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The St Paul Raccoon is now a T-Shirt!!!

June 15, 2018

T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags and more! If you want your own Saint Paul Raccoon #MPRRaccoon art from Scott Spinks, follow this link and get your swag, man!


Thank you to everyone for appreciating my art. I hope you enjoy the raccoon swag!

 #mprraccoon #raccoon #raccoonswag #mprraccoonapparel

the #MPRRaccoon…

June 13, 2018

She reached the top of St. Paul overnight.


2016 Wrap-Up…

January 1, 2017

My blog posts are much less frequent over the last couple of years. Since 2013, my schedule has been filled with illustration jobs and fire department work, taking me to new levels I would have never imagined. On the art-side of my life, 2016 was a year that added two new books to my “I Illustrated those” children’s library.


Our States have Crazy Shapes

The first is a fun book by author, Lynn Garthwaite. “Our States have Crazy Shapes” is a cool book that tells the stories of how each of our 50 states got the borders we see today, when we look at a map. I created the cover for the book and had a whole lot of fun doing it! I wish much luck to Lynn and this super cool book!

My second project in 2016 was a fantastic recreation of a classic early-reader book by the amazing author, Margaret Hillert. I was asked by Norwood House Press to create my own version of, “Up, Up and Away“; a book that was originally released in 1950. I remembered reading this book when I was in elementary school and it was a true honor to recreate this book in my own vision in 2016. I look forward to working with Norwood House Press again very soon.


Up, Up, and Away

Midway through 2016, I was contacted by Puny Entertainment and asked to join their production company for an animated series they were creating. From July to November, I worked as a Storyboard Revisionist for a 26-episode animated series that is going to be absolutely amazing! The show will debut in summer of 2017. Once it hits the screen, I will share more information…and cross my fingers for a second season contract. 🙂

On the other side of the Scott Spinks Coin is my ongoing career in the fire service. Things are going very well. We had a handful of veterans retire this past year and they will be greatly missed. But, on the good side, we have added about eight new members who appear to be sharp as tacks. Chemistry within the department is looking great and our crews are taking care of business like a well-oiled machine. As a department, we responded to over 400 calls in 2016 and in addition (as Investigator 1), I responded to approximately 12 fire investigations for the county. Emergencies are never something we “want” to have a lot of. However, we are very proud to offer our services to our community and we will continue to try to keep our citizens and the visitors safe from harm.

Lastly, for the first part of 2017, I have a semi-full plate. I have one picture book pitch I am putting the finishing touches on. And beginning later this week, my teaching schedule starts to take off. I will be teaching classes all year long at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, in Orono, Minnesota. And I will still be offering a number of art-badge classes to the Girl Scouts. I wish all of you a happy and safe 2017!


Scott Spinks

Accountability in Literature

March 30, 2016

firetruckAccountability. In the fire service, accountability is the term we use to remind us that everyone involved with a fire scene must be accounted for at all times. It takes a lot of personnel to control a situation successfully and there are a lot of risks involved with any fire scene. Accountability ensures us that everyone has a task and nobody becomes lost or forgotten. If accountability fails on the fire scene, the outcome can be tragic.

In the publishing industry, accountability, though not life-threatening, is equally as important. A successful book needs hard work from a variety of talented people in order to get the book published and in to the hands of the public. With a fire, it takes a truck full of firefighters to get an incident under control. With a book, it takes a truck full of creatives. Allow me to explain…


Firefighters or Creatives; sometimes, things get a little crazy.

When a fire truck rolls to the scene of a fire, the truck will have five firefighters inside, who are “geared-up” and ready to do what needs to be done to get the incident under control. In the driver’s seat, sits the driver. The driver knows the address and knows the best route to follow in order to get to the scene quickly and safely. The driver also knows how to get water flowing to the fire hoses, once the truck arrives at the scene. In the other front seat, sits the Incident Commander. This firefighter has the knowledge and the vision it takes to quickly develop an attack plan that will be both effective and safe. In the back seat of the truck sit three firefighters. They are ready to take on whatever task is handed to them. They have tools, hoses and air-tanks (SCBA) that make it possible for them to rescue people, extinguish fires and breath on the inside of the structure during the fire, if they must go inside.

Now, let’s return to publishing. In creating a book (we’ll use a children’s picture book for this example) we will also find a truck full of five “creative” who are “geared-up” and ready to make the book a success. In the driver’s seat, is the author. They know the story and they know every twist in turn along the way. In the other front seat sits the publisher. They know the big picture and understand what it will take to make the book a success. In the back seat sit the illustrator, the graphic designer and the marketing specialist. These three individuals have the tools to make the book come to life. The illustrator will create the art, the graphic design will layout all of the text, including the cover and spine titles and the marketing specialist knows who the target market is for the book and how to get it in front of the right people.

If everyone on the truck does their job, the book will hit the shelf (or the virtual shelf) and readers all around the world will be able to enjoy the story the author has created. Thanks to the author, the publisher, the artist, the graphic designer and good marketing, a book will enter the world successfully and not go “up in flames.”


The last 365 days…

February 11, 2016

A disappearing act? Lost in the wilderness? A return to the stone age? Where have I been over the last year? It took me a moment to find the answer myself. So, here I am taking a brief moment to reflect on the last 52 weeks…

When I last reported, I had just returned from New York and the chaperoning experience of a lifetime. Since then, my illustration workload has increased significantly. I have created the art for three books and begun work on three more. I have replaced two computers, a cell phone, a backpack, a car, a boat and my bunker gear and helmet at the fire department. I have visited Denver once, St. Louis twice and St. Paul more times than I can count. I spent the fall season and part of winter teaching fire safety to elementary school kids and am preparing to return to teaching for Minnetonka Center for the Arts for a large portion of 2016.

I have worked for a number of outstanding companies over the last year! They include Seed Learning, the Houston Public Library, United Methodist Publishing House, Red Sofa Books, Pauline Media and Norwood House Press. From these projects have been born three books, a collection of kid’s summer camp materials and an endless supply of educational materials for children around the world.

The highlight of 2015 was creating the art for a fantastic little picture book, published by Pauline Media. The book, written by Michelle S. Lazurek is titled “Mommy, Am I Strong?” I absolutely had a blast working on this book and I am happy to see it having some success. If you’d like to pick up a copy of the book, you can find it on Amazon and at any Pauline Media Bookstore.

The last 52 weeks have been an amazing adventure. And as I look at my to-do list for the next year, I expect things to keep ramping up. I have a lot of plans for this year and I can’t wait to share them all with you! The next book to hit the shelves is “classified” at the moment, but I look forward to telling you all about it as soon as I am allowed to do so. 🙂

Keep enjoying life and make sure your smoke detectors are working!

February and March were exciting! Looking forward to April!

April 2, 2015

It’s been a fast-paced, wild couple of months. Since January, I have begun training for my Fire Investigation certification, completed illustration projects for United Methodist Publishers, Patterson Companies and a number of smaller organizations. I completed a residency at Anoka Middle School for the Arts, gave a handful of drawing and writing workshops to a number of girl scout troops and traveled by bus to New York with 90+ high school music kids. I also managed to shave 42 seconds off of last year’s time in the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb Fire Fighter Challenge. This year’s time was 7:00. Next year, I’ll aim for 6:30. 🙂 It’s been a busy spring for the LLFD too, We have seen a number of wind-assisted fires lately and today looks to be more of the same. All in all, it has been a great kick off to 2015! Here are some photos.We climb in honor. A card from the Anoka kids. I always get the most beautiful Irish girl on St. Pat's Day! concept for one of my UMP projects. My New York team! the LLFD Climb Team, 2015 Lil and I at the Walker Anoka Middle School for the ArtsDoug and I at the Fight for Air Climb

February; the month of…

February 9, 2015

Occasionally, I catch the snow melting on the sidewalk, acting as if April is right around the corner. But then, a frigid breeze rolls across the ground and glazes that melting snow with a brand new layer of winter. So, I keep my wool socks near my boots by the back door and I get back to work, ignoring my misguided hope for an early spring. But, as a bird perches on the shrub in front of my studio window, I find myself longing for spring again. Listening closely for sounds of bees buzzing, ski boats making swift turns around the lake and larger flocks of birds, singing the praises of warm weather. But as another breeze blows, I shake my day dreams off and focus myself back to work on a new illustration.

My schedule has been buwabbitssy in 2015 and it looks to be even busier as I move toward spring. I just finished a pair of projects for United Methodist Publishing House and I am about to begin another. On top of those wonderful projects, I am also beginning work on a new picture book. This book will be published by Pauline Books & Media.

As some of you may already know, my illustration and writing work is only about 60 percent of my normal workload. I also teach two days per week at a variety of schools around Minnesota.

My current teaching schedule includes drawing classes and storytelling classes at the Bloomington Theatre and Art Center and at the Anoka Middle School for the Arts. We are covering character design, story boarding and visual storytelling.

So far, 2015 has proven to be a very busy year for the fire department too. We have responded to a large number of fire and medical related, placing us quite a bit ahead of schedule from last year.

Lastly, I will once again be competing in the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb in Minneapolis onLLFD Maltese February 21st. This is the event where we don full fire gear, including our air pack, and climb 31 stories as quickly as we can. We do this to raise money for a great cause and to honor those who we have lost to lung disease. My time last year was 7:23. I am aiming to shave off nearly a minute this year and finish in 6:30. If you’d like to donate to my climb, you can follow this link. Donate to Scott’s Fight for Air Climb! Any donations are truly appreciated!

So, there is February in a blink. I will be taking my wife out to a nice Valentine dinner, watching our son sing at Minneapolis Orchestra Hall and celebrating his 18th birthday with our family. February is going to be an amazing month. I hope yours is amazing too!

So far

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