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!

Continue reading “Hey There Little Buddy!”

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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.

Continue reading “Fear & Life: A Boathouse Update”

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!

Continue reading “Our First Book Signing”

Boathouse Goes to School

Back in November, a woman from my church approached RV and me about buying Boathouse books for a preschool class that she helps to teach. They were going to be doing an author/illustrator unit, and would love to use Boathouse as their featured book. It was exciting to hear that a school was going to be using our book for a project, and we looked forward to seeing pictures of what they did.

About a week ago, Kim called me out of the blue. The school was going to be having an open house/exhibition night, and would I be interested in coming in to see the kids’ projects and hand out the books to the kids in person.

Um, YES!!!!!

It was so much fun meeting all of the kids, hearing about their favorite parts of the book, and seeing their Wanderer projects.

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They made little Boathouse figures, almost like a paper doll. He has his hat, his marlinspike on a cord, his tool box, boat plans, and Wanderer for them all to fit in! It’s even laminated, so the kids can play with them and not worry about them ripping. They even made an extra one for me, which I am going to frame for my office.

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They also drew pictures of their favorite parts of the book! Most of them loved the seagull and when Boathouse was on Wanderer.

Kids

The kids and parents were all excited about having their own copies of the book; kids have been going home and talking about the book and the projects, and the parents had no reference of what book they were talking about. The principal even came in and bought a couple copies for kids in her life as she was excited about the book as well.

Just seeing how loved this character and book are takes my breath away. I love being part of this project, and seeing others excited gets me all that more excited as well!

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However, the overall experience was a little strange. Parents were taking pictures of me talking to their kids and even having me pose with them. Kids were squealing when they met me, and I even had one little boy who kept coming back to talk about the book and was giving me hugs when he had his picture taken with me! I am just not used to that kind of attention!

 

A huge thank you to Kim and the school for a wonderful night, it was such an honor to be invited!

And stay tuned….Book 2 is close to being finished and will be available soon!

Boathouse Mouse FAQ

Hey everyone!

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Boathouse, and I thought I’d but together a FAQ blog post or two answering them:

How do you know RV? How did this come about?

RV is actually the dad of one of my good friends. I’d worked with him on a smaller project before (designing a logo for Mission Navigation), but nothing on this scale. RV is an author and has an awesome fiction series (seriously, you should check them out.) He emailed me late December last year with an idea for a children’s book series about a mouse who builds boats and goes on adventures, and was I interested in working with him as his illustrator. I gave it some thought (about two seconds worth) and said yes!

Continue reading “Boathouse Mouse FAQ”

Where are you, Boathouse?

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how Book 1 is coming along and when the expected release date is going to be now that we’re past our original target of September.

My answer? It’s coming soon!

We’ve run into some bumps in the road:

All of the final drawings took a lot longer than I expected them to. I originally thought they’d take me a week, maybe two. However, each illustration took on average 5 hours of work to complete. Considering there were 19 or 20 illustrations total, that’s about 100 hours of work around having summer vacation ending, kids going back to school, and other obligations I have. I grossly under calculated my time, and it took about 2 weeks longer than I anticipated to finish it all.

Working while the kids color with me

I had to learn a new program for doing the book layout…and then get and learn another program. I am not technologically adept by any means. Thankfully, I have a tech guy for a husband, who learned the program quickly, then walked me through exactly what I needed to do for the book. The second program was more designed for books, and gave us the correct format for what we needed for the publisher.

We decided to switch publishers. We now have a publisher that is better for illustrated books, which improves the quality of the book while keeping costs down.

There was a page spacing error in our proofs. When I redid the layout when switching programs, I forgot to put a blank page in causing pages to not line up properly.

The good news is this:

The second proof is being printed right now.  We’re hopeful to get the copies later this week or early next week. Once we look those over, which I think is more a formality, we can set a release date.

Book 2 is going to move a long so much faster!!!! I know what I’m doing now, and I’ve been able to go back through my process for Book 1 and cut out a few steps so I should be able to move faster and more efficiently. I’ll also already know the program, and we’ll know what to look for when we do the final edit before sending to the publisher.

I have Book 2 here, and will be starting my initial sketches any day now! I can’t tell you anything more than that, but I’m super excited to work on this book!

Stay tuned for the official release date either here, on my Facebook page, or on RV’s website!

Boathouse Mouse Update: Rope, Rope, and More Rope

September is just around the corner, and the anticipated projected release of A New Adventure, A New Name is quickly approaching. I am busy working on final illustrations when I can, and should be done in just a couple of weeks.

However, I think I may have not thought this project through enough when I began, and it’s giving me troubles.

Before you start to worry, no, I’m not wishing I hadn’t taken this project on. I’m loving it, and am eagerly awaiting working with RV on the rest of the books. Instead I’m regretting some of my illustration choices when I was working on all the initial sketches and other drafts of the pictures.

Most of the pictures have cute and fun things to draw, like this:

Other pages have not so fun things to draw, like this:

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In case you were wondering, that is a pile of rope. It will take up about a third of one of the illustrations. It’s not crucial to the story, just something I thought would be a nice addition to the picture.

You see, my thought process went something along these lines:

“Hey look, there’s empty space that needs filling! What can I put there? Hmm…let’s see…it’s a boat, and what would boats have in this general area? I know! Rope! Let’s put a pile of rope here and it’ll be fantastic! Yes! Brilliant!”

Let’s just say rope is not the easiest or fastest thing to draw. Note to self: less rope in Book 2 if possible!

It does look pretty amazing when it’s drawn, though, and will look even better when colored, and that makes it all worthwhile.

Projects and Illustrations Update

The past couple of weeks have been awesome! I’ve been really busy working on a few great projects, and thought I’d share some pictures in progress:
Project #1: Epic
I’m not sure what this piece will be called yet, but we’ve been referring to it as “Epic”, so that might just stay as the title 🙂 It’s hard to show previews and talk about this piece without giving it away, but it’s going to be a drawing/watercolor painting mixed media piece of awesomeness, and will feature key characters/locations from favorite books and movies.

This project has been in the works for over a year. It was originally going to be an oil painting, but I’ve been struggling trying to get all the detail in with oil. It just wasn’t working for me; I felt like I was losing all the detail and it wasn’t looking as amazing as the piece deserved to loo. I went back to the people who commissioned the piece and asked if a watercolor drawing would be okay instead, and they were totally on board with that 🙂

Project #2: Rivendell, the second in the Lord ofthe Rings series

Well, I’m getting my geek on with this piece as well as the “Epic” piece! After completing A Bastion Against the Darkness (Minas Tirith), I started compiling a list of other Lord of the Rings and Hobbit locations in hopes of doing a series of these drawings. One of my top picks was definitely Rivendell, but doing it as seen in the Hobbit movies.

I had a meeting with the winners of my gift certificate from this year’s auction, and guess what they chose as their piece?

Rivendell from The Hobbit!

It’s slow going as there is soooo much detail, but the going is easy so far (knock on wood!).

Project #3: My favorite anthropomorphic animal, Boathouse!

Have you seen on Facebook or on RV’s blog our big announcement? We have a tentative launch date for Book 1! We are hoping to have it available as early as September. I’m making great progress with the last few sketches; I’m sure it probably sounds like I keep saying that, but I keep tweaking each picture, adding more detail, making sure each piece is accurate. It’s a long process, but I know that from here on out I’ll have a better idea of what the process will look like and it’ll go soooo much faster!

To see RV’s blog post about the release date, check it out here! Make sure you keep checking back here, on my Facebook page, and RV’s blog for more updates as they happen 🙂

I’m also reworking part of my website, signing up for more online art classes that I’ll take this summer, sending out applications for more festivals, and keeping up with house/wife/mom/babysitter duties. Just over a week from now, school will be out, my daycare will closed for good, and I’ll be full time working on my art! It’s very bittersweet.

Which of these three projects are you most excited about seeing completed? Let me know in the comments below!