We’ve had our heads in the clouds … sort of literally lately … dreaming up all kinds of fun and bringing it to life! And today, we are delighted that this particular dream has come true in the form of a new storytime set that will be arriving in gift and baby shops across the land this month. Here’s a little story about the making of this story!
Do you see pictures in the clouds? WE DO TOO!
Jim, and I both grew up in the same small town in West Texas, looking at the same big sky, and the same puffy clouds … but, not at the same time, because, oddly, we never met each other until we were working at the local bank one summer during college.
So when I began this project for C.R. Gibson, I asked Jim if he used to look for pictures in the clouds during road trips when he was a little kid. And the answer was, of course, he did. For any child embarking on a road trip from MIdland, Texas, you had at least 3 hours to endure sky––and only sky––before you might see a tree or a hill … and hopefully a Dairy Queen (best vacation ice cream ever!) So searching for cloud pictures was simply a survival technique for West Texas kids on a road trip. And their moms and dads, too. (Think of the sky as our big video screen!)
Now, many years later, and with many road trips under our belts with our own daughters, we are lucky enough to work from a studio that is high on a hill with those very clouds. The inspiration for this little story just appeared day by day. Below is an example of some of the inspiration floating along outside our windows.
And after all that billowy inspiration, it was time to put brush to paper and tell the story of Little Cloud. We thought you might like to see the way Little Cloud’s dreams came to life on the pages of a sturdy little board book. Jim worked on the rhyming magic while I began sketching the landscapes from Little Cloud’s point of view.
I decided to paint all the interior spreads together, so that the skies would remain in the same family of blues. That way, Little Cloud could do its clever morphing on the same blustery day. I painted the skies separately from the landscapes, and then we combined them afterward in photoshop. This takes a bit of extra time, (and some good playlists) but it gave me more flexibility for adding the details within the clouds and the images below. (Here I am painting away––not a cloud in the sky behind me––but plenty of clouds on the drawing table.)
And here’s the way a finished spread looks after sketching and painting and patching … Little Cloud is ready to show off for some little readers.
And the other wonderful bonus to this story book is that it comes with a sweet Little Cloud night light. So if you happen to be reading it at bedtime, you can say, “Look there. Little Cloud is ready to go to sleep. Let’s go to sleep, too. Sweet dreams, Little Cloud! Sweet dreams, little you!”
And to tie it all up in a bow, Julianna added this cute packaging for a perfect baby shower gift or toddler birthday present. The words and pictures appeal to different ages in different ways. And, the story is fun to read together … or all by your little self! (As seen below) :-)
So happy First Friday (on Wednesday). And if you can’t find Little Cloud in your favorite local baby or book shop, you can order one from our shop, Mej Mej.
We hope springtime weather is showing up in your part of the world, and that you are having a chance to get outside and look up at the blue sky and a big fluffy cloud … oh wait … is that an elephant? Or a tiger? Nah … it’s just Little Cloud pretending again!