A Peek at the Creation of The Funeral

h1 April 19th, 2018 by jules


“There was an organist who looked about a hundred years old.
She played a swirling song, and people in the front of the row
began to move out of the church.”

(Click to enlarge)


 

I’m following up my Kirkus Q&A from last week with Canadian author-illustrator Matt James with some roughs, sketches, reference photos, work-in-progress images, and final artwork from The Funeral (Groundwood, April 2018). That is below.

Enjoy! And thanks to Matt for sharing.



 


Matt’s desk, a “wilderness of free association”
(Click to enlarge)


 



Title page sketches
(Click each to enlarge)


 




Preliminary images and final illustration:
“‘No school for Norma!’ said Norma, putting on her mother’s shoe.”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



Preliminary artwork
(Click each to enlarge)


 



Preliminary image and final spread:
“The big black cars moved slowly through town. Norma rolled her window down.
Then she rolled it up again. Up, down, up down, up, down, until her dad pressed the button that took her window privileges away. ‘Mom, Uncle Frank was really old, right?'”

(Click each image to enlarge)


 


Sketch of purse spread
(Click to enlarge)


 






The organist in-progress from the organist spread
(Click each image to enlarge)


 



Final art
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 




Preliminary images for the slipped-outside spreads
(Click each to enlarge)


 



Final art
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 


Sketch for unused illustration
(Click to enlarge)


 



Experimenting with Ray’s character
(Click each to enlarge)


 


Unused final page
(Click to enlarge)


 


Flower letting (unused in final book)
(Click to enlarge)


 






Matt: “[These are reference] photos of my kids, Julius and Noble, and their cousin Niamh.
The ones of Noble and Niamh were taken at her grandfather’s (Papa’s) funeral.
I’m always following my kids around taking pictures, but those photos
represent the ‘lightbulb’ that went off.”


 




Cover ideas
(Click third image to enlarge)


 






Cover as a work-in-progress
(Click each to enlarge)


 

* * * * * * *

THE FUNERAL. Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Matt James. Final illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Groundwood Books, Toronto. All other images reproduced by permission of Matt James.





One comment to “A Peek at the Creation of The Funeral

  1. The process of creating the tree in the graveyard, with the sort of collage effect, is just gorgeous.

    I don’t think there’s a whole lot of funeral books in picturebookville, so this is a good subject, actually.


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