Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One Fishy Story

The average time I've had to work on picture books is nine months. During that period there's very little time for anything else as it's very non-stop. Perhaps the second most fulfilling part of working on these (aside from finishing them), is getting the array of pages in pencil form all completed and approved by the publisher. It is at this point you become a proverbial hermit, dying to show the publisher each individual page once they're done, but you know it'd be best to complete them all first. With Trout, Trout, Trout (A Fish Chant)! the biggest trick was to arrange April Pulley Sayre's poetry of fish names in a visual order near the individual fishies so that children would still follow the prose left to right accordingly (and this was very tricky as fish like to swim around the page a great deal!).

But then when the color pages come together you really start to get chills. I love a great picture book as much as any kid, but when you actually start to see your own pages come together and you realize they're on their way to actually becoming a bound entity, one gets a little giddy - so much so I have a tendency to hide things in the pages for fun. I put my kids' names in the pictures, there's an illo of a piranha from my first book, Gopher Up Your Sleeve, by Tony Johnston, in there, just to name a few things. Another fun thing is with the "Cavefish;" if you look at the cave-drawing in his cave, you'll see that the monster fish is the same shape the Starhead Topminnows take on the next set of two pages...

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