Scarecrow Magic

Written by Ed Masessa • Scholastic, 2015.

Being a scarecrow is just his day job. Tonight all his friends will be stepping, or crawling, out into the moonlight. 


Making ghouls goofy

This story has a lot of ghoulish creatures in it. It all happens at night. The main character is a skeleton. Uh, how is that not going to freak kids out? Actually, My first sketches were indeed way too scary. Scroll down to see for yourself. I kept revising the creatures to make them sillier, and added some goofiness to the skeleton. Making his ribs look like xylophone keys helped a lot. Still, my goal was not to make a Halloween book with adorable, cuddly characters. The kid who loves this book will need to love creepy crawlies.

Scarecrow Magic was the first of three consecutive books I illustrated that all take place at night. (See Rules of the House and Cock-a-Doodle-Doo-Bop!) That's a lot of blue and purple paint!  

Click on any image to enlarge it.

Time for Fun! • Oil on illustration board

Twitching Finger • Oil on illustration board

Ending His Day Shift • Oil on illustration board

Bowling with Gourds • Oil on illustration board

Back to Work • Oil on illustration board

Detail from The Feast. Almost cute, right? Depending on your definition of cute.

Shucking His Work Clothes • Oil on illustration board

Cover Art • Oil on illustration board. The front and back cover show both sides of the scarecrow's character.


My first skeleton sketches had realistic ribs and no eyes. Way too scary.

Another sketch from the book, very similar to the final art, except that the skeleton became less realistic in the final art.

Sketch for Time for Fun!, shown above.

Sketch for   Ending His Day Shift.

Sketch for Ending His Day Shift.

The supporting characters were a lot of fun. I had several that followed the skeleton throughout the book, sometimes hard to locate in the background.

A detail from Time for Fun! Note how many critters lurk about, hard to find.

Another detail, teeming with life (if you want to call it that).