Author Interviews, Book Resources

Ed Emberley Interview Transcript

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2

Ed Emberley Interview Transcript
The author/illustrator was interviewed by Scholastic students.

We enjoyed reading your books and we want to know what happened after Drummer Hoff fired it off?
How smart you are to think about what happened to Drummer Hoff and all the other soldiers after he “fired it off.” We left it to the reader's imagination to figure out what happened next. Some people thought they all blew up!!!!!! Maybe that's true but I know what I imagine, Here are the words I was going to put on the last page: “and they all went home” — maybe to supper...maybe to bed...maybe they all went to the beach!!! what do you think????

After reading your books we want to know how long it takes you to make a book and do you make the covers of your books or does someone else do it?
In answer to your two questions: 1. It takes me about 120 days to make a book. That means that if you add all the holidays, weekends, and sick [cough, cough] days I can make about 2 books a year. 2 I like to make my own covers. My publishers would make my covers if I asked them. But I kind of like to do things myself...it's more fun that way. I like fun, don't you?

We would like to know what year you started making books. Also do you ever trace any pictures?
I think I messed up my first message. I'm going to try again. In answer to your two questions: 1. I started making books in 1961. My first book is called The Wing on a Flea. You can't buy it but you can find it in some libraries. I love libraries. 2. Oh yes I trace a lot. It's a good way to learn.

We would like to know how long it takes to make a book and do you make just one at a time or do you work on a lot of books at one time? Also did you use your thumbprint in The Thumbprint Book or did you use someone else's?
1. It takes me about 120 working days to make a book. My wife Barbara and my children, Rebecca and Michael used to help me. But now Barbara is busy doing other things and Michael and Rebecca are busy writing and illustrating their own books. Now I have a computer to help me. My granddaughter Adrian helps me now with ideas!!! 2. I work on many books at the same time. 3. Yes that is my own thumbprint. I thought I would like to do the book using famous thumbprints like the presidents or Michael Jackson's but I'm just too shy to ask. Thank you for your message. ED

When will your next book be published and what will it be about. Also, where did you get the idea for your thumbprint book?
My next book will be out next Spring. It is Glad Monster Sad Monster. SPRING 1998 my next book will be called Three. It is a book Michael [my son] and Rebecca [my daughter] and I are illustrating together. Right now I am working on making my own Web Site and on a cd rom of Picture Pie.

I don't know where I got the idea for The Great Thumbprint Drawing Book, I just told my brain to think of a book, and it did. Whoops looks like I've run out of space to write anymore so I'll just say; thank you for your very nice questions and good bye.

How often do you write books? Which of the books you've written do you love the best? What made you want to write books? Do you think by being a parent you get better ideas with your books? What do you think you would do for a living if you didn't write and illustrate books?
In answer to your questions. 1. I write books all the time, I usually work on 2 or 3 at one time. It takes me between 100 and 150 days to make a book so figuring 65 days a year for other stuff I can make about two books a year. 2. I think my favorite books are my Drawing Books and Big Green Monster. 3. I think so, but I think being a Grandpa has helped ever more. 4. Well I like to make stuff and I like to play so I think I might like to make toys.

We enjoy your books a lot. We have some questions for you if you have the time: How many books have you written? What are you most afraid of? Why do you enjoy writing books? How do you feel about being such a famous author/illustrator? Would you ever think about writing books for adults? Who is YOUR favorite author and illustrator other than yourself? Which do you enjoy more...writing the books or illustrating them? Are you happy that your son is writing books with you? What do you like to do other than drawing? Who is your idol? Where do you get your ideas for your books? If you got fired from your job what would you do next?
In answer to your questions: *1. More than 75. *2. Spelling and SPIDERS! ugh! *3. I don't know, probably because it's fun. *4. It's nice to be a little famous. It would be awful to be a lot famous. *5. NO, too boring. *6. I have lots of favorites but Louis Ehlert is a particular favorite right now. *7. Drawing the pictures. *8. Both my son, Michael and my daughter, Rebecca write and illustrated books for children. If they are happy we are happy, no matter what they do. *10. Teachers. *11. I just tell myself to think of a book, and myself does. *12. A musician. They seem to be happy all their lives. Thank you for your questions, I enjoyed answering them.

We have some questions for you: How long does it take to make a book? When did you start drawing? What is your favorite food? Who is your favorite NBA player? Will you create a book about basketball or sports? What did you like to do before drawing? What was your first book? Does your wife write books too?
In answer to you questions: *1. About 120 days *2, When I was REALLY young. pre-school. *3. PIZZA! *4. Sad to say I do not know anything about team sports. Maybe if I lived out your way you could teach me! I always like to learn new things. *5. Maybe, anything's possible. *6. Play. I still love to play. *7. The Wing on a Flea 1961 you can't buy it anymore but you might find it in your local library. *8. Yes, in fact she has written lots of my books. She has also colored most of my pictures. Boy that was a nice bunch of questions, you must have worked on them a long time.

When did you start to draw? how did you get the idea for your first book? when did you decide that you wanted to write and draw books?
I have always wanted to draw ever since one day in the first grade, when Miss Dance [my first grade teacher] looked over my shoulder at a picture and said {Oh, that's nice} that's when I knew I was going to be an artist. I don't really know where I get my ideas, I just tell myself to get an idea and myself does. Never wanted to do anything else ever since Miss Dance said, “Oh, that's a nice picture.” Thank you for your nice questions.

We would like to know how old you are?
Hi Mrs Bamford's first grade. I am on old geezer, a grandpa kind of a guy. I was born October 19 1931, I have gray hair a beard and a little pot belly. I have two children who are over 30 years old and a sweet little granddaughter who is 11 years old.

I read in the “frequently asked questions” that one of your favorite things to draw are dragons. Since you've never seen a dragon, do you use parts of other animals for inspiration?
What an excellent question!!!!! REAL dragons, the ones people believed really existed In Medieval Times, had the head of a crokadial? crockadile? {I am going to have to learn how to spell that word!!!}, the neck of a snake, the tail of a lizard, the front claws of an eagle and the back claws of a lion. At least that is what serious, adults believed was absolutely true. I'm not so sure they were right, but they sure are fun to draw!!!

We are been using your drawing book of animals and it is simple to draw with you help. How can you draw a simple beautiful Christmas tree?
If you will look in your school library or your Public library you might find one of my books called Ed Emberley's Big Red Drawing Book. It has an easy Christmas tree and a not so easy Christmas tree and a whole bunch of other Christmas stuff.

How old were you when you started to write books? How old do you expect to be when you retire? Why did you start writing books? Do any of your books have the wood carvings in them? How old are your children? What is your favorite food? What is your favorite story you wrote? Why did you stop counting how many books you wrote?
I don't know how old I was when I started writing books. But, I was born in 1931 and I wrote my first book in 1961. HMMMMM. I expect to be one hundred years old when I retire. If I die first...I'll retire then....I started writing books in 1961...Yes I have 4 books with wood carvings in them. Cock-a-Doodle-Doo [out of print] Paul Bunyan, Yankee Doodle, Drummer Hoff and Simon's Song [out of print], {{{out of print means you can no longer buy them in a book store, you might find them at you library}}}...My son and my daughter are in their mid 30s...PIZZA, PIZZA, PIZZA !!!!!!!I like Big Green Monster...I stopped counting books because I get confused. I keep having to start all over again, sigh! So I just said to myself, forget it, better to make books than to count books. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR NICE QUESTIONS. I had fun answering them.

When did you start writing books? Why do you like being an author....we know that you like to draw and that's why you are an illustrator? How do you carve the pictures? When were you born? What was your first book you ever wrote? What's your favorite book that you've written? How do you get your ideas?
I am glad you like Drummer Hoff, so do I. I wish I could have heard you saying the patterns of the book, I'll bet it was great. I would be happy to answer your 7 questions. 1- I started writing and illustrating children's books in 1961. 2- Because it's fun!!! 3- I draw my pictures in black ink on a plain ordinary pine board the same way you would draw on paper. then I cut away all the parts of the board that are not black, then I roll sticky ink on the black areas, then I put a piece of thin paper on top of the sticky ink. then I rub the back of the thin paper with a spoon an then I pull the paper off and I get my picture!!!!! 4- I was born on October 19 1931. 5- The Wing on a Flea. 6- Big Green Monster. 7- I just say “Ed think of a book!!! and I do. You are very welcome. I thank you for taking the time to ask.

Hi there Mr. Emberley...how are you? Which do you like to do best...illustrate or write the books? What is your favorite book? What was the first book that you illustrated? What was the first book that you wrote? How do we sign up for your drawing club? How long does it take to write a book? How many pages are usually in your books? Who is your favorite author and illustrator? How are your son, daughter and wife doing?
How are YOU. We are having heavy snow here. Icy roads. In answer to your 11 questions: 1- I am fine! 2- I like to draw pictures best. 3- I like Big Green Monster . 4- The Wing on a Flea. [You can no longer buy it in a bookstore but you might find it in library. 5- The Wing on a Flea! 6- If your teacher will drop me an e-mail message, I will put her on my e-mail mailing list to tell when Online Drawing Club begins. We do not expect it will start till May 1997. 7- About 100 working days. 8- About 32. 9- I like lots of them. Louis Ehlert is one you might know. 11- Michael and Rebecca are fine. We are going to be illustrating a book together this winter. It will be called 3. I am glad you like my books. Thank you for writing!

When you were in grade school did you like to teach younger kids how to draw? When was your first book published? Where did you grow up? Where have you traveled to? When you were in grade school did you like to draw? Were you a good student in school? How did you come up with the idea of using a tool bar to show the parts to draw? Thank you for taking the time to answer us. We love your books!!!
No I never thought of it but I think I would have liked to. What a good idea! My first book, The Wing on a Flea, was published in 1961. It is not for sale anymore but you might find it in your library. I grew up in the city, Cambridge Massachusetts. People from Cambridge call themselves CANTABRIDGIANS. I have traveled to England, Holland, and Italy. I would like to travel to Austria and Switzerland someday [I lllove skiing]. Yes when I was in grade I liked to draw. Sad to say I was a very poor student, good thing I learned how to draw. I don't know how I came up with the idea to use the tool bar. It's a mystery!!!

We have been reading your books and practicing your illustration style using your worksheets. Many of us are taking home your activity sheets to practice!!! We heard Drummer Hoff and Go Away Big Green Monster today and noticed the pattern of language and the stencil techniques you used. We thought it was very interesting! We have some questions for you if you have the time to answer: How many years have you been writing and illustrating books? How long does it take to finish a book? What is your favorite color? Why are dragons and lions your favorite animals to draw? How much money does it cost to publish a book? How old were you when you started taking drawing lessons? How old were you when you illustrated your first book? What is your favorite book that you have made? What is your favorite book written by someone else? What kind of stories did you read aloud to your children when they were small? What do you recommend for young artists to do to prepare for illustration work as adults? What book has your favorite/best illustration do you think?
I have been writing and illustrating books for children since 1961. I takes about 120 working days from start to finish. My favorite color boat is black, my favorite color cat is brown, my favorite color house is dark red, my favorite color kayak is yellow. My favorite color sweater is purple, my favorite color cake is brown. I love to draw dragons because you can draw them any way you want to. I don't know why I like to draw lions. It costs between 50 and 60 thousand dollars to publish a picture book. I was born October 19, 1931. I started taking drawing lessons in the 8th grade. I made my first book in 1961. My favorite book is Go Away Big Green Monster, I wrote it for my granddaughter Adrian, who was in the third grade at the time. She is in the fifth grade now. My favorite Picture book is The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Peter Rabbit was the most read book. Draw a lot of things YOU like. I like the illustrations in Drummer Hoff, I might hang those upon the wall, I don't think I would hang up Go Away Big Green Monster!!!

When did you start drawing? What is your favorite book? What school taught you how to draw? How old were you when you knew that you knew you were an artist? Have you ever thought about making your work or books into videos? Do you ever teach students after school in your neighborhood?
You might be interested to know that my editor's name is Mr Keller. An editor is the person in charge of printing and selling my books. I just draw the pictures , Mr Keller does all the work!! I started drawing the same time most people do...when I was a little child. Most people stop, I didn't. I started drawing for money [for my work] in 1961. When I was in the first grade. I had a very nice teacher, Miss Dance. One day I was drawing a ship, she came over and said, “What a nice picture.” I knew right then I was going to be an artist. I love nice teachers.

Actually I do have a video. It is called Squiggles Dots and Lines. It was made by two nice teachers, Their company is called KID VIZ. I used to teach crafts to children but not drawing, sounds like a good idea though.

We are really enjoying your drawings and several of us already have your books. Thank you for giving us a fun activity and helping us to draw. We want to know what is a Saltbox house? Did you draw a lot when you were a child? Where do you come up with your ideas for your books? Thank you again for coming online. We really like your books.
A Saltbox house is a house that has a long roof in front and a short roof in back. In the olden days [1690] people kept salt in boxes that had a short roof in front and long roof in back. Yes, I drew a lot when I was a child. I was not a very good student. Math was hard, spelling was hard, handwriting was hard. So I used to draw a lot! Ideas are easy, I just ask my brain to think of an idea and it does!!!!!

  • Subjects:
    Literature, Literature Appreciation, Writing
  • Skills:
    Writing
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