For those who don't know, before a book is printed, everyone involved gets a set of 'proofs'. This is a complete print of the whole book, at the final size, not yet bound into a book, but as individual flat double-pages. This is used to make sure that everything is perfect, before it goes to final print. Once thousands of copies are created, it is too late to put mistakes right, so the proofs are very important.
My main task is to check my illustrations, to make sure the colours are true, and these proofs are very good indeed. Paula, my Art Director, thinks we need to brighten up the cover a bit, so I have to play around with that on the computer, but the inside picture look perfect.
I also check that all the 'text overlays' are in place. This is where words appear within the image, over and above the main story text. See above, where Stinky and his friend Baby Littlebird are playing Jungle Monopoly? Notice that the name of the game has been left out of my original drawing. This is because no text can ever appear on my illustrations, otherwise foreign translations would be impossible without redoing the drawing. So I do any wording separately (on the computer) and put in place just before printing (see Computers are Wonderful Again). This is how the game will look in the book:
Sometimes they get left off by mistake. If you have a hardback copy of Bad Hare Day, turn to the final spread. This is how it is supposed to look! Can you spot the difference?
The coffee machine text was missed off, but I didn't spot the mistake on the proofs, so all the books were printed that way. If you have a paperback, it may be ok, as they are printed later on, so they probably corrected the error - I haven't got a copy here to check. If you have one, let me know if it's ok!
This is one of my favourite bits from Stinky!: the baby monkeys' tea party. Everything is going well, until Stinky's pong attracts lots of flies. Unfortunately, the flies tickle the monkeys and create havoc:
I decided to tip the image as well as the table, to increase the sense of chaos: the horizontal skirting board was far too calm. This also created more space for the ceiling to appear, as the words specify the jelly gets stuck to the ceiling.