Saturday, September 15, 2012

The project: Illustrating my first children's book

In February of 2012, I submitted my own manuscript and illustrations to Bronze Man Books.  It was my first illustrated manuscript and my first submission to a publishing house.  Two weeks later, Bronze Man Books asked if I might be interested in submitting sample illustrations for Marcy Blesy's manuscript, Am I Like My Daddy?, scheduled for publication by Bronze Man Books in Decatur, Illinois in December 2012.  At the end of March, Bronze Man books extended a contract to me, and I began a whirlwind 45 days in which I completed eighteen 8x10" color illustrations for the book.  Having wanted to illustrate children's books since I was a child, it was an offer I could not refuse!

Marcy's poignant story follows Grace, a girl whose father passed away a couple years before.  Through conversations with family members and journaling, Grace begins to piece together who her father was and the ways in which she is similar to him.  The story was very personal for Marcy, who also lost her father when she was younger; she details more about the story on her blog:  
and on her Pinterest Board:

My process of illustration for Am I Like My Daddy? began with conceptual drawings and photographing models for Grace and her mother. 
I hand-drew the illustrations with pencil and subsequently inked them with Pigma Micron pens. 
Each intersection between lines is contoured to resemble leading between stained glass panels. I then scanned and completed the illustrations in Photoshop.
After photographing the windows of Grace Episcopal Church in Anderson, South Carolina, I used the computer to "paint" the colors and textures from the stained glass into each "pane" within my drawing. 

The backgrounds of the illustrations are watercolors that I created with my children.  The one below on the right was painted by my two year old daughter.

Illustrations of Grace's "constructed memories" were then printed onto canvas, treated with watercolor crayons, sewn with a sewing machine, and re-scanned into the computer. 

In depicting Grace's personal and hopeful journey of discovery, I explored the support system of grief, in which parent and child support each other. Physical artifacts from her father surround Grace, and I used Grace's journaling to comprise the form of her father as she learns about him through loved ones' memories.

Interested in more information about the book?  Visit:
The following information is reprinted courtesy of Bronze Man Books:
Am I Like My Daddy? - $12
by Marcy Blesy
illustrated by Amy Kuhl Cox
ISBN 978-0-9819591-3-9 • 40 pages (6" X 8”) paperback © 2012
publication forthcoming
 in December 2012
Am I Like My Daddy? is an important book in the children's grief genre. Many books in this genre deal with the time immediately after a loved one dies. This book focuses on years after the death, when a maturing child is reprocessing his or her grief. New questions arise in the child's need to fill in those memory gaps.
Grace is a little girl who wonders if she is anything like her daddy. She uses the process of journaling to discover more about her deceased father.
The 40-page book is available for $12 plus $2.50 postage. This is a pre-publication order, with your book being shipped asap.
(Contact for special orders or quantity discounts.)

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Peace Montessori

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