When I'm writing a story I spend a lot of time visualising my characters and the world they inhabit. I often create details for them that don't end up in the finished text. So it's always with some trepidation that I take a first look at an illustrator's roughs. Will the characters look anything like I imagine them to be? Will the locations match the ones in my mind's eye? Nearly always they are very different but, once I see the artist's work, it becomes hard to imagine they ever looked different.
These are some of Louise Pigott's roughs for The Talking Bird, an adaptation of a little-known story from the Arabian Nights. I love the bird, which looks a bit like an exotic peacock but smaller and less opulent. I also adore the girl, who is the main character in the story. Her name is Parizade and she is very plucky. I think that comes across in the cheeky grin on her face.
This is the spookiest scene in the book where Parizade has to brave the haunting rocks on Dark Mountain. The boulders used to be men and I think it was inspired of Louise to give them faces. These are just roughs, of course, so anything might change as Louise works on the colour roughs and then the final illustrations. But so far, I think the book is going to be brilliant.