of the past several years is on Leigh Bardugo – I love all the books in her two different Grisha series! And Molly Ostertag wrote the wonderful graphic novel The Witch Boy.

what is the best part of being an author?

Being an author can be very difficult. It can also be very lonely! But the best part is seeing my work spark a reaction in another person – whether it’s my editor, my collaborators, or the kids who read it!

What do you use to complete your illustrations?

Most of my work is done digitally. I have a desktop computer with a tablet monitor hooked up to it, which allows me to draw right on the screen! I use a program called Clip Studio Paint – 99% of my work on The Cardboard Kingdom was done with that software!

any advice for a kid who wants to be an author?

Creativity is wonderful! If you are a creative person, you should treasure that about yourself. You should seek out opportunities to develop your craft, but you should never expect perfection. Don’t let your own self-criticism or the negativity of anyone else keep you from making what you want! The important thing is to keep developing as a person, an artist, and an author. You are capable of great things!

– If you could portal into any of your works, which would you portal into?

That’s a good question! Although I love all the kids in The Cardboard Kingdom, I feel like I already live in their world of creativity and cardboard. Especially since I see so much of them in their creators, whom I get to chat with all the time! Maybe the world of THE CLOUD (https://chadsellcomics.com/thecloud/) because it’s about a cloud who becomes an adorable superhero, and I think he would be a great friend to have.

Posted in Illustrators

The Illustrator Says: Elizabet Vukovic

Website/social media: www.elizabetvukovic.com / instagram/twitter @elizabetvukovic

Tell me a little about yourself:

Hi, I’m Elizabet Vuković, 32 years old, born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

This is where I live next door to my sister, she’s my neighbor, we bought a house together. I also have a much older brother. Things about me I speak multiple languages Dutch, Croatian, English & German. A huge supporter for animal rights, CAT obsessed (my last 2 cats passed ± a year ago, both aged around 18).

Love riding my bicycle it’s my transportation and also my therapist. I’m a bit eccentric, I guess (collecting unusual things like prosthetic eyes, they are beauties), curious, enthusiastic, a listener, contradictory, introvert mostly, but when comfortable an entertainer. Have done some terrifying stuff for an introvert like talk to a huge crowd of people in English and German about scientific ophthalmological study.

1.How long have you been illustrating books?

I’ve been working as a full-time freelance illustrator ± 3 years, about 2 years into illustrating children books.

2.How did you become a book illustrator?

I always loved drawing, as I grew older I drew less but never fully stopped. I never considered illustration as a profession, although teachers told my mom that I had some sense for art.

So when I had to decide what to do after highschool I convinced myself Biomedical Laboratory Technology would be the way to go, only to decide very last minute to study Optometry.

After graduating I knew this was not what I was suppose to do, this was my backup plan and to satisfy/ensure my parents that I would be able to take care of myself.

While working 8 years as an optometrist I saved up money to take online classes at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco for a degree in illustration. During the day I worked full-time and in the evening and weekends I studied illustration, that took 4 years.

I kept working to pay off my mortgage in this time I also worked on my portfolio and participated in childrens book competitions. There I developed new ideas for my portfolio, send out my work to an agency and the same day they got back to me with an offer to represent me. I was SUPER happy when I heard the news.

This happened just before I went to visit Montreal for a month workshop and conference in, Burbank. After I came back from my trip I had a few children illustration jobs waiting for me, I was so lucky to get a good start.

3.When you were my age, did you read alot? What was your favorite book? 

Must admit I didn’t read a lot, spend way too much time playing outside (everybody in the neighborhood did) my mom had to call out to get inside for dinner 😉

But my absolute favorite books were from the author Roald Dahl I was obsessed with ”Mathilda”. And growing up and we had a famous dutch author ”Annie M.G. Schmidt” whose books were very popular and timeless, like ”Jip & Janneke”, ”Pluk van de Petteflet” , ”Floddertje” very funny books. But as I got older (age 10 and up) books from the author ”Anke de Vries” especially ”Blauwe Plekken” were very impactful.

  1. I love Jasmine Toguchi. How did you design her?

When I read ”Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen” I felt I could relate to Jasmine a lot, being the youngest sibling of three.

Also her character is funny, messy, independent and wants to be strong and that is what I was like as a kid.

I think I wanted to catch up with my siblings being stronger, faster then they are.

I would be so proud when someone would be surprised I could carry more then they thought I could, everything was competition I guess… 😉

(Even went as far as I convinced my dentist I didn’t need anesthesia for a root canal, I was 14 at the time, it hurt terrible but I didn’t show it. My dentist and dad where impressed, I was so stubborn and thought I can’t prove them right after I claimed I didn’t need it)

Back to Jasmine, I love how Debbi described this character I could see much of myself in this character and that helped design Jasmine.

There were some facts I got like her age, her ethnic background so I knew more about her physical appearance.

Jasmine is an active child so I thought she needs a ponytail (I actually always wear a ponytail) and comfortable clothing so that she can climb and play, she lives in California so I thought the weather isn’t too cold she could wear t-shirts and shorts and my favorite sneakers.

I must admit I think I made Jasmine look a bit like myself 🙂

  1. Do you have a favorite book you have illustrated?

Oh that’s a difficult question for me, every time I illustrate a book it’s like a mental game in my head, I like it but I also see all the things I could have done better. I keep learning and improving with every book, but I must say Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl is one of my absolute favorites so far.

  1. Do you illustrate by hand or by computer?

I do both, sometimes I start the sketch and finish the illustration totally in the computer.

Most of the time I sketch with a regular pencil and scan the drawing, then either color it in the computer or start painting/pastel/pencil on paper and later scan that too in the computer.

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors/illustrators?

There are so many I’ll probably forget a lot (these are just the illustrators)

Fiep Westendorp, Sempé, Alice & Martin Provensens, Brian Wildsmith, Miloslav Sasek, Isabelle Arsenault, Anton Pieck, Beatrice Allemagna, Javier Zabala, Leo Lionni, Quentin Blake, Annette Marnat, Tove Jansson, Jan Balet.