Q&A WITH THE ILLUSTRATOR
Q: What inspired the look of The Templeton Twins Have an Idea?
A: The overall look of the book was inspired by a folded-up set of worn blueprints I found tucked in the back of an old machine parts catalog. There was something about the blurred lines and faded imagery that fit the inventive, yet offbeat mood of the story. As for the illustrations, they drew their inspiration from the unnecessarily complex and humorous gadgety gizmos of W. Heath Robinson, Storm P. (Robert Storm Petersen) and the infamous Rube Goldberg.
Q: What medium did you use to illustrate The Templeton Twins Have an Idea?
A: The illustrations were created by digitally collaging found blueprint textures, watercolored shapes and photocopied line drawings.
This is a style study in pastel pencil. Trying to figure out materials…
Q: How did you get started illustrating books for children?
A: I’m not one of those people who’ve always known they were destined to become an artist. As a kid, I had a giant-size appetite for play which made it impossible for me to sit down for any extended period of time. This would handcuff the development of my artistic abilities until college. After trying my hand at architecture, web design and graphic design, I finally realized what occupation I could funnel my still sizable appetite for play into: children’s books. In 2009, Chronicle Books published my first children’s book, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. The rest is waiting to be written (and illustrated).
Q: What is your studio like?
A: Here’s a photo of my workspace.
Q: Who are some of your favorite artists?
A: The old “favorite artist” question ehhh… Like most, the list is substantial… so I’ll narrow it down to a select few children’s book authors/illustrators. The contemporary list would have to include Lane Smith, Robert Sabuda, Oliver Jeffers, Jon Klassen, Matt Phelan, Gilbert Ford and Carson Ellis. The “oldies but goodie” list would include Theodor Geisel, Ruth Krauss, Maurice Sendak, and Crockett Johnson.
Q: What was your favorite book when you were a child?
A: My favorite picture book as a child was Bill Peet’s Hubert’s Hair-Raising Adventure. The image of Hubert’s mane at the end still makes me chuckle.
Q: What is your motto?
A: The enemy of a great idea is a good one.
Q: What natural gift would you most like to possess?
A: A super hero’s metabolism. I love all things scrumdiddlyumptious.
Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
A: A dessert chef.
Q: What makes you laugh?
A: Currently, the funniest thing in my life is my 3 year old and his attempts at figuring out this backwards planet we’ve built for him.