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!
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!
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.
A world without Boathouse is a sad world that I don’t want to live in.
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.
It was so much fun meeting all of the kids, hearing about their favorite parts of the book, and seeing their Wanderer projects.
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.
They also drew pictures of their favorite parts of the book! Most of them loved the seagull and when Boathouse was on Wanderer.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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:
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.