Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Snowy Valentine: My 1st Children's Book: (part 1)

Over the next 3 weeks I will be posting about the production of my first picture book: Snowy Valentine. November 22nd is when Amazon will ship orders (book stores can stock it, but I'm guessing they won't stock a Valentine's Book until after Christmas). It's surreal and exciting for me to have this book come out. For one, the book's artwork has been finished for almost two years & I haven't been able to share much about it until now. Secondly, I left college thinking that I while I wanted to draw comics, I would be more likely to find work in children's books. It was through the success of Mouse Guard though that led Harper Collins to contact me about the project.

Snowy Valentine started life as the second chapter in a hand drawn book I made for my wife called The Mouse and the Cardinal. The first chapter I drew and wrote about a Mouse (me) and a Cardinal (Julia) who fell in love and were getting married. I gave that chapter to her on our wedding night. I gave her the second chapter as a gift on our first Valentine's Day as husband and wife. Here below is the 7 page story (and cork cover for the book itself)

An editor at Harper Collins contacted me about making it into a longer format children's book. They did say that the mixed species romance should be changed to a single species. They first asked me to change the cardinal to a mouse...but I was a bit "moused-out" with Mouse Guard. Wanting to do something different than Mouse Guard I painted up watercolor samples if both the characters were cardinals. I thought the red bird on the white snow would be graphically striking and it would be fun to use a different media than Mouse Guard

Harper Collins was not in favor of birds as main characters, they wanted something fluffy and furry that a child would want to cuddle with. They suggested chipmunks, voles, and more things too similar to mice for my taste. I came up with rabbits and they agreed it was the perfect choice. This is a test colored sketch of Jasper the male rabbit. I designed him to be more like my Wind in the Willows illustrations that Harper Collins had seen and liked.

Next week: Part 2: Development of the story beyond the original Mouse & Cardinal plot, and the production on the artwork for book.

Snowy Valentine can be ordered through Amazon or your local bookstore.

Upcoming Appearances:
London Super Con: Feb 25-26
Emerald City: March 30-April 1 
Boston Comic Con: April 21-22


Anonymous said...

This looks awesome. Can't wait to get one for the kids.

--Holding a beer in San Diego

Max West said...

Congratulations! To paraphrase Rainbow Dash of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, this makes you 20% cooler!

Yes, having your own comic series looks VERY good on your resume.

Paul said...


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