Jacob Grant Interview – 50 States (Illinois)

August, 2017
Reading Time
4 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

Jacob Grant – “the creative people I’ve met and befriended in this town were the inspiration I needed to give this career a chance.”

For the 20th Instalment of our 50 States series, Creative Chair is in Illinois talking to illustrator/author Jacob Grant.

Jacob writes and illustrates children’s books, so we caught up with him to see how living and working in Chicago, Illinois has influenced his work.

You can see more from Jacob Grant on his website and Behance.

Selfie Jacob Grant Illinois by Jacob Grant

Tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you do

I’m an author and illustrator who makes picture books for the very young. I live with my wife and baby boy in Chicago and have been working from my home studio, drawing, painting, and writing for the past six years. Somehow this has turned into an actual career! I’m the author and illustrator of Through With The Zoo, Cat Knit, Little Bird’s Bad Word, Scaredy Kate, and Bear’s Scare which is coming in 2018. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Feiwel and Friends at Macmillan, Bloomsbury, and Penguin Random House.

Little Birds Bad Word

How has your state influenced the work that you do?

I’ve been in Chicago for the entirety of my career as a picture book maker and worked here as a graphic designer prior to that. Like so many people in this town, I grew up elsewhere in the Midwest and migrated here for the opportunity and culture the city offers.


I have zero doubts that moving to Chicago is still one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, and the creative people I’ve met and befriended in this town were the inspiration I needed to give this career a chance. I couldn’t have done it without them and without this place.

“I’m finding the more books I make, the more I appreciate each of them for what they are”

Cigar Box Guitar by Jacob Grant

Of your own work, what is your favourite project and why?

The next one! To be honest, my feelings for past projects constantly fluctuate as publishing is an incredibly slow process. Usually, by the time a book comes out, it’s been over a year (or two) since I dreamed up the original idea. It’s not always easy to be enthusiastic about the thing I made 12 months back, but I’m finding the more books I make, the more I appreciate each of them for what they are. The project I’m most excited for at this moment is my new book, Through With The Zoo, which will be on shelves November 14.

Through With The Zoo

The story follows a goat that lives in a petting zoo, who wants personal space. Personal space is important! Also, I was able to sneak my toddler onto the back cover of the book. (If you look at my portfolio, he’s the little guy at the back of the mob of wild children.)

The 100th 366 Award goes to Jacob Grant for his outstanding creative work.

Through-With The Zoo Feiwel Friends by Jacob Grant

And finally, if you died and got reincarnated s a song, what would that song be?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love music – a huge variety of it. But we’re talking about one song that I’ll be for all of time? That sounds terrible! If I can hardly appreciate my own work a year after I make it, surely I can’t commit to any one sound for eternity. Well, maybe some James Brown.

Get Up Offa That Thing"
Get Up Offa That Thing (1976)
James Brown
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What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic playlist featuring 160 songs and counting.

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Thank You

Creative Chair Founder
Illinois with Jacob Grant