I reviewed Timothy Young’s The Angry Little Puffin a few weeks ago. I even recommended it to Guy Raz and his family! Now, Timothy answers my questions about being an author and an illustrator.
Website/social media: www.creaturesandcharacters.com
Tell me a little about yourself: Before I started writing and illustrating books, I had a long, fun career doing all kinds of cool stuff. I’ve been a toy designer and sculptor, I’ve worked in animation on shows like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Doug and I even got to work for one of my heroes, Jim Henson! Now I get to visit schools where I read my books, draw pictures with, and talk about all that cool stuff to students all over the country.
How long have you been writing & illustrating books? I started writing about 10 years ago. My first book, I’m Looking For A Monster!, was published in 2008. My newest book, Do Not Open The Box! came out this year.
How did you become a book author/illustrator? I’ve been thinking about creating children’s books for a long time. I’ve been illustrating things for a long time, since I was in college as an illustration major. I had ideas for books but I didn’t think I could write them. I had a writing assignment for a job, writing limericks for a line of toys. It made me realize I might be a writer so I started writing my stories.
When you were my age, did you read a lot? What was your favorite book? I did read a lot as a kid. I loved picture books, chapter books and science fiction. My favorite picture book was The Ice-Cream Cone Coot by Arnold Lobel.
How do you come up with your story ideas? They seem to pop out of my heads at strange moments. Sometimes a memory from my childhood will appear, other times I’ll just be in the middle of doing something and suddenly a story starts developing in my head. As an illustrator, sometimes I see a picture and expand a story around it. I have even written books while on long drives. Luckily I have a good memory and can write them down when I get home.
Do you have a favorite book you have written/illustrated? It’s hard for an author to pick a favorite books, its like they’re my children and I could never choose between them. I do have to say that I Hate Picture Books! has gotten the most attention.
Do you illustrate by hand or by computer? Both! I start out with pencil drawings and then I scan those into my computer and do all of the painting and rendering, usually in Photoshop.
Who are some of your favorite authors/illustrators? Of the classics I love Dr Seuss, Arnold Lobel and PD Eastman but there are some great authors and illustrators putting out books every month. I feel like we’re in a new Golden Age of picture books. I think Dan Santat’s Beekle is one of the most wonderful books of all time. (Bridget note: I agree. I really like Beekle too. His book “Are we there yet” is funny and has QR codes in it.)
(Bridget note 2:The newest book Timothy illustrated comes out tomorrow. It is called “Just One Thing” and my interview with the author Nancy Viau is on Wednesday I hope you come back to learn about her. )