Boathouse Misses the Boat Easter Eggs & Behind the Scenes

If you haven’t heard yet, the fourth book in the The Adventures of Boathouse Mouse is now available!!!! I have the honor and privilege of illustrating this book series with my friend and talented author, RV Hodge.

You may have noticed this book took a really, really long time to come out. In the four years since book three, I sold and bought a new house, had to completely remodel my new house’s basement to create a studio, and well…the world shut down and so did I for quite awhile. But here we are, and we are so, so excited to have this book completed!

If you’ve been around awhile, you know that I love including Easter Eggs in my books. I didn’t do it with book one, but two on? Full of them, and this book is no exception!

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Relaunch || I’m back!

It has been a hard couple of years. When the world feels like it’s imploding with a global pandemic and life as we know it changing almost overnight, I shut down. My family became my Number One Priority.

My husband, a teacher, took over my drafting table to use as his desk for remotely teaching his students, and my youngest took over my work table for his studies. I was bouncing around, helping all three kids stay on top of their lessons and work, keeping the house running, trying to not panic and just be a support for my family.

And after awhile, it happend: I no longer saw oil paintings when I looked at the clouds. I didn’t see watercolors when a bird landed on one of my veggie plants. Our resident backyard bunny no longer made me want to draw. After an amazing start to 2020, I was devastated. My world was upside down, and to lose my passion for art? I couldn’t process that.

I mean, it got to be so bad that I almost got rid of all of my supplies and converted my studio over to an office and workspace for the family. I couldn’t even look at my work or a tube of paint.

Fast forward to the summer of 2021. I was outside doing something, and I looked at the sky and thought to myself, “I wonder how I would paint that cloud.” I stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t believe it, it HAD to be a fluke. I brushed it off and kept going about whatever I was doing.

A few days later, it happened again. And then again. And again. After two weeks of feeling inspired, I decided that I was going to slowly start working again: planning out supplies I needed, making a list of pieces I wanted to create, laying down some boundaries because if this was really happening, I wanted to do things different. I spent six weeks working tirelessly behind the scenes, planning, purchasing…up until my relaunch date.

October 1st, 2021 I relaunched my art business, and I am SO EXCITED!

This month I have *finally* finished book four of the Boathouse Mouse series…

…I’ve done an original watercolor painting…

…and an original oil painting…

…and finished a drawing I started before I walked away.

All of those will be launching or being revealed soon, so I hope you enjoyed the teasers ūüôā

I cannot wait for what’s to come, after almost two years away, there is so much in my brain just wanting to come out on paper and canvas! Stay tuned for some hopefully awesome pieces!

Thank you so much for sticking around!

The Wrong Direction Easter Eggs

This blog post is¬†extremely¬†overdue. However, it’s Easter weekend, so I thought it might be appropriate to finally post now!

The Wrong Direction is the 3rd installment of the children’s book series¬†The Adventures of Boathouse Mouse, and¬†I have the honor and privilege of illustrating them. This book came out in April 2017, almost a year ago!!!!

While I was illustrating this book, I had some fun with it and included Easter Eggs, just like I did with¬†The Cat and the River Thames.¬†If you’re unfamiliar with Easter Eggs, they’re fun little details included in movies, whether it be hidden details or references to other movies (Disney and Pixar are well known for these!). One thing I’m trying to add in each book now is a cameo of the person I’m dedicating it to. I didn’t do it for Book 1, and Book 2 was my parents.

Book 3 was originally going to be dedicated to my daughter. I was going to go in age order for the kiddos, but once I read the book, there was one scene that changed my mind:

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Hey There Little Buddy!

Look whooooo’s heeeeeeerrreeee!!!!

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For those of you who are new to the blog, when I’m not doing crazy drawing challenges, I have the priviledge of illustrating a children’s book series called¬†The Adventures of Boathouse Mouse. I work on them with the amazingly talented author RV Hodge, and after a very long break (aka the illustrator, aka me, took almost a year off for moving), we’re back at it! Book 4 is IN MY HANDS!

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Sick Day Painting

My youngest was home for a couple days this past week with a fever. After what felt like his thousandth movie, he decided he was bored and was looking for a change of scenery. He loves to paint, and as I was behind in Boathouse illustrating, I suggested breaking out our watercolors. He jumped at the chance, and we got to work.

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Sick day snuggles

It was so much fun watching him be creative! He puts colors together that I wouldn’t think of, puts more detail and thought into each painting than I would imagine, and even watching him try to work through his struggles inspires me.

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Fear & Life: A Boathouse Update

Did you guys see that RV revealed the cover of  The Wrong Direction on his blog a couple weeks ago? Here it is!

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I think it’s my favorite cover so far, but then again, I say that with each book.

However, I can’t say that book 3 is my favorite overall in the series anymore, but that’s only because I got to read a draft of book 4 over Thanksgiving break…but that’s getting ahead of myself a bit.

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Coming Soon: Boathouse Products!

Remember how I had three people ask me about Boathouse prints at the AppleUmpkin Festival? Well, now I can say that I have two designs available with more on their way soon!

For RV’s birthday, I worked on designing a couple prints for him as part of his gift. It wasn’t as easy as I had hoped; trying to get a wonderful composition from pictures that aren’t always the correct proportion for prints is fairly tricky!

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5×7 print; love this frame with the illustration!

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Our First Book Signing

Life is a funny thing.

We make choices every day, but we never know what the outcome will be later in life, what relationships will be made, or where we will be living or working.

RV and I were discussing this briefly this past weekend after our book signing. If his daughter had never met her husband, they never would have moved to New York, would never have gone to our church, would have never¬†met me. RV and I may not have ever met, and if I hadn’t opened my business, Boathouse may still just be an idea in his head.

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RV’s daughter, Vanessa, and I

A world without Boathouse¬†is a sad world that I don’t want to live in.

But on to the book signing!

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The Cat and the River Thames Easter Eggs

I LOOOOVE Easter Eggs in movies. They’re little¬†inside jokes, references, or messages hidden in a movie, and I just find them to be a fun little treat.

Well, I hid a few Easter Eggs in the second Boathouse Mouse book this time, and I’d like to share them with you.

And, because I’m silly, I just so happened to put them all on the same page, rather than spread out through the entire book.

To start off, here is Mozzie:

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Mozzie is my kitty, and he was jealous that Magnus gets to be the star of the book.

The next kitty is Lily:

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Lily is Magnus’s sister, and well, he couldn’t be in the book if she wasn’t included as well!

And the last kitty is Moe:

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Moe was my daughter’s cat. He ran away almost 2 years ago, and although it wasn’t unusual for him to escape and be gone for days on end, we fear the worst as he never returned. I have him sleeping because we’re assuming he’s sleeping eternally now.

The last Easter Egg is this fishmonger and customer:

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I’m starting something new with this book; whoever I dedicate the book to will be snuck into an illustration. I dedicated this book to my parents, so my dad is here as the fishmonger, and my mom is the customer. My mom hates having her picture taken, hence the customer facing away from the viewer (you’re welcome, mom!).

 

I hope you enjoyed these Easter Eggs! What has been your favorite Easter Egg in a movie? I love how in Disney and Pixar movies they always sneak characters from previous movies into other movies as toys, posters, or background characters!

Character Design: Commodore Thomas

Designing characters for the Boathouse series is challenging. Not only do you have to figure out what exactly they’re going to look like, but you have to design all the expressions, physical movements and limitations, and then take all of that information and be able to reproduce that look for consistency throughout the whole book.

I think it’s my favorite part of illustrating!

The Cat and the River Thames introduces a new location and various new characters, including some pirate rats and another boat builder. These were fairly easy to design; okay, so the rats gave me a little trouble, but it only took me a day or so to really get them where I wanted them.

But the book also introduces a bigger character, and let me just say, it was not easy designing him.

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