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The Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger by Timothy Basil Ering Q&A

The Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger by Timothy Basil Ering Q&A

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Published by Candlewick Press
The Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger by Timothy Basil Ering Q&A - An endearing tale of a boy overcoming his bedtime fears with a little help from Dad — and the promise of wormcake in the morning.
The Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger by Timothy Basil Ering Q&A - An endearing tale of a boy overcoming his bedtime fears with a little help from Dad — and the promise of wormcake in the morning.

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Published by: Candlewick Press on Oct 23, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Which came rst: the art or the story?The art camerst.
Snook Alone
had justbeen released,which led toan invitationto the NationalBook Festivalin Washington,D.C. There, Iwas involved inan illustrator’sworkshop. I was giving short paintingdemonstrations, creating random images to showmy process. During one o the sessions, whenmy editor Karen Lotz was present, I painted a rog. She later commented that she liked my rogand hinted that it would be a un character ora book. That was enough inspiration or me!That very day, I decided that I would somehowuse that rog in my next book. Alas, I needed a story. When the story nally came a year later, itwas in bits and pieces. I needed to create moreart to help me write, and my writing helped meillustrate.What was your inspiration or the story?I stewed and I searched or months to come upwith a story or that little rog. One day I realizedthat the inspiration was right beneath my nose,thanks to the amazing imaginations o my twosons. Wielding wooden toy swords I made withthem in my studio, they earlessly battled allsorts o inanimate objects lamps, chairs, trees,stumps, even fowers and tomato plants. To myboys in battle, these objects were erce creatureso some sort. When their bedrooms turneddark, however, this earlessness ebbed. My twowarriors would scramble rom their beds to their“sae spot,” and many times, due to lack o spacerom small knees in my back and hands in myace, I slept with one arm braced on the foor tokeep rom alling out o my bed. It was clearlytime to share a secret I developed as a youngboy to make my scary dreams un. The trick thathelped me stay in my own bed throughout thenight was to make riends with the monstersin my dreams, somehow converting them intonicer creatures. A year ater painting that rogat the National Book Festival, I nally had a story. I decided that the rog would be the maincharacter, a metaphor or my boys and any otherchildren who are
earless.How did you create the illustrations? Can youwalk us through your creative process?My writing inspires my art, just as my artinspires my writing. When I’m rst creating myillustrations, I begin by soaking my paper withcolor. Then, hopeully earlessly, I scribble andsketch into the paper and the paint, sometimeswhile they are still wet. My scribbling is veryloose. I’m always looking into the paper,watching or characters and their environmentsto emerge. I search and stumble over layers,continuously experimenting with acialexpressions, gestures, shapes, lighting, color,and so on. This helps my writing becausepainting and drawing can create wonderulmoods, sometimes moods that my writing islacking. My writing in the beginning is long anddescriptive. When I’m staring into elds o color,descriptive writing helps me imagine what I’dlike my illustrations to look like. Eventually itgets edited down as the art alone begins to tellthe story. I constantly go back and orth withwriting, painting, and drawing and sooner orlater, ater lots o hard work and editing, thebook alls into place.
A Q&A with Author-Illustrator Timothy Basil Ering
How did you begin to visualize young HamiltonSquidlegger? Does he remind you o anyonein particular?Hamilton took on many rog shapes, attitudes,and colors in my drawings and paintings. I knewall along that he couldn’t be
rog, butrather a unique species o rog. I began to drawhim with long spindly legs, and he soon becameHamilton Squidlegger. Hamilton Squidleggerreminds me o my two boys. I was also thrilledto hear that rom the very beginning, Hamilton’spersonality reminded Maryellen Hanley, thedesigner o this book, o her almost earless dog!Are you almost earless? What is somethingthat you are scared o?I’m ar rom earless. I I’m atop super-highplaces, I have awully scary thoughts o alling. Ialso am scared o high speeds and being trappedin tiny spaces. I’m a huge believer in acing ears,but I don’t mind avoiding these particular ones.Unless, or example, I had to rappel down a ten-thousand-oot cli to avoid a raging orestre. Then I’d ace the ear. I love the ocean, andI’m always on it or in it, but or years I used towonder what I would do i I encountered a largeshark while snorkeling, diving, or surng. Oneday, while snorkeling near a remote island in theBahamas, it happened. A big bull shark swamup to within ten eet o me. I wish I could saythat my bedtime trick o making riends withthe monster worked, but in this case I thought itwould be best not to try. I slowly swam back tomy boat and tried to stay calm, even as I lookedunder me and saw not just one, but three sharks!When I made it to the boat, I was thrilled.Public speaking is a dierent kind o ear that Ibattled or years. I had to tackle that ear head-onbecause I wanted so badly to accept invitationsto schools, libraries, and bookstores and sharestories with all o the wonderul people in thebook world. Overcoming ears is without a doubtone o the most rewarding experiences in lie!
Illustration copyright © 2014 by Timothy Basil Ering

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