When I received Tracey Baptiste’s manuscript for The Jumbies I was excited about how different the setting was. The story takes place on an island in the Caribbean and it had a lot of elements of folklore that I was unfamiliar with and found really interesting.
The cover illustration for The Jumbies was a great opportunity to illustrate something eerie and atmospheric. There was so much vivid imagery to draw on (no pun intended) in Tracey’s writing. The idea was to show the creepy mahogany forest on the island, with our main character Corinne looking apprehensively behind her to see what might be lurking in the shadows. I looked at reference imagery of mahogany forests and both Tracey and the art director Carla Weise gave me guidance on smaller details such as Corinne’s basket, as it was important to get these accurate for the setting.
I think Algonquin Young Readers is great to have published The Jumbies, so that readers can be exposed to a wider range of stories with their roots in different cultures and folklore. This story is based on a Haitian folktale, which I was completely unfamiliar with until working on this book cover.
Did you know a douen has its feet pointing backwards? I’m glad I wasn’t asked to draw this on The Jumbies cover, because otherwise it probably would have looked like I didn’t know how to draw legs!
Oscar-winning actress and author Octavia Spencer is the author of the action-packed Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective series published by Simon & Schuster. It was one of the very first projects I worked on in publishing and one that I had a lot of fun illustrating. Having been a big martial arts fan in my early teens, I could really relate to Randi, the heroine of the series.
Art education is really important, whether it’s in a school or on your own or both, it doesn’t matter which. So long as you keep learning and growing as an artist and observe the world around you. There’s always more to learn and things to improve at…I’ve been drawing for years and I still feel like a student!Reading is a gateway to other worlds and adventures. I think it feeds the imagination in a completely different way to watching something on a screen, as each and every one of us interprets a written story in his or her own way. I loved reading when I was growing up and I still do!
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Thank you, Vivienne!
"My favorite thing about being an author is making stuff up! A close second is talking with other people who love books." -Tracey Baptiste | Click here to read the full interview.
"This is a story about paper. Which is boring. Unless you draw something on it. Or fold it. Or crumple it up and throw it at your brother. It’s a story about how paper changes depending on the thing you put on it, or how much of it you have. Or how much time you have to use it." -Tracey Baptiste | Click here to read the full essay.
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