This post is a follow up to a previous story about my collaboration with the Yell and Tell Foundation. Founder Jean Davidson decided to launch a book series this summer under the “Squawk Adventure Series” label to teach all kids to observe and yell when they see danger.
We just completed the first book in the “Squawk” series. Apropos of summertime, it is a book about water safety called “Trouble at the Lake”. Jean and her co-author Lori Walker wrote the book using many of the same mouse character types I created earlier this year for some Yell and Tell classroom teaching materials. “Trouble at the Lake” is a hardcover picture book to be distributed to schools across the country.
I utilized this first color drawing as my color palette template for each of the 24 illustrations. The individual mouse characters, Molly, Marco and Sam, each have distinct fur and eye color treatments. I’d keep this art on my screen and use the wonderful Eye-dropper tool to make sure Molly’s green eyes were the same shade of green throughout the book. Not rocket science, but a technique most illustrators use to keep the characters straight in the minds of the readers. First graders are astonishingly observant. One mistake might get you fired. :^)
In this book, I introduced a fish character to reinforce or echo the water safety lesson and play up the drama.
I wanted to share a few of the initial sketches and the final illustrations. Unlike the Yell and Tell project discussed in a previous post which used tinted pen and ink drawings , the final art for “Trouble at the Lake” was done in Photoshop with a WACOM tablet.
Jean Davidson plans for “Trouble at the Lake” to go to press this month in time for distribution in late August or September, at the beginning of the new school year. She and I hope to get to work on the next volumes in the Squawk Adventure Series sooner than later.
Dozens of children’s lives have been saved by using Jean’s Yell and Tell curriculum. Jean created Yell and Tell following the loss of her four year-old grandson, Ryder Davidson, in a drowning accident. Her desire to spare others the tragedy she experienced has proven a great success.
For more information about the Yell and Tell Foundation or to pre-order “Trouble at the Lake” for your local schools, go to www.yellandtell.com.