John Himmelman's Stories' Stories
Charlotte the Starlet and Annie the Great
by Barbara Ware Holmes
Illustrated by John Himmelman
Harper & Row
Dedication (from Holmes, I didn't get one):
This is the last book in the series, and my favorite cover, even though they replaced it later with one done in a more realistic style.
I enjoyed the challenge of painting a spotlight. It was similar to painting clear glass - softening the colors and breaking the pen & ink lines you see through it. The color was done with watercolors. Prismacolor pencils were used to help darken the background.
In this story, Charlotte pens a play for the school to perform and Annie gets the lead.
What the...!?! I had NO idea they had an embossed picture on the hardcover until I took the jacket off to scan the book for this blog! (The others don't) At first I went, "Wow!" And then it occurred to me that I didn't draw that bird! Someone copied the style (see next picture) of how I drew the cockatiel in the book. Not sure why they didn't just use one of the drawings I did. Or have me do it. (I also think their placement's a bit off)
This one I did. Charlotte's sister gets a cockatiel. Charlotte grows jealous that her sister's pet is more interesting than her pet - a cat.
The illustrations in this book were both full page and spot line drawings. Choosing what to illustrate was up to me. I read through the manuscript a couple of times - first, loosely, to get a feel for the book. And then with more of a mind to find what to illustrate, although much of it was found in the first reading. Harper wanted a certain amount of art, so after I marked up the story with possible illustration spots, I'd go through and pick out the ones I thought would be of the most interest to the reader - and it wasn't always what I wanted to draw. It's like this for any book I illustrate, actually, including my own.
Shy, dependable Annie finds her confidence - maybe too much - in this story. Acting brings it out in her. This was a pivotal scene where her classmates see a side of her they'd never seen before.
This is the big finale of the series - Charlotte's play being performed. I remember being pleased with the line-work depicting the bushes. And the tweed jacket in the clown/hobo.
I was also playing with crosshatching a tiny bit more than I had in the past. I love crosshatching in illustrations, but have always been intimidated to dive into them myself.
And... they got me one more time with a replacement cover down the line. As I said before, though, it's better than what I did for this age group. No hard feelings...