When I first heard about this project I was super excited to work with Chad (creative director at Abrams) and Sudipta.
That excitement quickly turned to fear when I realized I’d never really drawn dinosaurs before.
Not even as a kid.
Plus there seemed to be a whole lot of dinosaurs I’d never heard of.
I think there were like five dinos when I was a kid and half of them don’t even exist anymore, er, I mean, they ALL don’t exist anymore, but uh…you get the point.
I realized I couldn’t just fudge through with a vague lizard creature.
So I started where all ignorant people do, with a Google search.
Fear turned to terror as I collected images. NO WAY WAS I GOING TO PULL THIS OFF!!!
Then I had an idea. One that might appear brilliant enough to fool everyone into NOT noticing I can’t draw dinosaurs. What if it was kids DRESSED as dinos instead?
This seemed like the perfect solution as it allowed me a good deal of creative license.
(Left: One of the first sketches for T Wrecks Boy. Right: Then I thought since he was always wrecking stuff perhaps he couldn’t see out of his mask)
Then Abrams politely showed me a book that already had my “brilliant” idea in it that came out two years earlier.
Illustrator practices and practices drawing dinosaurs!
Until finally the characters ended up having some human qualities but were most definitely dinosaurs!
Fortunately everyone was happy with the new version and that’s what you see in the book.
Fear of failure forced me to get my proper dinosaur education on. And best of all Sudipta was happy with them too.
Sometimes in a collaboration you have to go way out of your comfort zone.
And that’s a good thing.
Zachariah OHora is an illustrator and author of a number of children’s books. His debut STOP SNORING, BERNARD! was awarded the Society of Illustrators Founder’s Award and was chosen as the PA One Book for 2012. His book NO FITS NILSON! was awarded a Kirkus star and was the Huffington Post Book of the Year for 2013. He is also the creator of the awesome Kidlit Summer School banner and badge! He lives and works in the tiny village of Narberth, PA with his wife, two sons, and two cats.
We think this post Zach wrote earlier this year for Nerdy Chicks Rule is the perfect last guest author post for Kidlit Summer School. We all must step out of our comfort zones to create great characters, and we all have to practice. Your commitment to spending time working on your writing this summer — to practice — already demonstrates that you will face those fears. Congratulations!