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02 April 2015

Kevan Atteberry's BUNNIES - Guest Post

I am thrilled to have my friend, Kevan Atteberry on today to talk about his new picture book, BUNNIES!!! (Yes, that's three exclamation points.) I featured his book trailer on Sunday, but Kevan is here to tell us more about the story behind the story. Just in time for Easter! Take it away Kevan...
     Creating BUNNIES!!! was either magical or lucky. I'd been illustrating other people's picture books for years but I'd yet to sell a book that I had penned.
           For the past several years I've been creating a monster-a-day for the month of October. It started out as an exercise in creativity. It was challenging to come up with something completely from scratch every day. I posted them daily on Facebook so I could be held accountable. And boy was I held accountable.
     In 2012, when October wound down, I began participating in PiBoIdMo—an organized challenge to come up with one new picture book idea a day for the month of November. I was thumbing through images of mine at one point during the month and landed on this one.
     It was a monster I created and posted on October 20 of that year. It was a particular favorite of mine and the comments (about 100) were split on whether the monster was going to eat the bunnies or if he was excited to see them. And that got me thinking it might make a good story, so I added it to my list. Then in mid December, I pulled out my PiBoIdMo list, and began writing Bunnies!!! It came very quickly, I wrote it in no more than an hour, storyboarded it in a couple more hours and over the next couple of days, developed the characters and dummied it. The monster character was considerably different than the inspiring illustration, and considerably different than what he would eventually look like in the book. Here is a couple looks at the way he developed into the monster in the book. His name is Declan.
     When I showed the dummy to my critique group, they were initially speechless. They thought it was ready to go out the door right then and there. But we tweaked it some and a week or so later when I brought it back with the minor revisions—no more than two or three words—I felt it was ready to send out. I landed my amazing agent with this book and she had multiple publishers interested in it right away. It sold shortly in a two-book deal. That's why I call it lucky or magical. The time it took to write it, dummy it, critique it, get an agent, and sell it was only about six or seven weeks. Unfortunately, it set a pretty high bench mark going forward.
      And some working sketches of a page in the book. There are 3 versions from the 6 or 7 dummies and the finished piece.
     One technique I incorporated in creating the illustrations for BUNNIES!!! was to create all the characters in one file at the same time. This helped in maintaining the consistency of the character throughout the book.
     This file was about 36" tall.
      And here's s a look at my messy studio where fun stuff happens.
Kevan is an illustrator/writer living in the Seattle area. He has been drawing since he was knee-high to a crayon. He has designed and illustrated many things including award-winning children's books. His biggest claim to fame is creating Clippy the paperclip helper in Microsoft Office which still annoys millions of people every day. Visit him at www.kevanatteberry.com.

1 comments :

Rebekah Mickelson said...

What a charming book. Thank you for sharing Kevan Atteberry's experience. What a whirlwind she had creating. Can't wait to read this book

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