Ahoy hoy. Sorry I’ve been away…UNICORN update!

Illustrating Books
God asks where his unicorns are.

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Hello all, it’s been a while, and for that I do apologize.  I got a bit caught up in some other projects, and let the unicorns idle for a bit.  Well, here is the newest installment, and I’m hard at work on finishing up the rest so I can just schedule them for posts.  The next step is to pick the strongest and fully illustrate in color, as publishers like to get a taste of what the illustrations will look like in their final garb.

Noah proceeds with the plan from God

Illustrating Books

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The saga continues…

A note on character design: designing God was a challenge.  I didn’t want to create a bearded man in the sky.  There is a part of the Old Testament where God is described as a column of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day.  I like the clouds idea, and the giant arms in the sky make me smile.

Noah’s doubters and God’s plan

Illustrating Books

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A note on the type: in these dummies, I believe that it’s good to not get fancy or cute with your choice of type.  So I have chosen to use Century Schoolbook.  It’s a personal preference.  Some people tend towards Comic Sans, but that’s against my religion as a Designistrator. 😉  I am thinking I may have to redraw the left hand page, as my Noahs look a little different from the first page to the second.  One of the most important thing about illustrating a book is that the character design remains consistent from page to page.

I realize that I said I would post on Tuesday/Thursday, but life happens–perhaps it’s safer to say I will post twice a week!

As usual, feel free to leave questions, comments or words of insight in the comments section below.  Have a great weekend!

The Unicorn Legend and Noah

Illustrating Books

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Here is the first spread of the book my friend Jess has written.  (So, to be clear, this is two pages I combined in Photoshop.)

I thought I would try to post a spread every Tuesday and Thursday. (And perhaps more on weeks where I am feeling particularly expansive.) This will be a long way to lay out a book, but I enjoy sharing this process with you, friends.  Any comments or questions are, as usual, appreciated.

 Spoiler alert: there will be unicorns.

How to create a dummy book for children’s publishing

Business of Art, Illustrating Books

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Hello, dear viewers.  It has been a while since I’ve posted, and for that, I do apologize.  I’ve had a new idea for a series of posts, which I hope you will enjoy.  A couple of (gulp) years ago, my dear friend Jess presented me with a children’s story she had written and asked me if I would illustrate it.  Now, people ask this of me once they find out I am an illustrator, and usually I tell them it is easier to get published by simply sending a manuscript out with a great cover letter to publishers.  (i.e. Illustrations are not necessary to the children’s story submissions process, unless of course, you are an author/illustrator.)

The reason I tell them this is that usually publishers like to pair their illustrators and writers.  If you send a manuscript with a sheaf of drawings, you will most likely be chucked into the dreaded “slush pile.”  However, if you take the time and effort to create a dummy book, you may luck out and get your book picked up by a publisher. I love my friend Jess, and because her story is really great, I said “yes” to creating a dummy with her.  She sweetly said for me to take my time and design it how I wanted.  

Oh Jess, you may have wanted to set up deadlines with me—unlimited time means I take a looong time.  Anyway, she has agreed that I can share the process here on the blog if it helps me finish the dummy book.  Today I have a picture of some storyboards I created in the beginning to get the flow of the story just right, along with an actual book I created to craft how the pictures would fit with the type.

For reference on how to create a dummy book I highly recommend Uri Shulevitz’s Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books.  Published in 1985, it is still the greatest resource I have found on creating a book for submission from start to finish.

I love questions and comments!  Fell free to leave feedback or queries in the comments section of this post, if you feel so inclined.

An old, handmade Sketchbook


The other day I decided to go through my collection of old, filled up sketchbooks to mine for ideas.  I forgot that I made this one back in 2008 (?) but I really like it.  Some of the entries made me laugh out loud, because I crack myself up.  The book itself is made from recycled materials:  a scrap of wallpaper from my grandparent’s house, cardboard, some of the pages have been Xeroxed on one side (which means I salvaged it from the office recycle bin), and the binding is dental floss (not used) and tabs made of paper grocery bag.  How Earth-friendly can you get??  The fantastic old picture is from a stack that my teacher, Larry gave me when I was in grad school.

I am also including one of the spreads I found inside; next week I promise to have some new drawings.  I’ve been a bit under the gun this week, and with late meetings, my poor blog and art got neglected.


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