I have zero artistic talent. I mean, I'm not so bad at stick figures, but anything beyond that? Forget it. So the idea that an artist can create these pictures that are meaningful, beautiful, and fun blows my mind.
My favorite illustration from my series of nonfiction picture books is the first one that Hui Li did for us. I am extremely lucky that I also work as an editor for the publishing house (Nomad Press) that published my books, so I got to be a part of every single step of the process, from concept to illustrator search to editing to checking final proofs. And I'm pretty sure my absolutely favorite moment in this entire process was when the team took a look at the dozens of entries we received from our call for an illustrator.
While many of these illustrations were truly gorgeous, one stood out. It was a spread of two kids watching out a window as a woman walked by with her dog. Red cheeks, button noses, and an adorable dog, a loud radio—four of us from the design and editorial teams stood at the design studio table for half an hour to point out new elements we kept spotting. It was the kind of picture that kept drawing you in, that you could look at for a week and still discover something new. It was filled with motion and color and energy.
There was really no contest.
And Hui kept impressing us, all the way through the illustrating process.
But with all of the illustrations she did across four books (!) it's that first one that makes me smile every time. Because that's when the book was truly born.
Thanks for reading!
WAVES by Andi Diehn, illustrated by Shululu (Hui Li)
Nomad Press, March 2018