Diary of a Wimpy Kid creator Jeff Kinney reveals his favourite kids’ authors and how his best-selling books have evolved over time.
How does it feel to be 2015’s best-selling children’s author?
Wow! This is a surprise to me, and a very exciting one! I’m so glad that [so many] years in, kids still like the Wimpy Kid books. I’m still having a lot of fun writing them!
Why do you think Diary of a Wimpy Kid resonates with so many youngsters?
I just did a world tour and I asked myself the same question: why is it that a kid in China likes these books the same way that a kid in Brazil and Australia does? I think it’s because the books are about ordinary life experiences that most kids can relate to. Most of us have parents, siblings, pets, teachers, homework – that’s why the stories resonate.
Who were your favourite authors when growing up?
My favourites were Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. They wrote about real-life stuff that I could relate to as a kid. I think they left a deep impression on me, because that’s what I like to write about as well.
How much of your own childhood goes into this series?
I drew a lot of inspiration from my own childhood, especially for the first few books. Now I’m relying much more on my imagination. Sometimes, my kids’ lives influence my work too.
Tell us how you started sketching cartoons and how your style has evolved.
When I started off, I was using pencil and paper, pen and ink. I wasn’t very good at it and my drawings were very inconsistent. But as time went on, technology evolved and now I use the computer as a drawing tool. Now my drawings are more consistent and sharper, which I really like.
What was it like to see Wimpy Kid translated to the big screen?
It was scary, really! When I’m writing a book, I’m totally in control. But to make a movie, you need hundreds of people to bring it to life. I had a big hand in the adaptation and I was on set for about half the time on all three films. We’re hoping to make more!