Q & A with Ethan Long!
Do you have a question for Ethan about his career? His process? His days as a young artist? If you ask, Ethan will promptly answer and post it below. If you have a lot of questions, take some time to read The Long Story, Ethan's online autobiography.
Q. Why did you steal my name? It's mine and only mine!
-Ethan from Melbourne, Australia
A: So here's the deal: I was born and given a name. That was on April 2nd, 1968. If you were born after that, then you're out of luck. If you were born before that, talk to my mother.
Q: How long have you been an author?
-Annabelle from Orlando, FL
A: My first book, Tickle the Duck, was published in 2005, so I have been a published author for about 11 years. Before that, I illustrated other peoples writing, but still considered myself an author even though I was unpublished. I hope that makes sense.
Q: I really like your books. They make me laugh. Where do you get your ideas?
-Hannah from Meridan, CT
A: Thank you for the compliment. My brother and sister are the reason I am so funny and it may surprise you that they are both funnier than I am! :) I get my ideas from all over the place. From a funny thing my son will say, to waking up with an idea in my head from out of nowhere. I get ideas in the car, in the shower, eating dinner, laying in the yard, playing with the dog, but I will say that most of my ideas come to me when I'm not even trying to come up with ideas.
Q: I am interested to find and read your books in the library so I can get some tips. I wonder if you provide critiques for picture books for fees?
-Alicia from Titusville, FL
A: The best direction for you, Alicia, is to connect with the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators). They have endless amounts of great information and opportunities for critiques.
Q: I am a recent graduate from The Art Center and excited and anxious at the same time about starting a freelance career. How did you start out?
-Todd from Los Angeles, CA
A: Congratulations on graduating from The Art Center! How did I start out freelancing? By taking a big gulp of air and jumping off the cliff. You can have a part time job to support your freelance or a spouse's income as a backup, but regardless, you still have to have the guts to make the leap. The ups and downs are too great to take it lightly so you really have to go into it with a lot of love, loads of support from friends and family and a vision of what you want to accomplish. I wanted to be a children's book author and illustrator, but I had to work at a picture framing store, UPS, and with my uncle building a house. As a freelancer, I made $5000 my first year, $25,000 my second year and up and up. It just takes time. The great Bill Mayer once told me, "Keep going!" and that's what I have done. So I say to you, "Keep going!"
Q: Why in the world would you create a French wiener dog? Dachshunds are German!
-Annette from Bethesda, MD
A: Calm down, calm down. I know that Dachshunds are German, but the answer is quite simple – a German wiener dog isn't funny. A French wiener dog named ZeFronk, which in comedy-speak means The Frank. Now THAT'S FUNNY!