wise trees book

Picture Book Process

Step 1 thinking map for Wise Trees 
Create lots of bigger sketches
test color  

another map  to create a book dummy

Oh I forgot the first step is to let go and write a story. My best stories happen when I let them. 

In between the painting I tweak the story.

Next I scan the art, enhance color and remove the backgrounds. Finally I create a digital layout of the book and paste everything in. 

Last I choose the font, layout, cover and color. 

Next is the wait. I take a break, then come back with a fresh pair of eyes, grammar and theme. Is the language right for the audience? I analyze the characters and several rounds of editing. I get why other artists say that not every part of the process will be fun. This process is so emotional. 

-there are no impossibilities

books

How do you get better?

Some OG art…gosh I need to paint this. 

People always ask this question, expecting a magical answer. They expect a cookie cutter plan. The truth is simple. Show up. Show up in every sense of the word and PLAY.

Nothing more than writing three books has helped me understand this.  That’s it , nothing fancy or crazy. Just show up with an idea. Most people show up for a few days and then give up.

I have learned to recognize resistance, Lizard Brain. 

The way I see it is you can play. Immerse yourself in your idea and let that emotion pour out on the canvas.

Canvas can be a song, a book, or anything really. Yes, it’s how you say it. Yes, its how you feel. 

Or, and here’s the ugly truth,  you could  edit, overthink, analyze, doubt, fear, put-off, deny, forget, lie, erase…its all the same. 

My best work happens within the very first rounds. I create this idea in my mind, paint and there it is. Ok, maybe there’s a little what am I trying to convey here. 

Problem is for those firsts to be awesome, lots of showing up has to happen.   I get that now. 

-there are no impossibilities

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Art is?

I believe everyone is an artist.

I just hit the submit button,  on my third book. As I read the final words, my mind wandered.

I’ve spent a lot of time on this book. I rewrote it many times Ana was originally supposed to be a bee.

George well he was inspired by Elvis.  He still is 

That all changed.

I’m happy with the final edition. I keep thinking about how much work goes into writing a book. I can’t imagine authors who write chapter books.  How do they do it?

I know more than every, that once you start writing the characters, and the story takes on a life of its own. Its like this force takes over . You have to write. You’re tired and your eyes hurt but you have to finish it. I think I even dreamed about these characters.  

I want to gaze upon a rethogot tree. I want to attend the jolly jam. I want to paint more trees.

I hope my readers feel the same.

-there are no impossibilities

books

make that two e-books

what could be better than publishing two books in a matter of  weeks. I have been working on these books for a long time but these past few weeks I’ve been working like crazy to finish these books. 

I published them days ago. People love the book cover and the idea.  It made me smile…made me laugh…made me happy.

-There are no impossibilities 

wise trees book

Just get it done.

I had a busy week. Got up at 5:30-6:00 am every single day with a plan. I painted, edited, scanned and set up the layout for Ellie. I never realized how much work goes into scanning all the artwork and preparing the files.

I went back and forth publishing and updating Wise Trees. I shared the book with art friends and it felt good to have them excited with  me.

And then the stupid book cover didn’t upload. It just wouldn’t load. Something went wrong with the file. There it is, I had it all done, worked out, finished and the cover wouldn’t upload.

Oh but I finally got it right.  I finished Wise Trees!  I have been working on these books for months, two summers and …..I  am reminded of some words from The Nose Knows podcast.

You get to a point where things get crazy, and you just got to get things done. You have a deadline to meet.  Your adrenaline is full speed. You have to trust your instincts because there’s no time for fear or doubt. 

Two days later I’m done DONE with Ellie.  And done with Ana and George. That’s it DONE. 

I’m  using my old sketches for the artwork.  These sketches are pretty good. 

Scan these sketches  in as images? Redraw some of the messy ones. A full color page and title page? Maybe I should outline each art piece with full color . I do like the sketches in The Giving Tree. But I want to add a little color. I have to meet this deadline.  I’ll have to think about that, but yeah, I think this will work. 

-There are no impossibilities

wise trees book

When you get a BIG IDEA…

GO FOR IT.  I know, I’ve always known when an idea is the right one. The problem is that resistance shows up and it has for a long time…too long. There came a point when I just couldn’t listen anymore. There comes a time in everyone’s life when you can’t accept another come back tomorrow.

Yeah that line was from a frantic mother looking for her stolen child. She has a big idea on where she is and who took her. Yet the world thinks she’s crazy. Does she do what I’ve been dong for far too long. I laugh, because she didn’t. SHE WAS RIGHT. 

Sure, this was a lifetime movie but it’s a true story, about a real family, a real mother who rose above the naysayers. 

So I went from I refuse to throw out another piece of paper to publishing my first ebook. I am  almost done with the second book. I caught myself analyzing detail after detail, There’s going to be no more of that. 

I mean yeah I want to produce the best I can but I can’t go over and OVER the details too long that I forget what I am doing or why. I feel like I keep writing the same ideas and words. Maybe I am ? Maybe I need to keep telling myself this and writing…WHICH IS PROOF I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE.  I must change. I am 

I want to share my ideas about love and curiosity.  I believe my books will do just that. People will be quick to say your book doesn’t matter.  A big publishing company didn’t publish it.  I  say I achieved my goal. It feels great and I have so many more projects to work on. That makes me feel free!

Ellie shows us that togetherness is the best magic. She teaches us what it means to be an artist. Wise Trees teaches the importance of listening to ideas as they ring. 

-There are no  impossibilities

wise trees book

List of Wise Tree Lessons

I worked for an entire year on this project. I feel like its time to reflect and make sure I don’t forget  what I’ve learned. Here goes and off the top of my head:

  1.  Listen to creativity. It will steer you in the right direction So will curiosity and imagination. These guys are your best friends. They got your back.
  2. Idea will show up when you least expect it. That’s why number 1 is number one
  3.  

4. Resistance will show up. It’s the voice that tells you to check your email. It’s the voice that thinks up every excuse on why and how you’ll fail. Listen to it.Resistance shows  just when an an amazing idea pops in your head. 

5.  Paint my trees. Paint my way PERIOD.

6. The right  project lets you play instead of work.And you have to play to reveal the jewels. 

7. You have to get uncomfortable

8. Set your goal and stick to it.

9. I don’t have to have all of the answers

10. OK have some idea otherwise you waste time.

11. Wait do I even have to have a goal? 

12. Just paint

13. LET THE KID PLAY. 

14. All it takes is lousy ideas to stumble on a great one. We’re good. All stocked up here.

15. First Ideas are always the best. Do not ever throw or dismiss these!

16. Problems happen when I  think to much. Did I say problems? I mean frustration. 

17. At the moment lizard brain shows up, well that’s when I know to keep going.

18. What the heck took me so long? I don’t know, can’t, what if…resistance

19. Perfection is resistance.

20. Come at a place of  Love.

21. I love to write and paint about love and curiosity. That’s me. I’m a sensitive soul. I love people. i mean when has that ever steered me wrong. 

22. Never wait around for someone to decide if my work is worthy. That’s my job. 

23. I published my e-book. It’s imperfectly perfect and I’m proud of it.

24. I can and I will. I have!

wise trees book

E-book is here!

bookcoverC

My book is here. Did I just upload the file and hit submit? Yup. Now I wait, until I receive confirmation that everything is ready for printing and press.  Thank you amazon. Thank you wonderful person.

Funny how the tables turned. Yesterday I felt this nudge in my heart. It yelled, I knew you couldn’t do it. I saw all of the books I am working on. All of the deadlines I committed to and the hope and love poured out on every single page.  I knew I could do it.

I took a break. I had some chocolate, tea and painted for my next book. Oh and I asked for help. Today I came home and in minutes finished my book.

Oh shoot now its on to other projects. I’m scared. I’m excited.

-There are no impossibilities

 

wise trees book

Don’t let resistance win

Oh my goodness resistance almost won today but I am still here. I uploaded the files for my book. I was already to do it. Today is the day.  That’s it, no more holding on to this project. The deadline is TO-DAY. I was nauseous, nervous  and scared. That’s when I new I had to do it.

bookcoverB

I had it all planned out. Copy and pasted my awesome book description. The listing was ready to go. I planned on giving the book away for free. It was my holiday gift to the world .I checked spelling and grammar, read the book out loud. Everything felt good. I got this, I told myself. Then I uploaded the file and previewed the e-book…

in that moment resistance showed up. The formatting was all wrong. I kept fixing it, hours went by and I just couldn’t get it right. I came close to desperately whining. OK I did. I have been working on this book for a year. Well, maybe 8 months. I went back and forth with the editing, the images, layout, font and every single detail. I still need to fix it but I needed a break.

It’s weird because I feel like this feels like a PROJECT. I mean launching something is hard. There’s sweat and tears. I certainly felt that today. If things had gone smooth, I would have just stayed in my comfort zone. I need exactly the opposite to succeed. Right? How many times have I published a book. Never. How many books do I need to publish to now what I’m doing? Who knows but I’ll keep working.

 

-There are no impossibilities

 

wise trees book

Artist vs. Painter

watercolor painted tree with a tire swing

 

 

 

Linchpin is a great book. I’ve always wanted something more than a job. I want to change people by thoughts or emotional appeal. Can my art do this? Or am I simply a painter?

Most artists can’t draw. I’m glad for that one because I admit its true. Yes. I get frustrated trying to draw. Today I sat thinking, what should I draw? I haven’t drawn lately. That is one of my goals BUT why haven’t I drawn? I sat looking around the room, searching books but there was nothing I wanted to draw.

WAIT! I  have been drawing like crazy for my newest book Ellie. Yeah Ellie sounds like a great name for a book. Forget about the title How to Grow A Tree. Ellie it is.

I painted for Wise Trees. I started this whole writing adventure with Ana & Gorge. I moved on to other books so I could learn how to draw. I took a drawing class. Did lots of drawing. Wise Trees and Ellie were passion projects designed to help me improve. Yeah, I have been drawing the whole time.

What do these projects mean to me? Why? I have stories begging to be told. I have to create. I can’t breath without art.

These stories and all of my projects are ways for the reader to play in that wonderful place of imagination, curiosity, and love. If I can create from this place then I’d say that’s awesome art.

Now I’ll go adjust the font color and add my  name to Wise Tress before. I’ll edit one last final time before I set up the file and press send. breath…

there are no impossibilities