Interview with Author/Illustrator Bob Boyle

Bob Boyle is the Emmy Award winning creator of the Nick Jr. series, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and is author/illustrator of the children’s book, Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String. He also created the Disney series, Yin! Yang! Yo! and was a Producer and the Art Director of The Fairly OddParents.
Since this blog is about offering inspiration to writers and artists, my first question for you is, do you have a favorite quote?
I actually have a Word doc. on my desktop that I cut and paste quotes into whenever I find something inspirational. Because I’m a big sports fan, many of the quotes are from athletes and coaches, but I think they relate well to anyone pursuing a dream.
I don’t have a favorite but here are a couple I really like:
“People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit.” – George Allen, Pro Football Coach

“In business or in football, it takes a lot of unspectacular preparation to produce spectacular results.” – Roger Staubach, Hall of Fame Football Player
Sports have played a big part in my life. I find the preparation, training, and determination of athletes to be incredibly inspiring.

You have won many awards and one of them being an Emmy, WOW!!! This is a HUGE accomplishment! Is there any advice or words of encouragement you’d like to offer others who are trying to follow in your footsteps?
Sticking to the sports theme, I think that the folks at Nike provide the most important bit of advice- “Just Do It!”
I have met so many talented people who talk about wanting to do something yet they never follow through. They think that they are not good enough or their idea isn’t right or they need to do more research. All of those things may be true but you’ll never get anywhere until you take the first step of actually doing something.
Make some mistakes. Get them out of the way, learn, and become better with the next thing you do.
And, once you start, make sure that you finish. When you hit a roadblock or tough spot (and we all do), DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t suddenly decide that you can’t do it and try to find some easier path. It’s very easy to create distractions that will lead you away from your goal. Stay focused.
All that advice is stuff that you’ve heard before. And that’s the thing; there are no secrets to success. There are no shortcuts. You need to wake up in the morning with a plan and- “Just Do It!”

If you could be one character you’ve created or worked on, whom would it be and why?
I’d probably have to go back to a character I created as a kid called Flame Head. Why Flame Head? Because he wore roller-skates and had a giant flame for a head. Come on, how cool would that be!

Bob, you’re hilarious on so many levels!  Who do you think inspired you to become the funny man you are today?
If I’m funny at all, it’s probably because I got my head stuck in between the rungs of a banister when I was a kid. It must have cut off the flow of oxygen to my brain just long enough to make me ‘funny’.
Seriously though, I just like to try to find the humor in most situations. It’s probably just a defense mechanism to soften the blow of all the hard things in life. I guess I’d rather be laughing than crying.
My Dad wasn’t really funny but he was always happy. He once told me, “I’ve never had a bad day in my life. It’s just that some days are better than others”. I think he was lying to himself but, hey, whatever works!

What did you want to be growing up? Did becoming an author/illustrator come as a surprise?
I’ve always loved comic strips and drawing but, more than anything, I really wanted more to be a pro athlete. I especially wanted to play football for the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, by the time I got to high school, I had stopped growing. I realized that being 5’7 and 120 pounds was going to seriously hinder my chances in the NFL so I started focusing more intensely on cartooning. From that point on all of my dreams were based around telling stories with images. I wanted to become the next Walt Disney or Charles Schulz but I’m happy to say that I’m quite content just being Bob Boyle. Although it would be cool to be cryogenically frozen like Walt Disney!
How would you define your road to success, straight, twisting, full of hills, a mountain, muddy, or lumpy?
It has been, and will continue to be, all of those things. Pursuing your dreams can be difficult. The thing that I think has helped me the most is that I don’t give up very easily.
Since I never made it to the NFL, I have fulfilled my athletic needs by running marathons. I’ve found that running is a great metaphor for life. You only get out of it what you put into it. There will be times where you don’t feel like getting out of bed and running, but if you put in the time, you’ll get better. In order to succeed at anything it takes time, effort, and determination. And a good pair of shoes!

If you could be any super hero for one day, who would it be and why?
I think I’d be more of a transforming robot than a super hero (mostly because I’d look ridiculous in tights).
I would be known as- The Mighty Burrito-Bot. Fighting crime and spreading joy with my burrito based powers! Evildoers would be wrapped in a warm tortilla! Justice would be served with a dollop of sour cream and salsa!
“Guacamole blast, activate!”

Thank you Bob!  Your advice is very uplifting and spot on.  And it would be a dream to be Flame Head, especially because of the roller skates!  If you would like to find out more about Bob you can follow his fantastic blog or check out all of his amazing accomplishments in the links above.  And don’t forget to pick up his new book Hugo because it will be sure to bring bright smiles to a family near you!      

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