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  • Writer's pictureLeanne Coelho

The Very Puzzled Monkey Puzzle Tree

Towards the end of last year, the leisure projects team at the Three Rivers District Council got in touch to ask if I would like to work with them on illustrating a picture book to be released in conjunction with the restoration work being done and as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Project at Leavesden Country Park.

The monkey puzzle tree was the inspiration behind the park's logo and the book would be based on the littlest of three monkey puzzle trees in the park, Martha.

A few emails later and after a wonderful research trip to Leavesden Country Park, I started some character development sketches.

After reading through the manuscript and getting to know the story and the characters a little more, I started the storyboard and rough layout sketches.

Once the storyboard was finalised, it was on to refining the line drawings and developing a colour palette. This story offered so many opportunities for rich forest green colours and gave me the opportunity to lean into Leavesden Country Park's own colour palette.

Then it was on to the final artwork, a stage of the process I was so excited to get to. I couldn't wait to bring these characters to life and had so much fun adding little details wherever I could.

The Very Puzzled Monkey Puzzle Tree will be distributed this April to local schools, libraries and used a resource at Leavesden Country Park events and educational workshops at the Hive. I had so much fun working on this book and couldn't have asked for a better team to work with.

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