Monday, October 21, 2013

Don't Push the Button, Part 2

Remember last Monday when I wrote about how awesome this book was?  Yeah, it's still awesome!  I was originally supposed to include an interview with the author, but the answers never got back to me in time for last week's post.  Good news. . . just in time for me to announce the winner, my interview with Jon Cotter came in my inbox.  (I may have jumped out of my chair and did a happy dance. . . not sure though).  It may be almost as cool as when Jon Archambault hung out in the class I was subbing for.  Remember, I love children's picture books!  
 What inspired the story? 
I was lucky enough to have spent a few years teaching art and music to pre-schoolers so my students were always my main inspiration. Part of my job was reading stories to them, so it was extremely beneficial to sit with my target audience and see first hand how they reacted to different kinds of stories, characters, colors, textures, you name it. "Don't Push the Button" came about from me simply trying to make something that I know would be fun to read with my students.

Why did you decide to write for kids?
I wish that I could say that I set out trying to make the world a better and happier place for children, but the truth is that children's book illustration is one of the last places that someone can make money by drawing. As illustration work for magazines and newspapers dwindle, I felt like there will always be a place for illustrators in the world of kids books. The print industry will change, but the ritual of spending time with your child to tell them a story before bed will not. As long as that ritual exists, there will be a need for content.

What was your favorite books as a kid?
My favorite books as a kid was anything by Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes), Shel Silverstein, and Roald Dahl. Bill Watterson is probably my favorite example of beautiful writing and beautiful artwork feeding off each other. Shel Silverstein's poems and drawings still make me laugh today, and Quentin Blake's squiggly yet masterful illustration of Dahl's words are a huge inspiration.

What are your favorite current books?
Right now my favorite books are books by Mo Willems and Jon Klassen. They both have a very direct style that I think is great at getting through to kids in a noisy world. "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus" and "where is my hat" were huge inspirations for DPTB.

What is the hardest part of writing/illustrating?
I'd say is the pacing of the story is the hardest part for me. It takes a considerable amount of planning to make sure that something that takes weeks of drawing reads as if its spontaneously happening in front of the reader. For me it's an exercise of paying attention to the details while keeping in the mind the whole.

What was your favorite part of the story?
My favorite part of the book are the middle spreads. It was really fun to draw that kind of cutesie chaos.

And the part you were all wanting to know. . . who won the giveaway?  

Congratulations Rhonda S.  I will be sending you an email tonight!  Thanks to everyone who entered!  

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