When I interviewed Sue as part of the Sofia’s Dream blog book tour, I was interested in how she came to work with the publisher, Little Pickle Press, and since I do behind-the-scenes projects for LPP, I knew that the turn-around time on this book was very fast.
Dani: Sue, thanks for stopping by to chat with us about this cool project. I love the message of the book, and equally, your illustrations. First tell me when you actually got the manuscript and seriously started working on the drawings.
Sue: Last June and we had it essentially completed by mid-October. That’s a really fast production schedule even though a few of the pages had 22 versions.
Dani: Sofia’s Dream is written in lullaby-style, so there isn’t a lot of text or typical story action. How do you approach a book like that, where you have to flesh-out the story with vivid illustrations?
Sue: A mentor gave me the advice to start with the first leap! To be less literal and more imaginative. It was a stretch that has made a difference in my art.
Dani: I’ve seen this artwork described as “done in pastel” which it’s not. Tell us about your process and how the illustrations were rendered.
Sue: I had gone to workshop to learn how to use a Wacom Tablet in creative new ways. With a textured charcoal tool in Photoshop, I did the initial sketches for Sofia’s Dream. The plan was to use these as understudies after printing on 100% rag fine art paper; then mounted on Masonite board, I’d oil paint over the top, my usual medium of choice.
Dani: So now I’m really curious… since I’ve worked in oils as well as pastels...
Sue: The art director, Leslie Iorillo, loved the freshness and charm of the first drafts and wanted to keep that look. So I didn’t do any oil painting at all, just revisions to that original art!
Dani: The artistic hand is so evident. I would have bet it was hand-rendered. It’s amazing to me how all the new tools create such marvelous images. I especially love the personalities you managed to give the moon and Sofia. Well the earth and space, too. One of my favorite images is Sofia walking on a log as though it’s a balance beam. How did that image come to you?
Sue: I’m a trampoline and tumbling coach through the Trampoline and Tumbling Association! So I had a few models in my memory.
Dani: To see the final version of this illustration, check out the Sofia's Dream book trailer. So what’s next, Sue?
Sue: Lots of public book signings over the holidays! And more illustrating and writing in the new year.
Readers, we have another book giveaway as part of the tour. Leave your email address like this:
me at everywhere dot com...in the comment section for a chance to win a copy of Sofia’s Dream. Don't miss the sweet book trailer at http://www.littlepicklepress.com and if you click over to the Little Pickle Press blog and comment with your email address there, you’ll be added to the drawing for an iPod Shuffle.
Remember to leave your email or we won’t know how to contact you. Be sure to share with your friends who have children! And leave your email address. Did I already say that? Leave your email address? ;)
Thank you to Sue Cornelison for sharing stories about herself and her art process with us, and for illustrating such a sweet book!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil, teaches authors how to put together their own blog book tours, and works as a special projects consultant for Little Pickle Press.