Portfolio | “Bit by Bit” children’s book illustrations

By heather at 7:44 am on Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Latest News 3/20/2007 : ‘Bit by Bit’ is listed as one of ResourceLinks Best Picturebooks of 2006!

© Heather Castles / Annick Press

“Bit by Bit” Search Inside!
Illustrated by Heather Castles
Written by Shoichi Nejime
Published by Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario)
ISBN 1550379070
Published Date : June 2005
Media Used To Create : Colored Pencil, Pencil, Watercolor
Collaborators : C. MacMillan & R. Wilks

Description of the process :
This was my first time illustrating a children’s book, and it was quite an experience. I learned an incredible amount. I think I prepared on average 7 sketches per page to get it just right before paint hit the paper. I had an incredible publisher to work with who kept pushing me, and I am so happy she did as I’m very happy with the results. I discovered that it is much easier to work a children’s book in spreads than single pages; that working with type at the same time as the illustrations makes it much easier on the designer; and that scribbly spots are often the best concepts after all!
Story Synopsis :
Bit by bit, swiftly and surely the wonderful story of a caterpillar’s accidental journey unfolds.

Reviews :

“Repetition and movement are the order of the day in this hypnotic charmer of a book, in which the lilting prose is well matched by watercolours that seem to roll off the pages with their own bright rhythm.” —Susan Perren, Globe and Mail 09/10/2005

“**** /4. This little gem will have children cheering … Highly Recommended.”
—CM Reviews, 12/05

“The illustrations in this book are funny, unique and colorful … amusing and exciting.”
—Resource Links, 02/06

“One day Mr. Caterpillar is taking a walk, bit by bit, bit by bit, when a wind whisks him away, twirling him over and sideways, over and sideways, until he comes to rest on a man’s hat. So begins our hero’s perilous journey in which he is swept from his tree to the hat, to a woman’s shoulder, to the floor of a train, where he is almost crushed to death by a big leather shoe, before he finally makes it back to a big tree. There he climbs bit by bit, bit by bit until he can rest on a big leaf and dream of becoming a beautiful butterfly. This is a very simple story in which Mr. Caterpillar is the helpless victim of circumstances and can do very little to affect his destiny. What makes it work, however, is the language. When reading the words, bit by bit, bit by bit, for instance, the reader is naturally inclined to read them slowly, giving the impression of plodding along. Likewise, such phrases as stretching and shrinking, stretching and shrinking, or rushing and hurrying, rushing and hurrying, provide nice rhythmic descriptions that will quickly become familiar to the toddler who will want to repeat them over and over again. Bright, whimsical illustrations enhance the text. This combination of rhythmic text and colorful drawings give this book nice read-aloud potential. 2005, Annick Press Ltd, Ages 4 to 8, $19.95.” – Pat Trattles, ChildrensLit.com

“Bit by Bit” can be purchased through Amazon.ca

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