takes us through his creative process with an inside look at the making of FLOWERS ARE CALLING (in stores yesterday!).

IMAGE 1: It all starts with good, easy sketches and doodles. Nothing serious!

IMAGE 2: Each book I do is a little different. For this one, I did a lot of early work on the computer, like this…

IMAGE 3: …and this. Notice how some of the early art is almost finished and other art is still very loose. I also integrate the words at this stage.

IMAGE 4: I sketched a lot of flower and animal studies to get that right balance between something that looks real and something fun.

IMAGE 5: I then made a lot of watercolor sketches like this…

IMAGE 6: Then, all together , you get final art!


Next up in our Picture Book Parade, is Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray, illustrated by pandagun. Here, we see some of Ken’s process–make sure you check out the final product in stores tomorrow!

In Ken’s words:

Image 1:  I first make random doodles in my sketchbook and work with a favorite. My process is organic, and I rarely follow through an original idea.

Image 2: In Photoshop I design the birds, and whatever basic ideas come my way. I originally wanted a branch in this spread.

Image 3: Here’s the near final spread with the children. The kids were introduced half way after the initial dummy book was prepared!

Image 4: Again, an example from the old sketchbook!

Image 5: I first made space for another bird…

Image 6: then changed my mind. This is an example of how I design the space with the text in mind. Rita Gray’s writing is vital, so in spirit and visual cue requires a good design. This is something new for me because you rarely see text as an on screen, cinematic element. I change my mind again, and try Wood Thrush alongside Robin.

Image 7: I want Robin to get her own spreads, but I need to have Wood Thrush in this spread (I ran out of pages). I decide not to have the birds compete against each other by placing a larger Robin coming from the corner top. Her dark value hides her in the shadow, so at first look the composition is about Wood Thrush. After closer inspection, Robin becomes dominant because of her scale and shade.


A behind the scenes look at the making of MUSTACHE BABY MEETS HIS MATCH with illustrator Joy Ang.

IMAGE 1:   Here’s an initial sketch that I send to my editor. It’s drawn digitally with Photoshop using a Cintiq (A tablet monitor).

IMAGE 2:     Once the sketch is approved, I move directly to coloring the pages, which is also done in Photoshop. Here you can see the blocks of colors I lay down for the background.

IMAGE 3:     Next, I paint the foreground elements.

IMAGE 4:     Finally, I add in the last bits of detail and play around with the lighting to bring focus to certain characters and/or objects.


@Brianone gave us a behind the scenes look at the making of his new picture book, HOORAY FOR HAT! Comments from Brian below. What do you think?

Images 1 and 2 (Grumpy Turtle): I’ve heard several illustrator friends complain about how difficult it is to draw horses. Zebras are horses with stripes. I saved drawing Zebra for last, wrestling with proportion and the mundane task of adding stripes. In the sketch version, I like his short and stubby legs but decided he looked too much like a miniature pony. For the final color image, Zebra looks more horse-like and points to his hat with his hoof. My brilliant editor suggested Turtle should be tucked completely into his shell, facing away from his friends.

Images 3 and 4 (Present): This is the initial black-and-white digital “sketch” of a spread, along with an early version of the text. I placed Owl on the other page, but felt he looked lonely and a bit useless. In the final color image and revised text, I spaced everyone across the spread while being aware of the gutter down the middle of the page. Owl helps with the packing but does not overextend himself.

Images 5 and 6 (Happy Giraffe): Various giraffe happy faces I created while working out Giraffe’s expression for the book’s grand finale. In the final color image, I decided on the gap-tooth smile. I found it to be the most joyful of all the explorations. The French phrase for gap teeth is “dents du bonheur” literally translating to “lucky teeth.”