"Witchy Goes Shopping" is a very special book to me. Of course all the books that I have worked on have a special place in my heart, but this one is particularly magical as it was my first published children's picture book.
Character Study of Witchy
I did both the illustration and the design for this book, so I got to learn all the do's and don'ts in the making of this book, including sending the wrong colour format to the printers and causing a major setback to the publishers..... I am very apologetic :(
The publishers were great though. The editors at Scholastic are so nice and warm-hearted, they were very patient and understanding through the whole seven months process (Yes, it takes that long to make a picture book!)
The lovely scholastic team, Penny and Diana
at authors and illustrator conference
I have also learnt that the buyers and the marketing department have a HUGE say in the design of the book. Obviously they know what sort of "look" is in demand right now.
For the cover of "Witchy Goes Shopping" I took the normal steps of coming up with a number of roughs then proceeding to finalizing the chosen design.
We liked the Witchy in shopping trolley option the best
After the initial design things were further simplified to the below cover (note that the left part wraps around to become the back cover of the book)
Everything seemed done and the Scholastic NZ branch took "Witchy Goes Shopping" to the Australian market to see how they would respond. They were very interested in taking on the book to be distributed in Australian bookshops, only if I change the book cover design.
They didn't like the white cover as they easily get dirty while handling (very good point!) and suggested to try out a pink cover with lime green or similar coloured title.
And they really liked one of the Witchy illustrations in the book and asked me to use that image on the cover instead of the existing one. And I only have a day or two to rework the cover, as we are already behind schedule, gulp!
So the final design ended up looking much more pinky! I also didn't want the shopping trolley illustration to go to waste (as I really liked it) so decided to use it on the back.
The files were sent away to be printed and I had to wait for about five months before they were in the book shops. For the first couple of months I couldn't look at the books as I could see my little mistakes and imperfections...but now that more than a year has gone past (it was Witchy's one year anniversary in April!) I can appreciate the book as it is. My first special picture book.
I also met up with the lovely author Dianne Boles. I was so nervous when I first met her, she is so beautiful. She used to be a former international catwalk model in LA. Now she lives very close to me in Auckland. She dedicated Witchy to her magical grandchildren while I dedicated the book to my 20 year old cat Dorothy, my little furry familiar.