As a children’s picture book illustrator, I often get images in my mind as soon as the author tells me the story the first time. If it captures my imagination and hooks me, my job is to then find a way to capture the imaginations of others and cause them to fall in love with the characters, too.
When Diana came to me with her story about a tree, I immediately was captivated—I love trees. Most of the stories I have illustrated involve characterizing animals, real and imaginary, and I felt no trepidation about being able to do the same with a tree. I imagined using shapes, lines, contrast and color to show emotion and bring life to the little tree, Misho, as the tale of her adventures would unfold.
Funny thing was, as I began to sketch, what was in my head just wouldn’t appear on the paper before me!
One idea I had was rather abstract, and although it was unique, I felt it was a little too complex and unbelievable as a method to portray our character. So, I sketched. And I sketched some more. Diana offered an idea for me to sketch in different styles that everyone knows, just to loosen up my creativity and Misho became “Seuss-ified!” That was a fun exercise, but not really the direction either of us had in mind for our book. And I sketched some more.
As these things often happen, inspiration hit me one day after sitting outside, listening to the summer breeze and reviewing dozens of photos of Bonsai trees in a Google search. Here is a link to our “Inspiration board” on Pinterest:
Misho was finally born and the character you now see is her persona: sensitive, tangled, gleeful, bedraggled, lonely, and hopeful. We are both very excited to present Misho to her future readers. We’d love for you to follow us through the process of telling her story.