Q&A with the Creators of The Goodnight Train Rolls On

We loved The Goodnight Train so much that we were ecstatic to hear there The Goodnight Train Rolls On was chugging our way!

Author June Sobel and illustrator Laura Huliska-Beith were so kind to speak with us about their creative process!

1. Laura, we love your mixed-media art style! Can you tell us a bit about your process?

Thank you! From beginning to end it’s messy… but in the mess I find the painted gems and fabric scraps that will make it into the final art.

Once the sketches are finished, I use 4lb strathmore vellum illustration board to paint the backgrounds with acrylic paint. If I make a mistake, no worries, I can just paint over it! Once the background is in place, I’ll paint in the characters, train tracks,  and other elements.  Sometimes I’ll paint large swatches of color on a separate piece of white paper and then cut the shape I need out of that paper so I can have lots of brushstrokes and spontaneity in the image. Other times I’ll cut illegible pieces of type out of magazines for interesting texture. For the places that include fabric, I’ll sketch the shape I need onto vellum paper, then paste  the fabric onto the vellum, then cut out the shape I’ve previously drawn and glue it on to the painting.
As I’m finishing, I h
ang all the images up on a clothesline in my studio to dry and also to see how the images are flowing together. Finally, I scan each image and add any last tiny details on the computer (Photoshop).

2. June, your writing has such wonderful, lyrical rhythm. Can you tell us a bit about your process and how you create your poetry?

My books start when I’m doing anything but writing.  I seem to get my best ideas when I’m driving on a winding canyon road where it is impossible to grab a pen to write down my thoughts. I keep a pad near my bed, as I never know when I may be hit by an unexpected verse.  In order to create these books of less than 300 words, I often write 3,000.  It is a process of distillation that after weeks of rewriting and rewriting, my idea becomes a rhyming read aloud.


Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 9.40.28 AM4. What’s your favorite spread from the book?

Laura: I really like the spread where the train heads down the mountain vertically. I like the color, the movement, and the mystery.  June’s writing gave so much atmosphere and foreshadowing
to the story!

3. The Goodnight Train was published in 2006 and has become a bedtime favorite. What can fans expect from the sequel?

June: The Goodnight Train Rolls On! is a rollicking journey to Dreamland with some unexpected page turns along the tracks! Fans can revisit the original book’s favorite characters and some new ones as well. No matter what our train encounters, it manages to overcome the obstacle and get lulled to sleep.

5. Laura, your artwork has so many hidden details and visual storytelling. What inspires you to create these dreamscapes?

As I mentioned, June’s words are so much fun to work with, and her word choices also leave room for  illustrator interpretation. It’s fun to imagine what might be going on along the sidelines––like the naughty sheep. Somehow, he has to make it ahead of the train to switch the tracks! In the the vertical illustration with the train headed down the mountain, adding a mountain goat with the word “Alert!” on a red flag adds a little humor to the mystery and foreshadowing that June has already set up. And adding a fun detail like the word “BEAR” on the building blocks of the next page hopefully takes away a bit of the potential scariness a big bear in a bad dream might hold. So a lot of the details come from pushing and pulling  the story…and, of course, a few are added in just for amusement!

6. What’s next for Goodnight Train?

June: September 2019 will bring Santa and The Goodnight Train.  Get ready for a merry holiday ride! Next stop: The North Pole!

 

Pre-order the Goodnight Train Rolls On here!

Amazon
borrow from your local library
Barnes and Noble
BAM
Indiebound

 

Buy the Goodnight Train here!

Indiebound
borrow from your local library
BAM
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

 

 

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