When I first started working with E.B. I was so nervous! He is a Caldecott honor winner and illustrator of 65+ books after all. Afraid to ask questions and sound like a completely insane, untalented person, I would just write down every word he said and obsess over them for the next week. My family was close to killing me. I drove everyone crazy with my insecurity and hundreds of thumbnails. My critique group never blocked my calls or emails, but I wouldn't be surprised if they seriously considered it (at least a few times). Thanks for putting up with me Carolyn Dee Flores, Laura-Susan Thomas, Akiko White and Eileen Ryan Ewen!! I wouldn't have survived the last year without you ladies. Your advice and critiques were, and continue to be my saving grace.
Beyond improvement in artistic skill, E.B. has taught me to trust my instincts, ASK those questions and embrace the insanity (for marketing purposes I call it quirkiness). And never (and he means NEVER) say you can't. The word just doesn't exist in his vocabulary.
I've been working with E.B. Lewis for a year now. I've come a long way in that time. I thought I would give you a bit of a visual journey, so you can see my progress.
This is my original drawing, before I started working with E.B. I thought it was perfect. E.B. asked me what the narrative was? Where is the little boy? Why do you have a floating (boring) window? All extremely important questions. That I had no answer for.
I started with the interior (trust me this was not the first version). The boy is in his room. Yay! One question answered. Who is this boy? What are his hobbies? I love dogs, plus I thought he added some emotion. Questions were being answered left and right! What is he looking at? A landscape, a road, so what? Where is the anticipation? What is next... More questions!
This is the final version. All questions answered.
E.B. has taught me you can't answer the questions, if you don't ask them.