I'll make as many generations of these as I like, working out ideas. I call this the Ugly Stage; no one sees it but me.

How I Work

The finished watercolor original.

I learned that my favorite red doesn't reproduce well, so I no longer use it for print work.

Now it's time to make decisions about the color and line. I always paint in watercolors but when I use an outline it's sometimes pencil, sometimes ink. Top to bottom you see brown color pencil, black ink and then brown ink. I used brown ink in the book for reality and colored ink for fantasy scenes.

Next, I take photos or go to the library, my bookshelves, or my computer for reference. This wonderful little boy agreed to model for me. He's not so little any more!

Eventually, I sketch using the text and the actual page shape, but the drawings are still tiny. At this stage I may meet with my editor or art director to make sure things are heading in the right direction. Here I had to make sure Otto looked safe.

​round three

​round two

​round one

This generation of full-sized sketches gets shown to the publisher and I make revisions as needed. I like to draw on tracing paper taped over the galley type.

​round three


copyright 2013 PRLevy Illustration ・ all rights reserved

It's always exciting to see the printed page!

​round one

​​​​​​​​​Pamela R. Levy


When a manuscript arrives, the first thing (after reading it several times) is to make a bunch of scribbly little thumbnail-sized drawings. 

If I'm doing a book, I set the drawings up as facing pages, like below.