Kid Toy Designer: Q & A with Jonah Skow
At the young age of 9.5 Jonah Skow designs, creates, and sells his own toy line… look out world he is a force to be reckoned with. Recently, I had the opportunity, with the help of his mother, to digitally interview him… I hope you enjoy getting to know him as much as I did!
Q: How long have you been designing toys?
A: The cats… for about a year.
Q: What life experiences have helped prepare you to design toys?
A: I became interested in sewing by watching my mom sew over the years, and wanted to give it a try.
Q: I saw that you design mostly cats… Why cats?
A: I also tried bears, but they never turned out quite right. Cats just seemed to work.
Q: How do you develop each cat’s personality/characteristics?
A: I pick out fabric prints and colors that catch my eye, and usually name the cats based on the fabric choices, names that remind me of those prints or colors. I play around with different fabric and eye color combinations until I find the perfect ones for each cat. My brother and I play with and speak for each and every cat, both as it’s being made and after completion. We have a blast creating adventures for all the cats. I have even drawn some comics and directed some videos of the cats’ various adventures.
Q: What tools do you use to design?
A: Tracing paper for the patterns, fleece fabric, thread, buttons for eyes, embroidery floss for the face, a sewing machine, pins, a needle, scissors.
Q: What is your favorite design that you have made so far?
A: I love “Orange Tigrine” (which Mom bought because she couldn’t bear to see him leave!) and “Dickie” (one of my more recent creations), photos of both attached.
Q: What is the hardest part about designing?
A: Cutting out and pinning the fabric pieces for each cat is the most difficult part, making sure each piece is cut smoothly and that they line up correctly with the other matching pieces (Mom will help me out with this step a lot of the time).
Q: What is next in your design career?
A: I plan to keep creating new cats, and also moving into the world of editing video, creating T-shirt designs, and writing and illustrating a hilarious book about a clever fox that gets beaten at his own game, which I plan to self publish. I am also working a lot on stop-motion animation, mostly with my Lego collection. My ultimate goal is to become a Lego designer when I grow up (even though it might mean I would have to move away to Denmark!).
Jonah’s artistic ability has always amazed me. From the moment he knew what a crayon on paper (or the walls, for that matter) could do, his creations have not stopped. It is clear he is destined for some kind of future in the arts, and we are happy to encourage it. It has been a thrill to encourage him along the way, and see the pride in him when he receives positive attention for his efforts.
It might be also interesting to note that Jonah’s designs to an extent are born of the fact that Mom and Dad are very adamant that the kids earn the things they want. If there are things they want to buy, big or small, they must find a way to earn the money to buy those things themselves. Before we set up his Etsy shop, we also set up a shop with cafepress.com, a web site where the kids sell their designs on T-shirts, hats, mugs, stickers, etc., and Jonah has also had a few very successful local art shows/sales, and has sold many original paintings. So far with his earnings he has bought himself a digital camera, iPod, Nintendo Wii, trampoline, and countless Lego sets, and still has a steadily growing savings account! His entire family is very, very proud of him.
Jonah’s designs are available in his Etsy Store. Check it out!