Little Bird's Flock

I am super pleased to announce my latest illustration project, a children's picture book called Little Bird's Flock, written by the Publishing Workshop at The Telling Room, a non-profit youth writing center in Portland, ME. A group of eleven kids and two advisors worked together to create the story of Little Bird. I worked to create images that would evoke the essence of the story about a young bird who is looking for her flock, while traveling around the world, meeting friends along the way.

I thought I would take some time to share my process as I worked on taking this story from manuscript to printed book. Keep in mind that the schedule for creating the art for this book was extremely limited. Typically a picture book artist has six months to a year to create final art for a 32 page book. I had eight weeks. Because of that, I worked with the team at The Telling Room to develop the story and illustrations to be as simple as possible.

The first step was to put the manuscript into an Indesign file laid out to the dimensions of the book, print out the pages and draw rough thumbnail sketches of each scene. I spent time thinking about the composition of each page, the flow across spreads and the changing perspective as Little Bird meets each friend.

 After review by the Publishing Workshop team, and some tweaks to the manuscript, I got to work on the final paintings. I printed the sketches at full size, with the text in place, and then transferred the drawings to my watercolor painting block (I used Arches hot press watercolor paper) by rubbing graphite on the opposite side of the printed page and then tracing over my drawing with a sharp pencil. Sometimes I would refine the sketch more before transferring it to the watercolor paper.

After the drawing is transferred, I wet the entire piece of paper to soak the watercolor paper, making it easier to manipulate the paint longer. When the initial water on the paper is absorbed, I begin painting. Below is a little time-lapse of me working on one of the paintings.

Once the paintings were complete and dry, I scanned each one and retouched any blemishes and adjusted color as necessary digitally. The final art scans are then placed in the Indesign file, and final design adjustments were made, along with experimenting with various cover options.

We decided to use a piece of art from the interior for the cover due to the lack of time. I created a new background for that piece, and tried various type faces for the title, as well as changing the color of the background. Here's a couple thumbnail shots of the different options we started with.

Once the cover and interior files were finalized, I sent the files off to the printer. And then, just like that, I was holding the book proof in my hand! The great feeling of taking a story and turning it into a physical book never gets old. Little Bird's Flock is available for purchase through the Telling Room's online store.


Popular Posts