The hardest part is developing the idea, and that can take years.
We have eyes, and we're looking at stuff all the time, all day long. And I just think that whatever our eyes touch should be beautiful, tasteful, appealing, and important.
You know, now it's sinking in. It's taken me a long time to realize - and it is sinking in - how important this book is. And I have a certain distance now. I've done it such a long time ago.
That's something I learned in art school. I studied graphic design in Germany, and my professor emphasized the responsibility that designers and illustrators have towards the people they create things for.
Let's put it this way: if you are a novelist, I think you start out with a 20 word idea, and you work at it and you wind up with a 200,000 word novel. We, picture-book people, or at least I, start out with 200,000 words and I reduce it to 20.
One day I think it's the greatest idea ever that I'm working on. The next day I think it's the worst that I've ever worked on - and I swing between that a lot. Some days I'm very happy with what I'm doing, and the next day I am desperate - it's not working out!
They are deceptively simple. I admit that. But for me, all my life I try to simplify things. As a child in school, things were very hard for me to understand often, and I developed a knack, I think. I developed a process to simplify things so I would understand them.