About ten years ago, the vision for a little book about summer popped into my head.
The original inspiration came from three places:
1. My friend, Vickie, made book covers with some kids, using a plastic fabric called Tyvek and printers ink. After they were finished, I came across a leftover scrap of orange that made my heart race. I imagined using that beautifully layered piece for the cover, and creating high-impact drawings of red, yellow, blue and green inside.
2. My friend, Christine, a master of accordion books, had made a four-page album about camping. Her pages were big, bold collages focused on a single subject - a tent, a sandwich - and I loved the purity and simplicity of that treatment.
3. When I was three or four years old, I had a storybook called A Good, Good Morning. It told the simple story of a little girl who went out to play on a summer morning. She runs in the sunshine, chases a frog, squishes her toes in the mud. In the end, she goes home to eat her lunch and take a nap. I know. It's not that exciting. Just a cozy tale of an ordinary, average, sunshiny summer day. Exactly the kind of story I loved when I was young. And honestly, while the grown-up me definitely loves some Star Wars and Batman, I am still drawn to a precious little tale of innocent happiness. I wanted to reflect that sunny childish charm in my own story about summer.
Now here is the funny part. Like I said, it was about ten years ago that these three inspirations came together in the art-making regions of my brain, and I conceived of this book. I saw it perfectly in my mind's eye, I gathered my materials, and I waited for the right moment to set to work.
And I waited. And waited. And WAITED.
For six years.
The image in my head never wavered, my desire to create my vision never waned.
Yet for some unknown, crazy reason, it took me six years to bring my dream to fruition.
But here is the moral of the story: when I FINALLY felt moved to begin, the project flew from my fingers with a life of its own. Every single bit of this little book turned out exactly as I wanted, maybe even better than I hoped. Perhaps it took six years of incubation to get me to that place. I don't know.
All I know is that when I look at this finished product, I am really glad that I never gave up on my dream.