Next up on the series of interviews on my blog is the talented Corinna Luyken! Enjoy!
Hello, Corinna! Thank you for joining me here!
It’s my pleasure Dylan, thank you for having me!
Tell us a little bit about your 2018 book, Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse!
Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse, (written by debut author Marcy Campbell and illustrated by me) is essentially a story about compassion, kindness, and learning to see the world a little differently.
The publisher’s description is here:
Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse–the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.
But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?
The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.
Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.
Have you always been into writing and illustrating?
Yes! I’ve always loved to write and draw. I’ve been fortunate to have a mom who loves poetry and art, and who encouraged me when she saw that I loved to write and draw. Even so, it took seventeen years for my dream of writing and illustrating books for children to come true!
What inspires your creativity?
I’m inspired by the general messiness and uncertainty of life. By nature, the human form, my family. But in terms of finding the inspiration for a particular project, I rarely have an idea that appears in my head like a light bulb. More often, my ideas come from the process itself. I sit down to write or draw and from the blank page and the process of interacting with it, ideas start to emerge.
There is a Chuck Close quote, which I find to be absolutely true:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”
What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?
I almost left college to become a Buddhist nun. (In the tradition of the Vietnamese monk, poet and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh.) Fortunately my stepmother intervened, and insisted that I finish college first. After that, she said, I could do whatever I wanted. She knew from personal experience how difficult it was to find meaningful work in today’s world, especially as a woman, without a college degree. I was furious at the time, but I’m very grateful now.
If you weren’t writing and illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d be trying to figure out what I needed to do so that I could write and illustrate books!
In all seriousness, I feel like I’m finally doing the work I’m meant to do. And it’s been a long journey. But if for some reason I couldn’t do this, I’d probably want to be a school librarian.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
After Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse (written by Marcy Campbell, which will be out August 14, 2018 from DIial), I will be illustrating Weird Little Robots, a middle grade novel written by Carolyn Crimi, which should be out in spring 2019 from Candlewick.
I’m also working on my next book as author/illustrator with Dial. It’s called my heart, my heart and is a meditation on/celebration of the heart— how it can open, close, and open again. It’s a project I started many years ago— I took a rough dummy of it to my first national SCBWI conference, in LA, in 2013. It also went on receive the SCBWI Don Freeman Work in Progress Grant in 2016. The book has changed a bit since then (with all new art) and we are still tinkering with the text. It’s a poem, and it has rhyme and a meter, which makes it tricky. The artwork, which started out in watercolor, is now all monotype printmaking— so when this book finally makes it out into the world, it will look quite different from my other books.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?
To see more of my work you can head over to: