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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Interview with Jennifer & Matthew Holm, creators of My First Comics

 Next week, the first two My First Comics board books - I'm Grumpy and I'm Sunny will available from sibling team Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm! Pick up the set for the budding comic enthusiast in your life, no matter their age.

These first two My First Comics books are so accessible and fun. Can you share a bit about your creative process in regard to this specific series? 
Thanks! This has been a fun series to work on! We don’t live in the same city, so we usually do all of our work long distance. But for My First Comics since the stories are shorter than the graphic novels we normally make, we were able to sit down together and sketch them out. (We actually did it when we both met up on the road at comic book conventions.) Our process was simple, and fun: we got a bunch of index cards and roughly sketched each page of the book on a card. Then we sorted and discarded and redrew the pages till we got the story we wanted, with all of the humor and drama and appropriate page-turns. After that, Matt went home and drew out the artwork more cleanly, added color, and so on. 
from I'm Sunny! by Jennifer L. Holm & Matt Holm

Inspiration comes in many forms. Share three people, places, or things that inspire your creativity. 
Kids! We visit a lot of schools, and My First Comics was directly inspired by Jenni’s experience making comics with Pre-K students, who couldn’t yet read our other books. 

Animals! Matt’s dog, a sweet but sometimes moody black lab, has given inspiration to many of the comic characters (and their over-the-top expressions) that Matt draws. 

Caffeine! Seriously—what writer can find inspiration without it? 
from I'm Grumpy by Jennifer L. Holm & Matt Holm

What can your readers look forward to next? 
The first two books in the series—I'm Grumpy and I'm Sunny—hit shelves next week, but we have two more volumes with two new characters coming out next year: I'm Tizzy (about a rambunctious tornado) and I'm Chilly (about a timid snowflake). And for readers who have graduated from board books but maybe aren’t ready to tackle 100-page graphic novels just yet, this fall we’ll be debuting our very first picture book, featuring a familiar character of ours: Little Babymouse and the Christmas Cupcakes!

About the Books
From the bestselling creators of Babymouse and Squish and the author of The Fourteenth Goldfish comes a new comic board-book series about feelings! Eisner Award winners Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm use panel frames, speech balloons, and thought bubbles to teach children how to read a story. 

In I’m Sunny, the cheerful sun upsets his friend and must make amends. A sweet, funny, and simple introduction to the impact that emotions can have on those around you.

In I’m Grumpy, a grumpy cloud upsets his friend Sunny and must make amends. A sweet, funny, and simple introduction to the impact that emotions can have on those around you.
About the Author
Jennifer L. Holm is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling children's author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, PENNY FROM HEAVEN, and TURTLE IN PARADISE.

Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series -- the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. She is also the author of several other highly praised books, including the Boston Jane trilogy and MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF. She lives in California with her husband and two children.
About the Illustrator 
Matthew Holm was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pa., and has been drawing comics since he was in middle school. Growing up reading four older siblings' comic books and comic strip collections (including Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and Bloom County), he hoped he might one day grow up to draw a daily newspaper comic strip. He mentored under Pulitzer-prize-winning editorial cartoonist Tony Auth while in high school, and in college, while studying English and Art at Penn State, he drew weekly editorial cartoons for the school newspaper. After college, he worked in New York City as a writer and editor for Hearst's Country Living Magazine, and drew a daily web comic (before the term "web comic" really existed) in his spare time.
He first began working with his sister, Jennifer, as a copy editor and fact-checker for her Boston Jane novels, and later drew several pages of comics for her book Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf. When Jenni came to him in 2001 with the idea of making a comic book with a female heroine named Babymouse, he again picked up his pen and the two worked out the ideas and look for what became one of the first graphic novel series written specifically for children. Today, he continues to collaborate with his sister on several graphic novels each year, both for the Babymouse series as well as the Squish series. He currently lives in Portland, Ore., with his wife and dog.


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