new book beginnings ~ db


Cover Out in Portland

I’m just back from a fantastic, restful camping trip on the beautiful Oregon Coast (see photo above), ending  with a 2 night Portland stop-over (in a hotel – which, in my opinion, is the best way to end a camping trip).

While we managed to squeeze the camping into the dry days, our city visit was a little wet. One day, we ducked into Powell’s Books to avoid a downpour and I discovered something familiar in the children’s section:

photo 5

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I also found these and the illustrations were just so beautiful that I couldn’t very well leave them behind…


Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night, written by Joyce Sidman, is Illustrated by Rick Allen in many-layered lino prints, and is rich in colour and texture. The night scenes are vibrant and lively, and cheerfully coloured. A Monster Calls, written Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay, is equally exciting for its lack of colour and wonderful deep, dark spookiness;  it is the kind of book that I was thrilled to read as a 12-year old.

Just look at this great composition and this lovely figure, so beautifully drawn.


A Monster Calls also has the added bonus of being nicely designed, and does a fine job tying in a lot of great texture-rich sketchy vignettes and scuff marks.



This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.


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