I first came across Suzy Ultman's work when I purchased Masha and Her Sisters -- such a fun book -- and am now delighted to be able to post an interview I had with Suzy in regards to her two upcoming publications, Tiny Farm and Tiny Town (available on November 7th).
Thank you Suzy! I know we all are excited to read Tiny Farm and Tiny Town.
KMP: When did you first start writing and illustrating for kids?
I’ve been creating kids products since I began working as a professional illustrator — it was a natural fit for my style & personality. About 4 years ago, I pitched & wrote “Box World Adventures: Building Crafty Cardboard Projects”. It was the first children’s manuscript that I published.
KMP: Your book, Masha and Her Sisters is such a creative play off of the popular nested matryoshka dolls—how did you develop the idea for a board book?
When asked by my editor to expand Masha’s world, I immediately thought of my childhood, growing-up with sisters. Each matryoshka doll portrays me and my sisters’ talents and/or interests. The simple but succinct story portrays a family that fits together through its shared diversity.
KMP: Creating art is such an extensive, yet rewarding process—how do you begin to bring your ideas to life?
My best ideas come to me in the shower! I doodle, draw, paint, cut paper, or simply play to help bring my ideas to life. I’m always learning & growing, so I try to be open to new mediums, and peer input & support to help the process along.
KMP: The colors you use in your illustrations are so eye-catching! Is there a certain color palette that you try to incorporate into your books?
This may sound funny, but my characters usually come with their own color story. The way they dress, and their attitude influence the palette. The environment of the book also helps drive the look & feel of the color.
KMP: I’m very excited for the upcoming publication of Tiny Town and Tiny Farm. Can you tell us a little bit about those two stories?
Shaped like buildings, these board books take young readers on a tour through teeny worlds. In Tiny Town, you flip from shop to shop. In Tiny Farm, you can pet the llamas or pick apples. With every turn of the page, the die-cuts lead the reader to the next adventure, finally ending in the comforts of home.
KMP: So many authors visit schools and libraries to share their work with children, do you have any upcoming events that are open to the public?
I am planning to have a book release in the new year! I’ll keep you posted on my IG feed.
KMP: As both an author and an illustrator, what artists or stories have inspired you the most?
“In the Night Kitchen”, “The Sneetches” & “Where the Sidewalk Ends” have lived in my head & heart since I was little. Since I was a pre-teen, I was obsessed with The Peanuts. Later on, I discovered Dick Bruna, Ed Emberley, Paul Rand, Fiep Westendorp, Mary Blair, Roald Dahl, Alain Gree, Enzo Mari, Kveta Pacovska, Taro Gomi, Calef Brown, J. Otto Seibold and more… I collect children's books, so I could go on & on!