Time Flies: A Visit with Mark Pett

h1 April 24th, 2013 by jules


Here is Mark Pett, who is responsible for one of my favorite picture book spreads thus far this year, this one below, which you simply must click on to enlarge and see in its glory:


(No, really. Click to embiggen.)


That old man is from Pett’s The Boy and the Airplane (Simon & Schuster, April 2013), which I wrote about at Kirkus last week. If you’re wondering who he is and what he’s doing with that toy airplane, I explained it all last week in my column. This evening, I want to show some spreads from the book, and bonus! Mark is visiting to talk a bit about the book and share some more art, including a sneak-peek at a follow-up to The Boy and the Airplane. Let’s get to it, and I thank him for visiting …

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(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)

(Click to enlarge)

Mark: I hadn’t actually intended to make this wordless. It began, as so many ideas do for me, as a series of pictures. I used to write that way when I was writing/drawing my syndicated daily comic strip, Lucky Cow. I would write using pictures first, then add words as necessary. After writing The Boy and the Airplane in pictures, I discovered it didn’t need words!

In early drafts, it didn’t have frames. I just used the pages themselves as frames. I found I wanted to tell more of a story and to vary the action. In adding frames, I wanted to avoid a “comic book” feel, so that’s when I explored background colors. I thought I would add more color when I did the final art, but I really liked the earth tones and sepia palette.

Here are some sample pages from the dummy pages I sent to Simon & Schuster. You can see it’s very similar to the end product.

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

I really liked the looseness of the original dummy pages. I wanted to preserve that when doing the final art, so I spent most of my time doing warm-up drawings. For some reason, I found myself drawing pictures of political figures and celebrities. These helped me loosen up and gain confidence, so I could keep the energy and spontaneity that I liked so much in the original sketches.

I recently finished up a companion book to The Boy and the Airplane that will come out next year with Simon & Schuster. It’s called The Girl and the Bicycle. Here’s a teaser spread:

(Click to enlarge)

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THE BOY AND THE AIRPLANE. Copyright © 2013 by Mark Pett. Published by Simon & Schuster, New York. All images here reproduced with permission of the publisher and Mark Pett.

5 comments to “Time Flies: A Visit with Mark Pett”

  1. I really like these- the subdued backgrounds and bits of color, really like the characters. Thanks again for sharing!

  2. Great drawings!

  3. Oh… this looks like a fun one!

  4. I love the look of The Boy and the Airplane! Congrats to Mark and thanks for sharing a bit about your process (fabulous political/celebrity sketches!). Can’t wait for The Girl and the Bicycle 🙂

  5. […] which I spotted after a bit o’ internet sleuthing in a previous Mark Pett book (& here)–I knew there was something significant about that little red plane!)   What shines most to […]

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