Sample Pages: Roberta's Space Adventure!
There are no words because the bubbles and text were all added by Scholastic's in-house designers. (They discouraged my usual hand-lettering, because of worries that the text would need last-minute changes. Getting all the text just right is a big deal when you're doing something for a literacy program!) With the tight deadlines I was grateful not to have to worry about that, but it meant that the balloon shape and placement was out of my hands (though I made suggestions in the pencil stage), which can be a bit stressful when you're used to doing it all yourself!
In some ways it was easier to draw this stuff than Galaxion, because I had lots of reference photos to draw from. But that also meant I couldn't just fudge it the way I'm used to doing! That's Canada's first astronaut, Marc Garnaeu, in the last panel. (He's retired as an astronaut, but after the recent election is now an MP in Quebec! After having read all about his career, I would've voted for him, too.) This flight was pre-Challenger, which is why they're wearing the flimsy blue jumpers instead of the more safety-conscious bulky bright orange flight suits they now wear for launches and re-entries.
The ISS and Space Shuttle. It took me awhile to find a good reference photo of the shuttle docked to the station, I guess because most images we see are either taken from the shuttle or the ISS! Anyway, the Canadian astronaut featured on this page is Chris Hadfield.
Here the two main characters are playing around in a simulation of the Spacelab, which was a reusable laboratory carried in the cargo bay of the Shuttle. I'm trying not to worry too much about how much the colours will change from my computer screen to the final print (I worked in CMYK, so it shouldn't be a total disaster), but I can't help but notice that the colours on this shrunk-down page seem a bit off, to me...
According to my editor the pages have been shipped off to the printer, and we should be seeing the book sometime in the Winter. The website says January, so I guess I can hope for that. Now all I have to do is convince all the elementary schools in Canada that they need to order it, so the program will be a phenomenal success and Scholastic will ask me back to do more! So please spread the word!
EDIT: I just learned that some browsers have trouble with CMYK files. I've converted the images to RGB and reloaded them, and hopefully everyone can see them now! Oh, and as a side bonus, the colour weirdness that was going on in the last image is solved. Still worried about what will happen on the printed page, though. :-P