Interview | An interview with Jamie Cosley

Jamie Cosley is an illustrator whose name you may already be familiar with. One-half of the dynamic duo that is Brown and Cosley, Jamie has worked alongside author Russ Brown on a number of titles – two of which Matthew James has had the pleasure of publishing. The most recent of those books is Monsters in My Maths Book, a story of a young boy troubled by invisible monsters who follow him wherever he goes. Jamie brought this vibrant and imaginative world to life with his work, just as he did with The Mechanics of Mechanicsville last year.

With Monsters… set for release on August 2nd, I thought it would be a good idea to have a chat with Jamie about the book, his work and ‘X’.

Hi, Jamie! Monsters in my Maths Book is coming out in just a few weeks. How does it feel to get this the book out there?

Very excited!  Monsters will always hold a special place in my heart because it gave me the opportunity to go crazy with wacky character designs.  I have so many favorite monsters!

You did some new illustrations for this edition of the book, including a wonderful new cover. Is this something you felt you needed to do and are you  your harshest critic?

I always hope that the drawings I create today will be better than the ones I did the day before.  I am constantly growing and studying.  There are so many amazing artists out there and the internet helps you study them all.  

You’ve worked on a lot of different and fantastic projects over the years, but how do you approach illustrating a children’s book? Have you got any tips for would-be illustrators out there?

Working with Russ has been a tremendous blessing because we both love the same things – Star Wars, LEGO, Disney and Mr. Men!  I typically start by filling up sketchbooks with character designs and thumbnails of important scenes from the story.  I’ll then run those by the author/editor to make certain we are all on the same page.  My best advice is to draw every single day and always take the time to celebrate the little victories of life.  At the end of the day, those mean more than you think!  It’s perfectly normal to get discouraged from time to time.  Just don’t stay discouraged.  Find that silver lining and keep going!  

You’ve worked with Russ on a few different projects, most recently The Mechanics of Mechanicsville. Mechanicsville, VA is quite close to where you live. What was it like bringing The Mechanics to life?

It was so cool bringing that book to life.  Russ created a magical tale and I got to include some local businesses into my illustrations.  I cannot thank Russ enough for his friendship and for introducing me to you guys.  The book sold really well in Mechanicsville as you can probably imagine.  I also received a lot of local press in the way of newspapers and TV.  

Speaking of your other projects; what was the most exciting thing you’ve gotten to work on?

Star Wars!  Last year I got to work on three cards sets from Topps/Lucasfilm and I just got approved to work on two more sets that will be out later this year – one is called Star Wars Masterworks.  Drawing those characters is a dream come true.

That is exciting! Your continued work with Russ has lead to the formation of ‘Brown & Cosley Children’s Books’ too. Are you two working on something new at the moment?

Always working on new stuff.  Russ and I created a new character called Eli Bowheart that’s a lot of fun (he appears on our shared Patreon page) and he and I also collaborate on a comic called Wally D which appears in Walt Disney World magazine every month….and there are a few other things in the works.  Hopefully more projects with Russ and Tiny Tree!  So proud to be a part of this new line of books.  I love the name and the design.  I’m here for as long as you will have me!    

Monsters in My Maths Book is the first title to be released through Matthew James’ Tiny Tree imprint. The book is available to pre-order now. Order now to receive it ahead of its release date on August 2nd.