line art of raccoons overlooking a devastated landscape

Now at Patreon! Illustration Insights

Raccoon Retreat has seen so many setbacks on its way to publication, that it can be easy to feel mired in a sense of “Will this book ever see the light of day?”

Then come breaks of sun through the clouds, like good feedback from readers, or most recently, rough sketches from your illustrator!

Great creative collaborations are effortless. I’ve been blessed with a few of them throughout my writing career, including as a journalist, marketer, and fiction author. I’ve also, however, seen how collaborations can go wrong when you’re just not able to communicate at the same level: you convey ideas differently, your visions don’t match, and/or your approaches don’t mesh.

I was fairly certain that the rapport Christian Barratt and I had built while marketing Raccoon Rescue would help the collaboration process, and I was right — but somehow, not having been through the process before, I didn’t realize Christian would engage so deeply with the story I’d written. His observations struck all the chords of what I wanted to accomplish, with a brilliant synergistic result — a great collaboration.

With Christian’s permission, I’ve sharing some pieces from our email exchange to show how it’s done. Over at my Patreon page, I’ve shared how Christian describes:

  • Emphasizing the book’s “coming of age” theme and demonstrating both the kits’ vulnerability and their strength.
  • Trying to convey raccoon behavior in static images using different methods to highlight each character’s personality.
  • Showing raccoons as part of an ecosystem as the kits grow up and learn to function as wild adults.
  • A hint about Raccoon Retreat’s cover image!

Sign up as a patron to read this post, see some additional images, and get updates on forthcoming developments — including sneak peeks!

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