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Ryanby Ryan Hipp

When I was very young, I fell in love with the Smurfs—it was when the English-translated European film The Smurfs and the Magic Flute debuted on a weeknight and then heralded in the new Smurfs cartoon on ABC Saturday Morning Cartoons every week thereafter.

Around the same time, I discovered Richard Scarry’s books, and the Mr. Men/Little Miss series by Roger Hargreaves. As long as I can remember, I have found that my passion to write and draw came from the things that I loved.





I have always gravitated towards creating work that will homage the things I love. I will either hide little nods to my past in my writing or art, or in some cases I am completely literal. I refer to the work I do as Nerdcore artwork. Nerdcore is a term derived by a movement in hiphop to use dorky subjects like comic books and video games as references and subject matter in the lyrics or as samples – I apply that same concept to the artwork I do to stay fresh and relevant.

I find inspiration in everything I love, and naturally, as an artist I want to honor and showcase what I love to tell the world more about me. Once a week, I try to illustrate a new piece. Something either current or nostalgic. Its my way of showing my fanbase topics they may not even be aware of and giving these genres a new voice.


As writers and artists, it is important to take what we love—to take what inspires us—and let it reflect back to our audiences.

littlestepscoverRyan Hipp is a published author-illustrator of books for kids from Grand Rapids, MI., honored by the MRA as recipient of the Gwen Frostic Award for work greatly impacting literacy. Ryan is the leading expert in Michigan on fostering visual literacy and creative thought; with 10 years experience and research in the field. He actively gives presentations to aid educators to inspire and motivate young people. Ryan is dedicated to helping kids achieve their goals and overcome life’s obstacles as depicted in his newest book LITTLE STEPS. Visit him at

PrizeDetails (2)

Ryan is giving away an original sketch on bristol board.

Leave a comment below to enter. One comment per person, please.

This prize will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for this prize if:

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  2. You have commented ONCE ONLY on today’s post.
  3. You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge. (You will have to sign the PiBoIdMo Pledge at the end of the event.)

Good luck, everyone!

kickstarterGot a great creative project? Kickstart it! Author-illustrator Ryan Hipp did! is a website that enables artists to pitch a project, collect pledges in exchange for incentives, and finance their creative endeavors.

My friend Ryan Hipp recently went through a personal crisis and emerged triumphant on the other side. He translated that experience into a delightfully charming story, LITTLE STEPS: “Thru the short life-cycle of a caterpillar, we learn life is difficult, yet precious.” In order to bring this project to life, Ryan turned to Kickstarter, and he’s here today to explain the genesis of LITTLE STEPS and his Kickstarter experience.

He’s only a few hundred dollars short of his goal, so I hope you’ll consider backing LITTLE STEPS, too! (I did!)


Ryan, what inspired you to create LITTLE STEPS?

Great Question. Normally, I struggle and struggle to come up with an idea for a good story. But when the idea for LITTLE STEPS came to me, it came to me when I needed it the most, and came to me quite clearly. LITTLE STEPS wasn’t part of my plan, but, in a way, that is exactly why it was a perfectly-timed inspiration for me. It was at a point in my life where my plans all fell apart. I’ve had a pretty carefree life up to a point. I guess I had been living my life thinking I was in a protective bubble, and couldn’t see that it was about to pop. Then my life really changed abruptly without warning, and I was a mess after. During the time trying to pick up the pieces and rediscover myself, it dawned on me there was a way to universally sharewhat I learned on my journey through the power of words and pictures—what I know best.

littlestepsHow did LITTLE STEPS become a Kickstarter project?

I knew this project I needed to keep pretty close to my chest. Being much more of a personal expression of myself than any other work I have done, I just didn’t want to expose it to the familiar channels of traditional publishing like my other books. I had to do this one on my own. So that was when I thought of Kickstarter. Kickstarter is allowing me to create the book the way that I need to and 100% on my own terms.

Beyond the Kickstarter seed fund, what are your goals for LITTLE STEPS?

My goals for LITTLE STEPS is to help people. Especially families. If I did my job right, the book will resonate just as much with adults as children. I think LITTLE STEPS carries so many strong themes that anyone can relate to. Life can be really hard, and I tried to make the symbols in the book be applicable to all the myriad struggles, fears, roadblocks, and hardships that we all face. I want LITTLE STEPS to inspire those that read it to overcome anything that is thrown at them. To overcome adversity stoically and be better people when they get to the other side. Life is short, and precious, and we should not waste a single day.

littlesteps2What are some do’s and don’ts you learned about Kickstarter projects?

I have learned a lot about Kickstarter. I meticulously scrutinized before pressing the “start” button, but after dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s for the Nth time, I just decided to roll with it. The best advice I can give is use your network. Start with your social media, your friends and family—and then watch the chain reaction. Word-of-mouth is all you really have with a project like this. The biggest “don’t” I learned is don’t assume your audience understands how Kickstarter works. I try to make it really clear to all that if I don’t hit my goal by the deadline, I lose all the pledges. I try to let them know that it is not a donation, but a pledge—a trade for cool incentives. I also try to let people know that a pledge today only gets charged if the project is a success. Anything you can do to ease people into a pledge helps. A lot of people have intentions to pledge, but the secret is getting them to take the action. Everything rides on the supporters.

Is this a great time to be a creative, or what?!

I think in our modern world, it’s becoming much more obtainable for those who want to shine their light on the world to do so. Technology is a gift of opportunity for those brave enough to take their hopes, dreams, and ambitions into their own hands. I say, be creative first. If you make something truly great, the rest will work itself out.

Thanks, Ryan, for letting us know about your worthwhile project and giving us a behind-the-scenes glimpse at Kickstarter.

You can learn more about Ryan at his website or pledge your support for LITTLE STEPS at!


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As a children's book author and mother of two, I'm pushing a stroller along the path to publication. I collect shiny doodads on the journey and share them here. You've found a kidlit treasure box.

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