Sophie Blackall Illustration

Drawings and Snippets and Breaking News, (but more snippets than breaking news).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Making of Finding Winnie - Part 2

 Illustrating Finding Winnie took over a year. The very last thing I did was the cover. Sometimes covers come easily, sometimes it's a torturous process. This one, while not exactly torturous, was a little elusive.

 This was my first sketch, but I wasn't really thinking where the title would go.
Followed by about 87 color sketches, until I hit on Winnie holding onto Harry's boot. But the background didn't feel quite right. Nor did the type. We were down to the wire, the book had to go to print. We sent out the f&gs (folded and gathered proofs) with a placeholder cover, the one on the lower right.
We took a collective deep breath, and went back to the drawing board. And then Saho Fuji, the art director, came up with the yellow diamonds in a flash of inspiration.
Partly inspired by Cole's bedspread...
Partly by this old edition of Winnie the Pooh...
And possibly, from deep in our collective memory, this WW1 poster I found in the very early research stages.
We always knew we wanted to show Harry and Winnie on the front and Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh on the back.
One of my favorite parts of the book is the case cover, the surprise under the jacket.
When I saw this photo of WW1 soldiers...
It rang a bell!
And so, my tribute to E.H. Shepard.


Tammie Lee said...

such adorable sketches, tender and full of feeling.
it was fun hearing about your process, how long it took and things you tried and how in the end it was team work that brought the cover together. It looks wonderful!

Amanda Brenchley said...

Wow. I'm off now to buy the book....

Josiane Polidori said...

Thank you Sophie for sharing your research and your creative process. The collaboration with the illustrator and the book designer for the book cover is very interesting. I am stopping on my way home to get the book.

Molly Sloan said...

Dear Sophie,
I am delighted that Finding Winnie won the Caldecott Medal yesterday! It was my choice for the medal and it was also selected as the winner by the members of my Caldecott Club (mostly 3rd and 4th graders) at Portland Jewish Academy. Congratulations from all of us here at PJA!

You and I met briefly at ALA last summer when we were both waiting in line to have Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen sign books. You were talking about your dress for that evening's Caldecott/Newbery/Wilder banquet and I remember thinking at the time that you might just need to have a fabulous dress arranged for next year's banquet because I had a premonition that you would be celebrating gold this year. And here we are!

I am especially pleased that you won for Finding Winnie because I felt you were much maligned during the angry discussion over A Fine Dessert. For what it's worth, I love that book too. Finding Winnie, though, is one of my all time favorites. I plan to give it for baby shower gifts from now on. Thank you for bringing Finding Winnie to all of us.

I will be celebrating whatever is next from the Sophie Blackall studio--whether it wins shiny medals or not. You have taken a spot in my heart reserved for my very favorite illustrators and I will be watching your career with much esteem.

Molly Sloan
Portland Jewish Academy

Sheryl Gwyther said...

Thank you for these special insights into your work on 'Finding Winnie' - fascinating! And congratulations on winning the Caldecott - thoroughly deserved! (Best wishes from Australia too).