It was a privilege to collaborate directly with Barbara, the author, to create this cover image for the first hard-cover edition of her book, Small Wonder. It was also unusual for an author to be involved as, almost, an art director for her own book, but that's how involved she liked to be.
I met with her to brain-storm ideas for the cover. She tried to describe from a vague dream image she had after she had finishing the writing. I also had an image of a cover in my mind that was dark, yet lush. Back in my studio, I did a sort of mind-meld and Barbara loved my color sketch. We worked in a similar way on the interior spot illustrations for chapter heads.
For the interior chapter opener spots, I read the book in manuscript form and sketched out my ideas, usually something not intermediately obvious as an illustration. That's how Barbara writes, putting ideas together, sometimes with a little cognitive dissonance. The reader is given the chance to put things together in their own way. I tried to suggest the same subtlety in my graphite drawings.
That's what illustration is good at: it takes the memory of a dream, or an indescribable feeling in the imagination, and makes it concrete and visible to the viewer or reader.