Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads Trifecta

The Nerdy Book Club, Colby Sharp, and I have featured a handful of wonderful books together over the past month. I'm grateful that I get to collaborate with such passionate and book-loving individuals. Today, we are celebrating Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads with Bob Shea and Lane Smith. You're in for a real treat! 


Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads marks your second picture book collaboration with author-illustrator Bob Shea. Does Bob call you and say, “Hey, Lane! I have this manuscript or idea I would love to share with you.” How closely do you and Bob work together?


Lane Smith: Usually Bob does call me with an idea but in this case I asked him if he’d be interested in writing a western. I’m a big fan of westerns. I had no idea he’d add dinosaurs. Silly Bob.




I often imagine what it would look like to watch an illustrator working on a picture book. Please take us through the process of illustrating one of the two-page spreads for Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads.

Lane Smith: On any of the illustrations it starts with ruffs. Sketchy pencil drawings. You work out the composition, shapes, etc.

Then you get a snack.

After the snack you go to finished art. For this book I did the characters in pen-and ink and the backgrounds in oil and watercolor paint. I did them separately then scanned them into the computer to combine them in Photoshop. I don’t create any textures, shapes, etc. in the computer. It’s all hand done first then assembled digitally. It looks better 
that way.



If we visited your studio, what would we see?

My studio is a one hundred year old one-room schoolhouse. I’ve kept the schoolhouse theme, so you’d see a little desk with an inkwell and a big 1940s map of the United States, portraits of George Washington and Abe Lincoln, a collection of old globes and a long strip of cursive alphabet that goes all around the room.


Parade recently revealed the cover for Return to Augie Hobble. I cannot wait to read it.  Please tell us three things about it.

 It is funny. It is scary. It has a big twist halfway through it.



Please complete these sentence starters.

Reading is essential if the pilot is unconscious and the passengers call on you to fly the plane.

School libraries are a good place to land a plane. Especially if the roof is long and flat. They are also a good place to read about planes. Or koalas.


Picture books are magical. (A librarian told me to say that. I was going to say picture books are a good way to make a living.)

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me where I got these rock hard pecs.*



*At the Party Store. I got a fake mustache and a funny hat there too.

Thank you, Lane! 




"Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads is super silly. A little dinosaur obsessed boy outsmarts some bad guys, the Terrible Toads, who do things like kiss cattle and insult chili. He blames all the crime in town on dinosaurs and the Terrible Toads get really, really angry. Doing all that crime is hard work, they want what’s coming to them! They get it." - Bob Shea. Visit Colby's blog to read the full interview. 



"Stop What You Are Doing Right Now, And Burn All Your Books. (Or How To Tell If A Picture Book is Good Simply By Reading It)" by Bob Shea 





Borrow Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

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