I’m excited to share with you the pictures that inspired the illustrations for I Don’t Want to Eat Bugs, the first picture book in the series Tim Petersen and I are doing together. I wrote I Don’t Want to Eat Bugs for my youngest daughter, Lisbon, though we always call it The Ice Cream Story because Lisbon (the character) gets ice cream in the end—and my daughter LOVES ice cream. Because she was the inspiration for the text, when it came time to create the character, she was our first choice for a model.
Lisbon was an AMAZING model
Lisbon was only two at the time we took these pictures, and she was so excited to help bring the book to life. She did AMAZING. (At this writing, she’s barely five and the book came out when she was 4 and a half). I was surprised while comparing the pictures how accurately Tim had captured Lisbon’s personality while at the same time adding so much to the characters. He even picked up on the stuffed frog Lisbon was carrying around, and now the toy is constant in the series. And by the way, Tim also happens to be married to my oldest daughter, Cassi, and she helped with the photo shoot and actually ended up in the book, filling in as the “mom” in the story. It was a lot of fun!
But first a short video of Lisbon retelling I Don’t Want to Eat Bugs
Lisbon was just barely two and a half when she I recorded this. The first little bit is garbled, but the rest is really clear. She definitely doesn’t want to eat a bug or a mouf (mouse)! Or a hedgehog—whatever that is.
The pictures that inspired the illustrations
So here is a little peek at only a few of the pictures we took and the resulting illustrations. Naturally. I can’t show all of them here, but I hope you get the feeling for how cute these are. Of course there were many times Tim combined aspects of photos or just invented his own. He’s extremely talented. He actually created the first version of the book by hand with watercolors (I love that version too), but the computerized version ended up looking the best for both ebook and print. The pages below are taken from the print book (the ebook are slightly longer to fit the ereader screens better).
NOTE: I apologize if the pictures are a little blurry, but the resizing just doesn’t do either the picture book or the original photos justice!
Lisbon is so hungry!
This picture of Lisbon is actually more part of the the page in the picture book below, but I wanted you to see the mess in the toy room! The room in the final picture was inspired by it but the details came from Tim’s imagination.
Mom, I need something to eat
My oldest and youngest daughters are in the picture above. In case you don’t know, I have four daughters in all—and three sons. Note that Cassi’s socks, or a version of the, ended up in the final illustration.
Trying to eat a mouse!
Dog food smells yucky!
Notice that the picture book Lisbon still has her frog with her.
Can I have ice cream?
This picture makes me want to laugh. They are both epitomized so well. The real Lisbon asks for ice cream pretty much every day.
The real life Lisbon loves cheese, so we gave some to her to make it more real. We didn’t have any chicken and rice and salad on hand.
And don’t forget Rocky
The Rocky in the picture book was inspired by the artist’s favorite dog, whose name is Apollo. Here they are pictured together. The name Rocky actually comes from the other dog Tim and Cassi own.
Hope you enjoyed these fun pictures that inspired the illustrations in my picture book, and also the glimpse into my family. There are a lot more pictures, but they are so not closely related—though pieces of them are scattered throughout the rest of the 28 pages. If you’d like a copy of I Don’t Want to Eat Bug (Lisbon’s Misadventures), you can see the purchase links here.