Author Archives: Courtney Pippin-Mathur

About Courtney Pippin-Mathur

Author Illustrator of "Maya was Grumpy" 2013, Flashlight Press and "Dragon Rules!" 2017, Little Simon, Simon & Schuster

“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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