I am almost finished with my first book for Penguin, and I have to say, I’m going to miss drawing these characters every day.
It was a dream project for me: a young reader’s edition of The Wizard of Oz! Spending time with Dorothy, Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow, and the Wicked Witch was a treat, and re-reading the original text and this smartly abbreviated version for inspiration was like learning new things about old friends.
I know I’m not alone in my sentiments with regards to Mr. Baum’s immortal story, but it was very much an honor to work with this venerable content. My first Oz was the film I’m sure, but as a kid I really didn’t pay attention to human characters in live-action movies (couldn’t understand a word they said) and so the whole movie for me was the Tin Woodsman and the Wicked Witch melting–oh, and the Winkie Guards’ marching song! But my first book version was a copy with the original Wenslow illustrations, and of course they have stuck with me forever. That there may be some kids whose first Oz will be MY Oz is a huge responsibility. I hope I lived up to the legend!
More on this later, as well as pictures. Because we all know it didn’t happen if there aren’t pictures.