Which came rst: the art or the story?The art camerst.
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“sae spot,” and many times, due to lack o spacerom small knees in my back and hands in myace, 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 ater 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, hopeully 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 wonderulmoods, 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, ater lots o hard work and editing, thebook alls into place.
THE ALMOST FEARLESS HAMILTON SQUIDLEGGER
CANDLEWICK PRESS WWW.CANDLEWICK.COM
A Q&A with Author-Illustrator Timothy Basil Ering
PHOTO BY JENNIFER ERING