Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Nitty Gritty Guts of a Book Dummy

Since I am always pressed for time, opportunities to work on my own projects are few and far between. So, I've decided to make time. I'm hell bent on getting this book dummy done, even if it means adding a 25th and 26th hour in the day that didn't exist before. Everything posted below was done on a moleskin journal or scratch paper while waiting; lines, stop lights, drive throughs, etc. Instead of counting ceiling tiles, why not make use of the time we spend waiting for things in day to day life to complete projects that we can never seem to get to? The only way to get large projects like these done and on the desks of editors is to chip away - each chip counts!

As I've stated before, the polar bear story is being put on hold for a while since I found a book similar in plot and character (darn it darn it darn it!). So, my next story is "Something Weird At My Lunch", one which I ended up liking better anyway, so I guess it all works out in the end. Whether this book gets published or not, I'm really going to enjoy the process of putting the mock-up together and seeing the words and pictures come alive.

Thumbnail for a double page spread idea for pages 2-3 while waiting in Banana Republic. Moleskine journal.

Manuscript with notes on page divisions, illustration notes, and ideas for wordless spreads. These notes were written in while waiting for a friend at the mall.

Character designs for main character -drawn at the gym.

Double page spread thumbnail for pages 4-5. Possible character design for teacher. Moleskine journal.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Book At Child's World

I just found out that one of my books is available for free online! The colors are slightly pale, but ah well. Click here!
Have fun :0) It was one of my first projects for Scholastic/Child's World over a year ago.


I feel about as happy as this frog today. I did a quick, half-hearted search on to see if there were any books similar to my polar bear manuscript. Now, my story is kind of odd, so I didn't bother to check for this sort of thing when I first started working on it. But as I found out last night, there is in fact a manuscript with a very similar story to mine by Daniel Pinkwater, called "Ice Cream Larry". *Big sigh*. Ah well, I have another one I can start on at least that I'm equally excited about.

Some People Communicate Too Much...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Last Polar Bear

This is the last polar bear character sketch I'm posting because I've decided on this guy as my main character. I even added a little bit of digital magic here and there for the first time, and kinda had fun with that! I love the 'undo' button! If only that existed for watercolors. I'm considering adding a digital portfolio - basically my usual line work, but with photoshop colors. For now though my main work will still be watercolors.

I'll be posting some pages from my dummy book as well.

Pig Talk (Illustration Friday: Communication)

Click to enlarge! The first few hours this was posted, the image was over-exposed because of scanner issues - well I found a 'fix if over exposed' button in the scanner software preferences, and boy did that make a difference!!! Yay! Here's a much better version of this illustration.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Winter Waves

While I was working today, my mind kept half-wandering to thoughts of the ocean. Suddenly a rush of wind howled and rattled the window panes startling my two dogs. It was then it occurred to me.......each rush of wind sounded just like crashing ocean waves. I guess my subconscious is yearning for a vacation.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Even more character sketches

More Character Sketches

It never hurts to try a few different styles to see which one best fits the story.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Creating Stories

It's amazing how much a small change here and there can actually end up effecting a story in a big way. I decided to change the human characters in my picture book manuscript into polar bears, and it really opened up story telling and comedic opportunities for me.

Did you know that the Disney movie, "Robin Hood" was originally about human characters? All of the charm would have vanished if they had gone that direction. Maybe it would have worked, but not in the same way I don't think.

I also picked up Writing Children's Books For Dummies from Barnes and Noble today. Any extra info never hurts, and even though I've been an illustrator and even sent out a story here and there (hardly ever, admittedly) the writing side of things is just as complicated and very different. I'm continuing to charge through though, no matter what.

Emma's Very Own Book

Isn't she adorable!?!?!?!?!? :0)

It was my niece's 2nd birthday this past February, so I made her a hardcover book through

This is my sis-in law Barb, on the right is Barb's Mom (and Emma's Grammy) Ruthie. And the pup's name is Hanna

Monday, February 19, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Illustration Friday : Gravity

Can pigs actually fly? Yes, but only with a little help from a cannon. And don't ask me how he fit in there in the first place. It was probably a tight squeeze for the daring piglet. I haven't posted this on illustration Friday yet because it's almost 2am, I'm tired and have an appointment with my pillow. Can't be late.

Rendered with watercolors on soft press Fabriano watercolor paper. A very large illustration too - measuring about 14 inches wide. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Book Mark

This is a little book mark I made for a kindergarten class that read my book, Moon Ladder (written by Rhonda Simard). If anyone is interested in the high resolution file for printout, email me and I'll send a copy.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Panda Sneezing

I can't stop playing this video! It's so incredibly cute and funny!

Scrap Paper Challenge

Sometimes I'll pick up a piece of scrap watercolor paper and just have fun with it - no matter how odd the shape.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Struggle To Start

I don't know the reasoning behind this, but I have trouble starting on my own writing projects. I can write the story okay, but when it comes to illustrating a few samples for the manuscript and sending it off to publishers, I get so terribly stuck. Maybe it's those little flashes of past rejection letters that run through my mind, followed by destructive negative thinking. After which, I've already failed before I've even begun. Or maybe I'm so critical of my work, wanting it to be perfect, that nothing is ever good enough to send out. That's not very productive or smart, is it? But that's how it's been for me. I've got to stop worrying and dreaming and take that first step. Dreaming is good, but on it's own it's useless. If I don't follow up with action, I might as well pack it in. So today I took the very difficult step of illustrating a sample page from a picture book series proposal that I've been holding on to for far too long. It's time to fold it into a little paper airplane, close my eyes, hold my breath, and toss it out the window.

Happy Early Valentine's Day

To all my blog buddies! Keep drawing, writing and dreaming. Hopefully we'll all get a chance to lasso the moon.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Illustration Friday: Crash

Well, as a drummer in a 'used to be' rock band, the first thing I thought of was the Crash cymbal. Below are orchestra crash cymbals about to be put to very good use.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Space Boy contacted me to submit a piece for judging- they're picking a few illustrations to show on a big plasma screen for the Bologna Children's Book Fair. The piece above is the one I submitted. Hope it makes it :0)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ta-Da! A New Banner

Finally got a moment between projects to create an illustration just for my banner - definitely fits with the blog title a little better. Many thanks to everyone who helped my with the code by sending links and hints. You definitely saved me a few hours at least!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Another Character Sketch

I've been doing a number of character sketches for the next early reader story, Photo Day, and have not been happy with any of them. This can get quite frustrating, especially when it's a story you really like and want to create good pictures for. This little girl finally came a long today, and for once made me smile.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Illustration Friday : Sprout

"When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them." -Chinese proverb

I don't imagine this panda is thinking a thing about who planted his sprouts, only that they taste soooo gooood. YUM!

Also, this is completely unrelated to Illustration Friday - just posting a quick character study for an early reader.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Watercolor Journal Entry 1

Well I received the Moleskine journal with watercolor paper and WOW! I'm really happy with the paper quality. Here's my first entry.