Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot Q&A with Dav Pilkey Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot
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Dav Pilkey Q&A


What was your inspiration for your new series, "Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot?"
I grew up watching Japanese monster movies like "Godzilla Vs. Megalon", and "Gamera Vs. Guiron" (my two faves!). There's nothing like watching guys in rubber monster suits duke it out amongst miniature cardboard cities. The Ricky Ricotta series is both a parody of the genre, as well as a tribute.
q Where did you find Martin Ontiveros, the illustrator for the series?
I saw his gallery show at an independent bookstore called "Reading Frenzy" in Portland, OR. Martin had painted many cool scenes of robots fighting space monkeys, and I remember saying to my girlfriend, "I wish I could paint like that." I thought Martin's style would be perfect for the "Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot" series (which I had written two years earlier, but never illustrated). So I called Martin and asked him if he wanted the gig. He did. Not only is Martin a "natural" at book illustration, but he also turned out to be a swell guy and a good friend, too.
q What was it like working with Martin?
At first it was a little strange. I'm used to writing and illustrating all by myself. When I write my stories, I know what the pictures will look like because I see them in my head. But with this series, I knew I wouldn't be able to draw what I saw in my head. My linework is too loose, and I have very little experience with action scenes.

So I sketched Ricky, his parents, and the Mighty Robot, and turned my designs over to Martin. Martin re-drew these characters with his broad, bold lines and then began designing everything else, including all the supporting characters and bad guys. I expected to have to work very closely with Martin on the first book until he got the hang of things. But he surprised me by already having "the hang of things." His first draft of the book was nearly perfect!

q What does the future hold for Ricky and his new friend?
Right now, Martin Ontiveros is illustrating the second book: "Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot Vs. The Mutant Mosquitoes from Mercury." There's lots more action in the second story, and it's sillier, too.

It looks like Ricky and his Robot are going to have to save the world from the evil inhabitants of every planet in our solar system... but I'm sure they'll be up to the job.

q Do you think robots would make good pets?
Sure! They could help you with your homework, fly you to school, and just think: you'd never get picked on again!
q What were you like in school?
Bored, hyperactive, and a general nuisance.
q Were you encouraged to write and illustrate as a child?
Yes -- by my classmates. I also got a lot of encouragement from my parents.
q Do you still have any of the stories/comics you did from when you were a kid?
Unfortunately, I don't have any of the Captain Underpants comics. Many of them were ripped up by my teachers, and others were "borrowed" by my friends. They'd take the comics home and lose them, or spill stuff on them, and bring them back weeks later with pages missing and stuff. The only comics I still have were about another super hero I invented called "Water Man". My parents wouldn't let me bring those comics to school because they knew they'd get trashed. I'm glad they made me keep them in a safe place, because I still have all 20 issues!
q What advice do you have for kids who want to be writers?
Try to spend as much time watching television as you can. (Grown-ups HATE it when I say that. It's fun!).
q Where do you get your ideas?
North Carolina.
q Which of your books are you most proud of? Why?
I think I'm most proud of the Captain Underpants books, the Dumb Bunnies books, and Kat Kong and Dogzilla. They're my funniest books.
q Favorite thing to read? Why?
I like cartoon books and humorous short stories/essays. Why? Because I have a short attention span.
q What do you say to people who don't like your books because the characters "misbehave"?
a I don't say anything to them. I just stick out my tongue and make rude noises.

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