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From the Sketchbook:
Liza Woodruff

This CBC series features illustrators sharing their creative process and providing context for their amazing artwork.

Our featured artist is Liza Woodruff, an illustrator of children’s books and bookseller. Here, Liza discusses the non-linear way her artwork developed into the picture book A Quieter Story.

In A Quieter Story, a kitten insists that his little-girl owner write an adventure story suitable for a TIGER and learns that you should be careful about what you wish for when the story becomes too scary.

“This is an early sketch. . . My idea came from the many stories I had written that had failed because they were too quiet. I wondered what would happen if I tried to step out of my comfort zone and create an adventure story. . . My sketches were very loose which enabled me to take risks and play while developing the story. ”

“I needed to try something different. . . I gave the story creation decisions to the kittens. They did, however, need someone who could write their story down. Now I could use the story within the story concept with a child’s perspective and simple, imaginative artwork. The child became the quiet storyteller that the earlier kittens had been. Sometimes the reader saw her whole body, but when she was creating, only her hands could be seen.”

“I trimmed the characters in the book down to the essential: the girl and a single kitten. This drawing didn’t make it into the final book, but I like how it captures the kitten’s ferocity. Using his posture and expression, I tried to show the humor of a tiny kitten wanting to be a fierce tiger. I used the girl’s notebook and art supplies as a way to tell the story within my story. As their tale grows and grows, their creative surface takes up more and more space on the book’s pages until it becomes too much.”

More of Liza Woodruff’s wonderful art can be found in
A Quieter Story, a picture book she illustrated and wrote.

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