I was fortunate once again to work with Red Chair Press in 2014. The illustrations for this book were completed in November. Red Chair Press puts a lot of heart into their books and each one carries a specific message to help kids navigate a confusing and sometimes hostile world.
This guide to dealing with bullies provides some tools to transform even the most intimidated kids into voices of truth and justice. At least we can hope.
Zack is a mild-mannered kid (just like you) who becomes a protective champion when he witnesses a kid being bullied. His superpowers are simply what all kids can access themselves: words and the courage to speak them. And oh yeah, he does get to fly around wearing a cape and rainboots and multiply himself for dramatic effect.
This book gave me the chance to work with character development, staging and movement. It was especially fun getting into the poses. Figuratively speaking, of course.
Here are some scenes from the 23 page reader.
More zipping around ensues... and then...
Here he goes again multiplying himself...
A bit of behind the scenes process:
I began all of the pages as traditional drawings: graphite pencil and white pencil on toned paper. This established the underlying values. And it meant I could work on them out on the porch on nice days.
Plus, I like having the physical artwork. Who knows... maybe I can sell these. Anyone interested?
I scanned the art and lightened the tone and tinted the greys to a warmer color.
Here I began adding photoshop color and a sky layer for the cover. I was digging the moody dystopic look of this but ultimately the designer, Jeffrey Dinardo, and I agreed it needed to be brighter.
I compared both versions.
The first sky looked too much like evening. He wouldn't be avenging bullies at night !
After all, he's a kid (just like you).
Like all good books there is a happy ending...