Children's Books by Will Hubbell

Pumpkin Jack is the product of my fondness for Halloween, my devotion to gardening, and my childhood experiences.  When I was young, I liked to watch my jack-o'-lanterns rot.  Even then, I did not feel they were being destroyed but rather transformed.  That idea of transformation is at the heart of the book.  The pumpkin only seems to go away in this comforting story about renewal and the cycles of life.

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Apples Here! sat tucked away for years because illustrating it was such a daunting task.  After my publisher took on the book, I followed an entire growing season, taking fourteen months to produce the illustrations.  Upstate New York is a prime apple growing region and many of the growers have been at it for generations.  Meeting these farmers and walking their orchards gave me a keen appreciation for their labors and the fruit it produces.

The illustrations in Apples Here! tell most of the story because I wanted to show the growing season rather than describe it.  The book starts in the dead of winter and proceeds through the year as the fruit grows, is harvested, and enters children's homes.  A two-page appendix augments the simple text with a description of the life cycle of apples and the history of their cultivation.

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The illustrations in Pumpkin Jack and Apples Here! were created to allow a child to explore the page and discover things that are not expressly mentioned in the text.  My goal is to make drawings that reflect the richness of the natural world.

I work extensively from photographs and took over a thousand for Apples Here!  Photographs often involve an instant--a child's fleeting gesture, the first frost before it melts, a cloud's passing shadow--and as such they are a means of observation.  They also provide raw visual material for my drawings.  Usually, I sketch an illustration before I shoot any photographs.  Then I take photographs and clarify them, perfect them, and combine them into images to help tell my story.