SCBWI Illustrator Day

I just finished attending a webinar hosted by the KS/MO chapter of the SCBWI. I have been doing illustration long enough now that a lot of these seminars (in person and online) are sort of reviewing things I’ve already picked up. But I did get a few points that were sort of new, or at least good to be reminded of. And it’s always good to get out there (metaphorically because it was on zoom) and actually discuss things.

The subjects were picture book dummies and working with art departments.

There was a lot of information, but the advice I took away was:

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The Neighborhood’s Night – Page 15

Page 14 doesn’t have an image, so we skip on to page 15 from The Neighborhood’s Night by Juliana Catherine. This is the last illustration and the end of the book.

It’s not a completely happy ending because, even though Leena’s back in her own home, Amaya’s family lost their house. This is supposed to be a “tough subjects” series, so a not entirely happy ending is appropriate. But it’s not all bad because Amaya has sent Leena a letter saying how they found a place to live and are doing okay. They even sent pictures.

I made sure it’s the same couch and wall as page 4 so it’s definitely the same house. It comes full circle.

An illustration for page 15 of The Neighborhood's Night by Juliana Catherine.  A girl curled up on her couch leans back against her mother who is sitting beside her.  The girl is reading a letter and the mother is looking at some photo prints.  They are both smiling.

The Neighborhood’s Night – Page 10

Here’s the 8th illustration for the book project I just finished for Learning A-Z. Page 10 of The Neighborhood’s Night by Juliana Catherine.

This is the only close-up portrait in the story. The two moms are leaning in close together discussing what’s happened. They’re both tired and very worried.

This image is also used on the title page.

An illustration for page 10 of The Neighborhood's Night by Juliana Catherine.  The two moms lean in close together discussing what's happened.  They're both tired and very worried.

The Neighborhood’s Night – Page 9

Here’s the 7th illustration for the book project I just finished for Learning A-Z. Page 9 of The Neighborhood’s Night by Juliana Catherine.

Here Leena’s family is getting settled a bit when a family they’re friends with shows up. The woman, Saanvi, is wearing a sari because I’ve seen Indian women in my neighborhood wear these, but I’ve never actually drawn one. So, when the client said they wanted me to make her Indian, I decided to go ahead and give her this traditional outfit while I was at it. It was fun to draw. I kept the decorative pattern really simple, though, because I didn’t want her clothes to have way more detail than the clothes of the other characters in the story so that it looked inconsistent. I do hope I drew it right.

It just occurred to me that I don’t think I drew anyone with glasses on in this story. I should have done that. Oh well. Mental note to self to put some glasses in the drawings for my next project, if possible.

An illustration for page 9 of The Neighborhood's Night by Juliana Catherine.  Leena's family is just starting to get settled on the cots in the gym when a family they're friends with walks in.

The Neighborhood’s Night – Page 8

Here’s the 6th illustration for the book project I just finished for Learning A-Z. Page 8 of The Neighborhood’s Night by Juliana Catherine.

Here Leena’s family makes it to the emergency shelter, which is the gymnasium at a school a safe distance from the wildfires. The important points of this illustration are to show the three families standing in line at the front, that they’re in a gym, and that there’s a crowd of people already there. Since I didn’t want the crowd to make the background too busy and distract from the foreground people, I made them fade from minimally colored at the front, to completely gray at the back. The color in the room also fades a bit as it recedes into the distance.

It was important to the client that I show diverse families, because they wanted to show that all sorts of people had been displaced by the wildfire. That’s why, in addition to Leena’s family, one family group consists of two women and a child and the other has a little grandmother and her grandkids, including one in in a wheelchair. The characters are a bit small to really show racial traits, but they do have a range of skin tones and hair color to indicate diversity. They also are diverse in the amount of stuff they managed to bring with them, either by affluence or by luck, it isn’t clear. One family group has several nice, big, rolling suitcases while Leena’s family just has some duffle bags and the third family doesn’t have any bags at all.

An illustration of page 8 of The Neighborhood's Night.  The scene is a school gymnasium set up as an emergency shelter with a crowd of people around cots set up on the floor.  Three displaced families stand in line in the foreground.  A woman at a table seems to be handling sign-ins.

The Neighborhood’s Night – Page 7

Here’s the 5th illustration for the book project I just finished for Learning A-Z. Page 7 of The Neighborhood’s Night by Juliana Catherine.

This is the last one in the project that has fancy lighting. From here on out the characters will be indoors under regular lights, which is a lot easier, but not as pretty.

Anyway, Leena and Amir are in the backseat of the car as their mom drives them away from their house towards the evacuation shelter. Leena is sad and worried. Amir is too young to understand, so is sleeping. He spends most of the book asleep, actually.

In the sketch phase for this one, I originally drew it at a different angle because I didn’t realize two-year olds, the age Amir is supposed to be, still have to be in rear-facing carseats. I thought they could front-face when they turned one. Nope. It either changed since my kids were that age, or I was remembering it wrong. Anyway, at first I drew them both facing forward. I had to completely redraw it at this angle so that both the kids’ faces are visible. Glad I caught it before I sent it to the client.

An illustration for page 7 of The Neighborhood's Night by Juliana Catherine.  It's the interior of a car showing two children in the backseat.  There's a toddler sleeping in his carseat and his sister looks sad and worried beside him.  Outside the window, the trees are silhouetted against a red sky.