Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Hanukkah Hop!

In 2010 I was invited by Alexandra Cooper at Simon & Schuster to illustrate Erica Silverman's The Hanukkah Hop! She'd seen some of the concept sketches I'd done for the Story of Belle & Wissell and thought I'd be a good fit. I agreed immediately. I loved the simplicity and energy of Erica's story and was especially glad to have a chance to work in a different style than I had in the past.

I began work with concept sketches of the character designs. Rachel, the main character, was the jumping-off point for everything else. I started with her.

After some experiments with heavier, middle-aged parents, it was suggested that the mom and dad characters should be younger and hipper. They went from this...

To this...

I purposefully drew upon some of my favorite influences for the design of this book. The layouts were largely inspired by the classic Little Golden Books of the 1950's and the character designs were stylized after Mary Blair, Alice and Martin Provensen and the advertising art of the post-war era. This direction wasn't random, however. I wanted a style that helped communicate the music and fun of Erica's story, and the energy and whimsy of this approach seemed to help push this.

In general, I'm not particularly concerned about wearing my influences on my sleeve. For me the end justifies the means. If the pictures tell a good story and children enjoy them, that's really all I care about.

The Hanukkah Hop! was released by Simon & Schuster October 2011.

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