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Cover Reveal: Nothing Ever Happens on a Gray Day
NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON A GRAY DAY, my next picture book with Chronicle Kids Books, will be published in just a few months. You can pre-order it online or at your favorite bookstore. For signed, personalized copies of all my books, visit my wonderful local indie, Watermark Books & Cafe.
I love how a gray day makes all the colors look brighter. And on an ordinary overcast day, a feeling of boredom may open to a blue sky of possibility.
The cover design begins once much of the story is complete. For this book, I’d written the text but was still experimenting with the art when I started thinking about the cover.
I found a process drawing that had a feeling I want to capture:
With this feeling in mind, I made a series of thumbnail sketches. From the thumbnails I moved on to tighter drawings:
I began by working in ink and watercolor, but the thick black lines felt too heavy for the forest scenes throughout the book. My editor Ariel Richardson encouraged me to try a softer, more detailed approach.
So I switched from ink and watercolor to pencil and marker, keeping the contrast between the gray gradient sky and the fiery yellow-orange leaves.
Working in this medium made the book a true companion to my previous picture book, ONE BOY WATCHING. Both are drawn from my childhood memories. Both were inspired by actual places.
For ONE BOY WATCHING, I retraced my childhood bus route through the Mulvane, Kansas countryside. For GRAY DAY I spent lunch breaks and sketch outings taking reference photos and making on-site drawings of the streets and creek paths of Derby, Kansas—the city where I grew up.
Both books have a transportation theme: ONE BOY WATCHING is the story of a boy on a bus, and NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON A GRAY DAY is the story of a girl on a bicycle.
Boredom + a bicycle = discovery. Where will the journey of a gray day lead?
I’ll share more about NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON A GRAY DAY as the September publication date approaches. Until then, I’m waiting for the heat of summer to pass. For the sky to turn gray and the leaves to start changing colors. Then there will be nothing to do but start exploring.