Initially, I thought I would be able to finish the entire book (from concept to final illustration) in about a month, maybe six weeks. I should have known better. Many of the initial drawings came quickly, but as soon as I started working on the cover and opening page, I knew I was in trouble.
Originally, the main character was an alpaca. As it turns out, alpacas are very difficult to draw, and actually just not that interesting. Never-the-less, I am incredibly stubborn, and I continued for weeks to try and make it work. Eventually I realized that if I was ever going to actually finish, let alone release this book, I needed to scrap the alpaca and choose another animal for the main character.
I don't remember exactly how the bear came about. I think it was one of those half awake half asleep moments. As soon as I drew him for the first time, I knew I was on the right track. Since then, all of the drawings (with a few exceptions) came together perfectly.
In a few weeks (October 13th and 14th) I'll be sharing a table at the Alternative Press Expo with 3 other people from the Academy of Art children's book club. I've never been to any sort of convention, let alone participated in one. I'm terrified, but super excited. I knew that I was never going to finish the book in time for the convention, but I at least wanted to get the cover done, so I could hand out postcards announcing the release of the book. I am setting a firm deadline of December 1st to release it for the Kindle Fire. That gives me 8 weeks to finish 16 illustrations. It's a little crazy, but I think I can do it.
As I am working on the illustrations, I also half to be mindful of how I complete them, because I also want to make a separate interactive version of this. That means I will have to do several parts of all of the illustrations (except two) on separate layers and composite them in Photoshop. It's a very hard thing to wrap my head around, but I'm trying to remain calm, and just do what I have to do.
Enough of my blabbering, here are the pics. The cover went through several versions before I finally settled on one.
When I tried to make a color rough of this, I realized I didn't like the layout. I was also having a really difficult time fitting the title and credits in this composition, so I went back to the drawing table (literally), and came up with this idea.
A color rough followed, and text was added.
After about 10 hours of furious pasteling, here is the final illustration, with and without text.
I'm pretty happy with the results. It came out exactly the way I hoped it would.
So keep checking back. I will post a few more illustrations from the book, and I'll continue updating information about the actual Kindle Fire release.