Day 4: Introducing Kidlit Art Director Laura Lyn DiSiena
I loved how these spunky siblings were on a mission, and no matter how determined they were, this pig would just not get with the program. But they loved him regardless: Snowflake was just being Snowflake!
I also loved how Cyndi captured that feeling of being a child and wanting so badly to have a pet as part of the family, and how our pets are subjected to our affections. Sometimes it’s way more fun for us than them.
What was your process when determining where to place the illustrations, texts and speech bubbles on the page so it would be visually pleasing and help move the story?
Cyndi submitted initial sketches with rough text in place and we refined the text, images, and layouts from there. She’s a pro, so had a nice balance of image and text. Basically, all we had to do was make sure the text clearly related to the imagery and was easy to follow. Particularly with the PIX format, which is created for the reluctant reader, we didn’t want to overwhelm the reader with too much text on each page. We wanted to let the images tell part of the story and also enhance the story, adding detail and humor so the reader can linger over all that the page has to offer, and hopefully pick the book up multiple times.
Speech bubbles are also used to break the text up and condense the number of words on the page. Karen, the book's editor, is a mad genius and does an amazing job editing with scissors and tape! After that, I get on the computer and layout the text and sketches and we just keep refining and refining.
Take for example, the spread for pages 8-9, that started out as thumbnail sketches:
When working on revisions, what about Cyndi’s execution made it an enjoyable process?
Cyndi is an absolute joy to work with! She is open to suggestions, quick to make changes, and with the smallest mark of her pencil can create characters with such genuine expressions that we fell in love with Brother, Sister and Snowflake over and over and over again!
When we wanted to take the "tricks" part of the story in a different direction from the initial manuscript, we asked Cyndi to take two spreads of much more complex images and text and pair it down. As soon as we opened the new sketches, Karen and I could not have been happier! Snowflake is equal parts hysterical and adorable. His expressions are perfect. Cyndi consistently “got it” whenever we needed changes. These are her characters and her story and she knew how to make it work!
Absolutely everything! I love the story, the characters, how funny and sweet the book is. I love how much it has to offer children of all reading levels. And I love the memories of working on the book with Cyndi and Karen--I was lucky to be a part of it!
Why do you hope THIS LITTLE PIGGY: AN OWNER’S MANUAL and its main character, Snowflake, will be a loved by kids everywhere?
I hope kids enjoy following these siblings as they work together to achieve their goal, and are charmed by Snowflake’s independent spirit!
& art director currently working in children's publishing. She has worked with Simon & Schuster for a combined total of ten years, first as a senior designer and now as an art director. When Laura is not in front of her Mac, she's probably doing something crafty, cooking, eating, or being silly. Laura's kidlit bio would not be complete without mentioning that she is the co-author of several children's books. You can find Laura blogging HERE , Tweeting @LauraLynD, and her portfolio HERE.
Click the cover to purchase your copy of THIS LITTLE PIGGY: AN OWNER"S MANUAL, an Aladdin PIX illustrated chapter book for kids 6-9 that tells the tale of a brother and sister who—more than anything—want a pet pig, written and illustrated by Cyndi Marko, available in paper over board and as an ebook!