Road Work Ahead Blog Tour

Road Work Ahead is going on a blog tour!

May thanks to all the bloggers for making this happen. We appreciate it! Check out our Facebook Fan Page for news, activities, updates and more.

Buy on Penguin, Amazon, BN, or Your Local Indie Bookstore

My Process: Picture Book Dummies

Final Book, "Toddler dummy", "baby dummy"
Today is the release of Road Work Ahead!

I thought I would share more of my process in illustrating the book. I started to get in the habit of making a mini dummy of my initial sketches, which is quite helpful in seeing how the pacing and page turn works out.

The "baby dummy" is about 3" x 3" in size, and I mock this up for myself before even sending the sketches to the art director. I spend a few days flipping through it and making notes right on the dummy, before revising the sketches. I find it helps so much in making sure there is continuity between each spread.

 So after the first round of sketches to the art director, there were a few adjustments to the pagination of the story. This book has very simple text and the art does alot of heavy lifting, so it was very important my illustrations added a rich layer to the story that the text doesn't necessarily spell out or say.

After reading the notes and making revisions, I make a "toddler dummy," which is around 5" x 5". A bit bigger so I can really see the little details I might want to add, or subtract.

And now the book is out into the world! This book is perfect for little boys who loves cars and trucks and all things construction! (and I'm also hoping little girls will like it too!) 

Road Work Ahead, written by Anastasia Suen, published by Viking, illustrated by yours truly, is out now. Buy on amazon, BN, or your favorite local indie bookstore. :-)

P.S.-Thank you SO MUCH for all the lovely comments on here, Facebook and twitter about my last post. I haven't written one of these from-the-heart posts in a while, and especially with some crazy stuff thats been happening in my personal life, I know I need to stop once in a while and smell the roses. Here's to many more dreams coming true.

Dreams Coming True

Let me get sappy for a moment.

My next picture book, Road Work Ahead, will be coming out this Thursday. I'm celebrating this book in a special way because this book is my first, honest-to-goodness, 32 page hardcover trade picture book. Yes, its got a dust jacket and everything, with my name and bio on the back flap.

I think I've waited 10+ years for this.

As an aspiring illustrator, I would walk through the children's section at Barnes & Nobles, looking through all the books, wishing someday, just one day, I'll have a book with my name on it. The idea of having my name and bio on the back flap was a huge deal to me.

For the past 5 years or so, I've gotten a chance to work on some amazing projects: books, games, puzzles, apps. Time flies and I am still in disbelief of how my body of work has grown with a portfolio I can be proud of. I'm grateful for all the people who gave me a chance- art directors, editors, designers, fellow illustrators, and most of all, my rep. I'm even grateful for the naysayers- yes, they are out there but they only pushed me to work harder to prove them wrong.

I've been getting many emails these days from other illustrators asking me for advice. I'm always really flattered and still in a bit of disbelief that I'm now on the other side, to be considered knowledgeable enough to be giving out insight. After all, I'm just like most artists out there- I still struggle with creativity, have insecurities, and always looking for the next gig.

But I want to say dreams do come true. Work hard. Believe. Is there enough cheesiness in this post?

Ok, let me get off my soap box. I'll be back on Thursday with more Road Work Ahead updates!

Making of: A Picture Book Cover

My latest picture book, Road Work Ahead, is coming out in less than a week (September 15th)! So I thought I would talk a little bit more about my process here. With the cover, I wanted to show as much cool vehicles as I can, which is the stars of the book. I actually only came up with 2 versions of the cover for the publisher to look at and was pleased they picked the one that they did. 

Version 1

Version 2

Color final
I was pretty determined to use those orange work stripes as part of the design of the cover. I'm hoping with the title bar being right in the middle will be eye catching and attention grabbing.

A fun note with the back cover- woohoo, I sneaked in a chicken on there! You'll have to check out the book to see why that makes sense!

For all things Road Work Ahead related, check out the Facebook Fan Page and we'll be having a blog tour!

Sneak Peek: art from Road Work Ahead

The release of my next picture book, Road Work Ahead, written by Anastasia Suen, illustrated by yours truly, is almost here! Its due out on September 15th, published by Viking. Here are some sneak peeks of the interior art.

Men working above
trim bushes and trees.

They put up lights
so you can see.

Men working below
using umbrella and hose.
How do they know
where everything goes?

Check out the Facebook fan page for activities, giveaways, news, and more. Only a month away before the book comes out :-)