Larry Gets Lost, Book 2

In order to meet a publication date of April 2009, these are my deadlines: Spread-by-spread storyboard + draft manuscript: December 15, 2007
Preliminary roughs of illustrations: February 1, 2008
Final art (including cover) and text: May 15, 2008

In August, I took an intensive one week whirlwind trip to San Francisco, hording reference and seeing as much of the city as I could. This resulted in a few color sketches, but mostly I was just taking in information.

After getting home, I sent an outline to Mike Mullin, my writer, to start developing the rhyming verse. We generated excess copy to be edited down as the book takes shape. I cut the script up and made a page-for-page breakdown in a 3-ring binder. It makes it easier to change the page order to develop the pacing.

My friend Mike Calkins pulled reference of these Japanese children’s books for their amazing composition and use of negative space. Big, flat colors form the majority of the image, while the active part of the story is told in small details. These were a big influence on my approach.

For the December deadline, I moved to San Francisco for a few weeks. I got a cheap apartment above a noisy bus stop in Outer Richmond (northwest San Francisco), on the side of the city that always stays a little colder and cloudier.

Scanning in the rough pages from the binder and placing them in Illustrator, I started blocking in temporary color and playing with composition. Here are some rough spreads for the book.

This is page 2/3, where Larry and his family arrive in SF via the Golden Gate Bridge.

But alas, nothing good lasts forever. On pages 6-9 Larry gets lost (as he typically does), running down Lombard Street.

This is a spread from later on, showing how the cable cars are powered throughout the city. I’m experimenting more with the layout of this book over the previous one, trying to visually communicate the function the cable car barn.

More to come. Stay tuned.

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2 Responses to Larry Gets Lost, Book 2

  1. I am so excited to see this finished- what a marvelous concept and an absolutely perfect approach. This is some really wonderful work John!

  2. thanks for sharing your process. very inspiring.

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