More than a year ago, I sold the text to my picture book, PHOEBE AND DIGGER. It’s about a determined and, okay, teensy-weensy-bit aggressive girl named Phoebe, whose favorite toy is–ta da!–her brave and powerful digger. I love Phoebe and Digger both–I even love Phoebe’s annoying baby sibling (is it a boy or a girl baby? Phoebe doesn’t ever bother to tell us!) As soon as Candlewick accepted the book, I started imagining how an artist might portray them all.
But I have had to wait. And wait. I like to brag about what a patient person I am, but I’ll tell you a secret–it’s all facade! Underneath I’m as much of a toe tapper and clock watcher as anyone else. And waiting to see Phoebe, I wore out the toes of several pairs of shoes.
Part of me wishes I could draw myself. Of course when I write I SEE my characters and their settings, but trying to translate those mental images onto real paper is a disaster. Yet another side of me loves working with an illustrator, someone who takes my story and sees things I didn’t, who filters my words through her own world view. It’s exciting and always surprising, and I am very lucky to have editors who see to it that the process is a true, give and take collaboration.
The other day, like so many things in life that seem to take forever and then happen all at once (growing a baby comes to mind!) I received the first sketches. It’s too early to share them but I can say that yes, it has been worth the wait. What a gal Phoebe is! Wait till you see her!
That’ll take a while longer, though (sound of toe tapping…)