Timothy Dinoman Saves the Cat is a colorful middle-grade graphic novel which drops a talking dinosaur into an outrageously funny spy adventure. Some suspected supervillains have stolen a satellite! To learn why, Timothy Dinoman will visit a mountain fortress, a giant blimp, and diner with excellent pancakes—and run into a really cute cat along the way.
Today the author and illustrator Steve Thueson joins us to discuss their inspiration for the book, their favorite spy gadget and more! Read on to find some sketches from Steve’s creative process.
Where did the idea for the Timothy Dinoman books come from?
Back in 2018 I watched all six Mission: Impossible movies in one week. After seeing the sixth one I left the theater thinking “oh I wanna do that,” and went straight to my studio to start drawing. I ended up with a 12 page mini comic about a dinosaur spy named Timothy Dinoman in one long car chase.
Having a character like Timothy in the world of a spy thriller was really funny to me, and I could see a lot of possibilities for more adventures with him. so I started planning out more stories that eventually became this book.
Why a dinosaur?
Well first of all, dinosaurs are cool. But more than that, I wanted Timothy to be an endlessly nice and positive guy, so much so that he sorta stands out from every other character. Making him a dinosaur sorta seemed to fit that energy. Plus, again, dinosaurs are cool.
What is your favorite spy gadget?
The laser watch! It’s very cool!
What was your favorite part of making the book?
My favorite part of drawing the book were all the action scenes. I had been making action comics for a couple years, but never on this scale and I wanted to try and push the scenes as far as they could possibly go. I’d start by writing down something like “fight on a train,” or “crazy car chase.” Taking one of those vague ideas and figuring out how to actually draw it was really challenging but very exciting when it all started to come together.
Favorite part of writing the book was Jen. I wanted Timothy to have a best friend involved in the adventure so the two could kinda play off each other. So I based Jen off a very dear friend of mine, and it was fun to try and capture her voice and energy.
What do you hope a reader takes away from the book?
My only real goal with any comic I’ve ever made is for it to be funny. So I hope they have a fun time and laugh a lot.
Sketches from Timothy Dinoman
Steve has generously shared some sketches and process photos from creating the comic.
Here is one the process of drawing one page depicting a thrilling car chase.
And here are some sketches/color palettes to help Steve create the fun characters.
And here is a mini comic example!
Praise for Timothy Dinoman Saves the Cat
“Action-packed, save-the-world drama mixed with humor and heart.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[U]ncomplicated paneling streamlines the plot, and bold color palettes vividly capture adrenaline-fueled fight sequences in this quirky adventure. “—Publishers Weekly
“Filled with gadgets, action, and cool disguises, you don’t want to miss Timothy Dinoman’s debut!” -Nerdist
“Timothy Dinoman is the secret agent we’ve been waiting for! Every page is not only wonderfully vibrant but brimming with action, humor, and most importantly kindness.” —Robyn Smith, artist, Nubia: Real One
Connect with the author
Steve Thueson is a cartoonist from Salt Lake City, Utah. Their work has appeared in Razorcake, SLUG Magazine, and in the comics anthology As You Were published by Silver Sprocket. They received their MFA in Cartooning from the Center for Cartoon Studies in 2017, and currently live in Philadelphia.
*photo credit: Michael Messina
Lerner authors and illustrators are awesome! Find more interviews on the Lerner blog.