This editorial illustration was for The Adventures of a Turtle poem by Russell Edson, describing the life of a turtle that lives inside the shell and the interaction of a curious child. Since the author viewed the shell rather like a house and the fact that turtle’s DNA is more like bird’s than lizard’s, the turtle was illustrated with a birdhouse on the back initiating that there is life inside. This illustration strike to capture the odd and intriguing interaction between the two in their daily life.
Originally, the house was inspired by majestic French doom architecture. But after reading the poem again, a more humble cozy birdhouse seems more suitable. The middle color study was chosen for the fantasy and exciting feeling it gives.