Katie Kirk : Eli, No!
I recently had the honor of interviewing Katie Kirk of Eight Hour Day about her new venture into children’s book writing and illustration. There’s a real good chance you’ve heard of her new book, Eli, No! as she shared many of the images from the book on her flickr. The instant excitement and praise vaulted the gorgeous illustrations from a for-fun project into a full fledged publication. Check out our chat below:
Me: So first off, the book is based on real-life inspiration correct? What’s the story behind that?
KATIE: Yes it is. It’s two fold really. First there is the actual Eli, our chocolate lab who can be, well, “spirited.” However the real inspiration came from our nephew Parker. Whenever we were together, I would say “Eli, no!” — and every time I said it, he would say it too! He liked how fun it was to say. I just thought, what a great idea for a book, a great refrain for kids to interact with. What kid doesn’t love to yell “No!”?
Me: This is your first book, and here you are getting it published! Super impressive! When did the book move from “for-fun” to something you were pushing to get published?
KATIE: When I was finished with the book, I created a copy for Parker’s birthday. After that I just put it out on my Flickr account. To be honest, I was really not expecting the amount of attention it started to get. At that point it was just about putting out the feelers to see if anyone might be interested.
Me: Very cool! As a believer in the power of self-initiated work myself, I find this project super inspiring. I think I already know the answer, judging from the effort you put into “Eli, No!”, but what are your thoughts on self-initiated work?
KATIE: Do it. Yes I am also a believer. For me it becomes the time when you can learn and try out new techniques while not under the time constraints of a project. You’re also not being driven by client feedback, which is nice (and therapeutic).
Me: You’ve been on the road this past year with your husband Nate, designing all the way. How much harder do you think handling the publishing of the book was, being on the road?
KATIE: Surprisingly not bad. Most of the files were already in the hands of the publisher by the time we set out. It was more on the administrative side at that point.
Me: As a married individual I must ask: Over or under 5: How many times did you consider spousal-murder while being on the road for that long?
KATIE: Ha! Hmmm.. I’d say under haha. We’re pretty use to being together all the time. However, in Miami we were living and working from a small studio hotel room for a month. Yeah. I think even Eli was annoyed by the end of that place.
Me: Any ideas or plans for the next books? Maybe a series about Eli?
KATIE: Maybe… I do have another idea for a book floating around up there. I would love to do one with Nate, however, right now I think we’re just seeing how this one goes first
Not sure about a series around Eli… Maybe. I love him and I love dogs. I felt like I was smiling the entire time I was illustrating “Eli, no!”
Me: If you could make an animated book about another artist, visual or musical, who would it be?
KATIE: Man – that’s a fun question! I would have to say The Beatles. There is just such a variety of inspiration to pull from.
Me: Nice! Yeah, the trouble would be narrowing it down.
So, what guidance would you give illustrators on shooting for publishing of a book? Would you suggest just putting the content out there for people to consume, the way you did?
KATIE: Hmmm… I think making something that you truly enjoy the process, shows in the work. Trust your instincts.
Me: Rad. So what’s the best way for everyone to get their hands on the book?
KATIE: I would say Amazon.com might just be the easiest way… http://www.amazon.com/Eli-No-Katie-Kirk/dp/0810989646
ME: Thanks so much Katie!