This summer I have been commissioned to work on a picture book based on a beautiful story written by two retired teachers, Kathy Tarentino and Sandy Leahy. I took a few fabulous summer days for a little vacation once school ended and now the work begins!
The main character of this charming book is actually someone a bit unusual: it's a house! The title is "The Hibernating House" and it is the perfect book to illustrate during the summer time. I'm really looking forward to it!
Before I even start on the spreads (double page illustrations common in picture book layouts) I'm doing some concept drawings for what the house will look like. Illustrators will do this type of drawing for all sorts of idea developing. Later I will scan my sketches and send them to Kathy and Sandy to see if I am on track with what they have imagined for their story.
Now is an important stage for an artist to do research. This may involve taking photos, finding photos online, direct observation (perhaps I should hop the ferry to MV!), or finding images and/or photos in reference books. I never use other artists' drawings or paintings unless I am drawing an object that I can't actually look at in real life, like a dinosaur or period clothing.
When I am using other people's photos, its usually for a small detail or used in combination with my own ideas and photos such that the original photo is in no way identifiable in the final work.
For this house, a summer cottage, I have several photographs given to me by the authors as a starting point for the idea, and I will be combining those with some images I have researched. I will work in pencil and create several different versions/view points to get my idea solid.
Those drawings will stay under wraps for a while, but here are some samples of the types of images I am using to help me create a unique house character. I'm not sure exactly what details in these photos will be used in the design I create if any, so if you want to know what I come up with, check back in for an update on my progress!