Having started out as a child myself I’ve had a lifelong appreciation for stories exclusively written and illustrated for young people. It’s an interesting challenge to create artwork that conveys the rich panolply of content in well written children’s books.
Creating characters whether human or animal is a lot of fun. I love sinking my teeth into portraying an entire “family” complete with descriptive body language and facial expressions. As these sample images suggest I like to give my characters distinct personalities as this helps the reader understand and relate to the story.
I always read through the manuscript a number of times. Working with the author or editor I will work out the ideal balance between word and image throughout the book. I always take into account the length of text, where there are vital paragraph breaks and how dialogue will be interpreted in the visuals. Children’s books are a collaborative process and I enjoy being part of a team. I work well in tandem with an author or a whole panel of committee members in a large publishing firm.
It’s important to keep the end user or marketplace in mind when planning out a book. I am happy to defer to the experts for their guidance and this frequently influences the creative process. For example, today’s North American readers are very multi-cultural. An urban classroom will have equal parts Caucasian, Asian, Black and Muslim children. Girls will do things that were once thought to be boy’s activities and handicapped children are featured in central roles.
I consider working on children’s books a privilege and a chance to inspire the minds of the future. If you would like to see my work on Creative Shake please click (HERE).