When Cheep! Cheep! came out, a number of reviewers thought the illustrations were digitally assembled, and even some friends and relatives thought I made a handful of little chicks and then "reused" them for the different spreads -- but every chick (and egg, etc.) is handmade in a ridiculously time-consuming method. These photos (which aren't great quality -- sorry) are from the first book (somehow I didn't photograph the Christmas Cheeps in progress), but it gives you a sense of all the little pieces and my factory-assembly-line approach.
I recently finished up the first book that I wrote and illustrated, called Mimi. It's about a little pig, who has a stuffed bunny named Bunny, and a pet roly-poly bug named Frank -- who's missing! It will be out from Bloomsbury in Fall, 2008, and took me a good nine months (well, more really) to illustrate. That equalled many, many months that my family couldn't use the kitchen table because it was buried deep in pig, bunny, and bug parts. I do have a small studio upstairs in my house, but somehow I always gravitate to the kitchen. Well, partly that's because the kitchen is usually brighter and a more comfortable temperature, partly because it's nearer the stove which I use for baking my polymer clay parts (and the refrigerator which I use for motivation/consolation), partly just because I have liked to work at the kitchen table since I was a small child. When I redo my studio next year, I'm going to advocate buying a new table for the kitchen, and letting me have our old one (it's already covered with paint accidents and xacto blade boo-boos) for my workspace. But then I'll probably just end up messing up the new table too. Sigh.
I'm scrambling now to finish the art for a book called An Apple Pie for Granny by Susan vanHecke. I think it's supposed to be out next year too. I'm trying mightily to resist the temptation to work in the kitchen, but it's just very, very hard.