My illustration has usually been geared to a younger audience, but in November I was asked to illustrate a middle grade novel, for One Elm, a new division of Red Chair Press. It's 121 pages with 17 interior illustrations in black and white.
I've had experience drawing pre-teen girls, for the Period Book and a few others for Bloomsbury. So illustrating for the 9-13 age group seemed like visiting old friends, except with bikes, boogers and frogs this time, and bunnies to even it all out! Boys can't be entirely gross, after all. It's a story about how difficult it is for a fourth grade boy named Roosevelt to be good no matter how hard he tries, and ultimately, the lessons he learns about the value of friendship.
The first step was to create some character sketches, based on their personalities and emotional tenor in the manuscript and a bit of direction ( Roosevelt is white and has glasses, for example).
The art director suggested that Spaghetti Eddie could look like Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver. Sounded good to me. I tried to keep him from looking older than the other kids, though.
|"You look beautiful today, Mrs. Cleaver."|
I did a couple of tiny thumbnail sketches for the cover.
|A captured frog jumps out of his mouth.|
|Wreaking havoc with rabbits.|
They chose the second one. So I went to final art, first as black and white.
|Type layout was overlayed to make sure the positioning of the art would be accurate. Adjustments were made on the back cover text to give the art more space.|
|Color applied digitally.|
|Detail of houses (click on picture to enlarge).|
|Roosevelt's dog has accidentally knocked over Mrs. Crabapple's rabbit hutch. Guess whose fault it is.|
|Fun with tater tots|
|Fun with imaginary boogers. Mozart's booger is chewing gum. Who could have done that?|
|It's impossible to stay out of trouble, no matter how much you want that new bike. Tell that to Principal Esposito.|
That's all for now until the book release!
Thanks for visiting!