The Cat, the Mouse and the Runaway Train - Part 1

A children's picture book due to be published by Hachette in the UK in August 2013.

I was lucky enough to be sent a brilliant rhyming text written by award-winning author Peter Bently in the summer of 2011.  It instantly appealed to my imagination and had such a great pace and sense of rhythm to it that I immediately started sketching out ideas for characters and the setting for the story.
 
The storyline in a nutshell: "When a naughty little mouse steals cheese from the station master, a battle between cat and mouse follows! But they put their differences aside when a big, red steam train comes tearing down the track straight towards them!"
 
Time to start sketching...
 
*WARNING - contains spoilers!*
My first concept board that I showed to the publisher, along with a few thumbnails below showing how I might tackle each spread, involving the animated text of the story.
The main human character is Stationmaster Pete and he took several revisions before the right combination of paunch, moustache and age were agreed upon.
We finally settled on the version of Pete above.  The cat and mouse below were a much more straightforward prospect for me...
Below shows a schematic diagram of where the action takes place in the book. Because of the sequence of events, it was important to establish what went where and what would be visible from various angles on each spread or page so the continuity worked with the action unfolding.
I was asked to work up a spread in full colour and the result is below.  The space on the left hand side would accomodate the text.  I would later revise this spread and I was asked to change the train's smoke to white coming out of the funnel.
 
Next up...sketching out the whole book in full...
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