The Creative Process - A Look at How My Books are Conceived and Created


sketches for monkey stuffThe first idea that leads to a finished book could be anything-- a character, a rough sketch, a rhyme or even a painting style, and can come from anywhere-- a memory from childhood, something someone says, things I see at the supermarket, in nature and especially things that kids do and say.  Kids are nutty, I am privileged to have the opportunity to listen and learn from them (and steal their ideas!). I don't always start with the story, sometimes an illustration comes first.  Generally, I start out with a style of illustration in mind but invariably, the book goes in another direction and I have to adapt to accommodate it.  My planning sketches are loose at best and the process reminds me more of sculpting than illustrating.  Never in order, I chip away at each page. I usually start with the page for which I have the strongest idea or the clearest concept and every consequent page has to try and maintain some kind of continuity of style.  This means that I always end up going back to the earlier pages to adjust elements correct and perfect.  This is the process I call "infinite tweaking" because when I think I'm finished illustrating, there is usually another month before I'm really finished.  This was exhausting in the beginning, but now I accept it as part of the process.

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