Chatting with Klassen
April 22, 2021
Jon Klassen writes books for kids. He also makes pictures for the books. TIME for Kids asked him some questions about his work.
Did you always like to write and draw?
In the second grade, I started writing stories. And I drew pictures to go with them. I don’t like making pictures if there is not a story to go with them.
What is your process for creating a new book?
I start with a problem. That setup gives birth to characters. The characters have to feel natural. If they don’t, the book won’t work, even if it is funny.
How do you make pictures?
I do tests. I may paint 12 rocks. I will circle my favorite four. Then I scan them. On my computer, I will add them to my other illustrations. This is a drawing of a snake.
You have worked on many books. How do you know when a story is done?
I tinker with it until it feels like it has ended. I try to change the idea of what an ending feels like.
What is your favorite part of writing books for kids?
Kids are careful readers. They focus hard on what they read. I can count on kids to pick up on details in my books. It is an honor .