Meet Author Matthew Porter
Your latest book, The Thunderbolt Express was just released. It’s a bit different than many of your other board books. Can you tell us about your process for this one?
The Thunderbolt Express is my first picture book. I’ve done lots of board books and a book of poetry but never a story book so the process for this one was quite different than the others. I wrote the story first with the idea that each page had to have something interesting going on in the illustrations. Then I trimmed the words down as much as I could so the whole thing moves along quickly like a speeding train. Then I drew all the pictures, made adjustments, and finally got my paint brushes out. I use acrylic paint on wood and black ink for the lines.
How would you say a concept goes from just that to a full blown book?
I tend to have vague ideas running through my brain for a while and then I’ll scribble things on bits of paper and take it from there. I have a cork wall in my studio where I storyboard everything out and I find that very helpful.
You have worked with several publishers now. What have you learned about the publishing process and any advice you may give to someone interested in being an author?
If you want to be an author then you have to just get on with it and be an author. If you want to be a successful author then you need skin as thick as a rhinos and lots and lots of luck.
Are you working on any new book projects or just focusing on this new release?
I’m finishing up the sketches for the next MW book right now. It’s called, The Rise and Fall of Oscar the Magician. It’s set before, during, and after, the events that happen in the Thunderbolt Express book. It basically tells you how Oscar ends up in the situation he does in the Thunderbolt book and what happens to him afterwards.
What’s your biggest obstacle being a creative person and having to work under deadlines?
Having a deadline is better than not having a deadline. Without a deadline I’d be constantly redoing everything and therefore never get anything done.
Matthew will be signing his new book, The Thunderbolt Express this winter at UCU. Stay tuned for a detailed schedule!