Is it a case of ‘once a teacher, always a teacher’, I wonder?
When I agreed to write the story, I wanted to complement the true story with accurate pictures. I was surprised at how little I knew about the bumblebee. I had painted them from “life” (actually from corpses I had found in my garden) many years ago, but couldn’t remember the details. How many segments are there in the bumblebee’s legs? Which way do its ‘knees’ work? How many stripes does it have? Are the stripes all the same colour? Is it ‘bumblebee’ or ‘bumble bee’?
I enjoyed the research, which started a little like this:
As the story developed I also tried to give Mr Bumble Bee a persona. He became more of a cartoon sketch, his stripes became more random as his face took on more expression and his wings varied in size to create the effect I wanted.
Despite this evolution, I kept the details of his body structure and legs accurate.
The teacher in me also had the last word. I concluded the story with a diagram illustrating the pollination cycle, and gave the last illustrated page to a realistic bumblebee.
All of the illustrations were fun, but this last one was the illustration I enjoyed the most.