Adam from the Cinnamon Bunzuh! blog has posted an exclusive interview with David B. Mattingly, the Animorphs series cover artist from the Classic run. Here’s a small excerpt:
Adam: When you were working on covers with animals in them, did you have physical animals in front of you to work from sometimes, or did you just use photographic reference, how did that work?
Mattingly: No, I use photographic reference, but its very rare where you find the perfect piece of reference. I also needed to avoid, you go on google and you find a picture of a tiger and morph the character into the tiger, because you’ll get sued for that. There’s actually a zoo in New Jersey that I went to, where I shot a lot of photographs. It’s called the SpaceFarms Zoo. I looked it up the other day, because I wondered if it was the zoo that this Matt Damon movie called I Bought a Zoo was based on, but it wasn’t. But Space Farms New Jersey, it’s sort of a weird private zoo. And they had bears and tigers and all kinds of stuff. And they let you in and you wander around, just like a regular zoo. So that was the source of a lot of reference for the series.
Adam: Likewise, when you were working with human models for the covers, how did you tend to work with them?
Mattingly: I’d shoot models on it, and a problem I had throughout the course of the series is that it went on for I guess five years, and the kids, kids from when they’re ten to fifteen change profoundly, and I’d bring the kid in for another shoot, and he’d look like a completely different person. And Scholastic didn’t want me to reuse old photographs because it would have forced them to re-pay the models, so I consistently shot new models and then attempted to make them look as close to the old models as I could, I’m not sure entirely successfully. The only model who I used throughout the series was the model for Cassie, because she was kind of a petite girl, she might have been a little older when I cast her, and she changed little enough over the course of the book that I used her consistently. She was also a wonderful model.