I took on a challenging new set of illustrations for a Social Studies textbook about presidential elections. Two of these involve hidden picture puzzle illustrations – the type of complicated scene where objects or characters are hidden in plain sight. I was both terrified and thrilled to take on these images, which are an intimidating mix of overhead perspective, crowds of figures and animals, and lots of minor detail. It was just the kind of thing I could never pass up, but would be sure to haunt my evenings and weekends to come. It sure has.

Initially there were two pages that required these illustrations. One page was a puzzle that takes place at the National Convention and the other at the Presidential Debates. I was overzealous with the first page and mapped out a rough sketch that could have taken months to finish. This was ambitious (if I’m being generous) or foolish and the editor decided it would be best not to go in this direction.

This far less ambitious concept involved circus animals interrupting the presidential debate. I was really excited to work with circus animals.

There were a few sleepless nights wrapping up this project, but I did finally settle into a manageable style for the details and a satisfactory experience overall. Circus animals are fun to research and draw.

In the end, time ran out and many of the filler figures and details were added by another illustrator. I was happy to have played my part in the composition and feel good to have overcome such a complex page.