Monday, June 30, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour Q&A, Part 1

Kate Sullivanauthor/illustrator of On Linden Square, invited me to join the Blog Tour. Pourquoi pas?  I'm always interested in how others work. 

What am I currently working on? 
I'm finishing a sequel to Paris-Chien: adventures of an ex-pat dog. Hudson goes on vacation to the south of France and tries to fit in by doing the same things the provençal working dogs do. He fails, but ultimately finds his own unique voice.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Most picture books are illustrated after the text is finished. I start with images to tell a story. The words come later. Each painting could stand on its own. The storytelling is elliptical and impressionistic. Readers apply the connective tissue.

Why do I write what I write?
I write about my personal experiences and the dog is a vehicle to communicate my curiosity and the excitement I feel when I see new places.

How does my storytelling process work?
When I have an idea, I play with it and see what umages come to mind. Then I make notes and start storyboarding. I sketch from photos and from life--on buses, in cafes, parcs and airports. At home I'll sketch off the TV. I scan sketches into photoshop, move and tweak to create a composition, then print onto hot press paper and start painting with gouache. Sometimes I'll sketch directly on the paper. I've discovered that the looser the sketch, the better the painting. I like imperfection.

I scan the final painting and might tweak color or clean up in photoshop. As the story takes shape I make new images and retire others until the text and the pictures work together to maximum effect. On my first book my process was very much trial and error, with emphasis on the error. On the sequel, I have developed a more defined process. When it does come together, it's pretty exciting! 

Right now I'm traveling and away from my studio, but in mid-july I will post some images showing the process from sketch to painting. Check back or subscribe to be notified of new post.

I am passing the blog baton to my multi-talented friend Jil Picariello, author of Jessica Lost, who writes about cooking and reading at 

And K.G. Campbell, author/illustrator of Lester's Dreadful Sweaters and his latest The Mermaid and the Shoe, which just received a fab review from Betsy Bird of NYPL on her Fuse #8 blog! Keith also illustrated Flora and Ulysses, the winner of this year's Newbery Medal, written by Kate DiCamillo. Can't wait to read Keith's responses next week! Here is the link,

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