The Smile Shop has been nominated for the Greenaway Medal 2021 and I am not surprised. Each page is an absolute delight – packed with little details to discover and enjoy with each reading. I’m very lucky to have a piece to share by Kitamura about how he spends a typical working day.
A small boy is planning how to spend his first ever pocket money when disaster strikes and he’s left with only one coin. His day seems to be ruined until he sees a Smile Shop. In a surprise ending, the world is put to rights and suddenly the whole world is smiling again!
This is such a special book which promotes the ideal that kindness is free – money can’t buy everything.
Satoshiʼs working day and his studio
When Iʼm working on a picture book, I work for long hours every day. I usually go to bed early, like 9 pm, and get up around 4 oʼclock in the morning and start to work when it is still dark. When the weather is good I look at the moon or stars with a binocular, watch the sunrise or listen to the birds singing from the balcony. I like the quiet time in the morning. The advantage of starting early is that I can concentrate better and continue in that way for the rest of the day.
I buy a roll of water colour paper and put it in the holder that I made for myself.
I stretch the paper across the table and draw on it.
When I finish a drawing I cut the paper and pull out more paper for the next drawing. I used to use sheets of paper, but some years ago I found that I can work better with the rolls.
When Iʼm not working on books I spend a lot of time building things out of different kinds of wood. I make tables, shelves etc, and in fact almost everything I use in my studio. Last autumn when I had a show at a gallery I made lots of picture frames.
Sometimes I work on sculptures, too. I have lots of carpentry tools and pieces of timber and my friends say that my studio looks more like a cabinetmakerʼs.
THE SMILE SHOP by Satoshi Kitamura out now in hardback (£12.99, Scallywag Press)
Absolutely fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing your world with us.
If you haven’t already discovered Kitamura’s fantastic and discussion-starting books, what are you waiting for?
*Many thanks to Scallywag Press for letting me share this special piece on my blog*