Behind The Scenes: The Evolution of The Train Rolls On

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Since The Train Rolls On has officially been published, I thought it'd be fun to take a few of the finished spreads from the book and show you how they evolved throughout the course of the editing, illustration, and book design phases. This way, you essentially get a behind-the-scenes look at the steps involved in creating the finished product. Let's start with the very first spread:


Spread #1


The Finished Product


How We Got There

Here are the steps that we took to arrive at the finished product:


Original Text

Here comes the train!

Chugga choo choo!

The animals are eager

for their trip to the zoo.


Edited Text

Here comes the train!

Chugga chugga choo choo!

The animals are eager

to get to the zoo.


Final Text

Here comes the next train!

It's got work to do-

passengers await

a ride to the zoo.



Original Thumbnail Sketch


Original Full-Sized Sketch


Final Full-Sized Sketch

*Not much changed here except for the addition of the cardinal and the sun in the background.


Final Art

*Notice the name on the side of the train. This detail was added late in the illustration process.


Original Designed Spread


Final Designed Spread

*Here, we increased the font size and made some final edits to the text.




Spread #2


The Finished Product


How We Got There

Here are the steps that we took to arrive at the finished product:


Original Text

There's no time to waste.

They must depart soon,

for the zoo's grand opening

is THIS afternoon.


The animals are due

at their BIG DEBUT...

so the train rushes in!


Edited Text

There's no time to waste.

They must depart soon.

The zoo's grand opening

is THIS afternoon.


The animals are due

at their big debut...

so the train rolls in!


Final Text

There's NO time to waste.

They must depart soon.

The zoo's grand opening

is THIS afternoon.


The animals are due

at their big debut...

so the train rushes in!



Original Thumbnail Sketch


Original Full-Sized Sketch


Final Full-Sized Sketch

*Here, we added the cardinal and clock and softened the male lion's facial expression.


Final Art


Original Designed Spread


Final Designed Spread

*We increased the font size, adjusted the word placement, and made the refrain stand out.



Spread #3


The Finished Product



How We Got There

Here are the steps that we took to arrive at the finished product:


Original Text

Each ticket is checked

and given a punch.

The animals board.

They're a WILD bunch!


Each passenger's ready.

The crew is set, too.

The engineer signals.

Next stop: the zoo!


He calls "ALL ABOARD!"

once the coal's been poured...

and the train rolls on!


Edited Text

Each ticket is checked

and given a punch.

The animals board.

They're a real WILD bunch!


Each animal's ready.

The crew is set, too.

The engineer signals.

Next stop: the zoo!


The coal's been poured.

Now ALL ABOARD...

and the train rolls on!

Chugga chugga choo choo!


Final Text

Each ticket is checked

and given a punch.

The passengers board-

they're one eager bunch!


Each animal's ready.

The crew is set, too.

The engineer waves.

Next stop: the ZOO!


The coal has been poured,

so welcome aboard...

and the train rolls on!

Chugga chugga choo choo!



Original Thumbnail Sketch

*This thumbnail wasn't actually part of the original illustrations. It was added during a revision of the thumbnail sketches.


Original Full-Sized Sketch


Final Full-Sized Sketch

*We added the elephant and modified the crew member's nose on Page 6. On Page 7, we added the cardinal and moved the engineer inside the train.


Final Art


Original Designed Spread


Final Designed Spread

*We increased the font size and emphasized some of the text elements on Page 7.



Conclusion


While some sections of the book's text endured only minor edits, others were completely re-written (or even removed altogether). Whereas some of the sketches were spot-on from the beginning, others underwent significant changes over the course of the illustration process. Whether small or significant, every edit, revision, or adjustment ultimately came together to create the final book, which turned out even better than I could've imagined.


The goal of this article was to give you a greater understanding of what the book creation process looked like from start-to-finish. I hope that you've enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look into the process and that it helps you to appreciate the effort (by our entire creative team) that went into making the final product.


Further Reading


If you'd like to read more about some of my favorite book details and how they came to be, check out my blog entitled A Sneak Peek Inside The Train Rolls On. For a behind-the-scenes look at the book's cover creation process, read The Train Rolls On Cover Reveal. To find out what inspired me to write the book in the first place, check out this article: Inspiration For The Train Rolls On.


Otherwise, for a mid-year update on my personal and professional goals, read my latest article entitled 2021 Goals Update.




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