How Birdsong was Illustrated

by Robert Florczak

For my second book with Audrey Wood, I chose a wide horizontal format Owlto give a panoramic, expansive sense to the natural scenery. Treating the borders in a graphic manner gave the birds and scenery added dimension and depth. Each spread offers a different color scheme and conveys an effect of either sound or silence.

I decided to give the text added interest by designing decorative borders around each scene. In addition to their visual appeal, the floral designs represent the state flowers native to the birds illustrated.

"Treating the borders in a graphic manner gave the birds and scenery added dimension and depth."

Being an admirer and student of 19th century and Victorian design, I executed the illustrations in this style. As a result, the book, its characters, and locations almost appear to have been produced a hundred years ago.

All the children portrayed were from my own neighborhood. The locales and architecture in the illustrations came from homes and scenery near my home and from more distant locations I have observed in my travels. Including the research, which was done in the Los Angeles and San Bernadino Museums of Natural History as well as the Los Angeles Audobon Society, Birdsong took one year to complete.


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