children’s books

Burning Out and Rebounding


It’s been nearly a month since my last post, perhaps longer. I am not keeping track. After I attempted to create a deadline for myself to stick to and failed to meet it, the level of inconsistent dedication to my project has been inexcusable. I’ve become something of an unfocused unfulfilling project manager.

I have begun this week again to try and establish a routine that pushes my progress inch by inch further down the path. But while re-starting my engine again, I had come to learn something about my creative side… I was a little burnt out. I shouldn’t make such an excuse, but let’s be honest here- I am on month 17 of my first book, and that is a really long time to work on something.

So I thought I would find some good food for thought to share while trying to shake the cobwebs out of my dusty mind:

Find a routine that is custom made for you: There is such a thing as a positive balance between your life, your job, and your hobby or passion. If you exercise regularly, use this as a simple template to create time for yourself. Do you always do the same workout? Are you always on the same exact circuit? Do you have hard days and light days? The same can be done with your project. Just set some time aside each day or every other day to just sit there with it. Something will happen, and some days better than others, but make it a part of a manageable routine.

Don’t be so hard on yourself: On those bad or slow days, or days where you just don’t get much accomplished… don’t lose sleep over it. Of course that’s easy for me to say, I have lost an hour here or there wondering if I did something right, or could have done something better. I’ve even gone to bed annoyed wondering if it is even worth the time. It’s useless. You have a goal, right? Beating yourself up over it gets you nowhere near that goal. Call a bad day a day and move on. Tomorrow is another opportunity.

Find a way to enjoy your work: In times past, specifically with my drawing… I gauge my ability to draw other things if I find myself helplessly laboring over an image in my mind. Sometimes I like to check out what @sketch_dailes is tweeting, or @dailydoodle, or a number of other great cartoonists. Sometimes I look at the paper or visit for hilarious inspiration and I create something original for myself or for others, just to get a much needed laugh reaction. Sometimes I use my characters. Sometimes I draw other iconic characters. I find a way to have fun with my work, by having fun with my skills. It makes my work enjoyable because it eliminates the feeling of failure. Just take some time out to have fun. Whatever field you are in, find a way to explore a way to share. That sort of interaction is always fulfilling.




Thanks for visiting.


Examining My Failure

93 days ago I declared I would hit my first real deadline of having a finished rough draft- color and all- done. 3 days ago, that deadline landed and I was nowhere near close to that. In fact, I never even got to the coloring phase. It was in other words a failure to meet my goal.
I felt disappointed and anticipated it. About 2 weeks away I realized I was not going to make it. If I was a full time illustrator with no other obligation (or full time job) to take care of, I was not going to get this done in the time. (I even posted a countdown on my twitter feed that kind of fell flat and silent.)
Creatively, I have been keeping a steady pace of work up. I can’t say I have avoided doing the work. I believe I could have done more, but I still believe I put in a good deal of work. Part of the reason for this failure over the last 90 days was my learning curve. I didn’t fall victim to any shortcomings by any stretch. In fact, my skill was improving and this was causing several issues with my rough draft. When I went back to work on some of the early pages, i could see my lines were better. It became clear to me that I could re-draw the book about two notches better than when I first drew my panels.
Looking back, I thought I did a great job with some of my initial sketches. But presently, it would have been a bit embarrassing to try and publish anything like that. Failure to meet my deadline was a good thing in point of view. It means I’ll be producing a better work. Will I create a new deadline? No… But I’ll be quick to update you of each step of progress along the way.
See below some of what I was talking about. I’m not DaVinci, but there is a positive change in quality. Thanks for visiting.






Past the Halfway Point


It’s the halfway point of my deadline and I am almost ready to start working on the background, color, and details of my book. I am about 3-4 panels away from all the preliminary penciling to be complete. There is still plenty to add, but this was the hugest hurdle to jump on the way to creating my first children’s book.

I realize I am jumping ahead of myself a little bit, but I wanted to explore some avenues of distribution that have been roaming around in the back of my mind for a few weeks. It’s the long worn out question of do I publish traditionally or e-book it?

I am not going to assume that I can have my pick. Traditional Publishing is not a given by any stretch. The odds are almost against me, but just slapping my book online for all to download is not a given that it will be read either. In many ways it feels like dropping an unlimited number of messages in bottles hoping they will all make it to shore and be read… Who knows?

So I have taken the approach of doing this. I am going to e-book it while searching for a publisher. The reason for this is I want my story to be in as many hands as possible. I want people and readers to have access to it at a very fair offer, while seeking something more formal (and in an older sense- validating). This personal project and blog will probably eventually become a chronicle of how I attempt to get this book published: Letters, queries, status updates, and responses… all the while- you can read it in its entirety and appreciate it anyway. And you know what… if it never gets published, we’ll there it is.

(Don’t worry; I won’t become some weirdo on a publishing crusade. I will be making more books!)

I’m not sure if this is the wisest approach to go the way of the e-book. I’ve never heard of a publisher who was thrilled about a book already available to the public while trying to take a story into print, but since this is a children’s book I think print has its own kind of particular value that cannot be compromised. In the end, exposure is never a bad thing, right?

If you look through posts dating back now 14 months (holy crap I just realized that), you’ll see a lot of kind of boring, bland, pencil on paper sketches but soon a lot of this will be accompanied by color and background. It’s something I am excited to share. This is something I have been really looking forward to as I see one step of this great little venture coming completion.

Note: It’s been exactly 406 days of blogging and tweeting and I have still had zero negative feedback from a very highly supportive community. Thank you to everyone, and thanks for visiting.

Update: 59 Days Away

It’s been a while since I put up a blog post. I’ve been relatively silent as I put myself on this deadline to have a completed story by April 11th, which is now 58 days away. The pressure from a deadline is kind of fun. I haven’t come to terms with the fact that I absolutely must. It’s not a cop out. I promise you I will be done with this children’s book by then.

My progress to date is that I am about 80% of the way done with every panel, and I’ve already begun to mess around with some of the early panels with color and background. The coloring itself has been a delight as I have Silly’s pajamas down. They are blue, with a patch on the elbow and knee. Sam sports a cute red dress.

There was a portion of my story that required a little bit more drawing than I was used to. I don’t want to give away too much but Silly and Sam find themselves encountering a few characters. I think it came to about 8 in total. Different types, cowgirls, frogs, dragon, knights, etc… I had done so much drawing and learning to draw my characters that each new personality became a mini project itself. Chimpanzee drumline? Gee, where do I begin with that?

Anyways, the whole point of that was I had to stop and start over, over and over again. But the good thing that came of it was a great deal of practice. Different shapes, different faces, and different beings- from real people to anthropomorphic beings was a great page by page experience to pick up.

I’ll try and get back to more posts as I move along, but here are some of Silly and Sam as they emerge from a story they just traveled into and out of (they land back on the library floor).