The Child in Me: Jim Smith

The Child in Me: Jim Smith

What kind of child were you? And/or what kind of teenager?
 
A regular one, bit of a worrier, but also thinking I was 'it' the whole time. Moody teenager, nose too big for face, still secretly quite rating self.
 
What are your most vivid childhood memories?
 
Walking into Bunny Deli on 48th and Lexington Avenue, New York. I was obsessed with American packaging, and could have spent the whole two-week holiday in there. I went back a couple of years ago to show my girlfriend and it'd been knocked down. We had a massive row (I was hungry and emotional).
 
How did you start reading and what books have stayed with you?
 
My mum read to us. The Magic Faraway Tree was my favourite, but The Twits always stands out. The front cover was bright yellow with thick black writing and Quentin Blake's smelly picture in the middle.
 
When did you start drawing and what did you first draw? Was there anything you found difficult?
 
I always thought I was the best in my class, apart from my friend Ben, who I hated and was hated by. Then we became best friends - I based Bunky in my books on him. We used to draw Coke cans. The way the third C loops through the L was always tricky.
 
What made you want to make the transition from creating branding for coffee shops and Waldo Pancake to writing and illustrating children's books?

 
Puccino's coffee shops used to pay me a monthly amount to design their cups, but the recession hit and they cut it off. That's when I sent my stuff to the company that makes the Waldo Pancake cards and gifts, and finally forced myself to write a story longer than a paragraph. So far the recession has been good to me.
 
What's on your own bedside table at the moment?
 
Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon. My favourite of his is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, although the UK cover was nowhere near as nice as the US one.

I Am Still Not a Loser by Barry Loser, commas put in by Jim Smith, is published by Egmont.