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Clever and cute: illustrator tricks

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I've just noticed that in the Stick Man and Tiddler (all illustrated by Alex Scheffler and written by Julia Donaldson) there little Gruffalos hidden! The Gruffalo was their first book together, I think, and it was a best-seller... In one book, there's a Gruffalo fish, in another some children have drawn a picture of a Gruffalo in the sand. I LOVED discovering this detail - like a secret sign for readers who truly love the illustrators/authors.

Are there any other examples of illustrators doing this kind of thing - in different books? I just love it. Do you 'hide' little secrets or clues in your illustrations? (NB I may just buy your book if you do...!!!)
#1 - November 13, 2010, 01:39 PM

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hehe I do, but I haven't submitted anything yet, so you can't buy my book.

I've got a Sandra Boynton board book where two of her characters are reading one of her books. And Mercer Mayer also hides a mouse, grasshopper and/or spider in every scene in his Little Critter books. My kids always loved pointing them out. I know there are other examples, I just can't think of them at the mo!

I think Salina might have mentioned having done this in her "Count Your Blessings" book, but I can't remember what it was...do I have that right, Salina? (are you out there?)
#2 - November 13, 2010, 03:05 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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Ooh I'll have to look up Mercer Mayer. I realized I've also seen the same in a Sandra Boynton book we have (maybe the same one). It's these little touches that really make a book for me!
#3 - November 13, 2010, 07:10 PM

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It may not be exactly the kind of thing you were inquiring about, but the Usborne phonics books have a little duck hidden in the illustration of each page.
#4 - November 16, 2010, 04:00 AM
I tweet: @FictionForge

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Chris Van Allsburg has the same dog making a cameo appearance in every book.  Illustrator, Elizabeth O Dulemba also places a picture of her dog in each book.  And the book "Fanny's Dream" has a dog, cat, and mouse
hidden in each picture. It's a fun idea.
#5 - November 16, 2010, 05:37 AM

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I LOVE Fanny's Dream and I never noticed that. Off to order it now. Thanks for reminding me of it!

And yes to the Usborne books too. I love his illustrations (Stephen Cartwright). So simple but so real.
#6 - November 16, 2010, 01:53 PM

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I remember seeing a lot of pickles in Richard Scarry's drawings... I've got a toy pony that seems to crop up in my work. :)
#7 - November 16, 2010, 04:09 PM

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Yes, yes! My son used to search for those pickles, until he got to one illustration that didn't have a findable pickle... That was a bad day.

#8 - November 17, 2010, 11:03 AM
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520 July 2011

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In my book TURN OF THE CENTURY, the illustrator (Jan Davey Ellis) hid a picture of a cat on every page.  On the last spread, she included a picture of my dog, Bailey.
#9 - November 17, 2010, 11:21 AM
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

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Cat-finding is a popular pastime in our house. Elisa Kleven's illustrations are great for that - we found seven in one spread!

The pickles - I always used to look for Lowly Worm... maybe I was missing something?! We have the Scarry books here, I'll have to look.

What I loved about the Axel Scheffler illustrations particularly was that the hidden element ran through different books, not just within one book. I just thought that was not only fun but very clever marketing. I'm sure he didn't think of it that way but it's a way of strengthening your brand, isn't it? Now I keep wanting to buy his books so I can spot the Gruffalo somewhere! Any excuse for a new book....
#10 - November 17, 2010, 12:52 PM

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Mo Willems has his characters popping up in other books - Knuffle Bunny, the Pigeon, Leonardo the Terrible Monster all pop up in other books, and the pigeon always makes an appearance on the inside 'blank' pages (except they are covered with a repeated illustration) of his Elephant and Piggie early reader books. My kids love that.

Also, Anthony Browne does some cute things with his illustrations in books like My Dad, My Mum, and Willy the Dreamer where he has lots of quirky and clever hidden things throughout the book. Sometimes you don't catch them on the first go.

#11 - November 18, 2010, 06:43 AM
http://sarahepsteinbooks.com/
https://twitter.com/SarahLEpstein

"Act as if it were impossible to fail." - Ashanti Proverb

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Mo Willems does it? I should've guessed. I love that in the Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog he has uneaten hotdogs in the front spread, then at the back all are uneaten except one that has a big bite taken out of it! Going to check out the books we have now... Thanks, SarahE
#12 - November 18, 2010, 06:51 AM

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