Working on now…

kellanI’m currently working to illustrate a book for an author from North Dakota. This is her second book, and both were written for her grandchildren. I’ll share the link when it’s finished…probably in about 6 weeks.
It’s so much work to illustrate a book!

I love doing it, but some nights it’s just hard to come home and be creative after working a full day as a creative designer…but it’s something I really love to do. Hopefully one day I can illustrate full time. For now I just do it for the love…because it certainly doesn’t pay the bills.

In my sketchbook…

So I’m a doodler. I love to have a black marker pen or crayon in my hands. I do it throughout meetings when there’s rarely “real” notes to take. I do it while I’m on a conference call (any phone call, honestly). I do it while I’m watching the hockey game. I do it while my youngest daughter colors along side me.

This is a small progression with a pretty funny, (albeit somewhat creepy-looking), end to it…

A poor pen drawing of the little girl, here in bunny slippers by a sunny window.
A poor pen drawing of the little girl, here in bunny slippers by a sunny window.

So I have this very rough idea in mind for a children’s book. (Very rough…like just developing some fun characters I want to know, and hoping a story pops up). The first character in my story is a little girl. She’s 9 or 10. She’s cute but plain. Lonely. And just found that her mother left a very disappointing note on the kitchen table. I generally just start drawing without really paying close attention, until I come up with something I like, then I develop and go from there.

An OK first attempt, but I thought she was way too tall. I should maybe make her stouter, more cutesy.

Much cuter, but this nightgown looks like she should be a waitress at a truck stop.
Much cuter, but this nightgown looks like she should be a waitress at a truck stop.

Maybe she needs to be a little more plain.

Not going to the right direction here either...
Not going to the right direction here either…

Nope. Too plain. Too young now.

She should perhaps look a little more despondent.

Did you just have a good cry, little girl?
Did you just have a good cry, little girl?

Nah. Try…Irked?

I also came up with a better name than Zou Zou...maybe.
I also came up with a better name than Zou Zou…maybe.

She just looks miffed.

Hmm. The brows could be interesting. Expressive. That's easy.
Hmm. The brows could be interesting. Expressive. That’s easy.

So does she.

A couple of attempts...the window is back for practice...but neither of these are the little girl that can pull off this story...she has to be stronger maybe.
A couple of attempts…the window is back for practice…but neither of these are the little girl that can pull off this story…she has to be stronger maybe.

Maybe make her a little Darker. No, maybe Dressier.

Better dresser. ooh. Do better eyes.

Sleepier eyes.
Sleepier eyes.

…and let’s consider her sidekick I have in mind. A little goat guy named Botis.

Here comes trouble.
Here comes trouble.

A Cocky Botis…

botis2

…and here’s one of the little girl that I started, and then Presley took my pen and worked on her while I stepped out of the room.

Exhibit A: Kids always get into your stuff. It's why you can't have nice things.
Exhibit A: Kids always get into your stuff. It’s why you can’t have nice things.

Darker! Angrier! Yes! Make this story something parents might tell other parents about. Darker…

darkerEmbrace the dark!

scary

Well now she just looks like a child who would hurt a pet.

What about something looser…just in silhouette….

That note her mom left is really having an effect on her mood...
That note her mom left is really having an effect on her mood…

Okay. That’s creepy. But kind of fun. Add in Botis, the window..you know…

Presley strikes again with the marker. "I love mama".
Presley strikes again with the marker. “I love mama”.

Gah! Time to work on a different project…

 

 

The new book…

I am hard at work and in a heavy production cycle for my newest book called “AAAAAAAGH! SPIDER!”. I will hopefully be completed by early February 2015, and the book should be available about that time.

A first-draft of the cover
A first-draft of the cover

I am thinking that maybe I should do a kickstarter.com campaign. The hard work is done, now the rest is just having a budget to get out and promote it; making a media kit and sending it out. It might seem like no big deal, but everything from printing to postage costs money…money that is hard to scrape together yourself sometimes on an artist’s salary!
Maybe I’ll do the social media thing for awhile, hope it takes off, and test the waters.

I am really proud of this book. I think it’s funny and clever, and hopefully other kids and parents will like it. It features a spider, which is my youngest daughter’s (Presley, 8) obsession.

Off and running…

The front cover is finalized!

Well my kickstarter project has drawn to a close…at least the begging for funds part. So far so awesome! Hit my goal, and depending on the final postage costs, I should be able to send out a minimum 250 copies of the book to various Down Syndrome parent support and advocacy groups. If you have any ideas for a group that you think would have a need for such a book, let me know and I’ll be sure to add them to the mailing list!

Here is what the final front cover will look like, and I’m finally happy with it! I just felt the colors were too flat in earlier versions, and this softens it up and makes it look happier and positive, instead of so mellow and gloomy.

I now have two weeks until I have access to the pledge funds. I’m spending my time scouring the web and adding organizations and people to my ever-growing mailing list. I’m tweaking the final 2 illustrations. AND I’m trying to find between 3 and 5 people to read a PDF copy of the book and offer me feedback, with the intent that if it’s flattering I’ll use it on the back cover. (As per my talented book designing friend, Andrew’s suggestion.) I’m nervous and excited to see what people will say! So far, my readership has been limited to family, and a few friends who happen to be writers or editors or English teachers (or all of the above). Of course their feedback and reviews have been glowing to say the least! I’m hoping to track down enough people who work in a field related to helping or working directly with parents of children, or children with Down Syndrome. I have two so far!

And in case that’s not enough on my plate, I started a new job two weeks ago, doing graphic design at the local newspaper. Yes…yes…with my husband the local evening television news anchor, and me and the daily paper, we are quite the media moguls. We’re like Connie Chung and Maury Povich. Or not.

They’re probably not nearly as busy!