I’ve been working a lot with my partner, Eric Rohmann, lately. A few years ago, we came out with our first collaboration, Oh, No! Truth be told, we were a little worried about working together at first. Would we squabble? Try to impose our artistic vision? As it turned out, it wasn’t terribly different from my usual process of working with an illustrator. I wrote a story, and he created illustrations for it. The best part was watching that magical process. Every day I’d head up to his studio to check on his progress. It’s amazing the way illustrators can make characters come to life. I did help decide on page breaks, and I cut a few sentences when I realized Eric’s work made them redundant. But for the most part, we stayed within our usual spheres.
Not so with our next collaboration Bulldozer’s Big Day that will be published this May by Atheneum/ Simon and Schuster. From the very beginning we worked closely, coming up with a concept and dummying it out. I gave input on illustration, offering suggestions about character expression and page turns. Eric, in turn, made text suggestions—cutting words and finding betters ones. Bulldozer really was born of two brains. And I think you can see that in the finished project. It feels seamless—the lovely marriage of art and text. Best of all, Simon & Schuster has asked for a sequel. Once again we’re brainstorming, batting around ideas and playing off each other’s strengths.