What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Paul O. Zelinsky

h1 December 14th, 2018 by jules

Early sketch


“Papa strikes a match. He and Gertie light the shamash, the helper candle. They say the blessings in Hebrew. And Gertie, together with Papa, takes the shamash and lights
the first candle, just one candle, for the first night of Hanukkah, for the first time.”

(Click to enlarge this final spread, which is sans text)


Over at Kirkus today, I’ve two new picture books about hip-hop and rap.

That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Emily Jenkins’ All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah (Schwartz & Wade, September 2018), illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. Today, I’m following up with some art from the book, as well as some preliminary images (sketches, roughs, etc.) from Paul, who rendered the illustrations digitally. I thank him for sharing.


Preliminary images:


Clothing sketch
(Click to enlarge)


Paul: Here [below] are four states of the spread I call “line-up” (the one that IDs all of the sisters in order of descending age). The first state is one of the very, very rough sketches I made before I realized that that a line-up was what Emily’s text called for. After that second state, I was going forward by drawing new layers on top of old ones.





(Click each to enlarge)


Final spread: “Inside, a chicken roasts in the heavy iron oven. Carrots stand ready to be put in boiling water. Warm applesauce cools in a bowl. By the time Gertie hangs up her coast, her four sisters are already at work. Ella is twelve. Henny is ten. Sarah is eight. Charlotte is six. Gertie is four. She thinks it is nice being all girls —
‘all of a kind,’ Papa and Mama like to say.”

(Click to enlarge spread, which is sans text)


[Here below is] one early state of the peeler drawing, so there is at least a little color; none of my sketches had any color.


(Click to enlarge)


The images here include one from my very preliminary InDesign files for the book. InDesign is a page layout program that displays type and images together in pages; I use it first to divide a text into pages, and then I feed images onto each page as I sketch them. It’s what I use to make a rough dummy. But with this rather lengthy manuscript, I just couldn’t deal with fitting type and art together, and in desperation I pretended there were no words and just drew, ignoring the type — which landed randomly, as you see, across the pictures.


Paul: “[These are] sketches crammed into InDesign with no regard for text …”
(Click to enlarge)


I made a better InDesign file for the real book, setting the type (to fit!) on top of my better sketches, which as I worked them over, gradually turned into finishes. One cool thing about working digitally was that I was able to set up a separate InDesign file just to check consistency: I made a page for each person in the book, consisting of a complete collection of cropped pictures of that person’s face, like a photo album that was sampling each place that face was going to appear in the book. The way InDesign works, the pictures you see aren’t part of the InDesign file itself; they are just displays of some other image file stored somewhere else (in this case, my collection of Photoshop files that would become the finished art). So, for instance, I could see all of Mama’s faces at once, and if, say, on one of them her nose looked wrong, I could click a link and the Photoshop file for that particular spread would open. I’d re-work her nose, and that change would register both in my consistency InDesign file and in the real-book one. I don’t know if other people use InDesign in this way, but it’s a great resource.



Two roughs from the tantrum spread
(Click each to enlarge)


A rough from the under-the-bed spread
(Click to enlarge)


Final spread: “But oh! The smells from the kitchen are good. Potatoes and onions
fried in schmaltz. Latkes, rich and crispy. Gertie can hear her sisters laughing as
they set the table. Now Ella is singing ‘Rock of Ages.’ Charlotte’s voice joins in.
Will Mama ever call for Gertie?”

(Click to enlarge spread, which is sans text)



* * * * * * *

ALL-OF-A-KIND FAMILY HANUKKAH. Text copyright © 2018 by Allenby & Co., LLC. Illustrations © 2018 by Paul O. Zelinsky and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Schwartz & Wade Books, New York. All preliminary images reproduced by permission of Paul O. Zelinsky.

One comment to “What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Paul O. Zelinsky”

  1. I think I love that tantrum spread the very best. Even in rough form, just the shape of Gertie’s body spells trouble!

    It’s always so fun to see the backgrounds of these books. Thanks again for sharing!

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