Scott Roberts (also known as Thomas Scott Roberts) is a writer and cartoonist. He’s the creator of the comic Patty-Cake and the author of the fantasy novel The Troubling Stone. He lives in Delaware with his wife, two step-kids, and two dogs.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
That shifted a lot, even then! It could have been anything by Dr. Seuss one week, or the Pooh books another. The Alice books or all the PEANUTS paperbacks we had. Two that stick out strongly, that were read to us in school, were Mio, My Son by Astrid Lindgren, and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. They had a deep and wide impact on my sense of story.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
Now there’s a hard one to pinpoint. I know it when I see it, and it too can change. Any line that makes me want to mark the page, show it to someone, and say “That really says it all, doesn’t it?” For now I’ll say “All who wander are not lost,” from The Lord of the Rings.
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Authors: Charles Dickens, for the richness of his characters—even the smallest, walk-on role.
J. R. R. Tolkien, for the depth of the world he created—the attention to detail.
Mark Twain, who could deliver the funniest observation on human foolishness, and then shock with a moment so real it hurt.
Illustrators: E. H. Shepard—lots of detail, but never too much. He knew when he’d put in just enough.
Dr. Seuss: so individual, so unique.
Gluyas Williams: so little detail, yet still so much information conveyed.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
To tell stories and to bring characters to life. Drawing was a means to that end, but I was not fated for landscapes and still-lifes. And if I forget how to draw tomorrow, I would still need to tell stories.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Practice. Keep at it. You’re always learning. So am I…still. If it doesn’t look right, or read right, don’t put yourself down. Figure out why it didn’t work, and how to make it better. There are always new lessons.