On my Facebook profile, I confessed my distaste for classical music. And because my next picture book deals with two jazz music icons, I didn't confess my distaste for jazz, too. But after today, I may need to revise my profile.
For preparation and research on Ellington/Strayhorn, a picture book I'm illustrating for Charlesbridge, I went to to the library and checked out Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. I also downloaded Ellington's Three Suites. I was reluctant to listen to either. But I ended up enjoying both. A lot! I was actually familiar with most of the Tchaikovsky tunes. Can you believe, I went jogging to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, when normally, I'm more of a Bootzilla kind of brotha.
I also checked out several copies of E.T.A Hoffman's Nutcracker, retold and illustrated by various authors and illustrators. I was surprised to discover so many versions — from frightfully dark to playfully lighthearted. I liked the lighthearted versions better.
I'm gonna have so much fun illustrating this book. It'll be almost like creating a Black, Cotton Club-ish version of the Nutcracker.