Monday, November 21, 2011

Behind the Scenes : Write and Illustrate a Children's Picture Book

My kids, Kyle and Carly, recent graduates of Savannah College of Art and Design, have just published their first book together. It's a children's picture book about a Chinese hamster they owned when they were roomies in college.
Since I'm the mom I've been privy to each step along the way. It's been entertaining for me, seeing it come to fruition, so I thought I'd share.
Continue reading below the break for the step by step.

Carly started the book in her children's book illustration class her senior year. I remember when she emailed the thumbnails to me so we could talk about them. I was on a trip delivering art work somewhere or another, at a hotel in the middle of nowhere and we spent most of the evening on the phone talking composition and design.

This was a very regular occurrence with her away in art school at SCAD. Turns out, we love to brainstorm together and she is my best critic. My paintings are never done until Carly gives the approval, she has a great eye.
Kyle holding the real Sunshine, enjoying her favorite snack, a walnut.
But first came the original script, which her brother Kyle dictated over the phone. He graduated in 2008 with a BFA in professional writing.


Then thumbnails.

Next came a more fully developed drawing, where details and composition are worked out. Here is a progression for a two page spread.
You can see she experimented with media. At this point she was not sure of her style. For the class assignment she did watercolor but then over the course of her senior year she fell in love with vector illustrations. She found her voice.
Here's another series of two page spreads as they progressed from sketch to final form. The book was originally designed as an 8x10 inch book but changed to 8 1/2 x 81/2 in it's eventual form.

Since we are a family of artists, writers and illustrators we have started a family publishing company, Matter Deep Publishing.
Independent publishing is easier than ever now. It has been a lot of work getting the whole thing going and learning about the details of print on demand and eBook publishing.

We are publishing through Createspace, which makes the books available through Amazon. The next step we are working on is getting them published on iPad and Kindle Fire. 

Marketing is the biggest challenge for independent publishers. Carly and my daughter-in-law Amy are working on that and Sunshine has already had three reviews. They are doing a giveaway contest in which three plushies that Carly made will be given away, along with adorable tote-bags and the book. (giveaway ends Nov. 23, 2011)
In addition to that there is a page on the company's website where one can download free coloring book pages of illustrations from Sunshine's Night Out. I thought that was a great thinking outside-the-box idea.

So here's a bunch of links for you. Carly's blog, where you can find all the info about the reviews, the giveaway and the plushies.

You can buy Sunshine's Night Out at Amazon or at Createspace.

This is a video where you can preview the entire book set to music, video made by Amy.

In addition to Sunshine, Matter Deep Publishing has also published a young adult novel, Olympia Height's by Amy Strickland, and multiple digital short stories by Kyle.

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