Behind the Scenes of You Will Be My Friend!
(Click on Images to Enlarge)
I used my computer to make sketches, play with text, and add borders to each page during the early development of You Will Be My Friend. Then I printed out all the pages and put them up on my wall, so I could see how they worked together as a group. I marked up the printouts with all kinds of notes to myself, and would later go back to my computer to make those changes.
After developing the story and pictures, I eventually settled on final sketches and words for every page. Using a light box, I traced the final sketches onto paper with a mechanical pencil.
I used a standard paper towel as a chamois, and rubbed the graphite to get texture and various shades of gray.
Using that paper towel chamois, mechanical pencils and erasers, I eventually ended up with final drawings.
In many cases, I would draw the different elements of an illustration separately, and combine them later with my computer. Here are a few drawings that ended up on the book cover, along with additional drawings not seen in this photo.
I also used mechanical pencils and erasers to do the hand-lettering for all of the dialogue in the story.
I cut construction paper to create word balloons, boxes for the narration text, and the background papers that would eventually be placed behind the drawings in the final illustrations.
I scanned all of the drawings, cut paper, hand lettering, and photos of wood grains into my computer. Then I adjusted the positions of the various elements of the illustrations, tinted the drawings to a sepia tone, and added transparent color to create the final art. Here you can see what the drawing looked like before and after I added the color.
Photo credit: Gwen Schroeder
"Finding a friend is less a matter of sheer will than quiet acceptance in this charming new work...Handlettered speech balloons and wood borders give the book a rustic but friendly feel, with endpapers that should not be missed."—Kirkus Reviews
"I click with this book. Brown has pushed his style past its smoother beginnings...into a homemade hybrid of pencil and construction paper and even wood. Who knows how he does it, really? The appeal of YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND!
is as deep a mystery as friendship, but I'm not interested in delving into its mysteries. I just want to take it to lunch."—Daniel Handler in The New York Times