Fun with Children’s Books
Above is the wraparound cover of my children’s book proposal/dummy-book called “Prince of the Trees.” Since it wraps around the guts of the book, the front on the right, and the back is on the left, get it? Anyway, we had to create a proposal for a children’s book. My concept was a liberal reinterpretation of Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees. It’s one of my favorite books, and I highly recommend it. I thought it would be a fun book for kids because the idea of living up in the trees is a powerful one, and it turned out to be fun to draw too. The bulk of it is just rough pencils, but the covers, first page, and one interior spread needed to be finished in the style that we would have ideally created the whole book in. Here’s the first page:
Timmy isn’t exactly Calvino’s enlightenment protagonist, but the plot begins the same way. Disgusted with living on the ground under a system he hates, a boy flees from the dinner table and takes to the trees. Up above the ground, the boy stubbornly, or righteously, decides to never set foot on earth again. Here’s that critical moment in my book, shown in a spread of two pages (click to enlarge):
I’ll let you read the original to find out how it ends. Because of an intermediate deadline, the order of creating this book progressed in a rather unusual way. The bulk of the pages were actually redrawn after I finished the colored pages, and the last step before binding was cutting out the type and pasting it onto the pages. My tiny workspace became crazy-crowded, and longtime readers of this blog will know I am fascinated by workspaces. Take a look for yourself.
Most interestingly, take a closer look at my poor, tortured mannequin. (That’s really how I found it him laying there!)