The storymamas are huge fans of Tim Miller’s talents and our kids can’t get enough of his Moo Moo books! You could imagine our eagerness to read Horse Meets Dog, the new book he illustrated by author Elliot Kalan, and we appreciate the f&g copy sent to us by Harper Collins.
When Horse meets Dog, he thinks that he is a tiny horse, and similarly when Dog meets Horse, he thinks he is just a big horse. The whole book is the two of them going back and forth in comedic fashion, trying to show each other that they are correct. You’ll love the funny banter between the two animals and the wonderful illustrations!
Three Questions About Your Work…
The illustrations in Horse Meets Dog really make the story! What was the collaboration like between you and author Elliott Kalan?
Hello Storymamas! Thank you so much for your interest in the book and for having me as a guest! (You’re welcome…and thank you for stopping by!)
The collaboration between Elliott and me making HORSE MEETS DOG was pretty straight forward. Elliott wrote it before I ever laid eyes on it, and then I got to do whatever I wanted; my favorite kind of collaboration! Although I toiled over the illustrations more than anything else I’ve done so far, the visuals themselves came easy to me because Elliott’s writing is so funny it draws itself. In that sense the collaboration was a breeze and a lot of fun!
What is your process for creating illustrations?
My process is basically this: 1) Read manuscript and let whatever visuals come to mind rise to the surface intuitively.
2) Take note of those impressions by scribbling tiny thumbnails in margins of manuscript.
3) Go at character sketches in a same way, drawing the first thing that comes to mind and then refine until you’re satisfied.
4) Storyboard thumbnail first impressions to see how everything looks together.
5) Next, see how you can smoosh everything into constraints of pagination limit. Nix what isn’t necessary and give prime real estate to the most important moments. At the same time, think about overall balance of book as a whole. How can you give it rythem throughout and differentiate things so that the reader can experience the unfolding of story in the most impactful way.
6) Be open to feedback from Editor and Art Director! Nothing is better than the opportunity to hear their input to broaden your thinking and shed light on things you may not have seen (Dana Fritts and Donna Bray were wonderful to collaborate with, and we had a lot of fun untangling some riddles in the pagination together early on).
7) Make rough sketches for finishes from thumbnails. Basically roughing out the ideas on a larger scale.
8) Then I make finished drawings with ink and brush on a lightbox working from roughs. I rarely draw each composition whole, but do it in fragments. For example, I’ll do a piece of Dog’s ear, then the snout, then the body and so forth. I do this because I’m rarely satisfied with each drawing as a total because I make a lot of mistakes. So, to cope with my sins I build a collection of fragments for each composition and then stitch everything together like a collage in the computer.
9) Finally, I add the color digitally!
We are huge fans of your work! What can we expect from you next?
Thank you so much! I feel incredibly lucky to be making books, and it means the world to me that you don’t hate them!
What’s next? Well, I can’t tell you because it’s still top-secret, but I can at least share that it’s partly inspired a former student of mine who wore cat ears to class every day.
Three Questions about Tim Miller…
If you weren’t an illustrator/author, what would you be and why?
I would draw and paint things that I like to look at because that is the one thing that makes me feel most connected to everything.
What is one book you’ve read that has stuck with you since you’ve read it?
Most recently it’s Jon Agee’s The Wall in the Middle of the Book. I’m in awe of it, and can’t stop thinking about how brilliant he is at realizing the potential of the art form.
What is one item in your refrigerator that tells us about you?
Eggs. Other than that the fridge is currently empty.
Many thanks to Tim Miller for the interview! We had a chance to meet him this summer at Nerd Camp and appreciate the support he’s given us. You can get your own copy of Horse Meets Dog today, and can learn more about him on his website.