A New Year and new picture book beginnings for me.

Usually when the holidays and New Year come around, I am deeply involved in illustrating a picture book for someone else, because that’s what I do for my living. This year I finished one book in the late fall Fall, then the book I that was scheduled for the early winter into Spring was canceled. I was not totally disappointed, I always need a few days or so between books to clean up my studio and rest my mind so I can give a new project my full attention.

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This extra free time this year gives me an opportunity to work on some of my own story ideas. I have about four or five drafts of picture books and chapter books I have been working on in-between illustrating books for other authors. I now need to work hard on perfecting these drafts to get them to the point where they are ready for submission to agents and editors. My SCBWI critique group has seen most of these drafts. They have helped me to see where there are weaknesses in the story and character development. I strongly suggest everyone join a critique group of knowledgable writers.

Pen_sketchesBMost children’s book authors start their books very differently than I do.

Because I am an illustrator, I always start with a story idea, then do all the rough illustrations in dummy form. I only add the words when I am satisfied with the flow of the pictures. This is the exact opposite from the way most children’s book authors work. It’s not a perfect way to work so I don’t suggest it to everyone. I need the pictures to think the story through, but when I later add words there isn’t always a smooth flow.

Because I have carefully thought through the visuals in my mind, I know so much more back story than I can possibly show or write about in a 32-page picture book. I’m trying to work through this dilemma and get these stories in shape.

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Every year I participate in Picture Book Idea Month also called PiBoIdMo. I sign-up on Tara Lazar’s website to dream up 30 new ideas for picture books. I been participating for four years now, so I have lots of ideas. This year the challenge is called StoryStorm, Tara Lazar is the organizer. It’s starting right now. I think everyone should sign-up. Hurry the decline is soon.

 

Book Launch Party Has Started!

Hey, today is the start day of our #SCBWIparty launch for the children’s picture book “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” Here is the link for our Book Launch Site.

You can get a free signed bookmark and download coloring pages, games and activities. We would love to have you drop by to visit. http://bit.ly/1NjSOnE Don’t forget to sign our guest book and leave your email address, we will send you a bookmark.

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Below is an image of Donna Warwick’s Author web page where you can find “There’s a Mouse on My Head!”coloring pages, games and activities.

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We love grandmothers as imaginative caregivers.

When Donna Warwick was writing “There’s a Mouse on My Head!, she made the caregiver of the little boy and his sister the Grandmother. Why not a mother or a father?

This is what we learned from our research: 

28-MOYH_page28RGB“Six out of 10 grandparents served as caregivers to their grandchildren over a 10-year period (1998-2008), and of that group, 70% offered care for two years or more, according to a 2012 study from the University of Chicago. The study echoed the 2010 U.S. Census, which found that 2.7 million grandparents are primary caregivers that meet most of a child’s needs, compared with 2.4 million in 2006. . .

“In many families with young and school-age children, both parents need to work to meet family needs and, as such, require child care arrangements,” she said. “Infant and child care is costly, budgets are stressed to the max and many families simply cannot afford to pay for child care.” ” Nurse.com

It seems more and more grandmothers are taking a major role in raising children.We make no judgement on these facts, We think it is wonderful grandmothers have the time to spend with their grandchildren. We felt this special role should be celebrated. So the book, “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” shows a Grandmother as a fun care giver. She has the time and patience to play a silly game of imagination before bed.

Donna and I have good memories of our grandmothers. We hope that kids today remember their grandmother as fun caregivers. #grandmarules, #grandma, #PictureBooks.

You can order Donna Warwick (author) and Dayne Sislen’s (illustrator) book, “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” from Amazon, B&N.com and it can be special ordered from your local independent book store.

“There’s a Mouse On my Head! is officially on sale today!

delivery of books

My puppy Ghillis is “helping.”

Today is P-Day or publishing day for us. Our book, There’s a Mouse on My Head! is finally able to ship. Amazon listed it earlier, but held up shipping until today. My front hall is filled with books for Donna Warwick and me to sign. My puppy Ghillis “helped” with the unwrapping.

Right now the only way to get a signed book is directly from one of us. Hard cover books are $14.99, Soft Cover books are $9.99.

MOYH 3d_BookCoverWe did a lot of running around like crazy people at the last minute. I have to admit the website site is not quite up. The author Donna Warwick has a few more things to write and finalize. I have posted activities pages and coloring sheets for parents and teachers to download for their kids. We will be setting up school visits and library visits for this Fall and Spring. Hopefully the website will be up and running by Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Contact us directly: DonnaWarwickAuthor(at)gmail.com or Dayne.Design(at)gmail.com 

 Here is the website link, be sure to wait until August 19th to visit:  www.DonnaWarwickAuthor.com

The Amazon listing for our book & the B&N.com listing. “There’s a Mouse on My Head” is also available by special order from your local independent store book.

More illustrations for “Don’t be a PIG in a PANIC”

I’m moving along with some of the digital color now on these fun illustrations. Below is the pencil for the cover and the almost finished color. You can see my rough pencil in the background of the color version.  In the second illustration, I still need to work on the stripes on the pig’s shirt, they don’t look right to me. I have created the heading in Adobe Illustrator so I can get the letters of the word PIG exactly right and the curve of the other words. I’ve put them together in this last version.  Now I just need to clean up the jungle foliage and I will be done with the cover. This fun book was written by Leila Leidtke. Click here see my online portfolio.

Pencil rough for cover

Pencil rough for cover


Cover "Don't be a PIG in a Panic"

Almost finished

Almost finished