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From the Publisher
Interview with Leah Nixon, illustrator of Best Day Ever!
What is Best Day Ever! about?
Best Day Ever! is an everyday adventure story about a dog and her boy. The dog in the book sounded exactly like my dog – sweet, energetic, and a little naughty! It was suggested to have the boy in a wheelchair, and because I am also in a wheelchair, I really connected with the story.
Though you are an accomplished illustrator, Best Day Ever! is your first picture book! Was the process of illustrating a book any different from your other projects?
Illustrating this book was almost like writing a thesis – the characters, colors, and general feeling of all the drawings must be the same. I was happy to work with the editors, because they both gave direction and freedom as well as amazing feedback. I feel extremely proud of this book as my debut illustrated book.
You use a wheelchair, and so does a character in this book. What was it like to illustrate that character?
Years ago I learned that reference photos are extremely helpful to getting positioning and details right.
Luckily, I could use myself as a model for how the boy would navigate the world in a wheelchair, and Lucy, my dog, was an amazing model for the dog! Most of the situations in the book are very realistic in terms of a wheelchair user – the one exception being the bathtub scene – I definitely exaggerated the feasibility of that situation in favor of the tone and style of this spread.
The adorable puppy is the main point of view in this book. Where did you get your inspiration when drawing her?
When I was first approached about this script and read it, I nearly fell out of my (wheel)chair — it was like I wrote it myself about me and my chihuahua/terrier mix, Lucy. I adopted Lucy before I ended up in a wheelchair, but she is actually an amazing companion for me now – she picks things up off the floor for me and can help pull my wheelchair when we go for walks in the neighborhood. Mostly, she is just a very sweet and cuddly dog who likes to bark and play and sit on my lap. Much like the dog in this book!
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Make as much as you can. Listen to others for constructive critique, but don’t let people’s opinion of your work get in the way of you continuing to make art.
If you love it, you won’t be able to let it go anyway. Try to institute a daily drawing practice – I have a daily comic that I draw, and I’ve learned a lot through that form of storytelling that I’ve applied to illustrating this first book.
Publisher : Clarion Books (June 29, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 32 pages
ISBN-10 : 1328987833
ISBN-13 : 978-1328987839
Reading age : 2 – 7 years, from customers
Grade level : Preschool – 3
Item Weight : 13.3 ounces
Dimensions : 10 x 0.34 x 9 inches