Category Archives: Picture Book

Current Picture Book Project


Current Picture Book Project.

Here’s a couple things for a picture book commission I’m working on.


I believe in putting yourself out there every day


I decided to write and illustrate a book for myself, even though I am busy with illustration work I am doing for other authors. I’ve been working on this book for a long time. I made the decision to sign-up for a professional critique from Jodell Sadler in conjunction with the 2014 Fall Conference for the Missouri SCBWI. I am also doing a portfolio critique with Giuseppe Castellano, illustrator and art director at Penguin Books. Both these critiques make me push myself and get things done. I love pressure.


Here is the cover of my picture book about a self-centered, obsessive-compulsive cat written in the first person. The cat gives her story and the illustrations tell a far different reality. I have been writing this book for quite a while, I put together a rough dummy to go with in the story in the last two months in between other jobs. Actually the illustrations came first, but they were all in my mind. When my critique group couldn’t figure out why the cat way saying one thing and I was talking about something altogether different, I had to do the rough illustrations and make a dummy.

Book I illustrated is finally printed!



Printed samples have just come in for a book I illustrated last year for a self published author, Leila L. Leidtke. I posted several early versions of the cover and illustrations on this blog as I was working through the creative process (see  8/2/2013, 8/7/2013 and 10/17/2013 ). This book took about 9 months to finish and another 6 months before it was printed. It’s a good feeling to be finally have closure on this project. The author and I are very pleased with the finished product. Currently, books can be ordered directly from Friesen Press, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  There is also an ebook version available, I haven’t seen it yet.

Need help with rewording my illustrating contract.


Once again it’s going to take me over 8 months to finish illustrating a self-published children’s picture book for an author. The author seemed willing to work quickly and we get along wonderfully. I thought I could finish her cute book about a “round” little girl who wants to be a ballerina in the school play in 5 or 6 months. Olivia in Round

I know the issue  is  my current contract, as Kim Wilson pointed out earlier on this blog. My contract doesn’t limit changes for each page or limit the amount of time an author has to approve a drawing.  Kim said she asks for 4 days turnaround. Unfortunately this contract was signed before I got the advice to change that part. I state that no changes can be made once I start the color on the illustrations, so they change them over and over in the rough and finished line stage. I have changed the faces on the characters in this book as many as four times on a several of the pages and I am still reworking on the line art on most pages. I think I need to stop being so accommodating. Things are not getting better!

I worked as a graphic designer and art director for most of my life so I’m used to being paid for a job based on hours worked, not a flat fee. I feel when people are paying per hour, they don’t make as many changes because it is costing them money. I didn’t mind making changes when I was paid by the hour, because I was being paid to make them. When you offer a service like illustrating a book for a flat fee, people want to get their money’s worth, so they change things. How do you word your contract to limit the amount of time for approval and how many changes do you allow on each illustration at each stage? I need help, I have another book contract signing coming up soon and want to write a better contract. I love what I’m doing, but need to be more efficient.

My first step to illustrate a children’s book


The character studies are my favorite part of illustrating a children’s book. I feel it is also the most important part. If you can’t get the character right and don’t feel comfortable drawing them the rest of the book just won’t work. I am working with a self publishing author, so the author is giving me a lot of direction. These are characters she has had in her head for years. It’s very exciting for her to finally see this little ’round’ African American  girl come to life visually. Visit my blog to read more and see some of the rough character sketches so far.

Starting ballerina book illustrations


This week I started the chubby ballerina book I mentioned before. It is good to start fresh, with a new story and a new author. The pigs were fun, but I’m so over pigs now. This is a very cute story about a very sweet little girl who just happens to be ’round.’ I’m fresh from my SCBWI MO Fall conference critique with Dan Santat, so I’m full of ideas. I always want to improve with each new book I start.

I’m hoping this book doesn’t take as much time as the last book. This time, I must be more in control of the time schedule. When a self-publishing author takes weeks to get back to you with each decision, an illustration job can stretch into too many months. I can’t afford to do that again.


See my blog for more details about the cute story:

I’m finally finishing up the PIG picture book


I’ve been working on the book “Don’t be a pig in a Panic!” written by Leila Leidtke for over 7 months. It’s been fun, but I’m glad it’s almost finished. I now need to carefully look over each page to make sure all the colors match and the pig’s features are the same on all spreads. I also will be designing the book, so the next stage is putting in all the text and setting up the pages and cover in Adobe InDesign.

Read more and see more spreads on my blog.

Don't be a Pig in a Panic