Updated: May 30, 2020
Interview with Stefania Treta
Well Sammy before you were formed in either thought or on paper, I went to a school called Hamilton College in Scotland which I loved. The Art department would take pupils to a small place called Abernethy every year. My art teachers Jane Roy and Alan Wilson (who are really good friends of mine now and are kind of like your surrogate grandparents), would wake us all up at 6am to draw mountains and then read poetry until 3am, all accompanied with a heap of laughter.
It might sound odd, but we placed sausages on the roof of the mini bus and when the car would brake at the lights, the sausages came flying off. When I got home to unpack from the trip, I opened my suitcase on the kitchen table and a sausage came rolling out – a stowaway. Sammy, it is fair to say that in that moment, The Creation of Sammy, your everyday sausage who loves to go on adventures, was born.
After finishing my secondary education, I went to Gray’s Art School in Aberdeen to study Visual Communication. I remember in my first year after an illustration project, somebody commented that my work ‘had a likeness to Quentin Blake.’ I began researching his work and that of other illustrators, like Oliver Jeffers and Alex Scheffler. You’d love their work, Sammy, they have great imaginations and their drawings are filled with so much personality. It really inspired me.
I began drawing you going on lots of adventures around the world. You were having a ball, your journeys inspired me and your many exploits found their way into the pages of many of my notebooks and sketch pads.
I got the sense that you wanted a good pal to share your travels and as a result, your best friend Chicken was born, it meant that you had a chum to share all your wonderings (and wanderings) with.
Following my degree, I had an exhibition in London for D&AD. I met the Creative Director and Creative Manager from Nickelodeon. They fell in love with you and you know what…? They gave me my first job and it’s all thanks to you, big man!
I’ve now moved on to The Walt Disney Company, where I currently work as a Senior Creative Producer.
You know what, guys, I love being around creative people. I actually have a WhatsApp group called ‘The Sausages’ with my good friends Fiona, Ally, Andrew and your surrogate grandparents Jane and Alan - they are always asking after you and sending you their love. We share wee bits and bobs to help feed each other’s creativity. These friends were there when you were just a twinkle in my mind’s eye.
I created you both for myself, but when I was at art school I was fortunate enough to spend the time to really shape and form you, as I wanted more people to know who you were. I discovered my passion for kid’s illustration and fell in love with all the different characters and stories that were out there. I decided for my degree show, I would write a children's book all about your adventures, Sammy.
I got so much positive feedback, it encouraged me to continue your social endeavours – you became VERY popular in the world I created for you. After I graduated, I managed to get you published in a magazine!!! You really encouraged me to do more, you know, and because of that, I’ve got loads of wee projects on the go and I can’t wait for the world to see them and of course get to know you.
So, Sammy, I always hear parents calling their kids ‘little pickle’, so one day I just sat down to draw a lil Pickle. He turned out pretty cute so I printed it on children’s apparel and on a tote bags, which also turned out great!
I really wanted to make more of lil Pickle so I bought a special machine that can transfer the images onto loads of different objects. Now it means more people can enjoy him as he journeys out into the world.
There is also quirky character called Wee Franky Boy. He is inspired from real life - he’s my father and is one of my favourite things to draw (of course, in addition to you, Sammy).
In real life, he’s unknowingly funny, gets his words jumbled (due to English being his second language) and always introduces himself as Wee Franky Boy to everyone he meets.
Wee Franky Boy used to work in the chip shop but before that he worked for the Carabinieri (the Italian Police Force). If you ask him to tell you about his undercover work, he will, but he will also want to tell you about the most perfect batch of chips he fried too.
As kids we were always working in the chip shop with our parents, so it’s nice these memories have turned into funny illustrations that my parents can appreciate now as well.
You and Wee Franky Boy would get along like fish and chips, Sammy. I might introduce the two of you some day; especially as you were both born out of real-life experiences.
Ahh yes, sausages aren’t born sausages, you have to become one. Sammy, I love how your wisdom is wrapped up so succinctly. You are right, you need to work hard if you want to achieve your goals, they don’t just happen.
It’s because of your great advice that I push myself to achieve my goal of getting you published, so everyone can enjoy your funny little adventures. I teamed up with my fiancé, Sam because he’s not only a fantastic writer and knows you so well, he’s also got a brilliant sense of humour that captures you perfectly.
We finally have a children’s book about you ready to be shown to publishers and we are so excited. We can’t wait for EVERYONE to get to know you!
Oh and Sammy, remember the guy called Wee Franky Boy? Well, we also have been working on a collection of short stories of all his ‘Big Adventures’ that we aiming to get out in the world too.
Thanks for all the questions, Sammy! Is there anything else you wanted to ask or say to everyone that tuned in?
Well, said Sammy, well said.