Today author and illustrator Dan Yaccarino is here at The Hiding Spot, answering a few questions about his creative process, unplugging like his robot character Doug, and his upcoming books! Be sure to check out Dan's newest book, Doug Unplugs on the Farm, as well as his first MG novel, out September 30th!
Tell us a bit about your writing and illustrating process? Do you begin with the text, a general idea, specific scenes...?
Each book is different. Some books have started off as a purely written idea, some have started as a drawing, and some have started as a general concept. I've written out entire first drafts before drawing anything at all and I've also visually thumbnailed an entire book out before writing the text. I have no one approach to creating books.I started out as an illustrator and it comes entirely naturally to me, but I've written so much over the last 15 years so writing now comes pretty naturally to me, too, I think it's balanced itself out in my brain. I try to serve the concept and what's best for it. Because I work in books, TV, and film, I have several options as how to express an idea. However, I love books most because they're the truest and purest expression of my ideas, probably because it's just me, my editor and art director working on it. I love working on TV and film projects, but those by definition are group efforts. But don't get me wrong, I love working that way, too, but the end result is less personal, but sometime grander and more broad than I could possibly do on my own.
Do you regularly 'unplug'? What are your favorite 'unplugged' activities?
Yes, I try to unplug, anyway. Every Sunday my family, extended family and I have a big dinner, which is screen free. It's something we all look forward to. It's almost a relief to not have to deal with emails, texts, TV, movies, and social media. Sometimes it feels like a burden has been lifted when we go screen free. It's a chance for us to just talk and laugh for a few hours without being disrupted. I love it!What can your readers look forward to next?
My first middle grade novel Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza: Delivery of Doom will be released on September 30, which is very exciting. I also just finished up a very fun picture book called Billy & Goat at the State Fair, which will be released Fall '15. After that, a chapter book called Class Pet Squad: Journey to the Center of Town will be released sometime in '16. Other than the books, I'm working on several feature film projects as well as potential TV series. It's all fun! I'm so very grateful to be able to do what I do every day.
Learn more about Dan Yaccarino and his many creative projects here!
You can buy Yaccarino's books here.