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Archive for March, 2009

Hee-e-eere, kitty kitty kitty!

March 24th, 2009

You know that happy feeling when you put on a jacket you haven’t worn in awhile, and then find moula in the pocket? That’s kind of like how I felt when I stumbled upon this cat doodle:

It was the first thing I sketched when my Cintiq first landed, and I was in such a state of frenzy, I hardly remember drawing it! But now that I’ve re-found it, I like the little dude. I think I should name him and fill him out with some colour, hey? A project for my ever-growing to-do list… Name suggestions are welcome :)

John caught me in the frenzy — I do look a little whacked-out… I swear though, the Cintiq is the illustrator’s version of crack:

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The Art of Self-Publication (times three)

March 22nd, 2009

Near the top of my “Things to do before I die” list is the item “Write and illustrate a kids’ book” — a goal that has always seemed a little out-of-reach. I’d heard stories about how hard it is to get into the business or to find a publisher, and recently it seems every celebrity (from Madonna to the Everybody Hates Raymond dude) has a kids’ book out… the market seemed impossible to break into.

But in the last year, I know of three different people who shared a similar goal and followed through to make it come true. Below is description of each project; I asked each author to write a short synopsis about her project, and also about how her book was published.

Messy Face, written and photographed by Elizabeth Caunter

I met Eliz while travelling in Havana, Cuba in March 2008, and I eventually helped her out with some production and photoshopping for her book.

In Elizabeth’s words: Messy Face is a bright and colourful picture book for babies and toddlers. Twenty-four pages of delightful photographs and cheerful text feature one adorable baby trying — and wearing — eight gooey foods, from peas on her nose to cherries in her hair.

The idea came to me as I fed my daughter Lily and made cheery little observations about the mess. Since I’m not an illustrator, and such a simple word concept would be hard to sell to a publisher, I decided to create the book myself, using photographs. Plus, after pushing my novel for years, I was excited at the thought of having an idea then creating the book for Lily right away.

I tried Lulu.com at first, but the final printing (muddy) and binding (flimsy) didn’t suit my project. After cleaning/brightening/rejigging the photos with Emily, I tried CreateSpace.com, and the final product was perfect. Although I prefer some of Lulu’s options, working through CreateSpace comes with an automatic listing on Amazon.com, which can be great if you advertise it well.

A portion of the proceeds from Messy Face goes to Project Cuddle.

A Special Gift For Thomas, written and illustrated by Bridget Dewyze
Bridget, a good friend of my sister Serena, holds a Fine Arts Degree from York University.

In Bridget’s words: I carved a path into business marketing (event planning) and now work in business development for a large law firm. It has given me an opportunity to use some of my creativity, learn many new skills and earn an income. But, nothing could prepare me for the creative explosion that occurred when our daughter, Marijke, was born.

We took a baby sing-along class and our teacher asked us to come up with a story to tell to our babies. One day when our 3-month old was crying in the car, I decided that she might find consolation in hearing me tell a tale. The words just came to me as I rattled on about a kind, green robot who wasn’t sure how to find happiness. Later on, I kept thinking about the story and refining the events. When I told the tale to our baby class, they all liked it and said that I should write it out and illustrate it for our daughter.

I contacted www.booksurge.com to have them assist with the layout and printing of my watercolour vision. I went with this company because they set up an Amazon listing for your finished work. It’s a much harder process than I thought it would be but I now have a completed book that I hope will inspire Marijke and others.

Dinostory, written by Amanda Sage
Fellow frisbee-head Amanda wrote this for her nephew’s birthday.

In Amanda’s words: Dinostory is a children’s book that tells the tale of what really happened to the dinosaurs. I wrote it for my nephew’s sixth birthday after he decided he didn’t like the theory that dinosaurs went extinct during the Ice Age. When I saw how much he loved Dinostory—and how popular it was with everyone I showed it to, no matter their age—I decided it was worth sharing with the world.

My talented sister Louisa illustrated the story, local designer Lee-Ann Hall took care of design and layout, and The Printing House handled the printing. I didn’t use an online company, I handled everything myself. Main reasons were: online companies I looked into had stringent layout criteria, and charged a lot more for my book than I wanted to. This way, I can take hard copies of the book to sell to friends, family, take to stores, etc.

I’ve been promoting the book on my own, learning as I go. Marketing is definitely the most challenging aspect of self-publishing!

So if you (like me) have had thoughts of being published one day but weren’t sure how to go about getting there, I hope you (like me) are encouraged by these three authors that it is indeed do-able.

Oh, and I also recently came across this terrific resource: 6 Ways to Publish Your Own Book

Now… get writing!

good peeps , , , , , , , , ,

Heavens to etsy: krafty lady kreations

March 19th, 2009

Any second now, our friends Andrew and Maryse are going to be new parents. John and I paid them a visit in fair Québec City in late January and brought along a little gift for baby-to-be:

Baby Camo High Top Sneaker Booties Size 0-6 months

That’s right: handknit camo converse booties, made by none other than krafty lady kreations, who manages to create some of the darn cutest footwear I’ve ever seen.

What could be more “awwwww”-inspiring than Firefighter booties?

Baby Firefighter Booties Size 0-6 months

And the Mary Janes come with socks included:

Light Pink Mary Jane Baby Booties Size 6-9 months

To top it all off, k.l.k. is donating 10% of her March sales to Autism Speaks. This lady makes some unbelievably sweet fashions for tiny tootsies, and I’ll be sure to return to her shop for more
baby shower shopping.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to be Auntie Em to a kid with the coolest booties on the block!

etsy.com , , , , , , ,

© 2010 Emily Chen Design & Illustration. All Rights Reserved.