What's Next for Walt?


Do you think this story ends when Walt finds his forever home? Well think again!


Walt has many adventures ahead of him. He is about to find out that waiting for him in his new home is an adoring pint-sized pest named Pim. The manuscript for ' Walt and the Little Sister '  is almost finished!  After the manuscript is squared away it will be time to start the illustrations. As a sneak preview just for you, here is the first picture of Pim:


Pim wants a big brother more than anything in the world - but Walt is not so sure about having a little sister tagging along with him everywhere. Things are about to get very interesting...


I'll update you on the progress and let you see inside the world of writing and illustrating a children's book!

3/5 - You can get an idea of the illustration process according to me. (I'm a rookie - can you tell?)

A hand sketch of the idea is first. Then scanning into my computer. Then Tracing in Adobe Illustrator and finally coloring. Things like sentence placement, page size, artwork size and impact all have to be considered. That's why it's best to finish a manuscript and decide how the sentences will flow from page to page.. Today I think I finished the manuscript - but ultimately I will listen to any advice my editor has for improvements. This will be the third major editing the story has been through. It is not a process for the impatient!

I don't know if this image will actually be used in the book, but you can get an idea of the dynamic between Walt and his adoring little sister.


3/6 - Heard back from my Editor, Cynthea! next editing, Friday the 11th at 11:30 am. Cross your fingers that all that will be left may be a little fine - tuning!


6/28 - I cannot believe I took this long to finish the manuscript! The last editing session was brutal - lasted a couple of hours...

BUT - it's DONE and the results blow me away! Contacted my editor to schedule an editing session. I might be over confident but I predict she's going to be very pleased!


7/1/16 - FINALLY! The first two sketches for Walt and the Little Sister are done! I specify 'sketches' because this convoluted process involves scanning those original sketches on the downstairs printer,  tossing them up onto my office computer upstairs and saving them, opening them on Adobe Illustrator and then beginning the lengthy process of tracing, coloring, formatting and perfecting with my ultra - cool Wacom Tablet. But I am thrilled with the pics - a very good thing since it has been months since I attempted any artwork for the series. One in particular close-up of Pim's head has me over the moon! Learning the physiology of a new character and becoming comfortable with drawing them is something that takes time - so Pim will be a challenge. I e mailed my sister for numerous photo angles of the 'real' Pym several times today to get 'Pim' just right. My goal is to up my game on my illustrations and not only consider myself competitive in the illustration market, but original and exceptional as well!


7/19/16 - The editing went very well! Only a few minor adjustments to tighten up the structure and really bring that last chapter home. I am so excited to start researching the print process. Not having a publisher and wanting to draw my own illustrations, I'll publish the book myself. AND I've already made the small adjustments my editor suggested (well, most of them) and sent the manuscript back for our final (surely it will be the final!) editing! I really believe this book has a very important message for children with siblings. I want them to enjoy the read, laugh, have fun and love Pim - but I don't want to sound preachy in the process. Cynthea (my editor) is so good at helping me achieve those objectives. Here's a little something I've been playing with on Adobe illustrator. I still need a lot more practice sketching Pim. She's new to me and drawing her does not come as naturally as pics of Walt. But I feel like I already know her.


7/22/2016 - just got off the phone with my Editor and the manuscript for 'Walt and the Little Sister' is FINISHED! I need to get crackin' on the many illustrations that will fill every page of the book. Those of you who have read 'The Street Dog' know that I cram these books full of color pics. I always picture one of my books being read to a youngster and I remember when I was too young to read words myself, Illustrations told the story for me!

For those of you who don't know, this is a sketch (not mine) of the real-life Pym. Yes, she is a live character (and I mean CHARACTER) whose Mama is my sister, Jean. Pym shares the brash and confident yet sweet personality of her book character, Pim. She is a tiny Yorkshire Terrier that Jean adopted from a flea market.


I cannot wait to introduce her to the world. My editor was smitten with her and I know that readers old and young alike will be as well. Stay tuned or progress on my illustrations!


8/1/2016 - Today I am storyboarding. I don't know if this is the way seasoned authors do it, but this step helps me take my perfected manuscript and plot out the positioning of the sentences on each page. The story must flow and the sentences on each page have rhythm or beats. This encourages the child to want to turn that page and find out what happens next. The positioning of the illustration, size and content will be largely decided at this stage. A sage once told me "When you storyboard, you are no longer the author. You are the Interior Designer" I loved that.


Here's a picture of storyboarding 'The Street Dog'. Can't show you the process for 'Walt and the Little Sister'....no sneak peeks!

9/7/2016 - Working on illustrations. I just finished what turns out to be my fave so far. When I picked it up later and looked at it, Ca$h Money Carpenter practically jumped off the page at me! My style is getting tighter and more sophisticated while still sticking to that child-like appeal the illustrations in 'The Street Dog' had. Must. Resist. Posting. A. Sneak. Peek.


Alright - I am weak and undisciplined. This is part of the illustration I love best. Walt is cheesed at Pim. She got him kicked out of his fave pet store. On the ride home he will not even look at her he is so angry. I only had to search my mental photo album to find this pic in it. It looks just like Ca$h riding in the passenger seat of the car coming back from the park. Drawn with almost no corrections because I know his expressions and build so well.

Just WAIT until you see the finished illustration!

12/12/16 - I cannot believe it is December and my procrastination and lack of organization has caused me to miss getting Little Sister out for the season. My hard drive crashed on my main computer (read BRAIN) hard drive crashed and I am relegated to a limited laptop. Now the good news behind THAT is that I've been sketching a lot lately and have 20 sketched, a front and back cover designed. The bad news is that I don't think I can get a sample loaded to my laptop to 'show off'. I'll figure it out. Fun times. Bleh. 

On a continued upbeat note, Geek Squad's warehouse contacted me and they are shipping my computer back to the store for my pick up! Should be quite the rodeo.

1/16/2017 - JUST got my computer back 2 days ago. That's right. 2 months and no computer. Well today I sat down and traced a sketch, tossed it up on Photoshop extended version and colored it. OMG. I have no words. Well, yes I do. I LOVE the first finished illustration! It's nose to the grindstone now - no stopping this train!   P.S. this is a rough draft - the finished pic is very polished and revised..... ;)

3/9/17 - Over 20 pictures completed! And when i say completed i mean finessed, colored, shaded and text placed for reference! The opening spread for pages one and two is awesome - but then I drew it so of course i believe it's the greatest. Working on the front cover today. As i predicted, I scrapped the first rendition. You get a special look at it since you're here and it's not :) I thought it had too much lettering And not enough action. But i have a second attempt on the boards now - 

Happy Creating!

3/27/17 - The official count is 22 illustrations completed. Additionally the front and back cover are layed out. I like the back cover but as is my habit i  have a better idea for the third cover rendition. More action! Just completed a 2 page spread of a HUGE pack of Walt's friends at the Bark Park - I want to show it to you so badly! It took days to complete and has around 12 dogs in it. Each dog involved a separate layer and it was quite involved. And worth every second i spent on it. Onward and upward!


7/7/17 - Could it be? We almost have a finished book! Note: some those blank pages are supposed to be blank...


8/31/17 - Ever hear of writer's block? I seem to have had Illustrators Block for the last month! But we're cookin' now. 3 more 2 page spreads and then PUBLISHING! And 2 of those spreads only need to be filled with color. Stepping away from art was a great idea although I felt bad for it. The illustrations I just came up with are AWESOME and were worth waiting for!