Cock-a-Doodle-Doo-Bop!

Written by Michael Ian Black • Simon & Schuster, 2015.

What happens when a rooster refuses to belt out the same old tune? Well, the sun refuses to come up, of course.

 

Making 4 a.m. fun

Since most of this story takes place at night, it was a real challenge to keep it colorful. Nighttime landscapes are quite boring, since color is pretty much a daytime thing. So I cheated, using blues and purples to create a pre-dawn mood. Having the boy carry a lantern was not my idea — that seemingly obvious yet brilliant solution came from the publisher. 

Scroll down for sketches from the book. Click on any image to enlarge it. 

Counting Sheep • Oil on illustration board

Wake up, way up call • Oil on illustration board

Cutting Loose • Oil on illustration board

On the Fence • Oil on illustration board

Mel Cuts Loose • Oil on illustration board

Same illustration as above, after I added the vocals, digitally.

No Sun • Oil on illustration board

Sunup! • Oil on illustration board

Rude Awakening • Oil on illustration board

Detail from an illustration.

Another detail from the same painting.

 

An early sketch of the cow's reaction to the noise.

This shows what an illustration looks like when it's about halfway done. Note that it still feels like daytime. I added more blues and purples later.

Final sketch for Rude Awakening.

The owls were getting fed up with the sun not coming up, since their bedtime is dawn. This drawing was done directly on the illustration board, and is now covered in paint.

A study of the boy.

Many illustrations were painted over a blue background, which helped me get that nighttime feeling. Colored pencil on illustration board.

Many illustrations were painted over a blue background, which helped me get that nighttime feeling. Colored pencil on illustration board.

Studies of Mel, the rooster, shown to the editor early on, long before any painting is done.

This image was not used for the book. I was playing around with the other animals hiding from the rooster, but it got too complicated.