So… earlier this year Tehani asked if I would be willing to do some illustrations for the Worlds Next Door anthology (science fiction and fantasy for 9-13 year olds), and I was – very much so!

The illustrations were to be header pictures to sit above the titles of the stories, which is my favourite sort of illustration. Also, there are a few Clarion South graduates among the authors, many of whom I’d heard read their work aloud. I’d go along and wish (a) I was at Clarion and (b) I could illustrate some of their stories, so this was pretty cool.

In the end I did 7 illustrations. I can’t post those now, but I can show you some discarded thumbnail sketches for fun and mockery.

Well, no, actually you can’t mock this one. We went with a more immediate picture (and fortunately I just happened to have a surfboard in the house), but this is still my favourite thumbnail:

Surfboard thumbnail sketch - discard

This was a little darker than necessary, I suspect (in conception, if not execution – it does look rather benevolent here). The final involved more armchair gymnastics (literally).

Vampiric thumbnail sketch - discard

A little too Farmer Giles of Ham. The final image is a close-up of 2 main characters. Note how I label obvious objects. The ticks are not of approval – they are birds.

Shovel thumbnail sketch - discard

This was… well it started with a gecko and ended as a sock puppet in drag:

Discarded rough

This is for the same story as above – I drew it after the final to see whether a different style would suit. The final is a bit chillier, but I like the cozy conversation here.

Discarded treatment