Today we get a peek behind the scenes as Cat and Isobel bring the entire book together! It’s amazing to see just how much time and effort goes into making Own Know How! Tonight is the official launch of Owl Know How and you are all invited celebrate – 6.00pm – 8.00pm at No Vacancy Project Space – Tenancy 32 at Federation Square, Melbourne.  If you can, do drop in and meet Cat and Isobel and the team from Thames & Hudson –  fun! – Jenny x

A collection of charming Cornelia’s and creating the Owl Know How storyboard

October 28th marked the first day of Owl Know How pre-production. We began with making a storyboard. This was familiar territory for Isobel. Fitting the story into 32 pages was tricky but a good exercise for simplifying the narrative even further.

We also refined the characters at this point. Two different versions of Cornelia had to be made to be used in the different scenes of the book.

When the storyboard was done we went through and wrote a list of every set and prop we could see in the storyboard and set about making them: buildings, fences, trees, interiors, furniture, ornaments and tiny little tools.

Armed with textas, a pair of scissors and a pot of glue each, we attacked recycled boxes, empty industrial cotton spools, cardboard tubes and piles of felt. We sourced our boxes from alleyways and backstreets and quickly became cardboard connoisseurs!

Creating the fluffy cloud set and perfecting the lighting

We turned the studio into a sort of cloud town with stuffing floating tumbleweed-style about the room and felt scraps littering the floor like fuzzy confetti for the duration of the shoot.

Isobel had a lighting lesson from a professional studio photographer, Jon Billington, before they began taking photographs. He taught us about making the most of our minimal equipment and we enhanced our two lights with carefully positioned polystyrene reflectors and mirrors to get everything to look right.

Tin and Ed hard at work and a draw full of owls!

Once the photographs were all ready we handed them over to Tin and Ed, the graphic designers who share Isobel’s studio. Tin and Ed laid out all the photographs with the story text arranged on the pages, moving things up a little, down a little, until we were all happy with it.

During this process an editor, Nan McNab, was helping us to refine the text in the story. There were many versions of the text on each page before we settled on the final arrangement.

At last, just before Christmas, it was all ready to go to the printers.

- Isobel and Cat x