Somewhere all along this process, another big inspiration for Bearskin came from the amazing illustrator Laurel Long.
When we lived in Orem, Utah we had access to the wonderful Orem Library. Although the librarians often got after me for torn pages on library books (imagine my excitement when the Coralville library allowed me to tape up the results of my children’s over-excitement!) they had an awesome selection of books. In particular, they had an entire section of the library devoted completely to fairy tales.
We lived in Orem when Ellie was truly blossoming into a full-time reader. I would check out stacks of fairy tales and dump them on her bed for nap-time reading. One of our favorites was “The Lady and the Lion” by Laurel Long & Jacqueline K. Ogborn.
The story was great, but the pictures were so inspiring. I know lots of writers talk about music guiding their writing, but I have to work in silence. Pictures, however, stick with me really strongly. To this day, when I visualize the characters in Bearskin, I see them Laurel Long fashion:
Promise me to go google yourself some great artwork, and to check out Laurel Long books on Amazon.