David Kirk - Illustrator
David Kirk is the creator of the much-loved Miss Spider series. The books include Miss Spider’s Tea Party, Miss Spider’s Wedding, and Little Miss Spider. The series becomes an animated show, Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends, on Nick, Jr., in fall 2004. David also creates toys and furniture. His other books include the futuristic Nova’s Ark and the Little Biddles series. He lives in New York state with his family.
RIF: Have you always been a fan of bugs and robots?
David Kirk: Yes, always. My love of robots started when I was two and a half, and my brother got a robot for Christmas. I adopted him, and he became a big part of my early fantasy life. My mother saved drawings I did from that time that already featured robots.
I’m not sure when I began to love bugs. By kindergarten I know I was catching big praying mantises in the local ditch, but I assume I was interested before that. I think all kids realize what special creatures bugs are. They’re like tiny aliens on Earth, so different from us.
RIF: Do you have a favorite character that you've created?
DK: I’m proud of all the ones that are out now, and of those I’m kind of fond of Spiderus, the bad guy. He’s such an excellent stinker. Still, my best characters and stories are waiting to get out into the world. I’m hoping in the next few years to introduce lots of the new stuff I’ve been writing.
RIF: Miss Spider is now a TV star. Will she ever be a movie star?
DK: Goodness, I certainly hope so. You can see in the TV show [Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends, on Nick, Jr. beginning September 7] that a feature wouldn’t be a big stretch, but as much as a movie would be fun, I think TV is an even better home. Every day kids are going to get a visual feast in Miss Spider, and the stories are wonderful and exciting, but still sweet.
RIF: Is Miss Spider painted by hand? How long does it take you to do a painting for a book?
DK: I had been painting the Miss Spider books in oils up until this year. That involved me working in my studio for ten or twelve hours a day for about a year on each book. After the first three books, I hired an assistant, which took a few months off of the process.
RIF: Nova's Ark was done on a computer. How was that compared to painting by hand?
David Kirk: Nova’s Ark was my first project that used 3-D CGI. Though it was only seven years ago, it seemed very adventurous and exciting to be using that new technology.
RIF: Does writing come to you as easily as art does?
DK: Art was first, and writing came later. My art always had a storytelling element, so the story telling in words is different, but not unnatural for me. It gets easier every year, and I’m working on short stories and novels for children that I hope to publish someday soon.
RIF: At the end of Miss Spider's Tea Party, you made yourself a character as a slug. Why were you a slug?
DK: I’m not a slug. I resent that! I’m a plump green caterpillar. Don’t you think I look nice?
RIF: What advice do you have for kids who want to be artists or writers?
DK: Work hard and be serious. Don’t waste your time on the Internet or playing video games. Emulate the art and the writing you love for as long as it takes to figure out how it’s done. Then work out how to do your art in a new way that suits just you. It won’t matter how talented you are if you aren’t devoted.
RIF: Are you working on any upcoming projects?
David Kirk: I’ve got all sorts of projects. A couple of fantasy novels, a bunch of picture book characters to develop, some baby stories, more TV show ideas. I wish I had more hours to work. That’s why I want to tell you to work hard when you’re still in school. You’ll never have so much time and freedom again!
Get in touch with David Kirk!
c/o Callaway Editions, Inc.
54 Seventh Avenue South
New York, New York 10014
Learn more about David Kirk at RIF's Art of Reading Page.