Blog Tour: The Creation of Compass South By Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock

June 30, 2016 Blog Tour, Guest Post 0


I’m so thrilled to be the next stop on this unique blog tour! Each of the six blogs on this tour will be giving you a behind the scenes look at the making of Compass South, a middle grade graphic novel by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock.

About the Book:

It’s  1860 in New York City.  When twelve-year-old twins Alexander and  Cleopatra’s father disappears, they join the Black Hook Gang and are  caught by the police pulling off a heist.  They agree to reveal the  identity of the gang in exchange for tickets to New Orleans.  But once  there, Alex is tricked into working on a ship that is heading for San  Francisco via Cape Horn.  Cleo stows away on a steamer to New Granada,  where she hopes to catch a train to San Francisco to find her brother.   Neither Alex nor Cleo realizes the real danger they are in–they  are being followed by pirates who think they hold the key to treasure.  How they outwit the pirates and find each other makes for a fast-paced,  breathtaking adventure.

Goodreads * Amazon * Indiebound

Hope Larson adapted and illustrated A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, for which she won an Eisner Award. She is also the author and illustrator of Salamander DreamGray HorsesChiggers, and Mercury. She lives in Los Angeles.

Rebecca Mock is an illustrator and comics artist. Her work has appeared  in various publications, including theNew York Times and the New Yorker.  She is co-organizer of the Hana Doki Kira anthology. Compass South is  her first book.

Guest Post:

Today I have Rebecca Mock sharing a part of her process as the illustrator for this book!


All 219 sketched pages of Compass South, featuring margin doodles

All 219 sketched pages of Compass South, featuring margin doodles


After sketching the book and scanning it in, I had to clean up and re-draw sections of it. After waiting for a couple months (!!) for notes from the editor, I could finally start making the final art for Compass South.

I got the green light for inking around March 2014, and was aiming to complete them by September (yikes). I had played with the idea of inking them by hand (I’d only ever done so before) but considering the time constraint, I decided digitally inking everything would just be faster. I’m actually very awkward at inking with brush & nib–my inks require a lot of clean-up. Why not just do everything in Photoshop?


But I wasn’t much more experienced with drawing in Photoshop, and the first 40 pages or so were a trial and error process–what type of line worked, how to draw the characters and action economically. I was still referencing French comic artists heavily for their cartooning style–how little they had to show, how much emotion got across. But I wasn’t very good at eliminating detail.


My schedule was half as fast as that of the sketch phase–8 inked pages a week (2 per day 4 days/week). But I would often end up spending 7 long days each week to get the pages done. During this time I was also trying to support myself with freelance illustration, and juggling everything was difficult, but I slowly made progress. Again, having an unrelenting weekly goal was essential.


I inked the first 40 or so pages with a Wacom tablet, but after starting to get bad hand cramps (it was inevitable, at the rate I was going) I sprung for a Cintiq. I wanted to get back to a drawing style that would allow for greater detail and freedom of movement without being stuck inside the small tablet rectangle. I found my lines became more fluid and confident as I went along, whether aided by the Cintiq or just as I got more comfortable with each character.

Thanks so much to Rebecca for this peek into the making of Compass South! I’m reading this one now and it is so much fun!!  Check out the other stops on the blog tour:

June 27th — Supernatural Snark
June 28th — Love is not a Triangle
June 29th — Forever YA
June 30th — YA Bibliophile
July 1st — Sharpread
July 2nd — Watch. Connect. Read.

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