I'm moving into the picture ideas for pages 6-15.
The pictures need to show the ongoing tension that will be there in every page as the boy
keeps working at "solving his problem".
Every story needs a problem in order to create tension and interest. That is a main ingredient.
The problem in this simple book is that a small boy is wanting to surprise his best friend with a birthday party...this huge dog usually goes with him everywhere and does everything with him. Tiny doesn't understand why his best friend is not letting him inside to be with him like usual.
Like any dog, Tiny is persistent in trying to get back in. Meanwhile, Elliot keeps trying to get things done...he wants it to be special for his big buddy.
That is what I must show.
It is a lot of simple "back and forth" between the two of them.
Tiny will understand Elliot's distance and unwilling to give Tiny attention in the end.
Pages 6 & 7....Elliot lets us in on his secret plan (build anticipation....this keeps the kids turning pages to
find out what happens.)
Pages 8-11....Get Tiny out of the house...even though Tiny doesn't want to go!
and the emotion on page 11....confused and a little hurt
These are communicated in facial expression as well as body language....just like you and I do in any given situation during our day. The artist has to plug himself into another story and picture the emotional reaction and what the details of that reaction look like....then decide, "how far can I push that emotion to make my picture communicate the strongest?"
Pages 12 & 13....Tiny's perspective of being shut out...dejected, yet vigilant (just like a dog!).
I'm letting Tiny's body language tell the story here...we don't even have to see his face.
I put the ball on the page across from tiny so that I will have something colorful to add to that green lawn
that will be there...help give it some interest. One thing I will do different is to move it from being straight across from Tiny. The position looks too symmetrical where it is...it needs to shift down or up and to the side. I'm symmetrical to a fault!! My dad kept a very symmetrical yard growing up....but my wife designs our yard with curves and asymmetrically which I find much more appealing and interesting. (Dad, I still enjoy your symmetrical yard though!).
Pages 14-15....Elliot finally gets busy on his surprise party work....he disappears from Tiny's vigilant watch...but his ears still work great!
You'll notice below, I am designing this as two different pictures on the same spread. I feel I needed to do this because spread 12 & 13 is one illustration going across both pages. "Variety is the spice of life". (nuff said.)
What do you think?
Last, I have to keep in mind that I cannot put anything in concrete with what I have designed...the final call on my work comes from my publisher. I need to be willing to explain why I drew/designed something the way I did yet let go of it after I've had my say. They are always good to hear me out and consider my opinion before making the final call. I appreciate the professionalism that Penguin Putnam has always shown me in our book projects. They are great to work for! (no, I'm not brown nosing! It's the truth.)