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From the Studio

Three Things
By Laura Rankin

Whenever I illustrate another author’s story, two things have to happen. Well, three things, actually. 

1. I have to really, really like the story. And I really, really like Deborah Underwood’s whimsical story A Balloon for Isabel. I like Isabel’s spunk. She makes me laugh when her teacher, Ms. Quill, writes on the blackboard:  “Porcupines plus Balloons equals…” And Isabel hopefully asks, “Happiness?” But Ms. Quill says, “Trouble!”

2. Once I know I like the characters in word form in the manuscript, I have the fun job of discovering what they look like. I draw and draw and draw until I find them. Sometimes it takes a while for them to show up. Here are three rough drawings I made while trying to “find” Isabel and her friend Walter. After I drew these, I knew I’d found the characters because the third of three things happened. 

How did I know?

3. I immediately fell in love!  

(I hope when you read the book, you will too.)

Laura Rankin is the illustrator of A Balloon for Isabel, which went on sale last month! She is also the illustrator and author-illustrator of many books for children, including Alexander McCall Smith’s Harriet Bean books (Bloomsbury); Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie (Bloomsbury); The Handmade Alphabet, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book; and the Harper I Can Read How to Drive Your Sister Crazy, by Diane Z. Shore. She lives on the coast of Maine.

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