9 Questions with Justin Castaneda

December 19, 2012

You may recall that earlier in the summer, artist and children’s book author Justin Castaneda did five fantastic sketches of Scratch9 characters. We were so excited about his illustrations that when we met him at Kids Read Comics, we asked him to draw a story for the anthology featuring Bektah, the Pharaoh’s cat.

Justin took a time out from working on that story and his numerous other projects to field nine keenly revealing questions from team Scratch…

Bektah by Justin Castaneda

Bektah by Justin Castaneda


Justin Castaneda: My older brother is an amazing artist. When I was younger I wanted to draw like him. He would do these wonderful illustrations for his high school’s newspaper and make his own comics. As we got older he moved into the graphic design field and I kept doodling in my school books.

Scratch9: Your story involves a young prince who makes a grave mistake due to his frustration with school work. What was your worst course in school and what was your worst experience with class work?

Justin Castaneda: I’ll say that my weakest subject in school was Math. I never had a good time with numbers. As far as worst experiences, you ever work long hours on a project whether it’s a term paper you are typing or a piece of art that you are digital coloring and then your computer turns off for no reason and you didn’t save? THAT stinks. Always save, kids. Always.

Bektah and Amam by Justin Castaneda

Bektah and Amam by Justin Castaneda

Scratch9: Which of your behaviors is most catlike?

Justin Castaneda: Hmm are cats nocturnal? I feel I work better at night and stay up pretty late at the art desk. I also like to sleep on my back with my legs and arms in the air. Cats do that too right?

Scratch9: What is the first thing kids should do if they want to become an artist?

Justin Castaneda: First off, you should always be drawing. Constantly moving that pencil on paper will get you in a routine that will be common for you like brushing your teeth. It’s practice, practice, and practice. Also they should find artists who inspire them and take notes on what it is that makes them so great to you.

Scratch9: Bieber?

Justin Castaneda: Gesundheit

Cover art for WHEN I WAS LITTLE TOO by Justin Castaneda

Cover art for WHEN I WAS LITTLE TOO by Justin Castaneda

Scratch9: Do you have one or more pets? If so, tells us about them.

Justin Castaneda: I don’t have any pets. I had a hermit crab once. His name was P.P. It stood for Peter Parker because he had a Spider-Man logo on his shell. He had to leave to save the city from a hamster dressed as a Rhino. I drew him in my Coloring When I Was Little book. I miss him.

Scratch9: What are you working on now?

Justin Castaneda: Right now I just wrapped up my first hardcover book, Heart, which I am real proud of. I also have two When I Was Little projects in the works. That’s all you’re getting out of me for now.

Scratch9: What is your dream project?

Justin Castaneda: I’ve always wanted to be a storyboard artist for an animation studio. I still do. Hopefully one day I will have earned the opportunity to do that. Right now, I am enjoying my art career with the children’s books and these opportunities to work on comics like Scratch9, it’s been great!

L.B. from HEART by Justin Castaneda

L.B. from HEART by Justin Castaneda

Scratch9: Where can our readers find you if they must know more about Justin Castaneda?

Justin Castaneda: Please visit wheniwaslittlebook.blogspot.com and justincastaneda.blogspot.com to find out more about my art and books. And you can also reach me on twitter: @whenuwerelittle.

Thanks, Justin!

Everyone be sure to check out Heart and the When I Was Little series for more of Justin’s amazing work. And stay tuned for 9 more questions from our fantastic anthology artists.

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