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I’ve been wanting to do a book with Ryan Sias because his illustrations are so cartoony, bubbly and fun. Ryan’s free weekly Sias Studios emails feature creative worksheets with new characters I always want to call my own. But I can’t. They’re his. But they can be YOURS, too, because anyone can receive his free doodle and story pages by signing up at SiasStudios.com.

pizzaspace

(A PIZZA SPACESHIP! Why didn’t I think of that??? ANCHOVY ALIENS! PEPPERONI FROM PLUTO!)

Ryan’s new book SNIFF! SNIFF! just landed on my front porch and I could not resist this cuddly little doggie with the huge honker. How adorable! The bold, sketchy outlines and bright colors will attract the youngest readers with this tale of true friendship and love.

The curious star of the story gets into all kinds of mischief with “SNIFF, SNIFF” being a recurring theme. Repetitive phrases help new readers recognize words…and also practice their onomatopoeia out loud. The story is told through action and play while also showing kids all about having a pet. (Not easy, but rewarding!) A really fun read-aloud with lots to look at!

sniffsniff

Hey, do you want to learn how to draw this cute fella? Well, do you, boy? Yes, you do! YES, YOU DO!!!

Sniff_p01

Ryan, what were your thoughts behind the design of your dog and how did you accomplish them?

For my Dog I wanted the design to be animated, super cute with a BIG NOSE (but not a gross nose). Originally he was more normal dog proportions, but the more I drew him, the bigger his head and nose got. When I create characters I draw them again and again and quicker each time, to get a loose and fluid design. Then “Ta da!” I end up with the final design!

I wanted him to look like pure energy and love. To have tons of expression and while he was being bad, not look mean but full of curiosity and wonder.

The dog doesn’t have a name in the book, but does he have a name in your head?

In my head his name is Simon, which is the dog I dedicated the book to. He was my BFF and a golden retriever. He has the attitude of the dog in my book. Full of joy and love plus a destructive side. Here is a photo from ’95 of me and Simon.

Simon_and_Ryan

You offer fun weekly drawing lessons and creativity activities for kids, delivered via email. We all know art education is shrinking in some school districts. Why do you think art education is so important?

To me art education is THE most important because it teaches abstract problem solving, and that is the key to a kid’s success in life. I am not saying every kid needs to be a painter, but learning how to think “outside” the box will grant success in any field. Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein were amazing abstract problem solvers.

So since arts are getting cut, I have developed Sias Studios free weekly emails. They’re designed to promote creative thinking and foster children’s imaginations. Our original art projects encourage kids to invent their own stories and make art without boundaries. We provide a springboard for children to dive into artistic discovery!

Well, the springboard is strong enough for adults, too! I know I enjoy jumping in every week! SPLASH! SPLASH!

Ryan, you happen to be dyslexic, which I find amazing considering your profession. How do you overcome the difficulties of Dyslexia as an author?

Short answer: A lot of people go over my work to make sure it’s all spelled and punctuated correctly.

Long answer: My mom is a teacher and had me tested in first grade, so i’ve known my whole life and I’ve grown to see Dyslexia as an advantage—as a creative my brain works differently than a lot of people. A lot of huge creatives are dyslexic: Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Picasso, Jim Carrey and John Lennon to name a few. It didn’t get in their way. I can always find people to spell check, but not everyone knows how to use their creativity.

For books, I am lucky that I write and Illustrate, so I let my artwork do most of the talking. Then I use words to fill in what I can’t show. In my new book SNIFF! SNIFF! it’s mostly visual with just 12 words.

But that is not to say it’s easy for me. My problem comes through in emails, which have errors, which is a REAL problem at first, because I’m emailing editors who are spelling kings! So I have to have those emails gone over also. As my relationships progress, they quickly learn that I am dyslexic (also I tell them pretty early on) so they understand. I also have a great agent who helps fill in the holes.

So while it is more work for me, I just know I can’t send anything out with out a group of people checking it and rechecking it.

I think what you accomplish is incredible considering this disability! Thank you for sharing your creativity with us.

Ryan’s also sharing a copy of SNIFF! SNIFF! with a lucky winner.

Leave a comment below to enter. In the comment, tell us what you think the doggie’s name is. I’ll call him Mr. Scruffles. (One comment per person, please. No taking “Mr. Scruffles,” either.)

A random winner will be selected in two weeks! Good luck! 

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My Books

Coming soon:


TIME FLIES
"7 ATE 9/PRIVATE I" BOOK #3
illus by Ross MacDonald
Little, Brown
April 26, 2022

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