Timothy Basil Ering
Interview with Timothy Basil Ering, illustrator of Mr. and Mrs. God In The Creation Kitchen
What a treat to talk with illustrator Timothy Basil Ering about the making of Mr. and Mrs. God in the Creation Kitchen, one of my all-time favorite books. What I love about Timothy’s art is how playful and fluid the images often feel and how the proportions of his drawings can make me laugh out loud or slow down my reading to take in every little (OR BIG) thing on the page.
Timothy has illustrated many children’s books. He is the illustrator and author of “Necks Out for Adventure!” and “The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone” (another favorite of mine!). He also illustrated the Newbery Award winning “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo.
Gigi Amateau: Was it intimidating to think about drawing Mr. and Mrs. God? I mean, they are, after all, God.
Timothy Basil Ering: Yes! It was indeed intimidating to think of drawing Mr. and Mrs. God. The possibilities could seemingly be endless but at the same time one could ask “what are the possibilities?” which at the beginning seemed overwhelming!
GA: How much did you experiment with those images, trying different looks on for them? Do you remember how you felt when you first read Nancy Woods’ manuscript for Mr. and Mrs. God in the Creation Kitchen?
TBE: I did experiment a lot with different sizes and shapes. I knew that Mr. and Mrs. God for this project needed to be approachable to young children and I wanted them to look ethereal. I also wanted to draw them with big hands for big creators. So I decided to draw them as if they were two elf -like people enjoying themselves in their creation kitchen sort of like Santa’s elves in their workshop. I remember the first thing that excited my mind and my imagination when I first read the manuscript were the creative cooking devises I could draw and paint and create that would be Mr. and Mrs. God’s cooking inventions, and also the jars of colorful magical seasonings, and the boxes and boxes of parts and pieces that could all come together to cook up and create anything in the world!
GA: Girls of Summer celebrates amazing books for amazing girls. Mrs. God is, of course, the most amazing girl. The Mother of amazing girls, literally! And, she really seems to set the tone for the story and illustrations. Did you illustrate her first and then draw Mr. God out from her ribs?
TBE: I love this question because I do agree she is quite an amazing girl! The funny thing is that the first thing that I created was actually a nose! My big inspirations for the art were drawings and paintings of the renaissance. I love the noses drawn by Michaelangelo, da Vinci, Rubens and many others. So, Mr. and Mrs. God were developed together with just the right attitudes, drawn around a similar noble nose. Mrs. God of course needed some wavy, mother nature hair.
GA: Would you finish this sentence: Strong girls___________.
TBE: Strong girls always have a positive outlook on everything, every day. Strong girls are listeners, learners, helpers, creators, and leaders. Strong girls respect nature, people, and all creatures, and strong girls are respected. Strong girls are sensitive but make the tough times that inevitably happen in everyone’s life, seem easy and not so tough. Strong girls stay healthy by eating healthy foods. Strong girls are able to overcome times of great despair because they know that this is a secret to longevity of life. And, strong girls have great minds that know what is right and what is wrong. Strong girls are beautiful.
Thank you Gigi! I’m so happy that you chose this book to help celebrate girls’ connections to the world around them. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. Have a fantastic “Girls of Summer Program!”