Colin and Lola's Christmas Eve Adventure
In late 2017 I was asked to illustrate a new children’s book, titled ‘Colin and Lola’s Christmas Eve Adventure’. Written by Nichola Caunce and Jen Palfrey.
The book centers around two protagonists - one is a sausage dog, and the other a border collie, who both em’bark’ (see what I did there?) on a Christmas time adventure.
It was leading up to Christmas when I initially began to focus on the creation of the two main characters and their friends – so it was nice to be working on a seasonal project whilst listening to Christmas songs and on occasions watching the snow fall outside my studio window.
Once negotiations were out of the way, contracts signed, and a number of illustrations agreed, the first process when illustrating any book is to create a series of sketches for the characters in pencil and sometimes with a light watercolour wash. When I was relatively happy with how they looked I sent my ‘roughs’ off to the client for their approval before painting a final of each character. My rough sketches are always pretty messy, so I’m always worried what the client will think at this stage as the finals will look much different and be completed on nicer paper and with better inks/paints.
The illustrations were approved after a few tweaks, and then it was onto creating the scenes using the manuscript as a guide. Full illustrations may take up to several days to complete, so it can be a long process.
On this occasion I was not given a ‘Galley Proof’ (dummy book) which makes it very difficult to work around how the finished book may be in terms of size and orientation – in fact, I very rarely accept the work if I don’t know the exact size that the finished book will be as it makes it incredibly difficult when working around the text and the gutter of a book without a visual.
Soon, winter turned into spring and illustrating Christmas pictures when bees are buzzing around outside does feel somewhat odd, but it does become the norm for most illustrators as we can work months and months ahead of deadlines.
Once my full set of illustrations were complete, I then had to scan them into a computer and edit them by changing the levels and saturation that may be lost during the scanning process and then cut away the background so that they are on a pure white backdrop.
After editing they were then sent off to the client for them to use when constructing the book prior to print.
Then (usually) it’s a case of waiting several months, possibly a year plus to receive the illustrator's copies just before the book launches.
Colin and Lola’s Christmas Eve Adventure will hopefully be available widely soon, but in the meantime, I have a limited number of first editions in my store – all available signed by me should you wish.