The Toymaker Comes To Visit-An Interview with Marilyn Scott-Waters

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In September I went to St. Paul MN to attend The Creative Connection and was sitting in a hotel lounge writing in my notebook when this very cheerful woman came up to me and said, “Oh you have a moleskin. Can I pull up a chair and sit down?”  Never would I say no to such a request. As she sat down she said,” Hi I’m Marilyn from California.”  
And that’s when it all made sense. ” Are you Marilyn Scott Waters The Toymaker?” I asked.
Surprised, she admitted that she was. For the next four days we, the Toymaker and I, had ample time to become friends and I even got to make toys with her. For years I’ve been downloading toys from her site The Toymaker, as well as, making beautiful toys to share from her awesome books. Marilyn graciously sat down for an interview and gave us a look into her creative life.
1. Where did the idea for The Toymaker come from?
I’m always writing little stories about the Toymaker’s Workshop and hope to publish a book of them someday. When I first started freelancing, if I could get all my work done, I would treat myself to a totally fun art project. I started making paper toys just to stay creative. After a while I had a whole closet of them and thought it would be neat to put them on the internet.
2. Which came first for you, drawing or making paper toys and crafts?
Bunches of both! My mom always told us to “Entertain yourself” and we had tons of art supplies as well as the free time and space to make messes. I don’t think kids have that as much anymore.
3. What inspired you to become an illustrator?
I remember seeing a movie about Maurice Sendak and how he got to sleep late and work all night. I thought that sounded like a good life to have. However, I didn’t think that there was a career in it for me. I ended up doing product design for years before finally getting back to my dream of being a published writer and illustrator.
4. Who are some of your favorite author/ illustrators?
Ooh, so hard to pick! I’m drawn to the greats, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Rackham and Henry J. Ford who illustrated the Arthur Lang Fairy Books. Martin and Alice Provensen are wonderful. Alice is in my art group, Studio Five. She’s 92 and still working.
5. Tell us a little bit about your family and the life that you share together?
We all have our manias. My husband builds beautiful guitars and ukeleles as a hobby. Our son loves to build things and paint models. I have paper toys. We live very much like Hobbits. Music, books, food, and good company are better than diamonds.
6. How has the online community impacted your creativity?
I had no idea that would become so popular. It really is a gift. I received so many kind emails from all over the world from families that are making my toys.
7. What have you gained from being a part of such a connected online world?
Besides getting to share in people’s lives online I’ve also been lucky enough to actually meet people in “the big blue room”. We’ve had artists and writers stay at our house for ComicCon.
I also have almost thirty thousand people on my mailing list for my monthly newsletter. It’s neat to think that families all over the world are making things together.
8. Where do you get your ideas from? What inspires you?
Good ideas are everywhere. Libraries inspire me. I have a hefty collection of antique arts and crafts books. I keep a big shopping bag full of paper toy “tests”, just fiddly bits that often grow in to a more polished idea.
I’m also inspired by my artist group, Studio Five. We are a group of eight working illustrators and meet twice a month to share our art and set goals for the next month.
9. What are you working on now?
Right now I am inking up the second Haunted Histories book. I’m writing and illustrating it with J. H. Everett. He’s a historian as well as an amazing writer and illustrator, so it’s been tons of fun to collaborate on this series.
I’m also finishing up the Toymaker calendar for 2013, as well as writing stories and working on the website.
10. What’s in store for you in the future?
I’d love to do an eBook that has interactive toys that go with the story. How cool would it to be reading about a flying machine and be able to download a model of it to make?

Our Resident 6 year old “G” had a few questions of his own to ask his favorite toymaker.

1. What’s your favorite letter? “Mines M because it’s half way between A and Z. Your name starts with M.”
I like to write the letter “M” because it has a lot of swooshes in it. And it starts a lot of nice words like, Mom, Marilyn, Moose and Mittens. Although, “C” is a nice letter too. With the letter “C” you get Cats, Castles, Cookies and Chocolate.
2. What’s your favorite color? I love red and blue.
I like green and red. My studio is painted light sage green. Green is the color of Christmas trees, meadows and spinach soup. Red is the color of valentines, cinnamon bears and apples.
3. Is it OK to trace? 
Yes it is. And it is also very helpful to copy artists that you like. That is one of the ways to get better. I use a light box to do my finished pieces. I do a rough sketch underneath and then trace the clean finished version on top.
4. Do you draw all day long? I like to draw in the afternoons.
I like to draw in the mornings when it is quiet and then color in the afternoon when it gets a bit more hectic. I also like to doodle late at night, just making notes and jotting down ideas.
Thank you so much Marilyn for stopping by Jump Into A Book and sharing your joy of making paper toys with us. Marilyn has a new book out called The Toymaker’s Workshop: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself. This is an incredible book which will have your whole family becoming the most incredible toymakers.
In the past year 750,000 visitors have come to The Toymaker and 7 million toys have been downloaded. Don’t miss the fun. Go make some toys.




This holiday season, give your children the gift that will nurture a lifetime of positive habits; give the gift of a book.
A Year in The Secret Garden
As parents, we want/need quality books with extension activities to help our young ones unplug and create memories. Pulling books from shelves, and stories from pages, is also an important act that will aid in them being life-long readers. Quality books with companion book extension activities are not only work to create special family time, it allows kids to solve the world’s problems without major consequences.
A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book. This delightful children’s book from authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters offers unique and original month-by-month activities that allow readers to delve deeper into the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden! With over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together.
This book will make a great gift and be the catalyst of many hours of family growth, learning and FUN! Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” More details HERE!
A Year in the Secret Garden

47 thoughts on “The Toymaker Comes To Visit-An Interview with Marilyn Scott-Waters

  1. I love the Toymaker. What a fabulous interview – loved the questions from your child !
    I’d love to win – thanks.

  2. I love the Toymaker! I’m creative in my sewing and knitting, and in the kitchen, too!

  3. I would love to write children’s stories but just won’t sit down to do so…I commend anyone
    who has the time and patience to make it happen!

  4. I had never heard of this before. I can’t wait to search my local library and get my hands on some of these great books. It would be wonderful to win the books to add to our permanent collection. Thank you to all involved for the opportunity.

  5. I love the Toymaker! We make her stuff every Christmas-my mom loves her too because it keeps the youngins from fighting for at least 20 minutes!

  6. I ADORE The Toymaker!
    I’ve shared her website with so many of my teachers and we all compare notes when new books come available.
    Of course I’d love to win any of her fabulous books!
    Thanks for the giveaway chance~~

  7. I have been a friend of The Toymaker for a time now and always look forward to the article.
    I enjoyed reading The Interview 🙂
    I make the toys and enjoy reading the newsletter every month.
    Would love to win a Book to have all to myself (of course would share with
    family and friends too).
    Thank You for Your Wonderful Toys

  8. I’d never heard of the Toymaker! That would be surreal meeting like that; what a treat. I love the question, and answer, about the favourite letter of the alphabet. We are creative with making something out of nothing, others scraps, and in the way we imagine things. Felicity

  9. What a gorgeous collection of books, they look like they are from an older time.

  10. I am totally into craft: sewing, knitting, crochet & embroidery. THE TOYMAKER looks amazing.


  11. I am just getting into crafting with my 4.5 year old daughter. We have been having so much fun together. I would love to have some more inspiration!!

  12. I’ve been following the Toymaker for years now….enjoy each and every email entry & facebook post I get. I’ve used several of her projects with the kids I work with.

  13. I was pleased to meet Marilyn, as it were, and thought I must comment here since I haven’t yet let her know via her website that I like her toys, and realized at the end that this was a giveaway too. A bonus motivation! Thanks “Toymaker”, and thanks “Jump into a book”!

  14. Once again, Jump Into a Book has done it!
    We LOVE the Toymaker!
    I already like you on FB and don’t have Twitter but I will take any shot I can to try and get a Toymaker book!
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  15. We would love to win! Thanks for the great giveaway! We like jump into a book on FB. 🙂

  16. These illustrations are amazing, they have so many details and charm! I wish I could draw! I’m not sure the giveaway is open to international readers of your blog, but it’s fantastic and I’d love to win one of the books. Best regards from Barcelona, Spain,

  17. I recently found a toymaker calendar and LOVE the whole concept. Such a great set of activities for kids! i’d love to win!

  18. I would LOVE to win one of these books!!!! We so enjoy our holiday books each year and these look just perfect!!!!

  19. I love to put together “themed” gift baskets as gifts- they are always oooh’d and aaah’d over.

  20. I’m pretty creative in the kitchen and gardening. Cute book, thanks for having the contest!

  21. I’d love to win! I am creative with my 3 year old daughter when doing arts and crafts and make believe.

  22. Love, Love, Love the Toymaker!
    I’ve used so many of the toys as go alongs when teaching my kids.

  23. I express my creativity by knitting. My children are very creative with drawing,and one of my daughters used to make paper furniture and toys for her dolls! 🙂

  24. My kids drive me to be creative – always on my toes. I love The Toymaker for this reason! Thanks!

  25. I love the Toymaker! We are extra creative around holidays, but with three kids and serious spending limits, you have to be creative about everything, almost all the time (and then there’s sleep…). Sometimes we just have to find a way to figure out what we want (or need) and how to fill the gap between having it and not having it. Sometimes math is the cure, but usually time, effort, and ingenuity answer as well.

  26. I have been getting the Toymaker emails for quite a while. I do all sorts of crafts. I sew, knit, crochet and make paper crafts, and more!

  27. MSW, Moleskin, marvelous. Cheerful, charming, crafty. My children & i are creative whenever possible; every holiday, a wet day, a sunny afternoon, pantomime. Also, my friend & I have started our own kids’ craft club to encourage future imaginative creators. Thank you for helping <3

  28. I love the Toymaker!!! I have always loved to make things with paper…when I was small, my mom would put me in a box or clothes basket with scissors and an old magazine and I would stay there for an hour or more cutting out pictures to make things with.

  29. I am creative with upcycling. ANYthing can be used in an art project with my grandkids!

  30. I am a nanny, so I spend a lot of time being creative with the children I take care of. In my nanny capacity, I have been using the Toymaker for years; it is a true treasure trove! Thanks for the giveaway and the interview with Marilyn.

  31. I’ve been printing & folding The Toymaker’s toys for a couple of years now–my children love them. I’d love to win this wonderful giveaway! Now, to go & find you on Facebook. 🙂

  32. When I look at Marilyn’s art I feel a series of joy, peace, delight and inspiration. I have had a blast making her toys.

  33. I love the toymaker and being creative…hard to find a time when I am not being creative – I am a cake artist by trade and I love to sew, do paper crafts, cook, and pretty much anything else that sounds fun 🙂

  34. I never heard of Toymaker. The book would inspire me for sure to be more creative.

  35. I love The Toymaker. Although my web site is about stained glass, i always post the URL to The Toymaker’s latest newsletter in my monthly ezine. Since my ezine subscribers are creative they will most certainly enjoy making toys too. I have made many things from Marilyn’s web site. It is so much fun.

  36. I thought I lost my creativity completely – and then I “met” some fabulous girls through one swap; their beautiful creations sparkled my creativity – and I hold tight to it now! It is still not in its full potential, but at least I am working on it!

  37. I think that making a book that has interactive toys is a marvelous idea. I want one! 🙂

  38. I’d love to win these books. Thanks so much. I love to be creative, on my own and especially with the little ones. They love watercolor painting and drawing so much, so we normally try to combine the two. 🙂 Happy Holidays.

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