Whitman welcomes author and illustrator Timothy Young

Young participated in various activities with the students at Whitman Elementary and talked about some of his career history.

Author and Illustrator Timothy Young asks the students to help him create a new character, just by providing a few physical characteristics. Photo: Matt Pesyna, special to The Sun.

Timothy Young, author and illustrator of eight children’s books — with two more currently in the works —paid a visit to Whitman Elementary School on Thursday, April 19.

Young read a few of his stories out loud — with the illustrations projected on a screen behind him — and discussed his career, which included work on the “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” and “Doug” television shows, creating and sculpting for the Muppets and brainstorming and producing different toys.

Among Young’s creations were the first run of “Simpsons” dolls, where he had to turn the television characters into 3D figures to be sold in Burger King restaurants. He also helped produce a line of dolls called “Meanies,” which spun off of Beanie Babies and poked fun of those toys in a playful way. That included writing poems for the Meanies’ tags.

“For whatever reason, people seemed to like my limericks,” Young said. “So that’s when I started thinking about writing. I just kind of stumbled into it.”

Author and illustrator Timothy Young reads one of his books to staff and students at Whitman Elementary School on Thursday, April 19. Photo: Matt Pesyna, special to The Sun.

Young wrote his first book, “I’m Looking for a Monster,” about eight years ago. He wrote it in his head on a drive in his car. Since then, his love for science fiction and his admiration of other writers has shined through.

“I have a talent for mimicking the style of other people, but still making it my own,” Young said, when students noticed nods to “Star Wars,” “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” and even Dr. Seuss characters in his books.

After taking questions about his career, Young showed the students a little of his drawing skills. Students gave young different characteristics — big eyes or small, smile or frown, horns or no horns and others — and drew up a character from the selected traits. Young later had students and staff scribble randomly on a whiteboard and used those scribbles to create a drawing.

More information about Young, his books and his career can be found at www.creaturesandcharacters.com.