Behind the Scenes; Making Hello, New Zealand!


I’ve shared before a little about the process of making a book, the countless hours that go into concepting an illustrated spread, planning and sketching the layout, before finally progressing to the illustration itself, and from there the colouring and finalising the spread. Phew! It’s no small order, but it’s always so rewarding to see new artwork start to come together, and then exist within the pages of a book.

For Hello, New Zealand! I really wanted to highlight and focus on the natural elements that are found in each city or location, and what makes those spots unique. New Zealand overall is exceptionally green - almost like it’s been super saturated in colour! - and I’m sure anyone who has visited or lived there would agree. Focussing as well on the amazing birdlife found in New Zealand, it was a great challenge to incorporate nature with the built environment into many of the locations represented in the book. I always try to remember to document the process when working on such a big project, so I’ve been sharing some under the Story Highlights on Instagram (and will add some more if there’s interest!); if you take a look under the ‘Process’ highlight you can see a small collection of videos and images of my process work and start to see how a book comes together.

All of the illustrations in Hello, New Zealand! were done on a big A2 sheet, sketched and planned on the one page, then inked in with fineliner pen. After the illustration work was done, I’d take my bundle of papers to my local Officeworks to ask them to carefully scan them; a task most terrifying when you’re handing over your original artwork to be fed through a giant scanning machine that could potentially snag and ruin your work! Thankfully, all artwork came through unscathed, and then it was back to the studio to start the colouring. I developed the colour palette before starting the illustrations, to make sure I’d have a good range of colours to work with that best represents New Zealand. Colouring the artwork, adding the highlights and final touches, and then exporting into the book document to keep building to the final, finished book. After months of working on paper and on screen in different formats, it’s always a strange and completely exhilarating experience when the finished book arrives for the first time!

Hello, New Zealand! arrives in stores around Australia and New Zealand on September 01 2019 (counting down the days until I see it popping up in stores!). If you’d like to preorder a copy of my new book, you can get yours from Booktopia or The Book Depository (who offer free worldwide shipping) to be first in line when it’s released — or ask your local bookseller if they’ll be getting it in. It’s a great opportunity to support our local stores, and interest in a new book helps stores gauge how many copies they should be ordering.

Megan McKeanComment