Z is for the character Zero from Holes by Louis Sachar, and also the number of letters I have left in my children's literature illustration alphabet. I think I will try to illustrate a novel that's in the public domain next. Stay tuned!
Admittedly, I had a bit of trouble with the letter "Y." I didn't want to repeat a title (even though I've done several letters from the Harry Potter series, they're all from different books.) There's the yellow brick road, but I'd already used The Wizard of Oz for the letter "E." Even though I enjoyed that book very much, I've never been able to make it through the next book in the series. There's Ygramul the Many, but I'd already used The Neverending Story for "U." I also thought about picture books, but I don't think there's really anything I can add to the man with the yellow hat from Curious George and the illustrations from Extra Yarn are pretty much perfect... So after much searching for children's book characters, settings and titles, I scanned the index of The Classic Fairy Tales by Peter and Iona Opie. The illustration for the letter "Y" comes from a fairy tale called The Yellow Dwarf.
I drew Xenophilius Lovegood dancing with his daughter Luna at Bill Weasley's wedding in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Not only do the Weasleys seem to have maybe the coolest house ever, they have the best, or at the very least the quirkiest, neighbors.
W is for "web," as in Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. Wilbur couldn't hope for a more brilliant, true friend. I wanted to try out a pen and ink illustration with colored ink.
V is for the most notorious gum chewer, "Violet Beauregarde," from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I could just as easily have chosen Veruca Salt or a Vermicious Knid, but the thought of illustrating a girl turning into a blueberry was too fun to resist.
U is for "Uyulala," the southern oracle from The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. She's a character that can only be heard, never seen, so I illustrated the forest of columns where she lives. (Fittingly, in its original language, the title of The Neverending Story also starts with "U," Die Unendliche Geschichte. ) I vividly remember reading this book for the first time when I was ten, and it has been my favorite ever since. Because of The Neverending Story, dusty, used book stores will always be magical places.
In a mix of blue and black ink, this is Jim Hawkins hiding in the nearly empty apple barrel, overhearing nefarious plans. I really enjoyed reading Treasure Island. It's a great adventure story, although I really wish that the only female character (Jim's mom) didn't faint at the first sign of a pirate.
S is for The Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett. I loved this book and read it more than once as a kid.
R is for "Rat" from The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame, specifically Chapter 9: "Wayfarers All." When I read this book for the first time, I happened to read a copy that didn't have illustrations, and I think this is a novel that definitely benefits from them.
"Q" can be a difficult letter. I've read a lot of alphabet books, and you can always tell when an author is stretching to make "Q" and "X" words fit the theme of the book. So for this post, I owe J.K. Rowling thanks for writing Quidditch Through the Ages. I illustrated a seeker from Oliver Wood's team, Puddlemore United.
I'm an aspiring author / illustrator.