I mentioned last time that I’m using Kickstarter to fund my picture book Ellen and the Winter Wolves, so over the past week or so I’ve been preparing the campaign. That means shooting a video and thinking through what rewards to offer folks for helping out. Determining what something is worth is a challenge, let me tell you. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s ready and is set to launch on Friday, September 18th.
[This is the second post about the creation of Ellen and the Winter Wolves. You can read part i here.]
After finishing the text for Ellen and the Winter Wolves, I thought I would simply crank out twelve to fourteen illustrations and be done. (I thought twelve to fourteen would be the perfect number because that seemed manageable with my schedule.) So I sat down and broke the text up, attempting to make the breaks at natural transition points. I ended up with fourteen pages.
A problem quickly became apparent to me, however. As I sat on the floor reading the pages aloud, I realized if I was reading this to a kid, each page would take way too long to get through. They would be bored. This story is somewhat text-heavy (at the time it was around 3,400 words) and so fourteen illustrations wasn’t going to be nearly enough.
Over the years people have encouraged me to do a picture book. I love to paint and I love to write, so why not put those things together? And I’ve wanted to, but I simply haven’t. Other projects have crowded it out, or I’ve started and then given up, overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
But now I’m in neck-deep. I’m doing it. And I want to share with you what the process has been so far: the ins and outs of creating a book, and in creating it, what’s been good, what’s been okay, and what’s been unexpectedly terrible.
There are several ways to go about publishing a book. I’ve decided to self-publish. This means I’m not submitting my story and art to a publishing company or an art director. I’m not relying on professionals for design input or editing. I’m doing it all myself. Which means I have a lot of work to do. It also means it could look like garbage, and it would be all my fault.
Hi everyone! I’ve got a few updates to share with you. First, here’s my last completed image, Ellen and the Key. Click the image if you want a bit more detail. This scene precedes Ellen and the Peacock, and these pictures along with Ellen and the Owl are forming into a bit of a story that I’m working on in ernest, even as I type this – I’m a wonderful multi-tasker.*
My second bit of news is that my Merry Christmas Cards and Scary Christmas Cards are now for sale in my store. Click that “Buy Art” tab up there to get yours today.
And finally, I’ve just sent out my latest monthly newsletter in which I detail this last month a bit more. Do you sometimes read these posts and crave a bit more information? I know I did, and that’s why I started the newsletter! You can sign up to receive it hot off the presses, or you can simply browse old ones – your choice.
That’s it for now!
*I’m not, in fact, very good at multi-tasking.
The last couple weeks have been busy ones. Fortunately much of this busyness has included painting which, of all my activities, I enjoy the most. Here’s a peak at my latest, Ellen and the Owl. I think there is a bit of touching up to do, but for the most part it is finished. Can’t wait to get it to that point, then varnished, then framed. It should look handsome, indeed. (In the last three days I’ve listened to the unabridged audio of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey. Which has led to me saying such things as, “It should look handsome, indeed,” and “Capital!”)
Today marks the beginning of a new journey for my family. I am stepping into the world of creative work in which I will attempt to paint and write for a living. I am excited for this opportunity to use the language of Image and Story to stir the imagination, to talk about what I see in the world, and to challenge how we think.
I have several projects that I’m working on that I’ll be sharing with you as they develop.
You may have seen the beginning of one of them already: Part I of The Unraveling, a three part short story that I’ve posted earlier. You can find it by clicking on The Unraveling tab. Look for Part II soon!
Other projects that you’ll hear about:
- An Ellen picture book that’s in the works
- Christmas cards
Thanks for reading!
Here is the latest finished piece in the Ellen series – Ellen and the Mountain. I’ve also uploaded Ellen and the Swan. This is turning into a story in which Ellen finds her way home.
This painting has been brutal. It’s 48″ wide and 24″ tall (and what you see is only about 12″ of it) and I keep finding things wrong with it. I thought it was done yesterday, but it just wasn’t working so I’m reworking some clouds and the balloon and the canyon. It has to be done by Saturday.
Meanwhile, Ellen is checking out the birds below her.
Well, this is a swan that I started to paint today. He’s being chased (or followed, I suppose), though you can’t see by what or whom. Soon, though, soon. I’m painting so much lately because I’m going to be headed to an art fair in Kansas City in April. Which means I’ll need some paintings to sell. Which means I better paint.