Nick Bruel, author and illustrator of the "Bad Kitty" series, discusses how he knew he wanted to be a writer and what he likes best about writing picture books. This video is part of the NBC Learn original series "Writers Speak to Kids."
Writers Speak to Kids- Nick Bruel
JENNA BUSH HAGER, reporting:
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
NICK BRUEL: I grew up wanting to be one of those guys who had the comic strips in the newspaper because I thought what an amazing job to be able to write and illustrate a story that appeared in a newspaper for tons of people to see each and every day. So that's what I did, and I did that in second grade, and I did that in third grade. And I remember being in fourth grade and I wrote the whole series of stories called The Adventures of the Invisible Family. And the great thing about writing a series of stories called The Adventures of the Invisible Family as it turns out, is that an invisible family is very easy to draw. So Mr. Invisible was just a jacket and shirt and tie and pants, and Mrs. Invisible was a house dress, and the dog was invisible. So all I had to draw was a dog collar that floated around in midair. And I just kept on writing and drawing in fifth grade and sixth grade and middle school and high school and college and to this day and it's because I've always just loved it so much.
BUSH HAGER: What inspires you?
BRUEL: The inspiration I find for my stories is the same inspiration now as it was when I was in first grade and that is reading other people's books. One of the secrets to being a writer is that you have to read as much as you possibly can. And I understand that there are kids out there who are listening to this and they hear this each and every day from their teachers and their librarians, and the reason they say this is because it's true. But if you're a writer, the specific reason why this is because it's true, say you read book. You finish the book, you close the book, you put it down and set aside and you say to yourself, “Wow, that was an amazing book! I love that book! I can't wait to tell everybody to read that book!” If you can then ask yourself the question why was that book so great, why did I love that book so much. When you find the answers, you can use that in your own writing. As for Bad Kitty, the inspiration I need to find Bad Kitty is basically not just observing my own cat because my own cat is good, but it's actually observing kids because here's one of the secrets that I have to disclose about Bad Kitty. When I'm writing a Bad Kitty story, I do not think of Bad Kitty as a cat, I think of her as a little kid who happens be shaped like a cat.
BUSH HAGER: What do you like best about writing?
BRUEL: I love the idea of being able to write something down on paper or to draw something on paper, and then look at it and realize that until I wrote this on paper, until I drew this onto this paper, it never existed until I did this. This story that I just wrote never existed in the entire history of the universe until I wrote it. This drawing that I just made or this painting I just made it, it never existed until the in the entire history of universe until I did it. And it really sometimes feels as if I'm taking something out of thin air, out of whole cloth, so something that was originally just a thought or an idea or an inspiration in my head and then I made it real. And that's always very exciting for me.
WASHINGTON - Roye Okupe didn't read comic books growing up in Lagos, Nigeria. Comic book shops weren't around. Instead, Okupe was introduced to superheroes through Saturday morning cartoons such as "Transformers" and "X-Men."