Behind the Scenes of a Sick Day

There are some people I’d like you to meet! Say hello to Philip Stead, Erin Stead, and Wednesday Stead. (I think she should have a website too.)

Nicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPIN

This is a funny post for me to write because there are so many different things I’d like to tell you about these guys. Like how Phil helped me pick out my very first SLR camera and remains a big reason I ever got into photography. Or how, in high school, Erin and I used to save up quarters in a glass jar for trips to go watch Phil compete as a runner (he’s really fast). But the reason for this post is to share my excitement for these dear friends. Their book, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, was recently awarded the Caldecott Medal which is the highest honor around for illustration! Like…Nobel Prize big!

And, in an exciting turn of events, I was able to celebrate with them in the neatest way. We got together at their barn on a freezing cold January day for a session to photograph their space, their work, and this moment in their lives. It was such an honor for me because, even though I know what they do and have a general sense of how they do it, it was still SO neat to be there to see it happening and capturing it up close.

As the VERY abbreviated version of the story goes, Phil wrote this book with the idea that Erin would be the best person on the planet to illustrate it. Erin, in turn, ended up being the very best person on the planet to illustrate the book. And the people who actually get to decide these things agreed! Here is THE book:

Nicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPIN

And, while I won’t try to explain Erin’s process because I’m definitely not the expert, you should know that she created the entire process herself so it is completely unique to her, it is very involved, it is extremely delicate and it is amazing to watch. Here is what each step of Erin’s process looks like:

Nicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPINNicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPINNicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPINNicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPIN

And this is what she made:

Nicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPIN

Nicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPIN

I also loved seeing all of the tools and supplies she used:

Nicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPINNicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPINIt’s also really neat how closely Phil and Erin work together:
Nicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPINNicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPINNicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPINI have a feeling these are very common scenes at the Stead home. And that makes me smile. :D

Nicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPINNicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPIN

Here are some of the actual wood blocks Erin used to create A Sick Day for Amos McGee:
Nicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPINNicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPIN

Da ta dah….the Steads!

Nicole Haley Photography, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin Stead, Phil SteadPIN

Thank you, Steads, for thinking of me for this occasion. I’m happy to have a photograph of my couch friends on their couch, I’m happy you live in a barn that is not so far at all, and, most of all, I’m just so happy for you both!

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