Origami n' Stuff 4 Kids

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Behind the Scenes: Illustrating "Shark Patrol"



Written by Ron Hirschi, illustrated by Tammy Yee
Mutual Publishing, 2019


Illustrating Shark Patrol, A Discovery Adventure in Hawai'i presented a unique and fun challenge: how to incorporate author Ron Hirschi's fact-filled lively text and rich illustrations into an 8" x 9" 32-page format.

Working with Ron and Mutual Publishing editor Jane Gillespie, we gave this story of young explorers Kai and Lehua, as told through mail correspondence, a fresh update by having the characters post their adventures on social media via Shark Grams. 

Shark facts were personalized by presenting them as journal entries made by the budding scientists...something that I did as a child pretending to be a researcher aboard Jacques Cousteau's famous vessel, the Calypso. Other devices included photos taken by the crew and Post-it notes from the desk of the ship's biologist, Auntie Jan.

Here's a sketch of the layout. Each character has an avatar for their Shark Gram. And social media is no fun without emojis!



Another idea derived from my nerdy childhood was to use the endpapers to illustrate the relative size of sharks as compared to Kai and Lehua.



Growing up in Hawaii, you'd think I'd know a little about sharks--but there was much to learn! Threshers and great whites, blacktips versus whitetip oceanics (not to be confused with whitetip reef sharks)--so many sharks! This meant a lot of research and a lot of sketching.



My favorites were the deep-sea sharks. Did you know that Hawaii has two bioluminescent (glow-in-the-dark) lanternsharks? One was recently discovered in 2017. 


The final illustrations were done in Procreate on an iPad Pro, which allowed me to record the illustration process.



And the best fun is receiving a box in the mail and seeing the book for the first time!



For more information about Shark Patrol, visit Mutual Publishing. And stay tuned...more videos from the creation of Shark Patrol will be posted on my YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnNilsL1o_gI_SReou04B9A

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