Over the next 3 weeks I will be posting about the production of my first picture book: Snowy Valentine. November 22nd is when Amazon will ship orders (book stores can stock it, but I'm guessing they won't stock a Valentine's Book until after Christmas). It's surreal and exciting for me to have this book come out. For one, the book's artwork has been finished for almost two years & I haven't been able to share much about it until now. Secondly, I left college thinking that I while I wanted to draw comics, I would be more likely to find work in children's books. It was through the success of Mouse Guard though that led Harper Collins to contact me about the project.
Snowy Valentine started life as the second chapter in a hand drawn book I made for my wife called The Mouse and the Cardinal. The first chapter I drew and wrote about a Mouse (me) and a Cardinal (Julia) who fell in love and were getting married. I gave that chapter to her on our wedding night. I gave her the second chapter as a gift on our first Valentine's Day as husband and wife. Here below is the 7 page story (and cork cover for the book itself)
Harper Collins was not in favor of birds as main characters, they wanted something fluffy and furry that a child would want to cuddle with. They suggested chipmunks, voles, and more things too similar to mice for my taste. I came up with rabbits and they agreed it was the perfect choice. This is a test colored sketch of Jasper the male rabbit. I designed him to be more like my Wind in the Willows illustrations that Harper Collins had seen and liked.
Next week: Part 2: Development of the story beyond the original Mouse & Cardinal plot, and the production on the artwork for book.
London Super Con: Feb 25-26
Emerald City: March 30-April 1
Boston Comic Con: April 21-22