Wrapping Up a Project

Sample painting from Ee-Oh-Lay! What Do Birds Say? by Robin Koontz

Ee-Oh-Lay! What Do Birds Say? is planned for publication in 2021, possibly spring, by BeaLu Books. I’ve got until the end of November to finish all the illustrations and text, but am nearly done now. I’m almost to the point where I can call the book finished and send all the paintings to the publisher.

I’ve heard that letting a creative project go, declaring it really, most sincerely DONE, is not unlike sending a child you raised off into the world. You love them, you don’t want to let them go, you did everything you could to get them ready (with maybe a few regrets), and you hope for the best for them. But how do you know when you are finished with an illustrated project, especially when the deadline is still out there?

One thing I like to do is make storyboards that fit on the computer screen. First with the drawings, then with the finished pieces even when only a few are done. Lined up in order, I can check flow, consistency, variety, and page turning prompts. Some days, instead of starting on a new spread, I pull up completed paintings and make changes to them based on notes I’d been making while viewing the storyboard. If the changes to a spread are drastic, I save it as a new file so I can always go back to the original in case I later regret my actions. Here’s a storyboard for Sir Pants-a-Lot and Squire Mousekins: The Girl With the Golden Hair, which is available here.

Another thing I like to do is get feedback from my honest, helpful friends. I am lucky to have a lot of them and we have social media to make it easy to share our stuff. I was fussing with this barred owl and mostly needed someone to tell me to STOP, which my friends did. I still added some color over the eyes and some highlights, and I fixed the foot, Kathy. šŸ˜ This is the original; the final is on the page above.

By the way, in this case, the final painting pretty much followed my original sketch. I only changed my mind about featuring two mourning doves. That was because on all but one of the previous pages, there is only one bird per species. In that one exception, well, it’s the climax to the story. I’ll talk more about that later when the story is revealed!

Thanks for reading this update for Ee-Oh-Lay! What Do Birds Say? Stay tuned, and meanwhile, stay safe and please, wear a mask!

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