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Author/Illustrator Scott Nash
Scott Nash is an accomplished illustrator, having illustrated children's books for Gail Carson Levine, Jeff Brown and Theo LeSieng, among others. He has also written several books himself. But you may also know him for creating the signature Nickelodeon splat, as well as other logos for television and various retail products, and has worked with Nickelodeon, Disney and MTV.
I was recently given the opportunity to interview Mr. Nash for Teen Ink.
Rachel- Tell us about yourself.
Scott Nash- I'm a creative artist and designer who loves working in kids media. I've also been a student of kid culture for over 25 years. I was a founding Partner of Big Blue Dot, Corey McPherson and Nash, BUG ISLAND Productions. In addition to developing brand positioning strategies and designing identities for Nickelodeon (I designed the big, orange Nick logo), PBS, ABC, Comedy Central, and FX. I've illustrated over 40 children’s books including Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp and The Bugliest Bug by Carol Diggory Shields, Betsy Who Cried Wolf by Gail Carson Levine, and Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. I also write books and am the the author/illustrator of TUFF FLUFF and The Case of Duckie’s Missing Brain. I recently completed my first novel, The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay The Pirate which will be published in the Fall of 2012.
RH- How did you first become interested in art?
SN- I've drawing since before I can remember. In school, I was the kid who was drawing pictures in the margins of my papers during lectures. When I wrote papers, they were often illustrated. I would frequently decorate desk tops with elaborate drawings. I embellished my hockey helmet with designs. I drew (and draw) all the time.
RH- When did you decide to make it your career?
SN- When I was in second grade... I'm not kidding. I knew I wanted to be an artist at a very young age.
RH- People probably know you best for your work with Flat Stanley; were you pleased with how the books turned out?
SN- I grew up with the first edition of FLAT STANLEY illustrated by Tomi Ungerer. It was one of my favorite books and I thought Tomi's illustrations were very cool. I still think Tomi drew the best FLAT STANLEY but I think my work is the likely second. That said, I am pleased with the way they turned out and felt privileged to work with Jeff Brown and have the opportunity to illustrate one of the classic characters in children's literature. Jeff was delighted with my illustration which pleased me to no end.
Since his death in 2003 other FLAT STANLEY books have been written in his name. I was not comfortable with the idea and decided not to illustrate those books. Suffice to say, I am not at all pleased with those books.
RH- Walden Media has recently bought the rights to turn Flat Stanley into a feature film; how will you be involved in this project?
SN- It's too early to say. I was a bit surprised to hear that Walden is planning to combine live action with animation and I'm puzzling over how to combine my character designs in a live action setting. We have successfully introduced my FLAT STANLEY design in two theatrical productions but theater is more forgiving than movies.
RH- Are you excited about this endeavor?
SN- Walden Media has had the movie rights to FLAT STANLEY for many years. The popularity of the books that Jeff and I collaborated on were no doubt the catalyst for moving the movie into production. I'm pleased about this but want to make sure that the movie adaptation is true to the spirit of Jeff's original story.
RH- How much do an author and an illustrator collaborate on a book?
SN- You might not believe this but the author and illustrators rarely collaborate on books. Publishers generally create a buffer between the two in order to allow the illustrator more creative freedom. Despite this, I nearly always contact the author to talk about the book. This sometimes leads to an extended dialogue that could be called collaborative. As a matter of fact, I have often suggested changes to the text that are ultimately adopted. In the case of FLAT STANLEY, Jeff and I talked two or three times a week to hash out the illustrations.
RH- Tell us about your writing.
SN- I have written a book called TUFF FLUFF, The Case of Duckie's Missing Brain, a mystery play out by a cast of cast-off stuffed animals and am working on a sequel. My first novel, THE HIGH SKY ADVENTURES OF BLUE JAY THE PIRATE will be published in the Fall of 2012. (next year). I am also working on a new chapter book called THE MAGIC MILK CARTON and a series of e-books for preteens.
When I'm not drawing, I write.
RH- What has been your favorite project to work on?
SN- My novel, TUFF FLUFF and a new picture book that I just completed with John Carter Cash (son of Johnny and June) called THE CAT IN THE RHINESTONE SUIT.
RH- Who do you consider your inspiration when it comes to your art?
SN- A whole raft of illustrators whose medium was pen and ink including: Earnest Shepard, Edward Ardizzione, Joost Swarte, Tomi Ungerer, R.O. Bleckmand Edward Gorey, Everett Peck, Ralph Stedman and many, many more. But, you know I may be more just as inspired by friends and family who are outside of the arts. They give me fresh perspectives that are honest and real.
RH- What new projects are you working on?
SN- I'm very excited about a class that I am developing at Maine College of Art which utilizes ipads as sketching tool. The students will generate ideas on the ipad during class but will be asked to create the final art in tradional mediums.
RH- What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators?
SN- Don't be afraid.