Usually I create illustrations on the computer at my job, but this was a dream assignment from them. They were making a catalog of leveled readers, and, as all of the book covers have traditional illustration on them, they wanted the catalog cover to have one as well.
They really let me run with this one – at first they wanted me to match a style of one of the existing covers, but when they saw my rough sketch they said they liked it the way I had done it. There were changes, of course; for example, my first sketch had the teacher holding the book, and they wanted the students to have them. But that's all part of the illustration process so it was an incredibly fun painting to do.
(Just for the record, image is copyright Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)