Do you remember the story of the little engine that could? “I think I can. I think I can.” Doing goat illustrations has had me telling this to myself for weeks now.
Picture book illustrations are so common readers seem to flip by them with scarcely a glance. I won’t do that anymore. Those illustrations are the result of hours and days of planning, sketching, correcting and doing.
My new goat book has a series of ten flash fiction pieces about a little goat in it. These needed illustrations. This was a new challenge.
I had been doing goat illustrations for the other single page, unrelated pieces in the book. Each letter has a short piece using that letter and an illustration. As long as this related to goats and the written piece, it worked.
The Little Goat was different. These ten written pieces were all related and about the same three goats: Ma and her twin doelings. As in a novel, characters do not change names and other traits from one chapter to the next. These three goats must look the same in all of the illustrations.
I spent days going over each piece and deciding on what the illustration would be, then drawing it. Every flaw in my drawing crept into these sketches. After several adjustments, each sketch was done.
What color or colors would each of the three goats be? Even more important was how to mix the colors I wanted. For some reason watercolors have a limited set of colors and expect the artist or illustrator to mix these to get the desired color.
Ma was to be a red goat. I got out the red. Goats are more of a copper color than pure red so I added some brown. And got pink. For some reason almost any combination with red produces pink. Goats are not pink.
One kid was to be golden brown. This is when I discovered starting with orange worked much better than working with red or yellow.
One kid was to be black. The hard part of that is getting details to show as black tends to merge into one black blob.
My goat illustrations are improving. I learned a lot doing the related series for the Little Goat.
“Capri Capers” is another fun goat book already available.