Behind "The Do-Good Squad"

do-good-squad-cover Hey everyone! I had the pleasure (and challenge) of illustrating my very first children's book last winter and I'm finally able to share some of it with you! It's The Do-Good Squad, from a great new publisher called Pin the Map Publishing. Part of their mission is to support great causes by donating a portion of the proceeds from each book to a corresponding charity. This one will help raise money to bring fresh water to Haiti!

I thought it would be fun to share some of the process that lead to the creation of this book cover. When the art director at Pin the Map Publishing first contacted me, he asked me to do a test illustration so he could see my take on the characters - Jack, Jomo, Jin, and Frannie. That was over a year ago, and at the time, I was incredibly proud of it... and in that year (my first year freelancing full-time) my work has grown so much I almost cringe to show it to you now:

liz nugent - sample illustration

What a difference a year makes! The designs stayed pretty much the same, but the faces have somewhat different proportions, and things just look much tighter in the final cover. Also, Frannie got a total overhaul!

After the test illustration, when we started the project in earnest, I decided it would be helpful to draw up some character sheets to make sure I had details fully nailed down and kept everything consistent:

character sheet

I referred to these sheets almost constantly while illustrating the book, especially whenever I drew Jomo's teeth!

After finishing the rest of the book, it was time to figure out the cover. This is when I went back to that test illustration and realized it needed to be completely redone.. after all, I'd had an entire book's worth of practice drawing these kiddos! So that's what we did, keeping the elements that worked and changing the ones that needed it. And that is how the cover was created!

Look for the book on sale this fall! You can get updates on that and the other books from Pin the Map Publishing.