Skipping ahead (sort of) here. The next assignment from Penguin Young Readers after the ‘Laura Ingalls Wilder’ book (see earlier post) was a cover assignment for an upcoming book on the Lewis & Clark Expedition (2013), but I ended up completing three additional ‘interior illustration’ assignments for this book series (The Wright Brothers, Panama Canal & Julius Caesar) before I was given the assignment for the interior of the Lewis & Clark book (2014). This was the one and only time that I’ve done a cover illustration for one of these ‘Who Was’ books. I was unfamiliar with the series at the time, and I was unaware that the covers all had a specific ‘look’ to them (i.e.: big bobble head characters as opposed to proportional realistic depictions, a curious attention to detail in even the most distant tiny object). My first rough sketch was a rather straightforward adventure scene of Lewis and Clark crossing a snowy mountain pass, but then when it was explained to me about the ‘bobble heads’, I found myself really struggling with the style. I wasn’t entirely happy with the finished product, and I suspect the publishers weren’t either, as I never got another assignment for a cover illustration. Just as well, because I found the style very awkward to execute.
In the meantime, here are all the interior illustrations posted here for the first time (I have posted one or two samples in the past, but never the entire collection), plus the artwork for the cover (minus all the type, which you can see if you check out the Amazon link). Next month, I’ll be sharing all the illustrations from the ‘Wright Brothers’ book).
Since 2013, I’ve been illustrating a series of young adult biographies for Penguin Young Readers. I’m currently working on my 13th title for this publisher, and, in the past, I’ve held back posting the illustrations until after publication per contractual obligations. In previous posts, I’ve shared a sampling of the illustrations from each project, but I thought I’d start sharing the entire 80 or so illustrations from each book, once a month for the coming year. The style for these books is a little different from my usual ‘scratchboard’ style, more along the lines of a pen and ink crosshatch technique. The usual working method for these books, is that I am provided with a list of ‘scenes’ that the publisher would like illustrated (and sometimes the size of each illustration, sometimes that is determined after they see the rough sketches). I do a round of rough sketches (usually in about a month, I try to shoot for three or four sketches a day to keep things fresh and also to fit in other work on the docket), and once approved, I usually have about a month or so for the finishes (with the same schedule, about three or four a day, depending on size and complexity). The first book in this series, from back in 2013 was ‘Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder?’, and here are (almost) all of the 80 or so illustrations from the book (a few were omitted for space restrictions, and several were revised for one reason or another in the final printed version, which I didn’t bother to include here). Next month: I’ll be sharing the entire illustration collection from “What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition?” (and my only cover illustration from this book series).