Coffee & Conversation with Tim Young!

Happy Monday, everyone!

With the Lucky 13: Make 2013 Your Year conference only days away, we are now heading down the home stretch with our Coffee & Conversation interviews that showcase our presenters. Today, we have illustrator extraordinaire Timothy Young in the cyber chair!

Timothy Young

Timothy has been working creatively for over 25 years. He is the  author/illustrator of four picture books, I’m Looking for a Monster!, Shadows on My Wall, They’re Coming!, and his latest, I Hate Picture Books!


Timothy has art directed magazines, created toy and product  designs, been a sculptor and has worked in animation. He’s designed for Pee Wee’s Playhouse, The Muppets, Universal Studios, Disney, Popular Science, Golf Digest, National Lampoon and many others. He will be participating in two different sessions at the conference:

How to Do Pretty Much Everything Wrong, Get Really Lucky, and Get Published

The story of what worked for me, why some of it shouldn’t have, and the many possible ways to get your books published. As an author/illustrator, animator, toy designer, sculptor, and art director I have lots to say about how to remain optimistic in the face of setbacks in an industry that is constantly changing.

(I’d want to see this one just by the title only. ;))

The Changing Role of the Author-Illustrator (Rago, Young, Evans)

And now that he’s settled with his favorite coffeehouse beverage and snack, a cappuccino with a croissant …


Let’s get started! What was your favorite book as a child, Timothy?

The two books I remember loving most are The Ice-Cream Cone Coot by Arnold Lobel and Gwot! Horribly Funny Hairticklers by George Mendoza (Author) and Steven Kellogg (Illustrator.)

Ice Cream Cone Coot

When did you decide to be an illustrator? A writer?

I wanted to be an illustrator since I was very young. I didn’t know I was a writer until much later.

What advice for beginners do you wish you would’ve followed?

I wish I had had the confidence to start writing earlier and put my work out earlier for the world to judge.

What’s your favorite medium?

I enjoy many kinds of art, including painting and sculpting but drawing in pencil and then coloring and rendering in Photoshop are the way I work now.

Where’s your favorite place to work? (Bonus point if you share a picture.)

I have a home studio where I do most of my drawing. I do much of my work on a MacBook Pro so I enjoy working out of the house as well in  my local coffee shops and watering holes.


Whoa, that’s awesome! Definitely snoop-worthy. 🙂 Okay, which illustrators inspire you?

How much space do we have?  Seuss, Lobel, Watterson, Severin, I love so many different styles of working, from Charles Shultz to Semour Chwast to Norman Rockwell.

Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell is my absolute favorite! How do you describe your style and has it changed throughout your career?

I have many styles that I’ve worked in over the years which is why it was so much fun to mimic the styles of Seuss, Sendak and the others I poke fun at in I Hate Picture Books!. I did learn to loosen up my style for picture books as my previous way of working was too commercial and slick.

How were you inspired to create your current or upcoming release?

I was at the NJSCBWI summer conference in a workshop called Finding The Funny Parts and we were discussing parody and the idea and title for I Hate Picture Books! popped into my head. I couldn’t think about anything else for the next three days.

Which page or spread is your favorite?

It’s very hard to decide but if I have to pin it down it’s the Green Eggs parody spread from I Hate Picture Books!


What was one of your favorite assignments?

A fun recent assignment was drawing zoo and farm animals for sets of stacking boxes.

If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now? 

I’d be a 50-year-old ghoul! I worked for 3 summers in the Haunted Castle at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. My job was to make myself up as a dead guy and jump out and scare the bejeezus out of visitors to the park. a great job for an angsty teenager!

Ha, that’s a great job! Okay, for one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased artist you want. Who do you pick?

The guys who did the cave paintings at Lascaux. I’ve always been fascinated by pre-historic art and I’ve visited the recreation of Lascaux as well as some real caves in the south of France. 

You magically find a $100 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it?

If it’s just for me, a nice bottle of bourbon, some tasty snacks, a couple of books and a couple of Blu-Rays.

If you could sum up your best advice for new illustrators in only four words, what would they be? 

Read, Observe, Draw, Draw.

Time for the lightning round!

Do you . . .
Work from photos or imagination?  Imagination
Talk about works-in-progress, or keep it zipped?   Usually zipped, sometimes share
Prefer sketching or final art?      Both
Dread marketing/blogging or love it?      Like, not Love.
Enjoy brainstorming more or researching?     Brainstorming.
Read Kindle or traditional books?     Traditional.

And finally, what’s your favorite:
Time to work?    Late Night
Music to listen to while drawing?     Mostly Progressive Rock
Traditional media or digital?      Digital
Pair of shoes?         Sneakers or Barefoot.
Guiltiest pleasure?      Bad movies and beer.
Line from a movie?    “You’re right. No human being would stack books like this.”

Okay, must confess–I had to look this one up. Ghostbusters! For shame, how could I not remember that?

Thanks, Timothy, for stopping by and letting us get to know you better with this fun interview! We’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference.

And once again, for anyone who’s yet to read them, here’s links to our previous interviews!

Marie Lamba, Associate Literary Agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Lesléa Newman, Author of many children and adult books

Dr. Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Author/Co-author of picture and nonfiction books

Jenne Abramowitz, Senior Editor at Scholastic

Jessica Garrison, Editor at Dial Books for Young Readers

Rebecca Evans, Illustrator

Susan Stockdale, Author and Illustrator

Chris Crutcher, Keynote Speaker

Laura Whittaker, Associate Editor at Bloomsbury

Happy writing and drawing, everyone! 🙂


About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two college boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She clearly likes run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
This entry was posted in Conference Information, Interviews: Illustrators. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Coffee & Conversation with Tim Young!

  1. Pingback: How SCBWI MD/DE/WV will be rocking the 2015 Baltimore Book Festival! | As the Eraser Burns

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