This month we’re excited to introduce you to Scott Campbell, the author and illustrator of Hug Machine, a delightful book we've previously featured in our Board Book Box.
Scott is based in Los Angeles, and he creates paintings, illustrations, comics, kid’s books, and video games. His work has appeared in publications and galleries around the world. (The interview has been edited for clarity.)
Bookroo: What do you hope young readers enjoy about Hug Machine?
Scott: I hope that kids will feel inspired to HUG!
Bookroo: What gave you the inspiration for Hug Machine?
Scott: Aside from being a bigger hugger myself, I discovered something funny as I was doodling in a coffee shop one particular day. I realized that drawings of people going about their daily lives with a little kid stuck to them in mid-hug with eyes closed was pretty funny looking. I wanted to know more about this kid who was obsessed with hugging. I figured that he would want to tell me all about it in the way that kids love to tell you to watch them do mundane things. I love when kids are so proud of things they do. Like, “Hey, look at me jump over this puddle! Mom! Look at me do this! You’ll love it!” That kind of thing.
Bookroo: As a creative across many different mediums, what makes you love creating children’s books?
Scott: I love working with kids. I love how they think and the way they create scenarios in their daily lives. It is fun to create things amongst them and treat them like peers. I feel much joy and exhilaration in my life from this. Anything is possible with kids' stories!
Bookroo: What made you want to write and illustrate children’s books?
Scott: Picture books are a way of reaching kids across the globe in a way that working directly with them cannot do. I like picture books because kids can enjoy them at their own pace. They can spend time with them however they would like.
Bookroo: What does an average day in your life look like?
Scott: I wake up, shower, and step out of my house as soon as I can. The moment I enter the morning air is my favorite time of day. I walk to the local coffee shop and get a coffee and something to eat and then I read for an hour. I find this relaxes me and clears my mind. Then I get to creating whatever I want to create that day. There is usually a 3-4 hour space in the middle of the day where I cannot get much done. Then I get back into painting in the late afternoon. I try to finish my day by 6 or 7 and leave the weekends free. I need this balance to keep my life feeling really good.
Bookroo: Did you always know that you wanted to be an artist? What inspires your work?
Scott: I have loved drawing since I was quite small. I used to make books based on the adventures my brother and I had when playing in the backyard. Pop culture has been a huge influence on my work, as well as travelling. I love exploring new places.
Bookroo: It seems like you have expanded your talents across many fields. Do you have any goals for your work to expand even further?
Scott: I would love to make moving pictures. Either cartoons or films. And I would like to perform on stage or in films. I haven’t worked as much with timing in my work, so people read my stories at their own pace, but it would be fun to have those things come to life in a new way. I also want to create an amusement park.
Bookroo: What advice do you have for young creatives and for parents hoping to stimulate the creativity in their children?
Scott: Keep having fun and exploring things as far as you can go. Just put materials in front of kids and let them go nuts! Let them explore in their own way. And allow yourself to explore in your own way too!
Bookroo: We’re a community of children’s book lovers! Do you have any upcoming books we should keep an eye out for?
Scott: Yes! I recently had a book come out called Sleepy, The Goodnight Buddy with the writer of The Day The Crayons Quit , Drew Daywalt. Next year I have a book called SKULLS! coming out that was written by Blair Thornburgh. And I have recently released an activity sketchbook called Adventures in Drawing from Insight Editions. It is a guided sketchbook that kids and adults can enjoy and create with!
(All images courtesy of Scott Campbell)