DAVE MOTTRAM, A Vrooming Kidlit Illustrator
Once I read the manuscript, I started sketching out all the different possible expressions and views of our little car.
I try to do as many versions of the character as I can. I ended up doing quite a few and then we narrowed it down to the race car we were happy with. The other thing I had to really think about was the world race car lived in. Were there people? What other objects needed to be brought to life? Since we had this car with personality we needed to make characters out of the gas pumps, garage tools and things like that. Also, the little race car follows a road throughout his day. So I needed to make sure I had these important landmarks thought through. For example, the race track was a key part of his day. The creative process for this project involved sketching and mapping out all of these things.
What inspired your color palette for this project?
I was inspired by race car colors of the 1960’s and 70’s. In particular the color of the car. The blue/green color worked for us in keeping away from the red cars and trucks that are commonly used. Also, I was inspired by the colors you see when driving home at dusk or night. Traffic lights on a dark blue night scene.
Did you have an especially fun time envisioning a certain scene in the book?
Yes, the last scene when Race Car is dreaming of finishing first. Up until that point in the story, everything was grounded. It was fun to paint a dreamy, loose scene of the car winning it all.
What was it like working with art director/book designer, Teresa Bonaddio, on this project?
The art director was really great to work with. I was chosen for this job based on all the little tractor paintings I had done. So, the direction was to follow that type of colorful, textured work. I enjoyed it because it forced me to step out of my comfort zone. I needed to paint more scenes and environments, which I should do more of.
How do you feel about the finished project of RACE CAR DREAMS? What do you think of the book trailer?
I was happy with it. I thought the book trailer was great. The overhead scene of the car driving was one of my favorites.
After a day at the track of zipping and zooming, a race car is tired and ready for bed. He washes his rims, fills his tummy with oil, and chooses a book that is all about speed. All toasty and warm, he drifts off to sleep, he shifts into gear . . . and dreams of the race!
RACE CAR DREAMS is a delightful, bedtime tale written by Sharon Chriscoe, illustrated by Dave Mottram and published by Running Press Kids (September 2016).