Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dino Tracks & Dino Treasures

Facebook banner for Dino Tracks' book launch at the Smithsonian 

In the last post I mentioned that I was excited about the book launch for Dino Tracks at the Smithsonian. It was originally scheduled for October 12 and then came the government shut down. So now we have a new date, December 7 and it sounds even better because it's part of a larger weekend holiday celebration. There's going to be musical performances, films, book signings, trunk shows, crafts for kids and more. I won't be able to make this one but Rhonda Lucas Donald, the amazing author of Dino Tracks will be there with bells on.

And if you'd like some background into how Dino Tracks was created here's an interview by Sylvan Dell Publishing and a radio interview, with the author, Rhonda Lucas Donald. Enjoy!

Now for a sneak peek at Dino Treasures, also written by Rhonda Lucas Donald, published by Sylvan Dell Publishing and illustrated by me which comes out autumn 2014.
I'll be showing more artwork along the way. It's all very much in progress for now.
Thanks for taking a look. I hope you like dinosaurs.
Front and back cover wrap image
I wanted to give you a little behind the scenes of what it's like illustrating a picture book for Sylvan Dell Publishing. Their picture books are fun stories to read but also very popular in schools, libraries and museum gift shops. So they need to be correct. To ensure this they are vetted by an expert in their field. In this case it's a paleontologist - that's a person who studies the history of life on Earth based on fossils. But most paleontologists specialize in one aspect of their field. Some paleontologists specialize in dinosaur poop, otherwise known as fossilized feces or coprolite. They're called Coprologists. Other fields of study are paleobotany, the study of plants, or micropaleontology, the study of organisms with only one cell. It goes on and on. So my editor sends each spread to a specialist to make sure both Rhonda, the author and I have done our research and what we're showing is correct. And if it's not correct we fix it.
Interior spread of Sue the T-rex. Sue was discovered by paleontologist, Sue Hendrickson in 1990, so that's how she got the nickname, Sue. She's also one of the best preserved Tyrannosaurs rex specimens ever found.
I'm just showing you a small section of the comments from a paleontologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the home of Sue. The scientist who vetted this went to a lot of in-depth facts about Sue - how she lived, her injuries and how they suspect she died. I'm always fascinated as well as intimidated by what the vetters have to say. I really hope that what I show is accurate so I don't have to redo the artwork. But much better to rework the art before going to press so that we're all happy with the final picture book. Thanks for taking a look!
Interior spread with vetter's comments


grammanews said...

Wow your illustrations are amazing. I teach 2nd grade and would love to have these in my class. I am Susie Cary's sister and I live in Logan, Utah.

Cathy Morrison said...

Hello Susie Cary's sister. I hope we get to meet one of these days.

And thank you for the nice comments about the illustrations. These books are for Sylvan Dell Publishing and they're great for schools and libraries, and especially second graders. I've met a lot of second graders recently and they're very into dinosaurs.

Rhonda Lucas Donald said...

As the author of these books, I also find it interesting—and intimidating—to have scientists pour over my work. Overall, I love working with them, though, and tweaking things to get it right. Of course, having Cathy illustrate is an honor. I can only say that the rest of the illustrations for "Dino Treasures" are stunningly beautiful and rich.

Cathy Morrison said...

Thank you Rhonda, I love working on your books. I'm so impressed that you can get all these very specific dinosaur and fossil facts into these little stanzas that can be sung to the tune of "Itsy Bitsy Spider". I've had that running through my head the entire time I've been illustrating this.