I recently received an email from R.W. Alley (that’s him, up there), the artist who does the covers for the Jigsaw Jones series. R.W. — or Bob, as his friends seem to know him — has been an enormously productive illustrator for many years. Just take a gander at his website! I’ve especially enjoyed his Mrs. Toggle books, written by Robin Pulver. Here’s another sweet piece, from Because Your Daddy Loves You by Andrew Clements:
Hmmm. There’s a little bit of Marc Simont in R.W.’s style, don’t you think?
As discussed previously, sheriff Matt Ringler and his Scholastic posse have already sent Bob a “cover concept” memo regarding an upcoming book. It is my hope to follow this process to completion, so I wrote to R.W. Alley — first time we’ve had contact in at least six years — and asked for a peek behind the scenes.
He wrote back:
“I would be happy to share my sketches with your readers. The Scholastics have asked for a cover finish by Feb ’09, so I should have a first sketch ready by Thanksgiving. I can send not only the color sketch, but also all the first doodles, if you like — and it sounds as if you will like. I’ll keep you posted.”
First, I love how he calls them “the Scholastics.” That’s just funny. Second, yes, doodles! Third, documenting this process should be illuminating. Hopefully, there will be some ugly cat fights along the way. It would be such a letdown if this turns out to be a mature, professional, collaborative process of give and take, where creative talents work together in a spirit of mutual respect to blah, blah . . . boring, boring, boring.
I don’t know, though. Old R.W. doesn’t strike me as the diva type. But one can hope.
NOTE: Here’s some links to the all the posts in this seven-part series: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six, and Seven. Read them all and experience the awe and wonder of the creative, collaborative process!