What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Katherine Roy

h1 September 15th, 2017 by jules


Today over at Kirkus, I’m reading between the lines, so to speak. That is here.

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Last week, I talked here with author-illustrator Katherine Roy about her newest picture book, How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild (David Macaulay Studio/Roaring Brook Press, September 2017). Today, she follows up with some beautiful sketches from her research trip to Kenya, a bit of a peek into her process, and some final art from the book. (Pictured above is an early sketch.)










Katherine: “Early visual notes and doodles, as I taught myself to draw elephants.
A few of these tiny pieces later became the basis for final art in the book.”

(Click each sketch to enlarge)


“Field Notes from Kenya”:



(Click each to enlarge)


Rough Drafts:



Katherine: “Two versions of a night-time birth scene. I stole the composition that worked best from a different drawing, with elephants protecting a calf from an approaching lion.”
(Click each to enlarge)



Katherine: “Two versions of a herd with calves encountering hyenas. Hyenas and lions are both a threat to young calves, but ultimately I decided to go with lions in my book.”
(Click each to enlarge)


More Rough Drafts:


Growing up …
(Click to enlarge)


Lion charge …
(Click to enlarge)


Lion defense …
(Click to enlarge)


Making space …
(Click to enlarge)


Newborn …
(Click to enlarge)


Workspace …


Katherine: “Puzzling a book together starts with little pieces on my desk.
Later, it moves to my wall, and the pieces get slightly bigger.”

(Click each image to enlarge)


Katherine: “Drawing in our safari jeep in Kenya …”
(Click to enlarge)


Some Final Art:


“With flapping ears and whiffling trunks,
the herd quickly spreads the news. …”

(Click to enlarge and see full text)


“African elephants are one of the few species on Earth that
live in permanent social groups. …”

(Click to enlarge and see full spread with text)


“A baby elephant’s vocabulary of barks, cries, grunts, and trumpets is designed to
call her family’s attention to her most basic needs. …”

(Click to enlarge and see full spread with text)


“Even with so many lessons behind her,
a baby elephant has years of education ahead ….”

(Click to enlarge and see full spread with text)



* * * * * * *

HOW TO BE AN ELEPHANT; GROWING UP IN THE AFRICAN WILD. Copyright © 2017 by Katherine Roy. Published by David Macaulay Studio/Roaring Brook Press, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Katherine Roy.

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