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  • Tom LaBaff

:60 w/ Creative Director Mark Tuchman


Episode #7 One-Minute Nuggs -

How much inspiration can be packed into a 60 second video interview?

One-Minute Nuggs is home to the shortest interviews on the interwebs where I interview thought leaders in the publishing industry with a speed round of Q&A.

Today’s episode is with Mark Tuchman, creative director at School Library Journal.

Mark’s answers in full:

Q: What do readers look forward to most with each issue?

A: The heart of our magazine is our children’s book reviews. Though this is the reason they subscribe, my job is to draw attention to the features in the front of the book.

One of my personal favorite things we have done was presenting features in graphic (comic) format. One notable collaboration was with the cartoonist Gary Dumm (best known for his work on American Splendor). I wrote scripts adapted from article submissions and Gary made these fantastic comics! It was a blast and something I am proud of.

Besides work on the print magazine, I create graphics and logos for other projects like our blogs, SLJ-TV, etc. I created graphics for a fun tournament called “Battle of the Kids Books” which just ended last year after a nine year run.

Q: What's the biggest obstacle when designing a cover for SLJ?

A: Seeing a cover project through feels like walking a tightrope. Often we are assigning illustration while the article is still taking shape. I put a lot of thought into matching the project with an illustrator whose style I feel can best serve the material and then pitch my choices to the editors.

The tightrope part has to do with being the liaison between editors and the illustrator. The editors are ultimately my clients but I also have a responsibility to the illustrators I work with to create an environment where they can do their best work.

Q: What was the strangest reader comment you've ever received?

A: We had a photo shoot of “kidlit” bloggers headlined “This Blog’s for You!” Riffing on the headline, we decided they should be raising a glass at a bar. The editors and I didn’t realize this would be controversial. One reader wondered how he could possibly leave his copy of SLJ out on his desk at the school library where impressionable children could see it. Of course we are a magazine for grown-ups, not children. I hope we haven’t scarred too many children with this risqué cover.

Q: The most memorable book from your childhood years?

A: I loved picture books as a kid. A lot of them in retrospect were not great books. Some notable exceptions included Where the Wild Things Are, The Snowy Day, and Harold and the Purple Crayon. I loved Syd Hoff’s drawings as well as Dr. Seuss’s. A few years after that I was a big collector of Fawcett paperback collections of comic strips and gag cartoons: Peanuts; Andy Capp; BC; Wizard of Id; and MAD!

Thank you Mark Tuchman from School Library Journal!