Every morning has its rituals. Scrolling through INSTRAGRAM is one of mine. On a spring morning a year or so ago I was scrolling through the daily photos with Rachel Poloski before starting the day. She was following Jared Chapman and came across the image below. I had known of his work previously but had not been following him on Instagram until the day I saw a broccoli awkwardly placing on his red underwear.
I mean come on! Amazing right? Psst . . . the answer is YES!
I am always asked where do you find illustrators? I usually will say artist reps, society of Illustrators annuals, postcards and good old fashion research but now I can say Instagram. It's and amazing resource as an artist and art director. I love seeing artists process and finals. Not to mention the amazing access I have to see your work without having to do that much beside clicking follow.
I immediately started showing the image around the office and started working on a book concept. How to turn this one hilariously weird image into a book was the task in front of us. After several hilarious fully clothed conversations with Jared we had something. Below is Jared sketches and then final layouts for VEGETABLES in UNDERWEAR
ABOVE: First color character sketch.
As you can see Broccoli is much different that in the sketch. We all agreed he didn't look right.
CWB: Hi Jared!
CWB: This is the part of the blog where you tell us a little about what it was like to work on Vegetables in Underwear. Are you ready!?
JC: Yes, here is my big takeaway from working on this book (Which I've continued to use since):
My agent (Rebecca Sherman, Writers House) and I brainstormed ideas for the book and, once we had a general direction that we liked, I started putting pencil to paper. In the past I tended to work at a slower pace but in all of the excitement of the moment, I decided to try a different approach and work as fast as I possibly could. In hindsight, it paid off in two ways:
1. It kept the pacing and the energy of the story lively.
2. It didn't give me time to sit around and over complicate things.
We revised the dummy a couple of times and once we felt it was in good shape, we sent it over to Chad and Cecily. The quick pace carried over into production and the book- from manuscript edits to final art- was finished in a matter of weeks.
We finished the MS and interior art in a couple of months, right?
CWB: I think so. You where so fast and excited. Much like Pea.
JC: It seemed like it, but I couldn't remember exactly.
I'm usually very critical of my stuff, but this book is just silly and fun. From start to finish it was so much fun to work on. I think part of that was because of the silliness of the book but a larger part was because of you and Cecily. The two of you made the whole process exciting and enjoyable.
CWB: One last question, who is your favorite Veggie character? Mine is Pea. That kid is so much fun and perhaps should lay off the caffeine.
JC: Sheesh! Hard question. Probably broccoli just because I feel like I know him better since I've illustrated and animated him the most. But pea is a very, very, VERY close second because, how can you not love that guy, right?
ABOVE: The first color sketch of radish. We loved all the great color Jared worked up but I felt that there was too much color. I wanted to try and limit the color to only the Vegetables and the type. My hope was that we could use color to directly link the illustration and type.
Better! But now all the underwear is too boring. GUH!
More exciting for sure, but by having the underwear more detailed they started to look like pants and really lost what I loved about the simple underwear design that was in the first INSTAGRAM image I saw.
IT'S A POTTY TRAINING book with out a potty! Underwear EMPOWERMENT!
ABOVE: Rough layout sketch
So we simplified the underwear down to color. A line at the top is for girls and the flap line down the middle is for boys.
ABOVE: Final design
ABOVE: Front endpaper design. Wait! All our vegetable friends are sad? What will make them happy?
ABOVE: Back endpaper design. Phew! They love wearing just there underwear. Well except Potato and Pea. Oh Pea!
So what is Vegetables in Underwear about? Well, I’ll tell ya . . .a bunch of friendly vegetables wear colorful underwear of all varieties—big, small, clean, dirty, serious, and funny—demonstrating for young ones the silliness and necessity of this item of clothing. The unexpectedness of vegetables in their unmentionables is enough to draw giggles, but the pride with which the “big kid” attire is flaunted in front of the baby carrots in diapers will tickle readers of all ages. With rhyming text that begs to be chanted aloud and art that looks good enough to eat, this vibrant story will encourage preschoolers to celebrate having left those diapers behind!
LINK to Book Page: VEGETABLES in UNDERWEAR