Interview with Sarah Jacoby: Celebrating the Release of The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown

Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by my blog!
Hi Dylan! Thank you very much for having me.

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Tell us a little bit about your new book, The Important Thing About
Margaret Wise Brown.
What would you like to know? It is a book about the life of Margaret Wise
Brown, a lady that wrote over a hundred children’s books among them
Goodnight Moon . The words of this book were written by Mac Barnett. He
tells the story of Margaret, but he also wonders aloud about the nature of
books and storytelling. I think that it’s told wonderfully with lots of questions
and thoughts about what makes a life important. Is that helpful?

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Tell us a little bit about your illustration process.
I’m a painterly illustrator. That means I am best at making shapes and
creating atmosphere rather than drawing lines and making things look
super realistic. I often start with a dab of watercolor or gouache on hot
press paper and go from there. My favorite kind of process just jumps right
in and paints allowing my images to grow organically. My less favorite but
necessary process starts with pencil sketches, then watercolor work, then
slight touch ups and color tweeks with Photoshop. I’m working hard to do
less heavy lifting with the computer because I love original work so much.
Still in process!
Have you always been into writing/illustrating?
Yes and no. Now that I do this for a living it can be simple to look back and
pick moments of past that would have led me here (I spent a lot of time in
my local library, I loved making little books in elementary school). But I’ve
always been interested in many things. Here are some things I thought I
might want to be: a marine biologist, a paleontologist, a professor, a
filmmaker, an archivist, a librarian, a musician. Here are some things I
actually did for a living: a teacher, a film editor, a production artist/designer,
a marketing assistant, a coffee shop manager, a lifeguard, a movie theater
usher.
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
It can be thrilling to create something from nothing. I can’t tell you how
wonderful it is to look at a finished book and to then go back and look at its
very beginnings-little chicken scratch notes. It never ceases to amaze me. I
like proving to myself that it can be done over and over it again.
What inspires your creativity?
I love other creators across all genres. Today I was inspired by an Agnes
Varfa film (her colors! the flowers!). Tomorrow I might hear an interesting
new piece of music or fall back in love with an old song and its
accompanying memories. I even get inspired by a really good play in
basketball. I like watching humans excel at things. I especially like seeing
people do things that I can’t do. It helps me get a sense of perspective.
I often walk around the city and check out human activity. I’m a minutia
person so I am usually taking note of a mannerism or detail here or there. I
like it when little things point to a larger story.
What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you
could tell us?
I’m quite good at parallel parking .
If you weren’t writing/illustrating books, what do you think you’d be
doing?
I might try my hand at running a little urban flower farm. I don’t know that
much about farming other than how hard it can be. Still, a flower farm! It
would smell so nice in my delivery van while I parallel parked.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m very stoked to have a book coming out this Fall with Chronicle books.
It’s written by the fabulous Kate Hoefler and it is called Rabbit and
Motorbike . It’s a tale about a rabbit who embraces her fear of the unknown
via bike. Vroom!

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I am also working on writing a bunch more stories. I have a lot of ideas
different style that I’m excited about. Keep your eyes peeled.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?
Thank you so much for these thoughtful questions Dylan!

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