Behind the Book: Mindful Mr. Sloth
last updated 20 September 2021
A worldwide pandemic is one, uncommon, way to slow down a fast-paced life. The phantom need to get from point A to point B in a rush was stripped away just over a year ago, and we were left with the reality that we need to remember to slow down. In an effort to encourage mindfulness, Bright Artist Katy Hudson author-illustrated the lovely book Mindful Mr. Sloth (Capstone). A young girl named Sasha is always rushing through life, until she learns a lesson or two from her new friend, Mr. Sloth. Through an unlikely friendship Hudson reminds us to enjoy the small joys in life, and how our loved ones can help us succeed in doing so. Please enjoy learning more about what into the making of this book!
What inspired the artistic style in Mindful Mr. Sloth?
I was excited to start a new story with my editor, Christianne, at Capstone that had different characters and a new feel. My wonderful agent, Anne, sent me a beautiful color reference when I was experimenting with new story ideas which ended up influencing the final artwork. It was a fun challenge to try a more limited palette.
I’ve always enjoyed playing with ink and paint. Mr. Sloth and Sasha were drawn with a mixture of ink and watercolor, so it felt right to use the same materials when creating the rest of their world.
What inspired Sasha and Mr. Sloth’s friendship?
Mindful Mr. Sloth and Sasha’s story was born from many conversations with Anne, and my editor at Capstone, Christianne. This book was very much a team effort.
We liked the idea of a child trying to play with a slow-moving sloth, and how that dynamic would work. The limitations it would present seemed to hold lots of funny situations to illustrate, but it was also a chance to have a wellness theme in learning the benefits of slowing down and being patient.
What do you love most about author-illustrating books? What was your favorite part of working on Mindful Mr. Sloth in particular?
I love illustrating other people’s words, but there is a real limitless feeling when you get to do both parts yourself. I enjoy being the one who knows the characters and their surroundings best. It’s fun creating their world, personalities, and getting to choose to draw certain elements of the artwork that develop the plot.
For this book, illustrating Sasha’s treehouse was a lovely treat in that I got to draw the treehouse I’d always wanted as a child- complete with a balcony and tire swing! We have a wooden playhouse for my daughter that was used a lot during quarantine, so this also very much informed the interior of Sasha’s house.
Do you personally resonate with needing to slow down? If so, what are some things you do to achieve that?
The story was written and inspired by my experience during lockdown with my husband and daughter. My surroundings (like most people) had become very small. My world was our garden, my work desk (that was in my daughter’s bedroom) and our neighborhood that we walked every day for naptime and daily exercise. I found myself going back to the basics, just being in the garden with my daughter. Not having anywhere to go made our pace of life much slower and quieter. It felt like a positive result of such a crazy time.
Is there anything specific you hope readers take away after reading Mindful Mr. Sloth?
Friendships can come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes sloth-sized! Being opposite to a friend can often bring the most beautiful benefits! Mainly that it’s good to slow down and sometimes to not feel like everything is a race or a competition.