Tomie's Sneeze

Last year, when I saw other illustrators posting on Facebook about their entries to the Tomie dePaola Award, I felt wistful. I love his work, and my son and I have read Strega Nona's Harvest at least 100 times. I wanted to send something in to him too.

This year, I was reminded of the contest in Kathy Temean's informative blog, Writing and Illustrating. The contest this year was to illustrate a short poem, targeting a very young viewer. Square format, 8x8, and must either include this poem or leave room for it:
A sneeze
Is a breeze

I've been on a real bird kick these days, and I started sketching bird ideas right away. With snow days and half days at my son's school, though, I didn't really get started until a couple of days ago, and its been a pretty intense few days of drawing and re-drawing.

Before submitting my final drawing last night (the deadline was midnight PST), I thought of all the elements I could have added. All the tiny details that would have made this more curious and intriguing. I became insecure and hesitant. I wondered if I should submit it at all. After about an hour of hemming and hawing, I decided to let the doubts go and ship it. At the very least, I will be more aware of adding those details on my next (and current) projects. Try, learn, improve. Repeat.

Below is my final drawing, as well as some of the sketches that got me there...

My final drawing.

This sketch has the sneeze going up his nose, instead of out. Oops. Redo.

One of my first sketches. Again, more of a hay fever-type of inhale-sneeze. Redo.