I feel Irene has mastered the art of matching stories with illustrators. Every time I get a project from her, I get all giddy. Nina Kiriki Hoffman's Ghost Hedgehog is a really cool story of a boy who serves as temporary ride for souls in search of closure. Her visuals are quirky and inventive, and her characters are nicely developed. It provided me plenty to play with. I would've been happy to finish any one of these thumbs, which may not be the case of every project :S
Sketch level was a bit of a challenge. Drawing 11ish year old girls is a pain. You just kinda get used to drawing fully grown adults, awkward teenagers, or cute young kids, mostly toddlers. But 11-12 year old girls are somewhat of a gray area. I just couldn't get the expressions and proportions right. There was a lot of research and A TON of girls before the ones that reached finals. These are the least embarrassing two.
And this is the drawing that went to final. By the way, the reason why the boy was not a hassle, my nephew is 11 years old.
I went through a bunch of color schemes with this one. Here's the four that I showed Irene. It's a good thing the first two were a no go. That kid looks like he's miserably walking back from a birthday party his mom made him attend since "it would've been very rude not to". Green was the first one I really liked, but then I tried some reds as well since the story has lots of them (you haven't read it yet?!).
A few emails back and forth, and Irene and I went for green.