At Bright we’re always eager to take a peek behind the creative curtain of our artists’ lives. We had the opportunity to chat with über talented Stephan Lomp following the March publication of his author/illustrated Mamasaurus (Chronicle Books). Read on to learn more about the development that went into Mamasaurus, and what Stephan has in store for this beloved dino family!
What served as your inspiration for Mamasaurus?
I was doodling some characters one day and did a series of characters. There were always two interacting somehow. And one of them was a mother brontosaurus feeding her baby. At that stage it was just a black and white line drawing. I picked this one a few weeks later to do some colored illustration to fill up my portfolio. At the end I just added the title. At that time I went with Brontomama just because it sounded cool, and to make the illustration look like it was a book cover.
This was in 2010. I guess the title and the picture suggested a story, so I was asked to write it.
We changed Brontomama to Mamasaurus and I am quite happy with the final cover that Chronicle designed.
How did the illustrations evolve? Can you share some of your early sketches or drafts?
The brush drawings were done pretty fast and without planning much. I did a lot of different versions on each one.
One spread that heavily changed was the scene with Rexy. He just was too scary initially.
The title changed from Brontomama to Mamasaurus, too. At the time the correct name for this dinosaur would have been a Diplodocus and not Brontosaurus. Just after publication in April 2016, Brontosaurus became an official dinosaur again, but we stuck withMamasaurus because the “Mama” part reads first and we got used to it.
The colors were done in Photoshop with brushes by Kyle T Webster. Every dino has its own base color to keep it simple and to help distinguish them. Initially I planned to have an appendix on the back to explain what kind of dinos they are. This would have taken away a lot of surprises, though, if you see it before reading the book.
What is your creative process?
When I write, I like to structure the flow first. That means it’s basically just keywords for what I want to do on each page. Then these words become sentences and they are rewritten again and again.
For drawing, I prefer to first get to know the character. So I draw them again and again in different positions. I simplify it thereby, and also think about what he or she would say, and that influences the writing as well. Also very important are picture references of clothing and background. I usually use Pinterest, Google image search and a lot of books (real ones).
What’s up next for you?
I have written Papasaurus, also publishing with Chronicle Books, during my parental leave (I became a papa myself). That took a lot of time, although the text is simple and short. But the shortening was tricky and the time I had in between was little. There will be new dinos that baby will meet and this time baby is not really lost.
So right now I did the roughs for all spreads and I am in the process of coloring and fine-tuning.