An Interview with Art Director Laurent Linn

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by Renee Nolte

Kidlit Correspondent for the SCBWI Houston Space City Scribes



is renowned as a puppet builder/designer and creative director for Jim Henson's MUPPETS, an expert in design, the author and illustrator of DRAW THE LINE, an art director for Simon & Schuster, and a member of the Advisory Council of the SCBWI. When crossing his path, it will be easy to notice he is the Mr. Congeniality of artistic influencers, an upbeat and down-to-earth artist.

Let us get to know him even more right now, shall we?


Question: If you had to pick out of all the things you do, what would be your favorite?

He loves them all, says the variety makes them all special, and that we are different people on different days.

Question: If you had to narrow names down, who would you consider your mentor to be? 

Caroll Spinney. Caroll played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street. I traveled the world to do concerts and events with Caroll and his wife, Debi. I learned so much from him, not just about character and story but also how to appreciate so much of what we do. Caroll had such a fantastic view of life, "Be a Big Bird," he'd say; he was the most caring and giving person.

Question: What is the most challenging aspect of your job? 

That is a tricky question because everything is so much fun to do. I much prefer the creative side of things. A positive challenge would be working on a book with a celebrity. It requires me to use a different way of thinking, especially in a high-profile book. It's something new and requires a new focus, and certain books will get a lot more attention; that could be a challenge because the circumstances are different every single time. It all involves cooperation and collaboration.

Question: What personal attributes are essential for success? 

Everybody is so different, but it's [about] being yourself! I have found that if you try to put yourself in a box, it never works out. The story you write should be your own and come from your own experiences and what you have to say, and not follow some trend or do something you feel someone else would want. It's your own experiences that make a difference, which speaks to success in everything. Be true to yourself.

Question: What factors increase your production? Do you have any tips that may help to serve others? 

Prioritize focus, be kind to yourself, and respect your boundaries of time and energy. It is essential to take the time to ensure you have those boundaries around your creative time.


He is always learning, and part of this growth is making time to read, visit museums and the theater, appreciate architecture, and fill his creative well. Laurent's optimism is contagious; he will inspire and encourage all the attendees at the upcoming conference to keep progressing. He plans to have fun and wants you to know how lucky you are to have a networking group of people who get one another and keep you going. He realizes that everyone is at different ages and stages of development here. Still, we all bring passion to our work, which is extraordinary. When asked what your favorite networking group is, "This, by far, is my favorite community!"