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A Selection Of Quotes From Ursula Vernon’s Spotlight Panel, Some With Context

[Editor’s note: Yeah, pretty much forget the earlier disclaimers. This time I’m going for exact quotes.]

There’s something refreshing about giving Ursula Vernon a microphone and no set topic list for an hour. With her A/V tech/husband, Kevin Sonney¹, by her side, she projected slides of her artwork, digressing as the mood struck her on each. Oh, and for those that don’t know, Ursula Vernon is also T Kingfisher when writing for adults, the difference between them being, T Kingfisher wears a hat. I mean, I’m wearing a hat now, but it’s because my hair … yeah.

Let the quotes begin!

I had a blue period because the only ink bottle I could get the cap off of was blue.
— Explaining why the crested caracara was that color

I just like painting stone.

Sometimes you want to get back to your roots, but not enough to draw humans.
— Explaining why she painted Pen-Guin the Barbarian, decked out for war and murder.

Turnips are inherently funny.

Oh, God, they produce so many eggs.
— On the keeping of chickens

Ursula: The chicken had a tragic backstory …
Kevin: I’m not made of stone.
Ursula: … which lead to multiple adults unironically stating We just want what’s best for the chicken.
— On how they wound up with the Strong Independent Chicken. Also, Kevin is a Disney Princess, animals just flock to him.

I had the grandiose idea of doing steampunk moths.

Oh, the pear
— On seeing the Biting Pear Of Salamanca, which came about because Vernon was drawing a lot of fruit, but was also inspired by how Rob Liefeld draws teeth but again didn’t want to draw a person. Most people only focus on the pear and not the fact that it’s clearly a tourist attraction and so the little rodent in the foreground is photographing it. Nearly everybody overlooks the giraffes in the background but come on, you can’t have too many giraffes.

Inspiration knocks on the door occasionally. Spite will bang on the door all year long.

— On what to do if Ursula decides to start another strip the length of Digger. They involve a shovel and an unmarked patch of land out back.

At least it’s prime!
— There are eleven volumes of Dragonbreath, not ten.

It’s all right, the fox can’t hurt you anymore.

Spinning wheels are really hard to draw … but hamster wheels are easy to draw.
— On how a desire to tell a fairy tale became Hamster Princess.

Don’t get me started on potatoes … [Kevin nods pointedly] … the Russet Burbank is an abomination.
— She’s got opinions. This came at the end of a question if her degree in anthropology helps her writings. It lead to the point that you should get the food right, that not everybody eats the same things, and that in general there should be fewer potatoes in your faux-medieval setting.

The answer is always more sauna.
— On consulting with a Finnish folklorist to see if she got details right in The Raven And The Reindeer, and being told that the folklore and food were fine, but there wasn’t enough sauna in the story.

I have much less trouble than is emotionally healthy.
Many children’s book authors are frustrated horror authors.
— On any difficulty she may have code-switching between the two genres. Turns out kidlit authors get told you can’t write that, it’ll scar a kid fairly frequently, leading to frustrated ambition and resentment. All of those scenes get more and more horrifying until they’re ready to explode in a brain-melting cavalcade of madness and terror.

Or, you know, you’re Ursula and just fight with your editor on Twitter. No big².

Spam of the day:

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This spam purports to come from somebody named Orko and … no. Just no.

¹ Ursula and Kevin are capital-M Married, with an innate feel for where the other is, mentally, at any given moment that omega-level psychics would envy. Of course, they mostly use that knowledge to mess with each other for extremely dry comedic effect.

² That’s what she said!

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