Bloom — And a Visit with David Small

h1 February 9th, 2016 by jules


“Once upon a time, in a beautiful glass kingdom,
there lived an unusual fairy named Bloom. …”

(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)


 

Over at BookPage, I’ve got a review here of Doreen Cronin’s Bloom, illustrated by David Small (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum, February 2016).

As a follow-up to that, David is sharing today some early sketches/images from the book, as well as some thoughts about those preliminary images, and I’ve got some final spreads from the book too. (Please note that, in the final spreads, the colors appear slightly darker/bolder than they do in the book. Ah, computers.)

I thank David for sharing. Enjoy!



 

Early Sketches from David:


 


David: “My original conception of the character Bloom was of an older, overweight female gardener fairy. This was based entirely on the line at the beginning of the story, which told that her tread was heavy and her feet left tiny cracks in the glass floors of the city. It really took me aback when our editor insisted that Bloom was a seven-year-old girl. I had to rethink—and especially re-read—everything in a completely new light. I found a way to make the change by envisioning her as a tomboy,
stomping around the castle.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


David: “Here is a much younger and more spritely Bloom. We were all beginning to like her better now, although she still seemed too delicate -–
more the way Genevieve was supposed to look.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


David: “Fairy’s have pointy elfin ears, right? Well, so did mine until the team convinced me they were too scary. Also, Doreen’s text read that Bloom had dirt between her teeth. Here, as you can see, I took this a little too literally.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


David: “And here, after many tries, is our Bloom. My confidence in this character is reflected in the more self-assured drawing style. (You’ll notice I got to keep the elfin ears, but only if I made their pointy shape look more as if
they were sculpted by the hair surrounding them.)”

(Click to enlarge)


 


David: “Some gesture sketches for Genevieve,
showing her hesitant to get her hands dirty.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


David: “An ambitious early sketch, showing a portion of the glass city ‘held together duct tape, glue, and peasants.’ (Such a great line!) What this drawing taught me—and why I abandoned it—was, again, not to draw things out too literally. This realistic and almost mechanically-accurate rendering of the situation made it look
both frightening and (surprisingly) also implausible.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


David: “Why this (a variation on the illustration used in the book) is any less implausible than my first try is hard to say, but it works. Maybe it’s because
it focuses on a small portion of the architecture.”

(Click to enlarge)


 

Some Final Spreads:


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 


“When the king returned empty-handed many days later,
the queen decided that she was much better suited to find a magical fairy. …”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“The next day she entered the forest accompanied by a single guard. …”
(Click to enlarge)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 


“Then an ordinary girl rebuilt a kingdom.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

* * * * * * *

BLOOM. Text copyright © 2016 by Doreen Cronin. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by David Small. Sketches used by permission of David Small. Final spreads used by permission of the publisher, Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum, Philadelphia.

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