My “Writing Process” Blog

My friend and mentor, Mark Mitchell recently tagged me to take part in the Writing Process Blog Tour. I considered myself to be an apprenticing author/illustrator. My dream has been to create illustrations and stories that children would find entertaining.

While working on my skills as an artist I also have been busy developing story ideas. One story idea “Undead Ted” stood out as a fun project that I could create as my own digital picture book. The story was written in the spring of 2013 with the art for the story created this past summer.
Undead Ted” went through a series of rewrites. The original scribbles had a word count of greater than 650 words. After at least eight edits the final story was less than 500 words.

It was a true pleasure to create the picture book called “Undead Ted”. I learned a lot about creating a story that was both funny but a little scary. This past September I self-published “Undead Ted” to the Kindle store.

Creating “Undead Ted” has not lead to instant success in the Kindle Store but it has given me some new insights into the business and also resulted in other opportunities for success like the webinar that Mark Mitchell and I currently offer called “Building E-Z Picture Books for Kindle”.

1.) What are you working on?

Currently I am in the process of working on a new story idea that would translate well to either a graphic novel format or a middle grade chapter book. Also, I have been working on producing “Undead Ted” as a story APP that would be offered in the iTunes store.

2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I try to infuse my humor into each story idea mixed with a little suspense.

3.) Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always liked to read stories filled with adventure and rich characters. If the story doesn’t grab me within the first couple of chapters I usually lose interest. I create stories full of friendship and caring but I like to mix in a little peril. These days most kids so busy with sports and other activities they don’t have the time to just to be kids. I want to write stories that would make them want to take a break and read a book.

4.) How does my writing (or writing with pictures) process work?

The story always comes first then the illustrations although lately I have been experimenting with sketching some of the characters first so I can start to know those characters as I am beginning the writing process. I’ll draw the characters interacting in an interesting scene. This sets my imagination free and can lead to a new story direction.
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Weekend Fun

Wow! Such a good weekend. I was able to attend the Emerald City Comicon held in Seattle. Having only been able to secure a “Friday” show pass I wanted to make the most of it. I met so many great artists.
Here are some of the folks I admire and got to meet:
Chris Oatley – Oatley Academy
Jake Parker – School of Visual Storytelling
Steven Silver – Silver Academy
Jason Brubaker – ReMind and Sithrah Graphic Novels
Mark McDonnell – Cre8tive Marks University
Dave Kellett – Director of the new documentary “Stripped”
Next year it will be a three day pass so that I can spend more time talking to fellow artists and taking all the sights, sounds, and smells of the Con in.
It was very crowded as you can see!!
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Today starts a month long exhibit of my watercolor work at the Library in Colfax, WA. I’m so grateful to have to opportunity to be included in their exhibit cycle.
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Meet Grumpy Puppy

I came up with this idea a few weeks ago and between work and other chores I was able to come up with a story and character set. Grumpy Puppy is well….grumpy. Fun and sarcastic!! I’ve always wanted to do a comic strip. Inspired by other artists and the new movie that is coming out called “Stripped” I drew up these panels. Hopefully Grumpy Puppy with continue to live on.

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Tractor Series

Continuing on with the tractor series. It is nice to do something different and it seems to push my skills in a different way. Response to the tractor paintings has been favorable. This next week my art will be on display at the Whitman County Library in Colfax.

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Something different!

Sometimes a person needs to break out of their box and change things up. So rather than working on my latest APP idea or comic or piece of fine art I instead painted a fun tractor. Why a tractor….because it was interesting. We have lots of tractors in this part of the country. This piece was done using Fabrino 140lb paper (I really like this brand), ink, and watercolor. Maybe someone will like this painting or maybe not but it was a fun project.
Tractor

My Favorite Character

Here is a new work of my one of favorite characters based on our beloved cat Jack. Sketched in pencil and then scanned. Colored in Photoshop.

I’ve really come to grips with what I want out of my art. I love to create. Earning money is nice and over the last year I earned a little from art but I’m most proud of the finished projects. More projects to come this year. I know… a little late into 2014 for a declaration of goals but hey better late then never.

This year I’m going to really focus on my drawing. If I can’t draw engaging characters and scenes then all the technical skills learned this last year are for not.

Many thanks to my awesome mentors and instructors such as Chris Oatley, Will Terry, Stan Miller, Steven Silver, and Jake Parker!

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Learn to Paint a Woodland Scene

I put together a watercolor tutorial yesterday for those who want to learn how I created a sunset woodland scene.

Gary’s Place: A New App from Will Terry

Will Terry's latest story App called "Gary's Place".

Will Terry’s latest story App called “Gary’s Place”.

I’ve been following Will Terry’s blog for the last year or so. Will unselfishly delivers helpful advice and updates for professionals as well as aspiring Children’s Picture Book artists.

Will had already published several eBooks and an App. Using a new software plugin for Photoshop called Kwik (Which I also have…awesome!) Will has just released his latest App called “Gary’s Place“. I downloaded it from the App Store and here is my short review.

The first thing I noticed about “Gary’s Place” is the great artwork. Will Terry has a certain style that makes him stand out from the picture book crowd as an artist. I love his paintings. Great lighting, lots of detail, strong composition and pleasing colors. As an artist myself I notice these things. Overall….to most people “Gary’s Place” looks very pleasing to the eye.
The story, written by Rick Walton is a cute, well crafted story. A good story coupled with Will’s illustrations results in a App storybook that is easy to look at and fun to read. Gary’s Place loaded quickly on my new iPad Air and worked smoothly. As an App would-be- designer myself this is a very important feature. There are lots of not so well done…bloated Apps out there but Gary’s Place is not one of those Apps. The story seems paced well (Rick Walton is already a proven author in the Children’s Picture Book genre) and the well done illustrations and simple animations help enhance the story. One thing I noticed was how each illustration had enough detail in it to make me believe I was say, looking at a bedroom.
Overall I feel that Gary’s Place hits all the check boxes for its intended target audience. I liked the App as a grown adult male so I’m sure kids will love this story. Check it out in the Apple App Store here.
I better get to work on my own story App. I’m looking forward to Will Terry’s next App project!

Build Your Own EZ Children’s Picture Book for the Kindle!

Last night I presented the last of a three night webinar based course called “Building EZ Picture Books for the Kindle”. I had a lot of fun putting this class together and I couldn’t have pulled it off if it wasn’t for my friend Mark Mitchell of “Marks and Splashes” a course for aspiring Children’s Book artists.

Our “Building EZ Picture Books for the Kindle” class offered the student detailed instruction on how to assemble and publish their own PB to the Kindle Store using a “fixed layout” structure based on HTML. A working template that the students could use was also included with the course. Even though the live sessions are over the video course and all the downloadable goodies is still available by following this link.
I really enjoy teaching!
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My New Video Driven Course: Building EZ Picture Books for the Kindle

I’ve been hard a work developing the materials for my new online course. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to build a quality Children’s Picture Book for the Kindle.

My goal with the course is to make the process of building a Picture Book for the Kindle EZ for anyone. You don’t have to know how to write HTML in order to build a book. Check out my introductory video below!

You can sign up for the course here.