September Hedge a gram
This is my September Hedge a gram. Every month I stop everything and write
a letter telling about what I'm doing as an illustrator. I am in the middle of
painting the pictures for my book for the fall of 2004, The Umbrella. I
wrote the story last winter, then I mapped it out with a series of sketches, and
now I'm creating the final drawings. Actually there's one more step. The art
director and editor at my publisher will look the final artwork over and tell me
their reactions. I was just thinking that too many scenes picture animals in
the distance, then I looked in my sketch book and was relieved to see I had
planned to show close ups in the next two pages. I can't wait to start them!
I just received my newsnotes from the printer. The "all About" letter as I
call it, tells about the book being published this month, On Noah's Ark. In the
letter I describe why I chose the story of Noah's Ark to illustrate, and how I
tried to make it unique. I did a big drawing of all the animals we saw in
Botswana, Africa. It took about three days to draw them all. I looked through
my guide book, where I had circled all the animals and birds we saw. I only
wish I could send a tape recording too, because the animals sounds we heard
outside the tent canvas were very loud, very weird, and non-stop from first
light at 4:30 until the sun came up. A sound like a train, really deep and
rumbling, was a male lion. A sound like a saw, was a leopard. A noise like a
dog barking was a baboon. The hyenas didn't laugh, they made a woop, woop
call. When the sun rose, the francolins, a chicken-like bird, shrieked and
squabbled and the doves would call, over and over. The animal symphony was one
of the most beautiful things about Africa.
When readers write me with questions, I'm glad I have the newsnote letters
from my different books to give answers, especially since I can do little
drawings to help clarify. I would guess almost every question I've ever been
asked has been answered in my newsnotes. I've taken that Botswana animal page
and made it into a game on the Internet. The prize is a special hip, hip,
hooray, hippo coloring page that's given only when you name all of the
animals. You can find the new game listed in the Games section of my
I went to Africa in order to see many varieties of animals and birds in the
wild. It really helped the book, and now I feel I have a special bond with
Africa. The people there were friendly and welcoming. Our guides, Ali and
July, were knowledgeable about the way the animals interacted. I'm planning
another trip to Botswana because it was so inspiring.
If you have a chance to look at my new book, On Noah's Ark, see if you can
find the painting of a child asleep next to a lion. We saw a lion exactly in
that pose from about six feet away. Only his brother was next to him. In real
life, he looked like a giant kitty, sleepy and furry. Very deceptive! Later in
the morning we saw what was left of their dinner from the night before and it
sent a chill. When I got home and drew that picture for my book, I thought how
lucky we are to have imaginations. Through our artwork we can make things
happen that could never happen in real life. The next thing will be to send my
Hedgie character to a distant planet!
I hope you find time to use your imagination this month. You'll come up
with something no one has ever thought of. Good luck!
Happy drawing! Bye for now.