Illustrate a children's book

Recently I was asked to illustrate a children's book written by Kim Van Kuyk. I'm so happy for this opportunity because this was a lifelong dream of mine. When I was little I used to re-illustrate my favorite books with my own drawings and ideas, so I guess that's were it started...

This is where it all begins: the sketchbook. I've made some quick doodles about the main events in the story.

As you can see, it's a story about a little elephant, but that's all I'm saying for now. But it is a huge challenge, because the process is totally new for me. Questions such as 'Where to start?' and 'How do I make text and illustrations work together?' arise. I have decided to make a checklist for myself to have a good oversight over everything that still has to be done.

This is what I have come up with so far:  (Not necessarily in this order)

  • Splitting the story into scenes
  • Make a story board (or a lot of them)
  • Determine a style ( graphic, lyrical, magical?)
  • Choose a medium to work with (acrylics, gouache, pencil,...)
  • Getting to know the characters and their characteristics
  • Taking care of the dynamics of the story (add drama where needed by using for instance close ups, speed up and slow down the story by using different angles)
  • Think about lay out  and where to place the text 

I have made some storyboards already. This is the second one.

This little guy is one of the main characters, I've based him on Kims beautiful son.

Some research...
I had never drawn much elephants before, so I'm happy with the beautiful picture book Kim has lent me, it has plenty of elephants in it. And the children's book with illustrations from Carl Cneut is a nice inspiration too.

Euhm, this is not what it looks like. I needed an image of a boy who was lying on the back of an elephant and who is cuddling him. But I could not find one, so I've tried to stage the situation myself . The only things that were available was this monkey and a cushion. Maybe I need to rethink it though...