Editor's Note: This is one of a continuing series of interviews with notables in the creative industry. This week, we talk with Bob Staake – American illustrator, cartoonist, children's book author and designer.
#1 What is your primary job title?
#2 Who or what inspires you?
Sounds trite, but EVERYTHING.
#3 What do you think about when alone in your car?
I’m never alone in my car, but often while in the backseat I often think “boy, my driver sure is going bald."
#4 Share a life lesson you learned?
Wait at least 24 hours before emailing a death threat to your publisher.
#5 Favorite period of history?
I have no favorite periods, per se, but I am rather attached to a few very special commas.
#6 What projects are you working on right now?
New Yorker covers, 9 children’s books, a novel, and hopefully by November I’ll finish carpeting the studio loft.
#7 Describe your personal style.
I have no personal style, but basically I try to pass myself off as a hobo so nobody bothers me on the street.
#8 What tech tools do you use in your work?
Adobe LOVES when I say this: Photoshop 3.0.
#9 When did you know you'd found your calling?
When I discovered that I could write and illustrate stupid stories and staple them together so they vaguely resembled books. Once I found a way to turn a page into a page into a page, I was hooked.
#10 What's your super power?
The ability to bake the most awesome chocolate chips cookies without a recipe — and 50% less chocolate chips.
#11 Peanut Butter: Creamy or Chunky?
I refuse to answer this on the grounds that it might increaminate me. Oh, damn — I gave it away!
#12 What makes you happy?
I LOVE solving problems. Give me a door that doesn’t close right and I’ll fix it. Such a simple thing, but I honestly enjoy working things out, determining what the problem is, and then fixing the whole thing.
#13 What do you do to relax?
I read, I paint, i make things with wood. i love movies and can watch the same one over and over 70 times. my family and friends think that sounds crazy, but I learn something EVERY time i watch a film.
#14 Your place of birth?
I'm convinced this is a thinly-veiled effort to access my bank password, but I’ll play along: Santa Monica, California
#15 Favorite artist or art movement?
SO many - but l’ll say Alvin Lustig if only I hope readers of this interview will Google him.
#16 Share a funny moment from your career?
I recently illustrated a Little Golden Book by Margaret Wise Brown. Believe it or not there was scene where I had to show a pig run over by a steamroller. I illustrated the scene in the most “tasteful” way I could, but then my editor asked “Bob, could you make the pig look FLATTER?"
#17 Color of the car you drive?
A black Porsche, but it was gray before I crashed it.
#18 Any new skills you'd like to learn?
Would LOVE to play the bass guitar like Bootsie Collins — which means, of course, that i should probably first buy a bass guitar.
#19 How do you get your news?
I read a lot - the Washington Post and New York Times. The New Yorker. If you press it into my face, I’ll read it.
#20 Advice to other creatives?
In the beginning, you'll have to do a lot of uncreative work just to pay the bills. Just pay the bills as fast as possible and MOVE ON!