I've been a fan of Scott Campbell's for a number of years, but now I can't remember how I originally came across his work. He has a distinctive watercolor cartoon-y style that appeals to me, and I was pleased as punch when I found out in 2011 that he would be illustrating his first children's book, Zombie in Love (written by Kelly DiPucchio). I had the chance to meet him that year at SPX when I was visiting DC, and I had my library's copy of the book signed for the students.
Fast forward a few years to this summer and Scott finally published his very own children's picture book, Hug Machine! It is an adorable book about the Hug Machine, a boy who is so very good at hugging that he goes around town hugging everyone and everything. I read the F&G (folded & gathered; kind of like a full-color picture book ARC) over the summer and loved it immediately. It's perfect for preschool, but as an adult it's a wonderful little reminder of the power of the hug. (And it's scientifically proven that hugs are good for you, your mood, and your brain.)
Scott wasn't at SPX this year so I was really excited that he was going to be at Politics and Prose. In anticipation of his visit, I thought it would be fun to create a Hug Machine ring from Shrinky-Dink paper. His long arms would be perfect wrapped around your finger, don't you think? Unfortunately, I'm not a pro at Shrinky-Dinks and his arms folded in on themselves during the heating process. I tweeted a picture of it to Scott and this is what he tweeted back:
Scott mixed up his presentation with a slideshow of his artwork (including some pictures of his childhood work), a reading of Hug Machine, some talk about how the book was made, and an art demonstration (which the kids always love).
[Scott loves to hug!]
[early sketches of Hug Machine]
[Hug Machine hugging a TV (the show is "Dogs in Boots Hugging")]
[I "gifted" Scott the noodly Hug Machine Shrinky Dink]
[I had Scott draw in my illustrators' sketchbook again: the illustration on the left was done at SPX in 2011, and the one on the right was done at the P&P event.]
More pictures from Scott's visit to P&P can be found at my flickr account.