I asked Charles what he thought, and he liked the idea, and Elise Howard, our editor, liked the idea too. We'd made, in Blueberry Girl, a picture book aimed not really at kids at all (although lots of kids seem to love it) but at mums and mothers to be, and daughters, and despite Borders initially refusing to stock or sell it, it had still made the NYT list, and, more importantly, it had made people happy. Could we do something like that aimed at everyone? And could we do it in less than the three years it took Charles to do Blueberry Girl?
I wasn't sure. I did know that the problem wasn't mine, though. It was Charles's. And Charles Vess is a remarkable man, and an amazing artist...
Over at http://greenmanpress.com/news/archives/447 Charles tells the story of how he evolved the main character (boy? girl?) and shows the evolution of some pages from pencils to finished art.
There are more pictures up at Irene Gallo's blog, http://igallo.blogspot.com/2009/08/charles-vess-at-work-on-neil-gaimans.html.
And here's one posted by me...
The deep well you walk past leads to Winter's realm;
there is another land at the bottom of it.
If you turn around here, you can walk back, safely;
you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.
It won't be out until 2010 -- Charles is still drawing madly, and painting like a wild thing.