Before publishing Sally the Snake, I sought out various illustrators, met and/or spoke with illustrators and compared ideas. Some were too busy and couldn’t find the time, some didn’t fit the style (too gothic and dark) and others with zero experience. My publisher searched, I searched, and grew discouraged. Time was running out.
I decided to see what I could do. I pulled out my very first attempt at Sally and knew I had work to do if I wanted more realistic characters. Hours and hours of researching wildlife images, choosing colour combinations, erasing and starting all over because it didn’t feel right…And the end result? Illustrations I never dreamed I could achieve, let alone complete to a surprising result!
The new improved version of Sally had me thinking of how to make her look cute. After all, not many adults are fans of snakes and my goal was to have their children become fans of these sweet little creatures!
Drazen the dragon took several hours to draw, colour and shade, adding a more fierce face than I originally drew. My husband told me his head looked like a foot, and that changed quickly!
My first illustration was Rio the raccoon. I was so pleased with him, being my launching point!
My Giraffe from the Chocolate Monster set was so well received that a lady reached out to comment and tell me it will be the inspiration for her tattoo! Now that is an honour.
Tina the Rat, from my middle grade novel, is a tribute to my cousin Connie. As kids, we would play with her pet rat, named Tina. She even has an ankle bracelet, as did my cousin.
Many of my illustrations have some sort of backstory, be it inspiration from my students or representing someone I know.
Often writer’s take inspiration from those around them!
Here are some of these illustrations, along with photos from vendor shows, book signings and pictures with those who inspire me.