After doing extensive research, Laurie creates a storyboard for the book showing the cover, title page, and all the internal spreads in sequential order with notes and color codes (shown here).
Laurie works in watercolor and pencil and each painting takes about a week to complete (not including research, photography and sketching but including creating color studies, color samples, and doing redraws). Laurie’s originals are the size of the final pages in the book. Now comes the part that would terrify me if I were an artist — Laurie packs up the paintings and ships them to the publisher. Packed in layers of bubble wrap, tape, and cardboard, those precious works of art are entrusted to the shipper — once they arrive, everyone can heave a sigh of relief. The paintings are scanned to create high-quality digital images and sent to the book designers, Mighty Media, who work their magic on layout and font choices. I loved their choice of font for the title on the cover page – it has the color and texture of snow with big bold letters! On four pages I have onomatopoeic words to describe coyote’s actions. My granddaughter enjoys following the arc of “Fwwwwoooomppp” as she says the word.
After some minor tweaking the final files are sent to the printer and a book is born.
If you're interested in Wiley, the Wisconsin coyote Laurie studied, you can read his story here and watch a video here.