Cover and a few illustrations from the dummy I’m including for NYC


Hey all,

So the last two weeks have been insane as I’ve been prepping for the Winter Conference.  I’ve put together a board book dummy that i just wrapped up other than a few copy changes.  I took some risks such as including the helmet on the kid even though the helmet has nothing to do with the story.  (although that is addressed in the dedication).  I’ll own those risks and hope for the best.  Anyways I just wanted to share some of the illustrations!






5 responses »

  1. Hi, John! I’m loving your vibrant use of color and texture in these paintings… and also wanting to know more about the story. Why is Evan eating everything? 🙂 I’m in! Good luck in NYC!

    • Hi Stephanie, thanks for the kind words! Evan’s one of those babies that has to put everything in reach into his mouth, including yucky stuff like a bug or Uncle Paul’s sandals (Uncle Paul has yellow nasty toenails). It’s a very simple rhyming story that basically allows the kids to flip the pages and (hopefully) giggle and say “eww! he can’t eat that!” and the parents to (hopefully) say “aww” at the end. I know simple rhymes run the risk of being trite so I’m hoping the story doesn’t come off that way. It came from a good place for whatever that’s worth!

  2. Here’s a question. How much of a dummy book should be finished pieces and how much of it should be just sketches? And how close to finished should those sketches be?

    I’ve heard that to have the book too finished looks unprofessional because a professional will wait until they have a buyer before putting the work into a project to finish it. But you have to have at least one spread finished so the potential buyer can get an idea of what the finished project will look like.

    So, where’s that perfect, middle point?

    • Hi Karen,

      That’s a great question, probably best left answered by one of the published illustrators in our group. I seem to recall hearing you want mostly really tight sketches that don’t leave much to the imagination (in a technical sense – meaning they get a very accurate idea of how the finished illustration will look) along with a couple complete illustrations so they understand your intentions for the final look. That said, I fully illustrated this whole dummy. My reasoning was because I put this together as a simple board book or short picture book (24 pages plus cover) and felt that I should really push the illustrations since they dominate how the book works. Also, even though I sketch fine and have done many paintings from sketches, I find my paintings from tight sketches are more rigid (speaking only for myself), I wanted this to look loose and fun and that usually happens when I start with a really simple compositional sketch (basically simple shapes and chicken scratches) and then I figure the bulk of it out at the easel. The process is enjoyable and I think it translates. All that said, I am concerned that they might indeed think my approach is unprofessional. My only hope is that they understand I’m not yet professional so I’m going a bit further in my effort to get their attention. Here’s to hope!


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