It was hotter than heck on that mid-summer day. My husband and I stopped for quick directions to "Prairie Song Farm" in Allamakee County, IA. The farm is located in the tippy-top northeastern corner of the state, or the "The Driftless Area" as it is referred to, due to some unique geological characteristics. Dusty farm roads and sparkling creeks bordered the property's swaths of green prairie and field. Brook Creek, a small but significant waterway, snakes through the acreage. It is the subject of the book's story.
When at all possible, it is golden to actually visit the places where your non-fiction book projects are set. Not only being able to take some solid reference photos, just standing and listening to the land is invaluable. It helps create a relationship between me and the subject matter. Because an illustrator lives with a book for many many months, forming a bond early is helpful! And turns the snowflakes outside into black-eyed Susans in my illustrations.
|flora by the creek|
|yours truly on the prairie|
|A bug's eye view, creek-side.|
|Transferring impressions of the day|