Amalia Hoffman's Monsterpiece
by Amalia Hoffman
My Monsterpiece by Amalia Hoffman
Coming up March 2, 2021 Yeehoo Press
My inspiration for My Monsterpiece was the many years I worked with young children. I noticed that kids love to experiment with art. They explore many media and like to paint on paper plates, scarps of paper, and even grocery bags. This inspired me to create the illustrations for the book using kid-friendly art techniques and supplies. In some illustrations, I glued on yarn, glitter, buttons and even fruit loops. Kids love to get their hands messy. So I dipped my fingers in gooey blobs of paint. It was very therapeutic. A lot of the art in the book was painted with my fingers, rather then with brushes. I also spritzed paint with a toothbrush, letting the bits of color drop where they may. At the end of the day, my studio was a mess but I felt liberated!
I was inspired to create a book that will be funny and entertaining but will have a non-
preachy message that when we free ourselves from bias and stereotyping, our word is more colorful and we can befriend each other even if we don’t look or behave in the same way.
My Monsterpiece involved a monstrous journey of over 2 years, from the time I started exploring the idea and “playing with it” in my mind to the time it actually sold to Yeehoo Press. I spent months just making a whole menagerie of monsters. I worked with crayons, color pencils, chalk, poster paints, and finger paints. It was important to me that the monsters will be fresh and not over-done.
I had the story idea lined up but I went through dozens of revisions with agent, Anna Olswanger. I shared my drafts with my critique group as well and kept tweaking the story. After the book sold to Yeehoo Press, I had many conversations with my brilliant editor, Brian Saliba. We brainstormed over the phone and via email. Then, I went through a couple of rounds of revisions. When we felt that the story was tight and solid, I created a dummy—based on the new text, which was quite different from the original text. Since Yeehoo Press publishes simultaneously in English and Simplified Chinese, my dummy had to fit within the format and dimensions for both versions.
Once we were happy with the black and white sketches and pagination, I worked with the art director, Molly Shen and the graphic designer, Xuyang Liu on the final interior pages. Once these were completed, I came up with concept designs for the endpapers, final cover and jacket design. We decided to make the jacket slightly different than the cover underneath, which is something that I really love about the book design. Also, the front endpapers are different than the endpapers on the end of the book. I believe that the endpapers are just as important as the interior pages in a picture book and I was delighted that the Yeehoo’s creative team agreed with me. We also spent many hours deciding what fonts to use and the colors of the lettering.
It takes a village to create a picture book and working with the team at Yeehoo Press was a wonderful experience!
To learn more about Amalia Hoffman, go to: http://www.amaliahoffman.com/bio.htm