Eliminating pumpkins one by one

Posted: December 24, 2015 in artwork for children, Younger fiction
Tags: ,

Children’s books often have a count down or count up within the story. The first idea eliminates things one at a time. The child knows it’s going to end with zilch, but not how, and that’s the fun – even, it seems, on a second or twelfth reading. The latter kind counts up, in the sense of ‘not this… not this… not this… but THAT!’ There’s an outbreak of these at the moment with the likes of that’s not my face/hat/friend etc.

I suppose the book that I’m attempting to re-illustrate comes in the former category, because Dad and Benj are growing pumpkins, somewhat inexpertly, for the harvest show, an idea filched from the lady next door.

This spread comes after the first pumpkin loses its fight for life – run over by little sister’s car. (The vertical blue line is just a marker in Photoshop to remind me where the middle of the spread is. I took a screenshot so it still shows.)

Editing the art and words

I’m having fun. But I’m also going back and altering the spreads slightly as I notice things I’m not happy with or think of something that’s missing. The editing habit dies hard! I’m still striving for the more scribbly, energetic look, although this spread doesn’t actually show that! Others do. But I think they conform overall.

I’m also altering some words here and there. Hamish Hamilton allowed through ‘Baby Sue’ in the original edition, but since she rides a toddler car to wreak this havoc, ‘baby’ clearly isn’t the right name. I think I’ll make her Emmy-Jo or similar. Need to keep the rhythm (important in kids’ books) but lose the Baby epithet. So I seem to be happily working on both words and illustrations together, which is actually my long-term aim.

A peaceful festive season to you all from me. May 2016 be the time you achieve what you really want to.

Splat pages 16-17 small


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