Since some of you have expressed interest in my illustrations in Gypsy Giver I thought I would share with you a little bit of the process behind this huge undertaking. The story is of course the starting block, whether in head or on paper, during the writing process the story plays out like a movie in my head and immediately I have to think about depiction. The unique factor in working in children's books is that the picture can say so much in and of itself so there is no use in wasting words describing the surroundings. The focus gears more toward the characters and other senses as you storyboard.
As soon as the story was in mind, I started sketching and researching illustration styles to see what would suit. I've always been a fan of books by Maurice Sendak and Chris Van Allsburg, so I wanted softness with regards to color but also the intense detail of fine marker work. I typically start with reference model photos that I take myself of "actors" stiking the poses I need and composite them to create a compelling scene. Then it goes from pencil to watercolor to Micron pen. Also as I'm drawing I have to consider where the text will be placed. Each drawing is like a story in and of itself. To see a preview of the first few spreads of the book click here! What was your favorite illustrated book as a kid?