I was absolutely delighted when I first read the manuscript for FOREST, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE? I would be able to bring together my skills as an illustrator with my love of nature. As an added bonus, I found I knew the author, and further, was able to go walking in the actual forest she wrote this poem about!
There were three special challenges in illustrating this book; the forest had a voice; children appeared out of seemingly nowhere on the penultimate page; and there were lots of natural details to include on every spread.
I started with thumbnail sketches in a storyboard fashion, with 16 miniature spreads on one large piece of paper, so I could see the whole book all at once. As I sketched, I envisioned the “wood sprite” character dressed in green with a garland of leaves, to represent the voice of the forest. I agonized over how to get children to suddenly appear at the end of the book; could they be hiking in the forest and then appear in the foreground when called upon? Or maybe they could be hiding behind trees and pop out when needed?~ read more ~