Developing an Idea in The Whens

When Louisa Rempala and I started working on The Whens together, it was the first time I had ever worked with an illustrator. Because I had complete freedom creating the story, it was important to us both that she had as much creative freedom as well — but man it’s tough to give up control!

It was peculiar to watch my words come to live. I had vividly clear images about the book in my mind and her pictures were completely different (yet they matched the story just as well). For example, I grew up with dry, golden fields of wheat blowing in the dusty wind — but she came from a lush country of greens and blues… so it was quite a shock to see a cool color palette in the book instead of reds and yellows.  But that was what I also liked about working with someone: she had so many ideas I would have never come up with on my own… and that made the book better than I could have ever done alone.

Here are some pictures of the first page as it transitioned from a raw idea to the finished product.  Hope you enjoy!

Whens Idea

My rough sketch to explain hills with signs pointing to happiness when i pitched the story to Louisa.

Whens Rough Sketch

Louisa’s rough sketch for the first page… trying to figure out what the main character will look like and how prevalent to make the monsters.

Whens Experimenting

We experimented with the story at night, but ultimately wanted the whole thing at day (because that worked better with the cloud watching).

Whens Final Product

The final result.  Thanks Louisa for all your hard work!

About Author Steve Hanson

Steve Hanson is the author of The Dax and Zippa Series, Monsters Midnight Feast, Wizards In The West, Butterflies Don't Chew Bubblegum and The Whens. View his Profile.

2 thoughts on “Developing an Idea in The Whens

  1. As a big fan of the behind-the-scened aspect of audio/visual productions, this kind of stuff always fascinates me. It’s so cool to see how your ideas developed into the fantastic illustrations in the book.

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