A few years ago my brother moved to an apartment near the north section of Central Park in Manhattan. He encountered raccoons many nights on his way home — crawling down tree trunks, or peering out of trash cans. And sometimes they'd actually follow him down the sidewalk toward his building. It was quite creepy, he said, to see glowing eyes watching as he made his way through the darkness (Around this same time, the New York Times wrote an article
addressing those nervy NYC raccoons). I, of course, found the visual of my brother being followed by these guys hilarious, and so began my raccoon research — something about this needed to be in a children's book!
|~ early sketches ~|
While searching the web for raccoon inspiration I came across this hysterical video
which sparked a story idea that, after several rewrites and edits, became The Troublemaker
|~ character studies ~|
involves one rascally boy, and one very sneaky raccoon. I am working on the final art for the book right now, and cannot wait till it is out in the world next fall (Clarion Books)!