Kudzu Chaos

Written by Jennifer Holloway Lambe

Illustrated by Alison Davis Lyne

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This is the cover art for Kudzu Chaos written by Jennifer Holloway Lambe. It was published in 2003, by Pelican Publishing.

I first heard of Kudzu Chaos, when an email notice from the local SCBWI list serv came in about a year ago. It was a call from a local author who needed an illustrator to work with, to get her manuscript off the ground and made into a book. Since I had worked with the publishing company, Pelican Publishing, I responded with a couple of sketches. While I was working on Easter Day Alphabet, (spring of 02) Pelican decided to buy Jennifer's manuscript, and by October we were ready to start.

This was a little different than the other two books, as I wanted to work closely with the author, Jennifer Lambe, to draw to her great concept of the characters. With lively emails exchanged, I began to work on roughs for the book. By the end of the year the roughs had been approved and I began the artwork for the book with the New Year.

The book required a LOT of green, but was a joy to work on in the dead of winter! After drawing all pages with the main character, Bobby Lee, I then went onto the character of Kudzu Katie. It was an interesting process of developing the characters throughout the book. Between Jennifer's suggestions and my flights of fantasy in paint, they began to develop.

The book begins in the small town of Red Mud Flats, a sleepy, southern, small town. For reasons unknown, a local weed, Kudzu, starts to grow even faster than usual for kudzu, and overnight overruns the town. It's everywhere! Our hero, Bobby Lee, volunteers to go and get a backwoods hillbilly, Kudzu Katie, to see if she can help. She agrees to help, but her solution isn't quite what the town wanted, but was exactly what the town needed. You will have to read the book to find out what happens!

Throughout the book we see the kudzu growing over, under, and around in the town. Around each page I was able to put a ever growing kudzu vine. Here is one scene where Bobby Lee is looking somewhat skeptically at all the kudzu dishes that Kudzu Katie has fixed.

Below is a scene where Kudzu Katie is searching her old book for a solution to Red Mud Flats' kudzu problem, throughout the night, while everyone else dozes.

Finally, when the solution is put forth, the town's people are enthusiastic about the idea!

The book was drawn on bristol board with acrylic glazes, colored pencil, and watercolor pencil. I was able to use home made stencils and stamps to work through all the green leaves. It turned out to be a fun solution to the abundance of kudzu leaves that needed to be drawn. The colors were great fun to produce, and I will never be afraid of the color green again!

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