Featured Children's Book Author and Illustrator: Michael Smith
Published 4 months ago
This month we are excited to share the book Eyes in our board book boxes. Eyes was created by Michael Smith and launched as a Kickstarter project. Michael is a graphic designer and a father. His idea for Eyes came when his daughter first started to talk. She loved to point to eyes in the books they would read together and say, “Eyes.” This inspired Michael to create a book focusing on the eyes of different animals. As Michael explains, “Illustrating eyes gave me a greater appreciation for the beauty that surrounds me but often goes unnoticed.”
We love Eyes. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the book is on repeat here with the Bookroo crew--we hope you enjoy it! (The interview has been edited for clarity and length.)
Bookroo: We love Eyes! Can you tell us more about why you decided to create this book?
Michael: I’m a full-time designer that spends a majority of my time creating digital assets. My heart and passion lies in the physical space though. There’s just something special about sending a design to print and calling it “done”.
That mentality is what ultimately lead me to choose this medium to communicate with my daughter about the beauty and diversity of animal eyes.
Bookroo: What were the biggest challenges to making Eyes a reality?
The reality is that I didn’t think I had anything new to say/show. I didn’t feel like my illustration skills were good enough. And I felt like a book with only 10 words was a cop out. Once I overcame the resistance the next challenge was time.
Working a full-time job, seeking professional growth, starting a family, plus burning the midnight oil to produce the book were the challenges that haunted me all the way through completion of the project.
Bookroo: How did you feel when you successfully reached your funding goal and you knew Eyes would be a reality?
Michael: Emotional. I couldn’t believe that so many people supported this passion project of mine. I’m still in awe and so grateful for every single dollar that others gave to make this dream a reality.
Bookroo: How did you find time to create Eyes while working full-time as a graphic designer?
Michael: It certainly wasn’t easy, but staying up long after the house was quiet was the only way to get it all done.
Bookroo: Where do you find inspiration for your work as an illustrator and designer?
Michael: Observing kids is a constant and continual source of inspiration. They see life with such a fresh perspective that adults often overlook.
Bookroo: What activities do you and your family enjoy together?
Michael: We love to play outside, visit the zoo, and read books. Plus, let’s be honest, we love a good animated movie too!
Bookroo: When do you and your daughter read together?
Michael: Every night before bed.
Bookroo: What are you currently reading?
Michael: The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry.
Bookroo: We’re a community of book lovers. Are you planning to create any additional books we should watch for?
Michael: Our 4 year old has requested that I write a book about a Panda, a Tiger, and a Kangaroo at a tea party. I’m not sure what that story is exactly so if there is anyone that would like to team up on this I’d be happy to illustrate it and help develop the story line :).
But yes, more to come!
We really appreciate the opportunity to learn more about Michael and his work as an illustrator and designer. You can learn more about him and see more of his work on his website.
(All images courtesy of Michael Smith)
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