Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Pearl Harbor

I created this book cover for Scholastic and American Girl's "Real Stories From My Time" series. First time drawing an explosion!

My parents made fun of me for surrounding a war scene in beautiful flowers. But that's the challenge of creating historical illustrations for children (and in this case, specifically girls) - it has to look accurate but also colorful and appealing. This challenge is actually one reason why I enjoy doing historical books.

Since this series is aimed at girls, the team asked me to draw a Hawaiian girl in the foreground, watching the Pearl Harbor attack unfold in the distance. Here's the sketch I sent.

Here's some photo references I took in order to get the pose right:

And here's the color rough:

At this point the team asked me to re-work some things, to add in an additional girl in the scene and make the explosion bigger. Then the girl was changed to a boy; I don't remember why!

From there I had the green light to go to final. Here's the finished illustration!

It's always a thrill to hold the printed book!

Next I'll be sharing one of the interior illustrations I did for this book. Stay tuned!


  1. Parents. What do they know anyway?

  2. Please know that i really love your blog and your blog posts, even if, sadly, i do not comment as much. I think that's kind of the problem with the emails is that i read it on that and then don't even think to leave a comment to let you know how much i appreciate it but here we are! But yes I really enjoy your blog, and love seeing your work process. It's nice to see that you use so many references from photos of yourself in your work and i think it's encouraging to show that to artists that YES this is OK.
    keep up the great work :)

    1. Thanks a lot, Ashley. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment!

  3. Oh my gosh, american girl!! Congrats! They're lucky to have your art!!

  4. And I'm from Hawaii, so this is even cooler!!


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