Tomorrow our picture book, I WILL BE FIERCE, written by Bea Birdsong and illustrated by me is out! As I prepare for promotional events in the bay area and beyond, I reflected on the process. From when I agreed to illustrate it in October of 2017 to when it hit shelves, it’s been a year and 7 months! I created the illustrations from sketch to final in 5 months and delivered in July of 2018. In between July and now, our publisher, Roaring Brook, prints and promotes to help build excitement.
One of my favorite pages is in the library (of course!) and below are some early sketches. I receive manuscripts with art notes. From those notes, I drew our fierce girl in a well stocked, inviting school library with a helpful librarian.
But my editor wanted to try a few different ideas, so I drew a more fantastical library.
But we settled on the first take, modified.
Creating picture books is a fascinating challenge. These opportunities allow me to grow as an artist and story teller. Like my graphic novels, I add people from my life into the art. The librarian is based off our local librarian who my daughter loves, the bus driver is my adopted auntie and the grandma is based off my mother in law. I also added the author and her son! It’s these things that make the work personal and fun.
When I held the finished I WILL BE FIERCE in my hands, I felt the same as when I first read the manuscript – happy and strong. I hope that it’ll make you feel that way, too.
Thank you for the opportunity to share this and I hope to see you on the road!
P.S. For any who are interested there’s a free story time kit available to use in conjunction with the book.