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From the Sketchbook: Cathy Morrison

This new CBC series features exciting illustrators sharing their creative process to provide context to their amazing, finished artwork. Our featured artist is Cathy Morrison, who combines her fine arts and education degrees with a background in animation and graphic design to research and illustrate “creative nonfiction” picture books, ones that read as a story while being based on facts.

The art below can be found, in finished form, in her new book If a Mummy Could Talk…

“I take my rough layouts and place them into an in-design template to make sure that I leave enough room for type and get a feeling of how the illustration will fit on the two page spread. Also, I know that there will be a Spanish version so that copy tends to take up more space than the English version.

“I type the copy from the manuscript into the in-design layout. Later the designer redoes all this, but I find it’s helpful for me to do this step myself. I get familiar with the manuscript and start envisioning how I’d the book to flow.”

“Some page layouts take quite a bit of roughing out thumbnails, then continuing to draw sketch after sketch to get the look I’m going for. On Tamut’s spread I envisioned right away how I wanted to illustrate her pages. I was totally unfamiliar with Tamut and the more I researched her the more fascinating I found her. It’s frustrating not to know exactly how she looked, but this is how I imagine her.”

“Researching Ramesses’ life was so interesting. Being able to go back in time 3,000 years and learn new things about his life and death is amazing. I love this time period. Researching their clothing, hairstyles and lifestyles was so much fun.”

More of Cathy Morrison’s artwork can be found in If a Mummy Could Talk… a picture book which includes stories of mummified Egyptian pharaohs and priestesses, baby elephants, pampered pets, and even a prehistoric bison (Editor’s Note: !!!).

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