Josh McGill is my illustrator. Besides being quite talented, he meets deadlines, and keeps his word. He is something that is also very important to me. Patient.
It isn’t unusual for a barrage of a dozen or more emails and sometimes a phone call or two before we get a single conceptual sketch and color illustration the way we want it.
For example, below is a cut and paste of several emails from me to him with details as to how I envision Wilbur’s physical appearance:
“He’s bright orange with bright purple spots, a bright purple tuft-like/feathery/corkscrew/ornamental thing-a-ma-jig on top of his head.
For perspective about the thing-a-ma-jig on the head: The Road Runner of cartoon fame has a great big bright blue plume. I’d like a great big bright purple thing that looks more like a big splash of water just after it has peaked and is starting to fall, but with pinwheels at the end of some of the feathers. I know; I’m a nut. Please keep humoring me anyway.
As for when he is flying upside down, please try flipping over a level-flying duck so he is still flying level, but add a few wobble lines as though he has to try real hard to stay level, and the look on his face should be that of someone who is frantically working with sweat exploding out from his face and dripping down it, his wings blurred from frantic beating. As for the thing-a-ma-jig on his head, lets go with a big ornamental bunch off feathers shooting out line a fountain from the top of his head. (A close-up in another illustration will show that at the end of some of the feathers the is something that twirls like those little twirly toys on a thin plastic stick that kids get to spin in the wind.)
Pinwheels. The word I was trying to think of was “pinwheels”: …something that twirls like those little twirly toys (PINWHEELS) on a thin plastic stick that kids get to spin in the wind.)
Please have the other ducks in the concept illustration for Duck be Mallards, males and females.”