Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Picture Book - One Day I Went Rambling

Terri Murphy, illustrator for One Day I Went Rambling, stopped by my blog and answered a few questions about illustrating and publishing a picture book for a traditional press (Bright Sky Press).

Terri is the SCBWI-IL Illustrators Network Coordinator and one of the first professional illustrators that I met in the writing and illustrating for children world.

Her latest book, One Day I Went Rambling (see below) is about a little boy who sees the creative potential of everyday odds and ends he finds. His friends don't see it but slowly they come around and join in the fun.

Terri,congratulations on your new book release. Can you tell us a little about the process of how this book came to be? 

Thank you, Alison. I was lucky to have illustrated a picture book with Kelly Bennett previously with the same publisher, Bright Sky Press, so when they acquired the One Day I Went Rambling manuscript, Kelly requested me as the illustrator. Happily history repeated itself.

Did you get to meet or speak with the author during the illustrating process? 

Although Kelly and I know each other and have met before, we don't communicate during the illustrative process. It's not that I'm opposed to it, but there is a certain implied trust if you allow an illustrator to have free reign. If I had a question or was unclear about what she was trying to communicate, I would call her, but such was not the case. The publisher did show the sketches to Kelly before I went to finished art, and in addition to ooohs and aaahs, she suggested I include Zane's mascot, a color-changing chameleon, on every page in a hide-and-seek way. I had the chameleon on most pages, but all pages was definitely a good call!

How much time did you spend on the illustrations from sketches to final? Can you explain a little about the back and forth process of the book coming together? Were you given illustrator notes at the beginning or did you have more freedom to create?

I was given one illustration note, a suggestion really, that the "smooth brown vest" Zane finds could be a grocery sack. And so it was! It took about 5 months to complete, from receiving the manuscript, to creating sketches, to final art sent to the publisher. The interesting thing about working out a visual story line is that ideas come throughout the process. Everything is not clear-cut in my mind from the beginning, but more of an ebb and flow of possibilities. Whenever I go on school visits, I tell children the two most powerful words in creating something is "what if." Some of the "what ifs" I went with are "What If I hand-letter all of Zane's imaginative pronouncements and use them as a design element? What if I give him a mascot? What if I box all the friends' unimaginative reactions to his treasures and drain the color?"

Here is a look at a sketch and color illustration from One Day I Went Rambling.
Thanks for sharing these, Terri!

Now that we have heard a bit about your exciting new book, can you share a bit about your other books?

I've illustrated several books, but the one I mentioned above authored by Kelly Bennett, "Dance, Y'all, Dance," is a peek into a yesteryear romp-and-stomp dance hall that twirls the reader through several country dance steps and family-fun situations.  Kelly writes about themes that resonate with me as an illustrator, and I await to see if that muse strikes a third book in our future!

Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog and share a little about the process of illustrating and publishing a picture book.

Head on over to her BLOG to enter to win a signed original illustration of the chameleon from the dedication page, a color changing cameleon, or a signed copy of the book!

Terri Murphy can also be found at her website 
FacebookFan page


  1. Terri, thanks for sharing your thought process as you seveloped your ideas for the book. :)

  2. Thanks for the great post Terri and Alison. I look forward to reading the book, reminds me a lot of my own past!

  3. Thanks Alison for joining the LGRBT--and for these insights into Terri's work--she didn't tell where she keeps her stash of magic dust...maybe next time!

    1. Thanks Kelly and congratulations on publishing this book. I would also love to ask you a few questions about writing One Day I Went Rambling for my blog sometime.