I started to wonder about the teacher of this school and I thought about a character from my first novel, GUMM STREET, named Franny Muggs who had a morbid fascination for Mt. Everest, Amelia Earhart and failed missions like Shackleton’s to the South Pole. I thought that a grownup version of Franny would make an interesting headmistress. Here is the first sketch of her:
The first draft was about 56 pages on the computer but my editor, Nancy Conescu wanted more. Nancy had lots of ideas for where the story should go. We had a phone conversation about it and I remember saying to her, “Now you’re scaring me.”
My office where I write:
My studio when I’m writing:
Six months later I did venture into the lion’s cage. But something had changed. When I looked at Nancy’s comments this time I could see what she was talking about. For some odd reason (with the benefit of some time past?) something clicked inside my head. I was able to do the third draft and this time I knew I’d nailed it. Here is how my studio looked before I began to work on the art—notice how clean!
The interior black and white illustrations were done on Arches 140 lb. Hot Press watercolor paper. Here is a sketch:
So the cover was done on Strathmore heavy illustration board that I coated with a gesso and pumice stone mixture. I used gouache paint as an under painting and then Sennelier pastels and pastel pencils. Here is the cover sketch:
This banner was done in acrylic paint. Here’s the sketch:
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