I'm BEYOND excited that my next book is an Aesop fable. Really?! For Cantata Learning, I'm illustrating an upcoming edition of The Crow and the Pitcher.

For this book, the fist step I took was to create the crow character. A strong series of poses from the beginning will help ensure character consistency later. References are always good. But they're best when you create your own!!! The evolution of the crow himself has actually come together easily. I fell in love with him immediately. It's almost like he's drawing himself.

"Thanks, crow!"

Here's the character sheet for this project. 

Now, it's time for the work! First step here is to start sketching on the blank layout with text in place. 

First page sketch for the moment when Crow get is is big, brilliant idea!

Sshhh. Don't tell the Editor, but I one to color before we even reviewed the sketches together. What can I say? I just couldn't wait!

First color test.

So, what I know about myself as an illustrator is that I can easily overwork something. So, my first color test (above) was an attempt to lay down some style and let it sit for a day or two...or three to see how I thought things were shaping up. Don't overwork it. Don't look to closely. Day 1, "Cool!" Day two, "Meh, alright, but I'll give it another day." Day three, "We are NOT there yet." I took down' some line weight, loosened up on shapes, and played with more color. Most importantly, I went back to what feels good and natural for me. I admittedly struggle with this idea that illustration should come so easily that I can do it blindfolded. Not the case. The is work, a craft. There's a balance between "what feels right naturally" and "what is successful after focused effort". I feel like I got there. I'm happy...happy to move on with this crazy, determined bird. Now, with this out of the way, I can be as focused as this crafty little corvus!

Crow and I are ready! Let's make a book!!!!