By Beverly Barras Vidrine

illustrated by Alison Davis Lyne

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This is the cover artwork for Halloween Alphabet, by Beverly Barras Vidrine, illustrated by Alison Davis Lyne, published by Pelican Publishing Company, out September 2004.

I got the call for this project around mid-November 2003. I was just finishing up Jacques et la Canne a Sucre, with a few days to spare on my deadline. I was delighted to find out I would be working with the same author, Beverly Vidrine, as on Easter Day Alphabet. Since time was short for this new project we quickly got to work on exchanging ideas and sketches for Halloween Alphabet.

After Beverly and I settled on the sketches, I got the OK from Pelican Publishing for my sketches and got to work. My deadline was a few short months away.

Beverly Vidrine always does a lot of historical research for her alphabet books. She is kind enough to let me see her notes, so I can hopefully add back in, with my illustrations, some of the information that she has had to edit from her text. Children's picture books average around 1,000 words or so, and this doesn't allow for a lot of excess descriptions. So it's a lot of writing and a LOT of cutting. But Beverly manages to give me a nice historical "hook" with which to hang my illustrations

This time around it was in the first sentence; "Years ago, the Celtic people celebrated the harvest of fruits and vegetables." This was a perfect opportunity for me to use my own Celtic knot work designs as background for the illustrations. For the last couple of years or so, I've developed a fascination with Celtic knot work. I started working on them when I illustrated Easter Day Alphabet, and haven't stopped. It's like doing crossword puzzles.

Beverly Vidrine's lively text allowed me to draw from my old memories of Halloween and paint them in rich colors against dark spooky backgrounds. Like these children in the spotlight, on the opening pages, Halloween ghosts and goblin trick-or-treaters are walking in the shadows.

These little boys both seemed full of a sense of mischievous fun for the holiday.

This was a fun project that allowed me to create more Celtic designs, and play with a full range of color, for this fall holiday.

The artwork was painted on bristol board, actual size, with acrylic glazes, gouche and watercolor colored pencils. I was also able to make stencils of my celtic designs, which helped a lot in painting the pages.

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