A Peek at Pat Cummings’ Process

h1 January 15th, 2015 by jules

Early thumbnail
(Click to enlarge)


Pat: “This is the scene when Beauty has returned home, overstayed her visit, and has
a bad dream about the Beast dying in the castle garden, because she’s broken her promise. The round symbol repeated on the base of her bed is her family motif that I wanted to suggest one of the west African Adinkra symbols.”

(Click to enlarge)


I’m following up today at 7-Imp with some art from H. Chuku Lee’s Beauty and the Beast, illustrated by Pat Cummings and published by Amistad/HarperCollins earlier in 2014. I talked with them both at Kirkus last week (here) about this book, and as always, I wanted to be sure to share some images from it. I thank Pat for sharing some final art, as well as for including some early thumbnails and other preliminary images (plus a bit of explanation as to what the images are).

Enjoy. …


Pat’s Initial Thumbnails for the Opening Spread
(Click each to enlarge):



Experimenting with Medium
(Click each to enlarge):


Pat: “Initially, I thought I’d do the art in black and white [pencil],
referencing the Cocteau film.” (See last week’s Q&A for an explanation.)

Pat: “I planned to use color in the way that
old photos were retouched with pastels.”

Pat: “Then I thought I’d try to do the book digitally.”

Final version in watercolor, gouache, and pencil


Some Final Spreads
(Click each to enlarge):


Pat: “The architecture of the Beast’s castle is based on buildings by the Dogon tribe in Mali, West Africa. I tried to add windows and elements that would suggest eyes or fangs but what I realllllly wanted to do was to make the handrail on the stairs a serpent. I had painted it that way, scales and all, and it got nixed as too scary. Much later, after I had finished the book, I saw an image in a book about Cocteau that showed a serpent-handled stairway I think he used in another movie.”

Pat: “This is the first time the Beast appears in full. He’s often depicted as a boar or a lion-like creature, but I wanted him to look more human — like the prince he was,
but after a run-in with a bad fairy.”

Pat: “On Beauty’s return to the castle, she can’t find the Beast, so she wanders from room to room, morning till evening, looking for him. One of the elements that resonated with me in the Cocteau film was the use of objects like candle sconces to show that Beauty was constantly surrounded by unseen attendants.
She was always being watched.”

* * * * * * *

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Copyright © 2014 by H. Chuku Lee. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Pat Cummings. Published by Amistad/HarperCollins, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Pat Cummings.

4 comments to “A Peek at Pat Cummings’ Process”

  1. I cannot wait until my copy arrives. Thank you for featuring this title. The artwork is rich in color, light and shadow.

  2. How beautiful! The colors are just gorgeous!

  3. […] It was one of my thesis projects I did in the graduate program at SVA, under the mentorship of Pat Cummings, legendary fairy godmother of children’s literature people. The book started with a blurry […]

  4. What’s up every one, here every one is sharing these experience, therefore it’s pleasant to read this weblog,
    and I used to visit this weblog all the time.

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