Loving the lateral

Reading this interview with science writer Claire Eamer, I was struck by how she describes seeing her words transformed into an illustrated, designed book. She says:

“Maybe the highlight was the first time I saw the page proofs for Super Crocs. That was the first time I had seen my plain old words-on-digital-paper transformed by a designer into a startling and entertaining piece of art. I think that experience is one only kids’ writers get…”

Whenever I give school presentations, kids ask how I come up with my ideas for the illustrations in the 50 Questions books. And, of course, I don’t. My manuscript gets sent into the nether (otherwise known as New Zealand), and a few weeks later, sketches begin to arrive from Ross Kinnaird.

It’s the best part of the book-creation process.

It’s SO much fun to see how an illustrator can take an idea you brushed upon or a word choice you unknowingly made, and come up with something new and mind-bending and hilarious.

We writers pride ourselves on lateral thinking, but we have nothing on illustrators.

And as I tell the school kids, Ross gets his big ideas while sitting in a bathtub of lemonade, with a chicken on his head. (You can see for yourself. He says so in the books.)