Dick and Jane and Vampires: Behind the Scenes

By Jason Boog Comment


The Penguin imprint Grosset & Dunlap released Dick and Jane and Vampires this month, bringing the mash-up trend to children’s books. We caught up with Penguin designer Megan Bennett to find out how they created more than 80 mash-up images for the book.

Bennett explained: “This book was truly a collaborative project. After the author, Laura Marchesani, had brilliantly reinterpreted text from the original Dick and Jane stories to fit the addition of Vampire to the plot, it was my job to see that the illustrator did the same with the addition of Vampire into the illustrations. Laura and I worked together, using her manuscript, to compile the art suggestions for each story.

She added: “Then, I amassed a sort of digital library of original Dick and Jane illustrations from the previous stories that would be used in this book. This library was passed along to the illustrator, Tommy Hunt, with the illustration suggestions.”

Bennett continued: “Next, Tommy began the process of sketching bats and vampires into the original art, as well as drawing new scenes for the stories that Laura created specifically for this book. Once the sketches had been finalized, Tommy moved onto the laborious process of creating over eighty final illustrations. After completing these, he supplied me with the digital files, some of which I digitally enhanced with Photoshop to give them a more vintage feel. I then used Adobe InDesign to combine his illustrations with Laura’s text, completing the design process.”

She concluded: “For the cover, it was important to choose an image that adequately conveyed the humorous tone of the interiors while maintaining the iconic look of the Dick and Jane brand. Therefore, the image of the two children running from Fun with Dick and Jane seemed like the obvious choice. So, I provided Tommy with a digital file of the original cover illustration, at which point he was able to begin sketching the vampire into the background. After a few rounds of sketches, he painted the vampire into the original scene and supplied me with a new ‘mashed-up’ illustration, which I then used to create the final book cover.”