Bed book peek- India (part 1)

In between animating scenes for Liberty and Justice, I’ve been working on a new picture book that explores varied cultures from around the world. The deadline for handing over the finishes is a year from now, so there isn’t a minute to spare! The story about where children sleep around the world is written by Rebecca Bond and will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2020. Here are links to posts about other illustrations for the book: South America, Japan, North Africa, North America, HollandIran, Ghana and Afghanistan. To see a list of all my books, click here.

Update: Signed copies of My Bed can ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8 minute documentary about how I created the illustrations for the book.

Months ago, when I starting working on the book, I made a whole collection of children’s heads that would be used in different scenes. There’s something intimate about painting faces and stitching hair that helps connect with the characters. Getting to know the children is the first step in committing to a couple of years of work creating the environments they live in.

This illustration set in India uses the boy on the top right of the pile.

To create characteristically Indian architectural detail, I used beads that have been in my stash for decades, waiting for the right opportunity to show their stuff.

I loved researching Indian houses, so full of luscious colors. It felt wonderful to indulge my love of patterns, after exercising restraint in the Japanese scene.

The boy slept on my work table until his bedroom was available.

I built a 3/4″ deep box that will be inset, so the viewer can look inside the window and see the boy sleeping.

The hanging decorations were made to scale.

There is so much to share from this scene, that I’ve divided it into 3 parts, with many more photos coming in the future. See part 2 here.

I am happy to announce that the Cahoon Museum in Cotuit, Massachusetts will host the premiere exhibit of original illustrations for the book. The exhibit will be coordinated with the book’s publication in the fall of 2020. Like with Pocketful of Posies, I am scheduling a touring exhibit, so that more people can see the “real thing”, which is a totally different experience than seeing reproductions on the printed page. Interested museums and art centers are welcome to contact me (salley at for information about hosting an exhibit. It would be wonderful to have the original illustrations make their way across the whole country!

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30 thoughts on “Bed book peek- India (part 1)

  1. Thank you for posting your latest work. It brightens my day many times when I have lots to do, people to take care of, having a busy day at work or I’m just stressed by the political situation that abounds. I always escape and am inspired as well when I visit your work.

  2. Such a feast for the eyes, everywhere the eye rests there is some beautiful detail. Probably a lot like India! Will you make a face with the eyes closed for the boy who is sleeping? Always enjoy seeing your work. Amazing and inspiring.

  3. It is fabulous to see this work in progress and most enlightening. The creative process is so interesting and how great that you can use up your stashes! It is a brilliant idea to share it as you go!

  4. Looking so good! I can’t wait to see the book! And despite my children being grown, I will no doubt buy the book as well! I could just sit and look through the books I have over and over, and in fact I have done that – so many details to see and admire and envy!

  5. Oh Salley, I love your work. Everything about it – the colours, the perspective, the stitches, the details. I would love to see it “in the flesh”. I can’t wait for the book to come out. Well done, you’re so talented. From across the pond.

  6. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for following along on my journey. There doesn’t seem to be way to change your e-mail, so I suggest starting over. You can unsubscribe and then subscribe again with your new e-mail. I hope that works and you will continue to receive post notifications.

  7. This is fascinating! Your work is exquisite! I’m so happy this popped up in my Pinterest account! I can not wait to buy the book for my grandson! Is every page a photo with your work?
    Love it!!!

  8. Wow, your work is amazing! I was just looking for a Beginner project as I am looking for a new craft and came across your site. I can’t imagine ever being able to accomplish your level but this has given me new inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

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