May 2nd, 2019

the seven stages of GRUMPYCORN

My brand-new picture book, Grumpycorn, is all about Unicorn who is trying to write the most fabulous story in the world. So I thought I'd give you at a little peek at how I made (what I hope you will think is) this fabulous story! Here are the steps the book went through:

1. CONCEPT: It all started with this drawing, which has lots of the elements of the story in it.

2. STORY: I originally wrote the story on my phone, then typed it up when I got home. My agent Jodie Hodges sent it along to my editor at Scholastic, Pauliina Malinen, together with the single picture I'd drawn. And as soon as Scholastic gave me the go-ahead, I started making little notes on it and sketching possible layouts.

3. CHARACTER: I spent awhile trying to decide how Unicorn would look. I know a lot of unicorns look glorious and magical, but I wanted him to look a bit more comfortable and bumbling. He's dressed warmly against the sea breeze in his favourite purple jumper.

4. LAYOUTS: After Pauliina, Designer Strawberrie Donnelly and I agreed on how Unicorn, Mermaid, Narwhal and Jellyfish would look, I started doing thumbnail roughs of all the pages.

5. TECHNIQUE: Artistically, I wanted this book to be a little different to the books I'd done previously (Dinosaur Firefighters, There's a Shark in the Bath, etc). So I started playing a bit with brown wrapping paper to see if I might do something digitally with scanned textures.

Then I thought, what am I doing?? I hate doing all my artwork on a computer screen, I'd much rather muck around with real art supplies. So I started playing around with tissue paper collage. But... wow, was it MESSY. Bits kept smearing, sticking to my fingers, then bits I didn't want to wrinkle would wrinkle, and other colours would disappear into the glue. And when I scanned it, all the pinks came out white. So I had to go in and recolour them digitally and, by the end, I thought, this is ridiculous. This double-page spread looks all right, but I knew I couldn't keep it up for a whole book.

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