Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on children’s book illustrator and author Kim Smith. I asked Kim to tell us a little about herself and her work, and how she would like us to introduce her. This was her great response:
I am a New York Times Bestselling children’s book illustrator and author. My first written and illustrated picture book, Boxitects, came out last year. I’ve also illustrated over 30 picture books including Bringing Back the Wolves (Kids Can Press); the PopClassics picture book adaptations of popular films including ELF, Home Alone, and E.T. (Quirk Books); and the Ice Chips chapter book series (HarperCollins Canada). In addition to illustrating picture books, I’ve created images for things such a posters, puzzles, magazines, and advertising. I live in Calgary, Canada, with my dog Whisky (who has made cameos in several of my picture books) and husband.
Where can people find your work?
My work can mostly be found in the children’s section of libraries or bookshops! It can also be found online at Kimillustration.com
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I can be followed on Twitter @kimdraws or on Instagram @kimillustration
What kind of research went into your last project? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the final product, but you loved discovering?
My book, Boxitects, was the last book I had to do a significant amount of research for. The book is all about a girl named Meg who loves to create things out of boxes. I spent hours pouring over different things and ways people built with cardboard. I found photos of huge forts, life sized furniture, vehicles, and all sorts of neat STEM machines and marble runs. The things people can build with cardboard, glue, and tape are just incredible! I even found these wonderful annual cardboard boat races, to see who could make the fastest and least soggy boat from just cardboard and duct tape. I would have loved to include a race like this in the book, but it didn’t make the cut.
What is/are your passions when you’re not creating your works? How do you make time for your non-art based hobbies/things you love?
I love hiking and getting out of the house and into nature. I live a short drive from the Canadian Rockies, and I usually when I have a day off I like to get out to the mountains for a day of adventure. Kananaskis Country and Banff National park are my favourite places to go in Alberta. Last year on a hike, I even ran into a grizzly bear for the first time. It was scary at the time but, luckily, the bear took off in the other direction. They are incredibly fast! After a day in the mountains, I always feel recharged. By the time I get home I just want to start creating again!
While you’re working, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
If I’m writing or doing a first pass of thumbnails for a picture book, I need to work in silence. But once that’s done, when I’m working on sketches or final artwork, I always have something on. Depending on how I’m feeling, I jump from podcasts to music to audiobooks. My favourites at the moment are Radio Lab, 99% Invisible (audio book and podcast), and the Fleet Foxes and Blitzen Trapper albums.
What does your work space look like? What do you need to have around you while working?
My work space is just a bedroom converted into an at home office. It has a good sized window that I can watch thunderstorms roll into the city in the summer, and watch beautiful sunsets in the winter. I love home design shows so I’ve tried to channel inspiration from them when I set up my office. I have several house plants on shelves (some recently deceased) and a few antiques pieces scattered around. I have a separate spaces for traditional work and digital work so I can keep my computer clean. I’m pretty proud of the way it looks. The only thing I’ve run out of is book shelf space, so often there are piles of books lying around on the floor until I can figure out a place to put them.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the publishing process? And how do you overcome that?
The most challenging part of the publishing process is starting the pictures! At the beginning I always get nervous. Staring at a blank page, I have fleeting thought like what happens if I can’t make these pictures look good or what happens if I can’t figure out the right way to draw a certain illustration. There’s a lot of self doubt sometimes. Although, as soon as I put pencil to paper (or stylus to screen), it always works itself out one way or another. Sometimes I have to draw a page several times in order to discover the right idea. I just have to trust the process.
Well, it certainly does work itself out, you have some incredible illustrations out there, Kim! Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions.