While I was touring through England and Ireland in August, I was approached with a delightful project: to illustrate the material for the library’s 2016 Summer Reading Club.
The theme for 2016 is “Travel” or, as we’ve since fine-tuned it, “Book a Trip.” Given the fact that I was traveling when the request came in, I figured I better take on the project.
Every year the library contracts with a different artist, and I’m following in some pretty big footsteps. Many of my friends (who are also fellow CWILLers) have done this job in the past, including Jeremy Tankard, Mary Jane Muir, and Kirsti Wakelin (just to name a few).
The project is not without its challenges, since I need to design characters and produce illustrations that will speak to a wide age range, different cultural sensibilities, and both boys and girls.
I started by building a cast of characters. Working with the library team, we eventually narrowed it down to three characters who would be going on this adventure next summer. So, I introduce to you . . .
The Pilot, a flying squirrel
She’s confident and adventurous and not afraid to get her scarf dirty. But, she’s got some style, too.
The Navigator, a travel bug
Yes, he’s a made-up species! He’s been on a few quests and lost a few bits along that way, so now he’s gizmoed and gadgeted up. He’s the one that figure’s out where the crew is going.
The Engineer, a polar bear
This is the fellow that is always under a bit of stress, because the vehicle our crew uses has to be kept in tip-top shape. He uses all sorts of different tools to get the job done.
The polar bear was the character that we had the most trouble choosing. We had all sorts of candidates for the job. Here’s a few of them . . .
I think we ended up making the right choice! (I hope the kids will agree!)