Meet Todd Aaron Smith

Author and illustratorTodd Aaron Smith is also a professional animator, who studied animation and illustration at the Columbus College of Art and Design. He has worked on characters such as the Keebler Elves, Tony the Tiger, and the Raid bugs for commercials. Other credits include Mario for Nintendo, as well as Spider Man, the Avengers, and Godzilla for the Fox Kids network. Todd says, “One of the highlights of that job was that I got to be the one to animate him saying his famous line: "They're Grrrreat!" but I did it in three languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese!” He is working on the pencil drawings for the Archie comic books, and graphic design and production art work for major publishers.

Todd’s first leap into the book world is the Cow Adventure series for children, which has hit the market with a splash of color and success. The series is currently comprised of 6 books: Cow Makes a Difference, Cow on the Tracks, Cow Under the Big Top, Cow in the Dark, Cow in the Rain, and Cow Goes for a Ride. Cow on the Tracks is a bestseller.

The Cow books came about in a roundabout way. Todd’s original concept for the first book, Cow Makes a Difference (then called Cow’s Big Dream) was a short 15-minute animated film. When he showed his storyboards to people, they gave him the idea of turning the story into a children’s book, which happened after some rewriting (his original story was too long for a children’s book). Todd says that everything about the illustrations in the book is hand drawn, right down to his name on the cover (his actual signature) and the title.

When asked how he came up with the idea of an adventurous cow, Todd explains that he wanted to write a book about a cow or a monkey, because he likes cartoon cows and monkeys. He settled on the cow since, “Cows are more often stereotyped as lying around, and kind of brainless. I wanted to take a character out of that character's element and put it into another background. To me that is where you can have some good writing—you take the character out of it's comfortable environment and put it into another situation and see how that character handles it.”

As to what he’d like to accomplish through the Cow books, Todd says that he would like children to notice and internalize the themes and messages in the books.

Todd Aaron Smith lives in Ohio with his wife, Veronica. In his spare time, Todd enjoys painting. He has traveled extensively, visiting all 50 states as well as some foreign countries.

Information from the author’s website and an interview with Posted 08/03.

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