“My Dog is the Best!” Illustrator Interview with Paul Schmid

covermydog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laurie Thompson’s book, “My Dog is the Best!” is an adorably funny and sweet picture book with equally adorable art! I was lucky enough to interview the illustrator , Paul Schmid
(illustrator/author extradonaire of our household favorite, “Petunia’s Pet” among others)  And, he sent sketches! (As an illustrator myself, I love seeing the sketches!)

Thanks so much for your great answers, Paul!

 

1. Your style changes a bit from book to book. Were there any particular things that influenced the soft & cuddly style of “My Dog is the Best!”? Did you use any new tools or processes? 

Paul: Laurie’s book is so sweet and endearing, and I wanted the design of the characters to provide clues to who they are. The dog in the book just wants to nap, so I imagined an old, tolerant, comfortable Basset Hound of established habits. The boy is much more active, but young and naive. He is also sweet and loving, so I felt the boy needed a kind, gullible, gentle look that was at the same time visually sympathetic to his dog, in order to form an emotional connection between the two for the reader. Therefore they both ended up round and gentle looking.
early dog  dog sketch   boy sketch

 

2. Did the style or look change through the creation process or did you know how you wanted it to look in the beginning?

 

Paul: I developed the look for the characters fairly quickly, but the overall design of the book took several stages. We went from simple, to busy, then back to simple again. I really wanted the art to visually be in harmony with the story, which is so full of warmth and gentle humor.

Early  design:

 

 early design early cover
Final cover sketch:
cover design

3. Laurie said you have been friends for years but that the book was offered to you without a name, did you feel more pressure or less once you found out that Laurie was the author?

Paul: I fell in love with Laurie’s manuscript right away. It came in an email from my agent, who asked if I was interested in illustrating this story. Before I had even finished reading it I was sketching. By the time I did finish reading it, I had the book all laid out in my mind. Here are some excerpts from my emails with my agent:

“Initial impression: I love it. Laughed out loud even without knowing the dog was sleeping. Need time to digest tho. –PLENTY you can do visually with a sleeping dog!! Plenty. Really, it could be hilarious.”
Six minutes later I wrote again:
“Hell, there is nothing to think about. I’ll take it. I can’t wait to get started.”
When, a few days later I get an email from Laurie, informing me the manuscript was hers, I was even more delighted!

 

4. The difference between the words and the pictures is brilliant. Did you realize the joke as soon as you read the story or did that come later in the process?

Paul: It came in the editor’s notes that the author had envisioned it that way, but as inferred above, I started in on the manuscript before reading the notes. If I remember right, about halfway in I thought it could be screamingly funny to have the dog sleeping. Great minds think alike.

Pairing the active, enthusiastic boy with a sedentary dog just trying to get a nap in is rich in visual irony, and, as I’m sure Laurie knew, a juicy gift to the illustrator.
 
dog poses

 

Thanks again, Paul. You’re the best for answering my questions!

Remember, just comment on any post this week and you will have a chance to win a signed copy of Laurie’s book!

Or order your copy right now. You can find it at University Book Store  as well as:

Amazon

Powell’s

Indiebound

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18 Comments

Filed under Book Launch

18 responses to ““My Dog is the Best!” Illustrator Interview with Paul Schmid

  1. mariagianferrari

    LOVE Paul’s artwork, sketches and this book!! Thanks for such a great interview, Courtney!

    Like

  2. Thanks for this interview. This part of the process is so interesting to me. I can’t draw a stick man so illustrators have all my admiration. I just love the fact that they bring so many extras to a story.

    Like

  3. I love these illustrations – makes you want to give these cute characters a squeeze! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. What a great backstory from the illustrator. What a great book told by illustrator and writer.

    Like

  5. Illustrators are the “life-givers” of picture books! Our manuscripts would not exist without talented artists. Thank you, Paul, for a great interview.

    Like

  6. Now I’m looking forward to reading the book and enjoying the illustrations! Thanks.

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  7. Oh man, do I love Paul Schmid’s work. And I love this book.

    Like

  8. tamaraellissmith

    Oh I just LOVE this. What a treat, getting to hear the backstory of this lovely, sweet, funny book. Thank you!

    Like

  9. Loved this sneak peek Courtney and Paul!

    Like

  10. kevanjatt

    What an exquisite match between author and illustrator! Love them both! Love this book!

    Like

  11. Sondra Soderborg

    This looks like so much fun.

    Like

  12. Thanks for sharing the sketches and story of the book. I love back stories.

    This story reminds me of Boodil My Dog by Pija Lindenbaum, published in 1992. I can’t wait to read this story to see how they compare.

    Like

  13. Cathy Ogren

    This book looks charming. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    Like

  14. Interesting. Informative. Inspiring!

    Like

  15. Christine Hayes

    Wonderful post, Courtney! And Laurie, wishing you the happiest of book birthdays! This story is a gem.

    Like

  16. Stacy Couch

    Just saw another post about the book on Watch. Connect. Read. Love how illustrations play with the sleeping hound. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    Like

  17. Thank you for this wonderful interview! I loved hearing the backstory — especially how Laurie and Paul’s visions of the book aligned so perfectly!

    Like

  18. Rachel

    Looks charming and now I am so curious to read it.

    Like

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