Well, what a relief! The response to my Bear on the Stairs roughs has been really good: hardly any changes at all. Hurrah!!
Both Rona, the Editor at Anderson Press, and Julia Jarman, the author, were very complimentary and feel I have got things pretty much right. This is brilliant news, as it's quite a tight artwork deadline, so no major redraws will save a bit of time.
Julia liked that cat idea and suggested introducing him into as many spreads as possible, so I'll sort that out, like above, which is from the page where he tries to bribe the biggest bear.
Both Rona and Julia prefer the versions without the little vignettes, so we'll be going with the boy looking through the banisters at koala instead (now with added cat in arms):
And just the big bear on his own in the spread that comes next, rather than as previously:
Julia made other interesting suggestions. Unfortunately many weren't practical to draw without creating new problems. For instance, for the page above, Julia suggested looking up the stairs from the bottom, over the boy's head, to the bear looming at the top, his big shadow up the wall.
This sounds good, but of course we'd then see the other two bears, which would be confusing.
Also, you may remember some of the difficulties I had getting the big bear large enough on the page. I sat him down in the spread above, because standing forced him to be much smaller in a landscape spread. In Julia's idea, looking up the stairs with Bear at the top, perspective will make him a great deal smaller still.
Being smaller also diffuses Big Bear's ability to 'loom'. I hit this issue once before, drawing the Mule School image above. The text originally had Stomper's friends peering up at him 'looming' down from the cliff above.
We had to change the wording and rework the whole page, because it is impossible to 'loom' at a distance.