This weekend I am rushing around doing two different festivals: Sheffield today and Cambridge tomorrow! Yesterday though, I was sitting quietly at my desk all day, listening to music while I worked on the roughs for the new book.
Perched on my gas-lift chair, I work surrounded by bits of paper: the enormous sketch sheets I did for my initial pitch, curled up at my desk corner; my art director's layouts, printed at A4 and paper-clipped to relevant sketches; the roughs I've finished, spread around for character reference; then there is the text, printed out at actual size, so I know how much space it takes up. Phew - good job I have a BIG desk!
The images dealing with Sparky's misadventures are the ones I am most excited to illustrate. Since it is very important for me to get a grip on a new book as quickly as possible and to build up confidence early on, I have mainly concentrated on these scenarios at the outset.
Once the school drawings were done, I thought I'd try ballet class (another funny outfit for poor Sparky to squeeze into!). He is pretty disastrous at ballet as you can see above.
I originally envisaged this next illustration as showing Sparky and Lucy on their way to the ballet class with Mum, but we have re-jiggled the text a bit since my initial sketches below and now this scene is of the coming out of ballet class instead. You can see how my characterisation of Mum has evolved. She was firstly too teacherish, then too smart and stylish:
Sparky's expression has changed completely too. Originally I liked the idea of him being embarrassed to be seen out in his ballet gear, especially in front of the other dogs. But now he has to be smiling because he is looking forward to eating Lucy's dinner - another fun one to draw...