Emma Quay and her books

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Take a peek behind the scenes at the books before they became books

“Rudie Nudie” by Emma Quay   “Daddy's Having a Horse” by Lisa Shanahan & Emma Quay   “Not a Cloud in the Sky” by Emma Quay   “Scarlett, Starlet” by Emma Quay   “Baby Bedtime” by Mem Fox and EmmaQuay   “Bear and Chook” by Lisa Shanahan & Emma Quay   “Bear and Chook by the Sea” by Lisa Shanahan & Emma Quay

“Cheeky Monkey” by Andrew Daddo &  Emma Quay   “Reggie and Lu (and the same to you)” by Emma Quay   “Shrieking Violet” by Emma Quay   “Thank You for My Yukky Present” by Meredith Hooper & Emma Quay   “Emily and Alfie” by Meredith Hooper & Emma Quay   “Good Night, Me” by Andrew Daddo & Emma Quay

click on a book to discover its story


“Scarlett, Starlet” by Emma QuayScarlett, Starlet

SCARLETT, STARLET: first sketch and final illustration of Scarlett

This was the very first sketch I drew of Scarlett leaping. The scale changed and she looks better in colour, but the essence of Scarlett was there from the beginning.

SCARLETT, STARLET: first sketch and final illustration of parlourmaid dancer

This little parlourmaid was nearly there from the first sketch too – she just needed to be polished up a bit.

SCARLETT, STARLET: first sketch of Scarlett on stage

This picture comes halfway through the book, when Scarlett finally gets to dance on a real stage instead of just for her adoring mum and dad. I really wanted to capture Scarlett's enthusiasm. To me, this first scribbled drawing was just right – all flailing legs and arms. You can see Scarlett loves dancing and throws herself utterly into it, but perhaps isn't entirely technically polished. However the drawing couldn't go in the book at it was – it's tiny, too rough and smudged and the proportions are all wrong. I had to work from it to make a more finished illustration.

SCARLETT, STARLET: final illustration of Scarlett on stage

I lost a little of the movement in the final artwork, but it's not too bad. Scarlett's left arm was rather long in the pencil sketch and shortening it changed the dynamic, but I feel the diagonals in the picture inject movement and energy – the enthusiasm is still there.

SCARLETT, STARLET: art materials

These were the only traditional art materials I used in the book – a bottle of black Japanese ink and a black pencil crayon my daughters were given in a colouring pack on a JAL flight. With the help of Photoshop, every line, colour and pattern came from from these two.

SCARLETT, STARLET: illustration of Scarlett in pyjamas and ink pattern

I made this pattern by twirling a ragged old brush on the paper. Once I'd turned the black ink red in Photoshop, it looked a little like red roses – perfect for the pattern on Scarlett's pyjamas.

SCARLETT, STARLET: illustration of Scarlett and dotty tights pattern

To make the dotty pattern on Scarlett's tights, I used the end of the cartridge from a biro dipped in ink.

SCARLETT, STARLET: illustration of curtain call

There are twenty-two kids in the book. Scarlett is the star of the story, but I wanted all the performers to get their chance to shine on stage. Each has a distinct personality and dance style. To keep track of everybody, I kept notes. I didn't want anyone to be absent during their curtain call.

SCARLETT, STARLET: notebook

I also wrote notes in an exercise book to remind me what I wanted to change or what needed doing on the different pages illustrations from day to day. I'd cross them out as I did them. I now have pages and pages of scribbles!

SCARLETT, STARLET: Chren Byng, Hazel Lam and Emma Quay in HarperCollins Sydney offices

Once I'd finished the illustrations, the text need to be added to the pages. Here I am in the HarperCollins Sydney offices with the book designer, Hazel Lam (she's the one in the middle) and Publisher, Chen Byng. We are looking at where Hazel has placed the type.

SCARLETT, STARLET: print proofs

Once the design was finalised, the pages and cover were proofed. I checked the print proofs to check all the colours looked as I hoped. They did – phew!

SCARLETT, STARLET: HarperCollins sales rep

The files were then sent to the printers, and at this stage the sales reps from HarperCollins got busy, travelling around the country and showing new books to booksellers. Here, sales rep Kathleen is showing an unbound BLAD (book layout and design – pre-publication sales material) for Scarlett, Starlet to staff at the Ellison Hawker Bookshop and the State Cinema Bookstore, in Hobart.

Click here to find out more about Scarlett, Starlet


Not a Cloud in the Sky

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Photograph: camping in Keep River National Park

This photograph was taken in Keep River National Park in the Northern Territory.

In 2008, I spent three months travelling around Australia with my family, camping. It was an inspiring experience, and Australia's red deserts and enormous blue skies form the setting of my picture book, Not a Cloud in the Sky.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Wood panel

This is how each of the illustrations started – as a flat, wooden panel.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Artwork, pages 10-11

The pictures were layered on top of these panels, with some of the natural wood grain left showing through the colour here and there.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Printing in ink with a champagne cork

I used all sorts of materials to make the illustrations for this book. Bit by bit, I built up the pictures using separate scraps of drawing, painting and prints. These were scanned, then combined as layers in Photoshop where I manipulated their scale, colour and opacity to build up the illustrations.

Here I used ink and a champagne cork...

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Artwork, page 32

for the moon.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Rabbit clouds and sponge

I applied acrylic paint with a sponge, for the clouds.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Painting the desert with foam rollers

Foam rollers from a child's painting set were perfect for depicting the red earth and rocks...

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Artwork, pages 06-07

of the Australian desert.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Ink tree branches and drinking straw

I painted Bird's tree with a brush and black ink, leaving a pool of ink at the end of some of the branches. I then blew through a plastic straw to create the more delicate twig shapes. I enjoyed the random and unpredictable ink dribble shapes this method produced: it was impossible to control the exact direction in which the ink would run.

Some of these branches were lopped... or shrunk... or moved (in Photoshop)...

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Artwork pages 30-31 (detail)

before the tree was ready for the final illustration.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Artwork pages 28-29 (detail) and photograph

To add leaves to the tree, I used a touch of photography. On the right, here, is a part of a photograph I took at dusk in Karijini National Park, Western Australia. It's not a good photo at all (and it didn't make it into the album), but it was perfect for this use. I used the magic wand tool in Photoshop to select the leaves in this photo, and then I filled the resulting shape with flat colour. I wanted to suggest a mass of foliage rather than outlining and painting every single individual leaf, so this method suited me well.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Japanese brush

This soft and wide Japanese brush was great for the sweeps of colour at sunset. Some brushes are a pleasure to use.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Artwork pages 24-25

This illustration was built up with lots of hand-painted layers, scanned and then assembled in Photoshop. I wanted the picture to glow.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Artwork pages 28-29

Here, the night breezes are carrying Cloud along. Can you guess what type of brush I used for the deep blue lines in the sky?

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Toothbrush

This type!

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Pencil, brush and paint

To draw and colour the birds, I didn't use anything out of the ordinary - just a 4B pencil, a brush and some acrylic paint.

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: Artwork in progress, p30-31

I wanted every bird in the tree to have a small story or sequence for observant readers to follow through the last few pages of the book. Some of the birds take a little while to settle, while one longs to snuggle up with the other three birds on his branch... and eventually does. For continuity, and to keep track of which bird was which from page to page, I numbered them all in Photoshop. I made sure I removed the layers with the numbers on them before I sent off the image files to be printed.

So it's not all swishing about with paint, brushes, sponges, straws and champagne corks – there's a lot of painstaking, fiddly work to bring everything together. There are 68 birds in this picture!

NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY: The finished book being read

But it's all worth it, when the book is ready for its purpose – being read, and enjoyed.

You can read author and illustrator notes for Not a Cloud in the Sky here
Click here to find out more about Not a Cloud in the Sky


Baby Bedtime

BABY BEDTIME: Early elephant sketch

This is one of the first sketches I drew after reading Mem Fox's manuscript for Baby Bedtime. It is quite small – just over 5cm high – but this drawing grew into a whole book.

BABY BEDTIME: Artwork page 9 and detail

I used finger painting to colour the elephants. I liked the fact it didn't allow me to get too fussy about colouring neatly within the lines.

BABY BEDTIME: Photograph of items used for furniture, texture and pattern

The elephant characters are the only parts of the illustrations in Baby Bedtime that are outlined and coloured using pencil and paint. The backgrounds, furniture, bedding and books in the elephants' house were put together using scans of items I found in charity shops. Some of my finds are displayed in this photograph.

BABY BEDTIME: Photograph showing lace used for pattern

The criss-cross detail on the lace at the bottom of this apron reminded me of bedtime kisses.

BABY BEDTIME: Scanned image of lace, and artwork page 7

I decided to use the pattern to decorate the parent elephant's dressing gown.

BABY BEDTIME: Photograph showing sleeves of bed jacket

The decorative edging on the sleeves of this nylon bed jacket made me think of a string of fairy lights...

BABY BEDTIME: Artwork page 28-29 (detail)

so I strung them up in the baby's room, and made them glow using Photoshop.

BABY BEDTIME: Knitted star

My friend, Byrnece, knitted this star for me. I wanted the illustrations in this book to feel soft and cosy, with lots of curves, textures and patterns, but no straight lines. It was difficult to find a star without straight edges and sharp points – I found plenty of star-shaped sequins and buttons, but they were too symmetrical and uniform in shape. I love the hand-made quality of Byrnece's star...

BABY BEDTIME: Artwork page 13 (detail)

and I used it over and over again on the beaded curtain hanging in the doorway to the baby's room.

BABY BEDTIME: Artwork, front cover (detail)

Here are the stars again, used as decoration on the front cover of the book.

The elephants have just finished their bedtime story. They are sitting on comfy knitted cushions. Again, this is Byrnece's knitting, but this time a much-loved ball she made for her grandchildren when they were babies.

BABY BEDTIME: Photograph showing knitted and crocheted balls

I squashed the ball down a little and scanned it, then used Photoshop to turn it into seats for sleepy elephants. (And don't worry – the ball did spring back into shape again as soon as I'd finished with it!)

Perhaps you can also find the crocheted ball somewhere in the book.

BABY BEDTIME: Photograph showing suede belt

Can you find the places where I used the interlocking shapes of this suede belt at the beginning of the book?

BABY BEDTIME: Photograph of items used for furniture, texture and pattern

You might be able to find the items I used to make the baby's cradle, the lampshade in the bedroom and the back of the rattan chair in the sitting room. (Here's a little clue: don't be fooled by their colour!)

You can read author and illustrator notes for Baby Bedtime here
Click here to find out more about Baby Bedtime


Rudie Nudie

RUDIE NUDIE: Early sketches and artwork for p1

I'm glad my drawing improved between these first quick sketches and the finished artwork for p1 of Rudie Nudie.

RUDIE NUDIE: Sketches for bath illustration

When I look at this page from my sketch book, I can see the history of the development of my ideas for the bath illustration. I tried a few positions for the little boy, and at first Mum was a bit too static, sitting on the right hand side of the bath. I decide to move her to the left and have her leaning in to splash the children. The various diagonal lines help add more movement to the picture.

RUDIE NUDIE: Artwork for p4-5

Here is the finished double-page spread – the end product of all that thinking and scribbling.

RUDIE NUDIE: First sketches for p10-11

I went from here...

RUDIE NUDIE: Artwork for p10-11

to here.

RUDIE NUDIE: First sketches for p14-15

From here...

RUDIE NUDIE: Artwork for p14-15

to here (but it did take quite a few months).

RUDIE NUDIE: Early sketch

In some of my sketches you can see I was trying to work out where to put everything. This girl ended up with four arms...

RUDIE NUDIE: Early sketch

and this one was never given a head!

But – despite that – I quite like this drawing. Again, I can see some 'history' in it: my drawing process is quite visible. I can see evidence of my thoughts as I worked out where to draw the legs, to express movement and energy in the best way I could. I don't mind those extra little lines in there – they make the drawing seems more alive, somehow. I left a lot of lines like this in the finished illustrations for Rudie Nudie – I didn't rub them out.

RUDIE NUDIE: Blanket

A very kind lady crocheted this blanket for my elder daughter when she was a baby. I used this photo to decorate the bedclothes in the final illustrations for Rudie Nudie, when the children are tucked up in bed.

RUDIE NUDIE: Artwork for p30-31

I rather like the contrast between the handmade qualities of something like our woollen blanket and the digital processes involved in using Photoshop.

RUDIE NUDIE: Looking at the colour proofs

This was an exciting day: the printers had sent the colour proofs for us to check. Here, Chren Byng and Tegan Morrison from ABC Children's Books are looking at all the pages. They look happy because they were – we all were. The colours were just right!

RUDIE NUDIE: Launching the book

And here (several months later) are Tegan and me at the book launch in November 2011. We look even happier! Rudie Nudie is a book – printed, bound, jacketed… and in the shops!

Click here to find out more about the picture book, Rudie Nudie


Shrieking Violet

Shrieking Violet: Early sketch and finished illustration

My books always begin with a soft pencil and a sketch book. Because I have lots of ideas popping into my head, I need to get them down really quickly. Because of this, some of my first sketches are pretty basic, but they are a great help in planning out the contents of the final illustrations.

Shrieking Violet: Quick sketch

Some of my very quick sketches make me laugh, when I look back at them. This was a pictorial note to myself. On the final page, I wanted Violet to look admiringly at her big sister, and try to copy her taking her bow. This is what my drawings look like when I play Pictionary. No one would want to put them in a book!

Shrieking Violet: Early sketch and finished illustration

Sometimes my first quick sketch looks quite similar to the finished artwork…

Shrieking Violet: Early ideas and finished half title page design

the final drawing and design is just more polished.

Shrieking Violet: Child’s collage and finished illustration

To add colour and pattern to the characters' clothes, I used some of my two daughters' artwork from when they were at preschool. This is a collage by my younger daughter, using fabric, paper, tissue and metallic stickers. I scanned the collage and used it for one of Violet's dresses.

Shrieking Violet: Child’s crayon rubbing and finished character illustration

This wax crayon rubbing was perfect for Violet's other dress.

Shrieking Violet: Child’s print

Sometimes, however, I needed to manipulate the colours in Photoshop before I could use them. My elder daughter printed this pattern with children's watercolour paints and a square eraser, when she was four years old.

Shrieking Violet: Finished illustration

After a change of hue, I used it to decorate Mum's shirt. The patterns on the pushchair and on the bags are also pre-school creations in wax crayon and marker pen, scanned and manipulated in Photoshop.

Shrieking Violet: Child’s painting

To create the sounds coming from Violet's mouth, I also used sections of my daughters' paintings from preschool.

Shrieking Violet: Finished illustrations

The different marks had been made by printing with the edge of a piece of card, splattering paint onto the paper and by varying the way the paintbrush was held. These images were great for expressing Violet's changing moods… and her sister's.

Shrieking Violet: Child’s painting and finished illustration

I love the way children use unexpected materials for their artwork. I learned a lot from the creations I discovered in my daughters' preschool trays at the end of each day they spent there.

Shrieking Violet: Painting an illustration

The final stage of the illustrative process was adding the last of the colour with acrylic paints.

Shrieking Violet: Finished artworks

The Shrieking Violet artworks are ready to be scanned. They're laid out on the rug on my floor, exactly where Bear and Chook lay seventeen months earlier.

You can read author and illustrator notes for Shrieking Violet here
Click here to find out more about the picture book, Shrieking Violet


Daddy's Having a Horse

Lisa Shanahan's manuscript for Daddy's Having a Horse

This is what the beginning of Daddy's Having a Horse looked like when I first read it, fresh from Lisa Shanahan's computer. You can see that I have started to mark which parts of the story will go on each double page spread – pages 4 & 5, pages 6 & 7 etc.

Daddy's Having a Horse: character sketches

After reading the story, I did these sketches to work out what some of the characters might look like. Here are Lachlan and Caitlin, in wax crayon and watercolour…

Daddy's Having a Horse: character sketch

and mum, in pencil.

Daddy's Having a Horse: pencil rough

Here are some pencil roughs I did a little later to show my editor, Mark Macleod, and the author, Lisa Shanahan, how I was planning to illustrate these parts of the story.

Daddy's Having a Horse: pencil rough

Mark and Lisa liked my ideas, so the finished illustrations look pretty much like this, except in colour. However, I don't always get it right first time!

You can read author and illustrator notes for Daddy’s Having a Horse here
Click here to find out more about Daddy's Having a Horse


Reggie and Lu (and the same to you!)

Reggie and Lu: early sketches

Look at these very early doodles of Reggie and Lu. Can you match them to the illustrations in the book?

Reggie and Lu: early sketches

The endpapers of the book in hard cover have some of my first sketches of Reggie and Lu on them – have a look.

Reggie and Lu: pencil rough

This is what Reggie and Lu looked like in pencil, when I was doing the roughs.

Emma Quay's desk whilst illustrating Reggie and Lu

Here is a photo of my desk while I was doing the final illustrations for Reggie and Lu (and the same to you!). I am quite untidy. You can see the chalk pastels I used – all over the place!

You can read author and illustrator notes for Reggie and Lu (and the same to you!) here
Click here to find out more about Reggie and Lu (and the same to you!)


Bear and Chook

Bear and Chook: rough sketches

Can you tell what Bear is doing in these scribbles? Can you even tell that it is Bear? It's quite difficult to tell because I drew him really quickly, when I was thinking about the story and how I might illustrate it. I doodled the pictures so I would remember the ideas that were popping into my head.

Bear and Chook: pencil roughs

Look at these drawings for Bear and Chook. I was working out how Bear might stand on top of the mud castle. Do you know which of the two positions my editor, Mark, and I chose? Do you think we made the right decision?

Click here to find out more about Bear and Chook


Thank You for My Yukky Present

Thank You for My Yukky Present: rough sketch & storyboard drawing

Here are some early sketches and storyboard drawings for Thank You for My Yukky Present, when I was planning what would happen on each page.

Thank You for My Yukky Present: storyboard drawing & rough sketch

Don't the pictures look different without the rainbow colours? I used acrylic paints and chalk pastels to colour them.

Click here to find out more about Thank You for My Yukky Present


Good Night, Me

Good Night, Me: artwork on lightbox

Here is one of the artworks from Good Night, Me on my lightbox. I am tracing a rough pencil drawing onto thick, textured watercolour paper, so I can paint on it. The lightbox has a fluorescent light inside it, so I can see through the paper more easily. The picture is the one where the orang-utan is under the sheet. It was probably the easiest illustration to do, but it is one of Andrew Daddo's favourites.

Good Night, Me: artwork in progress

This is the same artwork when I had started to paint it. There are many more layers of paint to go.

Good Night, Me: artworks on Emma Quay's desk

Here is my desk when I had nearly finished all the artworks for Good Night, Me.

Emma Quay's paints

I have lots of paints& – acrylics in big tubes and watercolours in smaller tubes and pans. However the illustrations for Good Night, Me only required a fraction of these colours. Guess which colour I used more than any other.

Click here for the answer

Click here to find out more about Good Night, Me


Emily and Alfie

Emily and Alfie: pencil rough

Look at this pencil rough for the illustration of Emily and Alfie gazing in awe at the colour and grandeur of the inside of the ice cave. It's difficult to imagine, looking at these grey pencil marks on white paper, what the final colour artwork will look like. This is what the author Meredith Hooper and the editor Ana Vivas had to do when they looked at my roughs for Emily and Alfie and tried to envisage how the finished book would look.

Emily and Alfie: finished artwork

Now look at the finished artwork. What a difference! The cave has much more depth and modelling, with the different shades of blue and the shadows. It is easier to imagine the space, the scale, the chill of the ice. You can see that I allowed space around and held back on the texture behind the areas where the words would go on the page. I didn't want my illustrations to interfere with the legibility of the text. The designer, Georgie Wilson, and I worked closely together at every stage of this book so that the type and illustrations would work together on the page as harmoniously as possible.

Emily and Alfie: pencil rough

I am constantly re-evaluating my drawing as I progress from roughs to artworks stage with my illustrations. Compare this pencil rough with its corresponding artwork below. Can you see how a gesture has changed and some outlines have altered slightly? As well as leaving space for the text, I have to be aware of where the centre of the spread will fall (known as the gutter). A strip down the centre of the illustration can often disappear into the gutter, or seem chopped in half or not line up on either side, so it’s important not to put anything important (like a face) in the gutter.

Emily and Alfie: finished artwork

In the finished illustration it is easier for us to differentiate between the mothers and their chicks, with their contrasting colours and textures; I used charcoal sticks and soft chalk pastels for their textural qualities. I limited my palette in the illustrations for Emily and Alfie to the cool colours white, black, grey, mauve and blue of the penguins and their surroundings, with touches of warm orange and yellow on the adults’ plumage, which is echoed in the sunset sky of Emily and Alfie’s homecoming.

You can read author and illustrator notes for Emily and Alfie here
Click here to find out more about Emily and Alfie


Cheeky Monkey

Cheeky Monkey: pencil rough

The text for this double page spread was, “I can see you, funny bunny.” I started working out how the child and dad would be placed on the page, and how they would be interacting with each other. I tried a few variations in my sketch book. I liked the one where the whole child was visible.

Cheeky Monkey: pencil rough

This is the small thumbnail sketch from my storyboard, and the more finished pencil rough. I showed both to Andrew Daddo, my editor, Mark Macleod, and the publisher for their feedback.

Cheeky Monkey: finished illustration

And here is the finished illustration, with chalk pastel colour scanned onto my computer and added to the lines of the pencil rough. There are many references to animals in Andrew's text; in the opening pages (when Dad comes to wake the child) I imagined a hibernating animal curled up in a pile of dry leaves, so I decorated the quilt with a pattern of autumn leaves.

Cheeky Monkey: pencil rough

The following three pictures show the final stages of the last spread from Cheeky Monkey. This one with lines only – the pencil rough.

Cheeky Monkey: pencil rough on coloured background

The second with the same drawing dropped onto a coloured background.

Cheeky Monkey: chalk pastel

And the third with colour added – the finished illustration, ready for the book. I swirled on some warm, sunny yellow pastel, radiating out from the centre of the two characters, to complement the emotional content of the image. I find similarities between the building up of layers in Photoshop and the separate inked plates or screens of some of my favourite printmaking techniques.

Cheeky Monkey: unused pencil rough

As you'll have gathered, I do a lot of drawing before I get to the final, coloured stage. I end up with piles of paper covered in doodles, sketches and more finished drawings. Many of my drawings never make it into the book at all.

You can read author and illustrator notes for Cheeky Monkey here
Click here to find out more about the picture book, Cheeky Monkey


Bear and Chook by the Sea

Bear and Chook by the Sea: unpainted artwork

At this stage I'd drawn the outlines with a waxy Chinagraph pencil, and had just begun to paint the artwork for the opening spread of Bear and Chook by the Sea. I used acrylics paints, just as I did in the first book. It had been eight years since I'd painted Bear and Chook first time around, but luckily I'd kept notes on the shades of paint I'd used for everything, so I was able to dig out that list and make the two characters exactly the same colours in the second book – a nice watery Australian Sienna with touches of Red Oxide for Chook's feathers, and washes of Cobalt and Cerulean Blue on Bear.

Bear and Chook by the Sea: finished artwork

Then – many layers of paint later – this is the completed artwork. I wanted Bear and Chook's sleeping arrangements to be symbolic of their relationship. In the first book, Chook always comes out rather the worse for wear in Bear's ventures. Here, even in repose, Chook's comfort is at the mercy of Bear's every move. If Bear turns over in his hammock, Chook's little basket bed will swing precariously. When Bear gets out of bed, Chook will plunge to the floor!

Bear and Chook by the Sea: half painted artwork

The colours of Chook's plumage and the rug on the ground looked a lot brighter before I washed plenty of transparent Midnight Blue paint over them to suggest the half-light of Bear and Chook's night-time packing.

Bear and Chook by the Sea: finished artwork

And now, with the lights off.

Bear and Chook by the Sea: stretched artwork

I had just started painting this artwork, and in this photo it is drying under a thermal lamp (that's why it looks so orange). You can see that the watercolour paper has been stretched onto a board and fixed down with gummed brown paper tape, to prevent the paper from cockling when it's wet from all the washes of paint. A nice, flat artwork scans much better than a curling, wavy one.

Bear and Chook by the Sea: finished artwork

Here is the finished artwork. I have soaked and peeled off the brown paper tape. Can you see the trim marks at the top of the paper? They tell the designer where I intend the edges of the pages to be. Illustrators paint colour out beyond the edges of the printed page (this is called the bleed) because we don't want any slivers of white paper showing at the edges of the illustrations.

Bear and Chook by the Sea: artwork and paints

This artwork – the final spread – is half painted. Chook doesn't yet have his red comb and wattle and there are no shadows or texture on Bear's fur. You may have noticed that the first book is open on my desk – I referred to my original artworks continually. I wanted the final two spreads, with Bear and Chook lying by the pond and watching the moon, to be similar enough to reassuringly echo the corresponding scenes in the first book, but not to replicate them exactly.

Bear and Chook by the Sea: painting background

Here, it's nearly finished. I'm painting the flat, creamy-coloured background.

Bear and Chook by the Sea: finished artworks

It took a long time to get to this stage, with all the artworks finished and spread out on the floor for Lisa and me to check. It finally looks like it's a book. I like this stage!

Bear and Chook by the Sea: checking artworks

Lisa likes them – hooray! Time to pack them all up, and send them off to the publisher.

You can read author and illustrator notes for Bear and Chook by the Sea here
Click here to find out more about the picture book, Bear and Chook by the Sea