The Stories We Tell


  • SVS OG

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    Art by Tanner Garlick.
    We just dropped our first episode of the year and it's all about stories!
    Stories are as old as civilization itself, and as humans we can't help but tell stories. In this episode we share common plots, themes, and ways to understand and better come up with good stories. We also share some of the stories that have been influences on us and who we are as artists and storytellers.
    If you have any comments or ideas related to this podcast feel free to share and discuss in this thread. Happy New Year!



  • @jake-parker My most remembered story as a child was Miss Suzie by Miriam Young and illustrated by Arnold Lobel. Also loved The Ice Cream Cone Coot and Other Rare Birds by Arnold Lobel and all the Little Bear Books by Maurice Sendak. I can see the influence of those books in my stories and in the style of illustration I am drawn to. I love a story that takes the time to be told and illustrations that include real-ish looking anthropomorphic animals.

    I enjoyed the podcast as my mind has been going to the same places as of late. I am trying to dive deep to understand my influences and myself in order to hone in on what stories I want to tell and illustrate. I would love to have some adult say that that my book influenced them. I strive for that as an educator ( I am an early childhood teacher) but children's literature is my heart. My director tells me, jokingly, that I am going to make my class book snobs. I love to read them books and get them involved in the joy of the story, but not every book makes the cut 😉 My preschoolers know Miss Suzie too--I have my old ratty copy with the binding falling off and have shared it with them. They love as much as me and my children do.

    Keep up the great work. You guys are awesome motivators!


  • SVS OG

    @jennyjones I haven’t listened to the podcast but—the Ice Cream Cone Coot was my favorite book as a kid as well! We had an old copy I looked through over and over... I remember in first grade we had a book show and tell where we each got to bring and read our favorite book to the class. Even though it was slightly above my reading level at the time that was the only book I was interested in sharing with the class. Not much of a story, but the ideas were the attractive thing. I thought the ideas were so funny and different. I need to find myself a copy of that one.

    I want to make books kids will love as much as I loved that one.



  • @sarah-luann I am so excited to know you loved that book too!!! It is so full of delightful images and bursting with creativity. I used to look at it for hours.

    I tried to check it from the library and they had to do a loan from a library 3 states over to get it. It is as elusive as the birds in the book! I hope you find it easier than I did. Making books that have that "magic" is the goal for sure.


  • Moderator

    First, I WANT the, I Poop You, book. If there is a book titled "Go the F#ck to Sleep" then I think there is space in the world for that book @Will-Terry. 😃

    Second, I am now conscious of the fact that I am preachy in my very first book dummy. As stated, first timers are guilty of this. Guilty! UGH! So in my spare spare-time I've plugging away polishing a turd. I still love the message but after hearing this podcast I need to find a way to tell it in a story instead of, do this because, kind of thing. It's embarrassing me. I've been telling people for months that I am making this book dummy, to be accountable, and now I'm going to start from scratch so it will actually be interesting. The ultimate question is: Am I going to start over because it needs it or because I'm second guessing my abilities? I think of Jake's "Finished not Perfect" thing, but I would like it to at least be good. And truthfully, I don't think its there yet. Since this is my first, I'm learning a lot of lessons that I wish I had known before I started. But I guess I am a beginner so this is when I should be failing. Ugh. Its a little depressing. Sorry for the rambling. Just working this out in my head while sending it out to the universe.
    Thank you SVS guys!!! I'm glad I'm learning this now, instead of a year from now after submitting a polished turd to publishers, LOL.


  • SVS OG

    Oh! Good! I can't wait to listen to it. I can always use help with stories! I was just thinking, before I saw this, about the story writing class by Ann Whitford Paul. I bought the book and started to do some of the chapters but fell behind. It seems I can only write in rhyme, which is fine but, I would love to learn how to write a story without it too. Will listen to it soon. Thanks!


  • SVS OG

    @burvantill I have done a few book projects and each one teaches me something new and maybe takes longer to finish because I have to redo so much! over and over and over but...I have heard that's normal. We have to take deep breaths once in a while. Set it down briefly and have at it again. I am definitely finished and not perfect but it's still a lot of work 🙂 (especially when you do everything the old fashioned and inefficient ways that I do). Always learning!



  • @Will-Terry As a homeschooling mom, I have to say that I would love "I Poop You" as a story. What better way to start discussions about all these cool (sometimes gross) science things than a funny book!?



  • My favorite book as a child was Saint George and the Dragon by Trina Schart Hyman. I never actually read the words until I was an adult reading it to my own children, but I would stare at that book for what seemed like hours at a time, and imagine a story to go with the illustrations.

    I also really loved Harold and the Purple Crayon. He was so smart and creative.

    It's interesting to see how these two favorites have influenced my drawing. I always have two warring asthetics in my imagination: either realistic/idealised with tons of details and rich backgrounds, or very graphic-design-esque with simple lines and nearly no background.


  • SVS OG

    Great topic!

    @Will-Terry please please please do the book I poop you! Or just a poster art, see where it takes. My gosh. The boys would love it!

    Can I ask my question here? What has been your favorite art “gift” you’ve given someone. A piece of love or joy that you were able to share because of your art. A Christmas present, or to help someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one or a pet, a silly drawing to cheer up your sister in law in the hospital?


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    @Jake-Parker My most remembered childhood book was a non fiction hardcover about the sea! The illustrations were so big and beautiful - I remember most the one with the whales, I thought it majestic! The book ended with narwals, and I thought for sure they were made up haha



  • I really enjoyed this episode. The sound was rather off to me through large parts of it though. But it was really nice to hear more about the narrative part of all this. Would love to hear you talk more about this in the future. Perhaps the narrative aspect when you plan out individual illustrations for example.

    Me, I've been extremely influenced by Swedish illustrator/author Sven Nordqvist. I read his books a ton as a kid. Internationally, I think he's most famous for the books about Pettson and Findus (I think they were called Festus and Mercury in the US?).

    But my favorite book was Hattjakten, The Hat Hunt. It's about this old man who goes through a whimsical adventure as he's trying to find his missing hat, and ends up rediscovering parts of himself and remembering his childhood. Nordqvist's illustrations are always amazing and there was something special with this book that was so funny and whimsical but also strangely melancholic. Don't know if it has been translated to English, but I sure hope so!


  • SVS OG

    @joen-söderholm I just looked up Sven Nordqvist art. Love it. I see that they have some books on Amazon too. Thanks fo rsharing. Maybe I'll send some to my little grandson 🙂



  • @marsha-kay-ottum-owen glad to hear you were able to find some! Nordqvist has a talent for making his stories just as good as his art, so I highly recommend those books. They are still insanely popular here in Sweden.


  • SVS OG

    So I'm working my way through the story and I want to clarify something that @Will-Terry was saying about the didactic story Rick Walton used to share in his classes. (I was in two of Ricks classes 😉

    It wasn't just a submitted manuscript that he begged from an editor or anything like that. He would make very clear in his classes that he would never ever make fun of an unpublished unfinished story because our rough drafts are always rough, etc. (Particularly since we would be bringing our drafts to share in class and he didn't want us to think we were just going to make fun of peoples work.) He told about how this author was very very successful, one of the big money makers for this publisher, and she demanded that the manuscript be published as it was.... and they did it to keep this author happy and continuing to publish with them. So it was actually a published book.

    And yeah, it was an awful story. It was so perfect because it literally had all the most common mistakes you see in picture books--too many unimportant details, super preachy, adults solving problems for the kids, etc. etc. 🙂



  • I've rushed through all the episodes and now I have to wait for more 😱 Really enjoy this podcast, I find them very motivating. Are there any art-related podcasts you guys can recommend?Just to fill the void until the next 3PP. Cheers.


  • Moderator

    @mr-kite Will Terry’s You Tube videos are great to listen to. You don’t need to watch them, just listen to the majority of them because he mostly just talks and they are super long so you can get stuff done while listening. 😬



  • @burvantill Good shout, I've been on a bit of a binge. Thanks!



  • Two books that impacted me a child are Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein
    and Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel

    I can see how they visually influence my art today, and this podcast has made me think about the way the stories have had an impact as well.

    Thank you for such a helpful and entertaining podcast!


  • SVS OG

    @joen-söderholm Sent one to my grandson today 🙂


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