BEN & ZIP: TWO SHORT FRIENDS - illustrated by Tom Goldsmith - Interview and Giveaway!
It’s no surprise that the latest book from Flashlight Press is awesome. Shari Dash Greenspan (publisher) has excellent taste, and I adore her books! The latest is no exception: BEN & ZIP, TWO SHORT FRIENDS written by Joanne Linden and illustrated by Tom Goldsmith. We’re lucky to have Tom here today to answer some questions…
Q. Hi Tom! Congratulations on BEN & ZIP! It’s absolutely adorable!
A. Thanks so much. I have to say though that many hands are involved in pulling a book like this together. If Ben and Zip is a success, it has as much or more to do with Joanne Linden, the author and the leadership of Shari Dash Greenspan the editor at Flashlight Press, as it does me.
Q. I have to ask about the boardwalk, with the storm coming. Were you at all reminded of Hurricane Sandy when you were working on the book? (If so, was that an intentional reference?)
A. Oh absolutely. As I watched the news and saw the devastating effects of Sandy on the boardwalks and amusement parks of New Jersey. I was struck by all the memories of good times that so many children and adults must have had at such a place. I wanted to celebrate those memories and pay homage to the way of life that was so devastatingly effected by the storm.
Q. I always tell my students to remember the point of view of their main characters, and boy, do you do a wonderful job with that! Ben is short, so all he sees is knees. (Or when he gets up a little higher - tummies.) Was that fun to play with? (It sure is fun to read!)
A. In fact, those were the spreads that jumped out at me right away. As a humor illustrator at heart, I always gravitate to those images were I can play around and have some fun.
Q. The crowd scenes are so wonderfully full of stuff going on. Did those pieces take you forever to do?
A. Yes, they take a while but they are always a treat to do. I love being able to tuck little things in here and there. For example, I’m a dog nut. I own three and each of them make an appearance in those beach scenes.
Q. What is your medium?
A. I am hopelessly a traditionalist. I love the tactile nature of inks, quill pens and watercolours.
Q. Without giving away the book - there’s a twist from the cover to the end that I didn’t see coming and was delighted when I realized it. Did you awwwww as much as I did when you read the manuscript for the first time?
A. Truthfully, my editor Shari Dash Greenspan discussed the “twist” with me before I had even received the manuscript. When I read it though it became clear how it could be cleverly accomplished in my illustrations.
Q. How did you break into the biz and how did you and Flashlight Press connect?
A. I have done editorial illustration for books and magazine for years but I always had an eye towards picture books. They are a great vehicle for doing exactly what I love to do. I love developing a relationship with the characters and getting them involved in the story. A far cry from the quick turnaround, one-off nature of editorial humor illustrations.
As for Flashlight and I getting together - it was as simple as Shari seeing my online portfolio at www.tomgoldsmithillustration and giving me a call. I’m glad she did. Working with an editor that thinks and talks in pictures makes an illustrators job so much easier. I learned a lot from Shari. My future work with Flashlight, or anyone else for that matter, will be better for knowing and working with her.
Q. I hope you have more children’s books in the works? Can you share?
A. Sure, I have just completed all the images for a new Book by Scholastic Canada called “We’re All Friends Here”. This one is based around separate and opposing points of view of two boys. A unique and challenging job for an illustrator, but the finished illustrations are very rewarding.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Tom!
Tom has graciously agreed to send a free, signed and dedicated copy of BEN & ZIP to one of my lucky commenters. Must live in the US or Canada to win. Enter below.