Victoria Kann is the award-winning illustrator and author of the picture book series featuring the whimsical and effervescent character, Pinkalicious as well as the co-executive producer of Pinkalicious & Peterrific on PBS Kids. Victoria co-authored and illustrated the first two books, Pinkalicious, Purplicious as well as the play, Pinkalicious The Musical. She wrote and illustrated Goldilicious, Silverlicious, Emeraldalicious, Aqualicious, Peterrific, and is working on several more books about the adventures and antics of Pinkalicious.
The book, Pinkalicious, has impacted the lives of countless children in such a positive and joyful way. It is a story that can be read over and over again with easily relatable and amusing characters and illustrations that are both engaging and whimsical. So thrilled to be given the opportunity to interview the incredibly talented author and illustrator, Victoria Kann.
I went to The Rhode Island School of Design and studied illustration. Before I wrote and illustrated children’s books, my artwork was commissioned for the covers for many magazine and newspapers, including The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, Business Week, Newsweek and Time. I also taught at The Rhode Island School of Design, Parson’s School of Design and The School of Visual Arts.
What was the inspiration for the Pinkalicious character?
The story of Pinkalicious was inspired by my daughters who love cupcakes and the color pink, and never seem to get enough of either one. I wrote it as an April Fools’ joke and sent it to my friends and family telling everyone that my daughter had turned pink after eating too many pink cupcakes. Some folks who knew just how much my daughter loved the color pink and pink cupcakes were very, very concerned.
What is your creative process like?
There are a few aspects of the creative process – first I have to come up with a great idea for a story. That comes from listening to kids, my own and others. Watching children play and hearing them talk about what they imagine when they play. Then I always think of “What would Pinkalicious think of this or that?” For example, I might ask myself, “What kind of dog would Pinkalicious want to play with?” Then I will think of the answer. Pinkalicious would want a pinkadoodle of course! Once I write a story, I do all the illustrations for the book. That is a very long process and can take a year or so. My artwork is mixed media so it’s a combination of drawings, photographs, found objects and textures scanned into the computer and then worked on in photoshop.
Did you ever imagine that Pinkalicious would become such a beloved children’s book and turn into a series, TV show, Broadway musical and a spin-off with Peterrific?
The motto for the series is, “Anything is possible!” and “Life is magical!” I firmly believe that. When I first wrote the Pinkalicious story I did not think I would ever have sold over 24 million books, published over 60 books, written an off Broadway musical and be the co-executive producer for the Pinkalicious and Peterrific TV series on PBS kids. See? Anything is possible!!!!!
Do you have any tips (or, tricks!) to get children to develop a love for reading?
Kids love it when they are read to so read as often as possible to your kids. Books with pictures are fun for visual learners. It doesn’t matter what a child reads, whether or not it’s a book or the back of a cereal box, just encourage them to read and engage in a fun discussion about what they enjoy. As kids get older you and your child can read together, your child can read their book and you can read yours. Modeling what you want your child to do and how you want your child to act is the best form of teaching.
What are your favorite books from your childhood?
Madeline, Eloise, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Harriet the spy, Anne of Green Gables. I always loved books with strong female charcters.
What are some recent books that you have read and loved?
I love The Glass Castle. Beautiful Ruins is one of my favorite books, and I became deeply absorbed by The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
When I was a kid I grew up in a small NYC apartment. I once had 2 cats and 13 kittens. I also had four pet ducks, a rabbit, 3 fish, a dog, and a lizard that got away. Not all at once though.
Do you have any words of wisdom for new moms?
Everything is so much better in life when you get to sleep for at least 6 hours in a row. Seriously, joyful living is all about the Zzzzzzz’s!
Your such an inspiration to so many of us but who inspires you?
I am inspired by nature. It fills me with awe. I have a beautiful garden with lots of roses, dahlias, zinnia’s, and sunflowers. I try to attract as many butterflies, yellow finches and hummingbirds as possible.
Any future plans in the works for the Pinkalicious series or for you as a writer?
I continue to work on Pinkalicious + Peterrific books. In fact Peterrific was published last year. Pinkalicious at the Fair came out in January. Pinkalicious and the Pirates came out in June. Pinkalicious and the Amazing Sled Run will be out Oct 02, 2018 and Pinkalicious and the Flower Fairy is coming out Dec 31, 2018.
How many children do you have?
I have two daughters.
What is your idea of a perfect day in your hometown? Any favorite spots?
I like to start my day with a run or a walk. The beach is my favorite route. In the mornings I often speak with the WGBH, who is producing the The Pinkalicious and Peterrific TV series and the animation company that is doing the artwork for the show from my home office. The animation company is Sixteen South and they are in Belfast. We have video conference calls which are fun because I love to see their work, their smiling faces and hear their accents. If I have time I try to pick up lunch at Organika or Green and Tonic. Both places are my favorite spots for lunch. Then I go back to my office and work, work, work. If I get a break, my daughter and I like to go to Terrain and do a ‘sensory tour’. We sniff the candles, listen to the plants growing, and try to find soft blankets and sweaters to touch. Once we feel refreshed, we go back home focus on our various projects.