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.