One of the things I've enjoyed most about writing and drawing this book is that the setting for the story is, essentially, the area where I'm living, and so I've taken a lot of inspiration from the mountains and trees and the river nearby. Not only that, but a lot of the action takes place in a junkyard, so I've become an almost compulsive photographer of rusted-out machinery.
When I speak to young creators, one of the things I focus on is tethering your stories to your life and the world around you, both artistically and thematically. I've been trying to go the extra mile to do that in this book by using reference photos and by drawing on location when possible.
Here are a few examples!
Drawing a railroad bridge on location. I posted this picture on my Twitter:
Here is an old Jeep that I also drew from life. I wish I could have brought this guy home:
A couple months ago I was driving with Anna when I saw this car near the side of the road. I pulled over and ran to it with the camera, leaving Anna somewhat perplexed. But impulsive photography paid of in this case because this little gem disappeared pretty soon after:
Having kids of different sizes/ages has always been a help in my work. My Julia, who is 6, posed a bit for the little girl in this book and it's been very helpful! Thanks Julia!: