Character, concept, & scene  development
from idea to final illustrations The All Important Cover
This is the most important illustration of the book because it is a person’s first impression of your work. If they like the cover they’ll pick it up! Therefore, this was the last illustration we did for The Forbidden Volcano because I wanted to make sure we got it PERFECT. This ended up being a good call because it gave me time to play around with concepts, bounce ideas off Randy, and get inspired by his other illustrations More Sketches When you write or read a book (without pictures) it is a lot like directing a movie in your head! You create an idea of what each character looks like and imagine exactly what they will be doing throughout the book! That’s why I like writing and being involved with the illustration process so much because it allows you to put down exactly what’s in your head. So when you think about it anytime you read or write you are a director! 
And today it’s as easy as ever to make your ideas reality. In fact I found my artist on the internet and we completed both books solely through emails and phone conversations! Here is the process of getting what’s in your head onto paper! These are just a two of the many sample sketches I did when developing a look for the PERFECTOS. Once I was happy with the look I illustrated them in the computer, to the best of my ability, before sending them off to a professional artist (Randy Jennings). Professional illustrators will usually give you a couple of sketches before they begin the project - just to make sure you are both on the same page. These are Randy’s  first character sketches for me and I instantly knew he was the right person for the job! My Bruno before and after his transformation into a Proll (left) and Randy’s new and improved Proll! (below) My daughter, Elisa, created this new animal for the land when she was seven years old and we incorporated it into The Revenge of Yellow Eyes? When deciding between the book’s background look (bottom or right)Randy popped an early version of Nate against a previous illustration of his to help make my decision an easy one.  Nate’s final look! I actually did the first cover in August of 2000, but when I got around to hiring an illustrator in 2002 I decided it didn’t show enough action and it wasn’t a good representation of the land of Perfection.  This next cover I did just before hiring Randy in July of 2002. I felt it did a good job of capturing the beauty of Perfection and I really liked the concept of Yellow Eyes coming out of the book, but it failed to tell the story of the volcano. Wanting to incorporate the volcano as well as the land of Perfection I started searching hiking photos on the internet and found the perfect shot. Randy had already done some awesome illustrations so I put them over the picture and emailed it out! Randy then did this awesome sketch for me to sign off on before line art and inking.  See if you can see any subtle changes from the previous sketch. A job well done and definitely worth the thought that went into it! The back proved to be easy once the front was done. I knew I wanted to show all the characters and their names and I thought Authority’s house with frames would be a neat way to do it. Randy and I decided having Yellow Eyes’s poster on the desk told more of the story and would really get the reader’s attention. We also decided to clear out the window to allow enough room for the book summary and then Randy created another masterpiece! The Revenge of Yellow Eyes? cover I drew up the cover for book 2 a couple months after publishing the first book, but when I went to have Randy start illustrating this book in 2005 it just worked better as a picture in the story. So once again I waited to the end of the illustration process to complete the cover and felt the picture above told a lot about the story. So I built upon the idea of that picture, but decided to intrigue the reader by making it a bit more mysterious. My daughters also served as inspiration for the character looks. My oldest Elisa (left) is Joy, while Erika is Tiny.