This is my September hedge a gram. I'm hard at work doing the
illustrations for Honey, Honey, Honey - a book set in Africa that stars a honey
badger and a honeyguide bird. The honeyguide bird is quite nice looking with a
cream colored belly and brown back and wings. He has yellow patches on his
shoulders. When I saw a honeyguide in Africa, I really stared at it, so I could
remember its posture. It was sitting on the branch of a huge baobob tree
calling again and again. Right underneath it there was a crack in the tree, and
honeybees were zooming in and out. We knew there must be honeycomb in there.
I'm trying to draw a honeyguide bird for my book that looks like the bird I saw
in Africa, only with exaggerated expressions and body language.
I've been studying the goldfinches and chickadees at our bird feeder to get
ideas. Also I watch my chickens and observe them. Even though chickens are
bigger and have different shaped bodies, they're still birds. They can lift up
the feathers on their heads and neck when they're trying to be bossy, or droop
their wings when they're sleepy. Sometimes, I'll just transfer their actions to
my honeyguide if it expresses the story I'm telling.
I have four weeks to work on my book before I go on the book tour. I think
about the children to come to meet me because someday some of them will be
artists and I guess they want to see what it's like. I never know if kids have
parents and teachers that recognize their talent, so I am optimistic. The
world is a better place when someone has talent and he or she works hard to
create pictures that reflect their ideas. I thing that is one of the most
exciting aspects of my book tour, when I meet the children that are artists and
At each book store I try to arrange to do a drawing and give some helper
ideas for drawing. When I describe how I how the idea of my next book The
Umbrella, I am hoping the kids watching will by three steps ahead of me,
imagining stories of their own. My husband and I are going on a bus so we can
bring some extras with us. There will be free posters, a cloud forest backdrop
in case you want a picture, my easel so I can draw you a picture. Even Hedgie
will be there and I'll have my "all about" letter and coloring pages and The
Umbrella 2004 Tour buttons to give away.
Most of all I want to meet everyone and hear about the books you like to
read, what animals you like and get to see any artwork that you've brought with
you for me to see. Every day on the road, I'll do a black and white line
drawing of a cloud forest creature and put it on our website. I'll also be
drawing leaves and plants. After eighteen days, there should be enough pages to
make a Cloud Forest mural, just like the forest we saw in Monteverdi, Costa
Happy Reading and keep up the good work - see you soon!