Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their summer. This week I’m excited to share one of my own books that was released just a few days ago! THUNDER TRUCKS, by Cheryl Klein and Katy Beebe, was a joy to illustrate, and I want to share a little bit of that experience with you today.
When I first received the manuscript, a story with about vehicular characters and environment, I wondered if there had been a mistake in asking me to illustrate this story. I’ve not exactly done a lot of books about vehicles and environments so far, but digging into the MS inspired a lot of ideas very quickly – which is always a good thing for me. I couldn’t wait to get started.
Cheryl and Katy have such a charming story here, and not only that, it’s in verse, and not only that, THERE’S A CHORUS! I’m pretty sure I had the THUNDER TRUCKS LOUD, THUNDER TRUCKS STRONG, THUNDER TRUCKS GOING through my head most of the time that I was drawing! Seriously, I’m not joking.
The first thing I had to do was get a feel for the characters/trucks, in the story. So I started sketching right away. It’s extremely hard not to be influenced by Disney’s Cars characters, but I was determined to make them my own.
Once I got a few character styles I liked for the trucks, I did up a rough color sample of one of the spreads, and sent it off to my editors at Hyperion. They came back with some great feedback on both the characters and the color mockup and I was off to the races with the rough sketches for the book.
It’s here I have to commend my wonderful editors (Heather Crowley and Rotem Moscovich), for their vision and faith in what we as illustrators (and especially in my case) do. My roughs tend to take the word literally, but they were able to decipher and decode my sketches and together with me, figure out the vision for this book. Sharing my rough work can be embarrassing when I see the level some other illustrators take their rough work to, but it’s okay. I really like to work loosely which helps with my next step when, after my roughs are approved, I can take them to final. I couldn’t be happier with how the finals turned out.
Cheryl and Katy have created an incredibly unique book here, as it’s not just about growing a child’s imagination or calming their fears, but there’s real heart in it as well. There’s even an educational page in the back about storms! I image many children will be chanting along in the chorus with the reader long before the book is done the first time!
I don’t want to spoil it too much, but here’s a glimpse of the first few spreads:
I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did illustrating it.
Special Bonus: Here’s a partial sneak peek under the jacket flap 😉
Special BONUS #2
*** GIVEAWAY ***
I’ll be randomly drawing a winner out of the commenters to receive a signed copy of THUNDER TRUCKS and I’ll announce the winner on my next month’s post! Good luck and see you next month!