Authors Like Us interviewed Kevin Sylvester last week. We haven’t posted the episode yet, but once we do you’ll be able to hear how keen I was to talk to Kevin about the fact that he illustrates his own books—just like me. In that interview he discussed how he works on the drawings and words simultaneously. Normally, the words are what spawn the illustrations, but on occasion the way he draws something causes him to go back and change the words.
It’s the same for me. I often change the words to fit a new picture, or perhaps a picture will give me a new idea for the text. There are also those times when I scrap an entire drawing and replace it with a new one. That’s always a little bit more frustrating. After all, it’s relatively little work to edit a paragraph, but immensely more work to redo an entire drawing.
Sometimes there’s no help for it though. In fact, I’ve spent part of today redoing a drawing of Uncle Griffinskitch. The illustration below is the very first one I drew for Kendra Kandlestar IV:
Originally, I wanted to put this in chapter 1, when the old wizard is instructing Kendra in the ways of Een magic. I like this picture a lot, but I’ve ended up illustrating a picture of Kendra in pretty much the same pose that I want to use in Chapter 1. Humph! Too many sitting poses in one chapter! So I decided to just scrap the above drawing all together until I realized I have another scene, later on in the book, where Uncle Griffinskitch is mediating. Only problem is that I can’t use the above illustration, because the other scene in which Uncle Griffinskitch is meditating is in Burdock’s dungeon. And, because of that, the ornery old wizard has to look a lot more scruffy. Plus, he has to be in chains. Oh, and he can’t have his staff, or ring, or even his beard bracelet because Burdock took them all away.
So I just redid the whole illustration from scratch. See?
It’s a small illustration, so not a lot of work. It’s better than doing an entire complicated illustration from scratch (which I’ve done many a time in the past!).
By the way, this illustration of Uncle Griffinskitch is actually a sort of flashback scene. Well, not quite, but I can’t say more without giving stuff away. You might remember Uncle Griffinskitch was thrown into Burdock’s dungeon back in Book III, and by the end appeared at the Rumble Pit to rescue Kendra. At the time, it was never explained how Uncle Griffinskitch was able to escape Burdock’s dungeon, or how he even knew that Kendra needed rescuing. That all get’s explained in this new book! And you might be surprised how it all happens . . .
By the way, I don’t think old Griffs will get his beard bracelet or ring back—so he’ll just have to look a little scruffy for the remainder of the book (maybe the whole series!).