Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Welcome to the Writing Process: An Author/Illustrator Blog Tour

My friend Jennifer Goldfinger tagged me for this blog tour, so I will start by telling you a little bit about her. Jen is an author, illustrator, and fine artist. 
She has written and illustrated several books, including:



We trade manuscripts, so I get to peek at some of her new work. I have a feeling we all will get to enjoy some of the wonderful stories she's working on very soon. You can see more of her work at her website. You can also find examples of her amazing fine art there. 

Now I will get to the questions for the blog tour.

What am I currently working on?

Right now I am working on the illustrations for my first author/illustrator project. My picture book is called Emerson Barks. It tells the story of a little dog that loves to bark, and what happens when he tries to hold in his voice.  The book will be published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt in 2016. 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I'm not sure how different this is, but in my illustration I try to develop the characters beyond what's told in the writing. I love to add humorous details and subplots in the pictures.  I hope this will give readers something to look for and laugh at. 

In my illustration from Ten On the Sled, by Kim Norman, you might notice on second glance that the rabbit has motion sickness. You might also see that the snowman's head has just fallen off. If you want to find out what happens to the snowball, you'll have to read the book. 

Why do I write what I write?

In my writing, I try to see things from a child's perspective. The world can feel big and scary, and children can wrestle with some complicated issues. I hope that the things I write about might comfort and reassure readers.
I have watched my own children pick up certain books again and again. I think that reading certain books can help them make sense of what's going on around them.

How does my individual writing/illustrating process work?

Before I write, I need to gather ideas. These ideas seem to come to me when I am walking in the woods.  I have a very energetic dog who needs at least one walk a day, so this is a good time to think about things I am working on or come up with ideas.
By the time I sit down to write, I have often sorted things out in my head. I write and revise until things look okay, then I show it to my critique group. Friends like Jen have great ideas for improving my writing. 

When I am working on an illustration project, I begin with character sketches. Sometimes I also like to write a sort of profile for my characters, listing personality quirks, strange preferences for clothing, etc.. Knowing that the bunny from Ten On the Sled had motion sickness told me a lot about how what he'd be doing and why. 

Book illustrations begin with character sketches and thumbnails, and end up with tight sketches. I transfer the final drawing onto watercolor paper and start to paint with my watercolors.  I go back and forth between colored pencil and watercolor until I feel I am finished.

character sketches:

tight sketches:

finished artwork:

Thanks for checking out my stop on the blog tour.

Next week, you're in for a real treat as we get to learn more about Kim Norman.
Kim is the author of many books. Two of my favorite are Ten On the Sled, and If It's Snowy and You Know It Clap Your Paws, but I am a little biased.  Her newest book, Puddle Pug, is absolutely adorable. Kim is as fun and funny as her books and I have had the good fortune to work with her on two projects.


rebecca said...

Thanks for this great post, Liza! Loved reading about your process and seeing your sketches -- wow! So inspiring!

Liza Woodruff said...

Thanks, Rebecca!

Sarah Paul said...

Ten on a Sled is one of my FAVORITE books!!! I need to check out some more books by her. :)

Sarah Paul said...

I'm also excited to check out your Emerson book! I love your illustrations!