A BEAR SAT ON MY PORCH TODAY
Rilla Alexander wanted to leave the character’s gender and ethnicity open to personal interpretation in her latest title, A Bear Sat on my Porch Today, so every reader could imagine themselves in that place. When illustrating a book written by someone else, she talks of seeing the characters as actors on stage who have to get into character and it helps if they embody her own emotions. “I usually name characters even if they are not named by the author, so I can get to know them better. I called this character Bean. I was wearing a red beanie my mother had knitted me and, as it turns out, so is Bean. I thought about how I would feel if all those animals sat on my porch and wouldn’t go away, and I acted out those emotions through Bean.” Traditionally in publishing, the author and the illustrator don’t work together, and it is this aspect she finds liberating. “You are free to focus on the story and to read between the lines without being preoccupied by the author’s vision, intentions, likes and dislikes,” she says.
01 Character development by Rilla Alexander. for Bean, 02 Sat Extract on the from Porch A Bear Today illustrated by Alexander. 03 Double page spread from A Bear Sat on the Porch Today.