Sunday, January 17, 2010

Better in 2010

I'm really excited about children's book I am currently illustrating for Sylvan Dell Publishing, and written by Sherry North. It's called "Champ's Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too!"

When the folks at Sylvan Dell offered me the project, I skimmed the manuscript and admittedly I was a little disheartened. Having lost both my parents to cancer at a young age, I was not so sure I wanted this theme to creep back into my life in the form of a story about a little boy whose pet gets sick and has to endure chemotherapy treatments. I really had to think about it and pray about it and search my heart about whether this book was a good match for me. For those who don't know, children's books generally take anywhere from 6 months to a year to illustrate. They are all-consuming, at least for me, because I pour my heart and my passion into them. After sitting with my thoughts awhile, it began to become clear to me that the book was Divinely offered to me for a reason. I have great empathy for anyone going through such a difficult illness, whether they themselves or a loved one. I also sweetly love my dog, Sunshine, and could easily imagine how I would feel if I had to watch her endure treatments for cancer. It is my life experience, I believe, that is guiding me as lovingly I create each illustration for this book. I hope that the end result will touch many lives and help many children understand cancer and deal with their own treatments for the disease.

Here is a dramatic scene from the book Champ's Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too!".

Sylvan Dell Publishing has been wonderful to work for. They have given me quite a bit of creative freedom in how I have chosen to illustrate the book. It has been fun mixing media - watercolor, gouache, oil pastel, pastel pencil, and touches of colored pencil - to achieve the look I want. I like how I've been able to bring a softness to the illustrations through the mix of media. It's like getting paid to try something new with my art!

In other news, if your New Year's resolution for 2010 is to a better illustrator, please read my latest column in the SCBWI-IL's e-newsletter The Prairie Wind, appropriately titled "Your New Year’s Resolution: Become a Better Illustrator". I lay out a few tips, accompanied by examples from my latest children's book "Little Black Ant on Park Street", written by Janet Halfmann and published by Soundprints Publishing.

13 comments:

  1. I am very excited about your book too Kate. I've lost some people very close to me from cancer and this book will touch many lives, including helping children deal with such a pervasive disease. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is really great to see such passion ... and compassion. :)

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  2. I love the mixed media effect! Your colors seems so vibrant and rich. The expressions on the faces wonderful! I love how sometimes we are given gifts that at first we think might be hard, but turn out to be blessings.

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  3. I think you'll make a wonderful job of this book Kate, I can see the sesitive way you paint is perfect for such a subject. :)

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  4. I love your color pallet for this book! It is so warm and inviting. This painting is wonderful, Kate!

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  5. Wow this will be a powerful book Kate. A few months ago we lost my mother-in-law to cancer. My wife is still struggling with accepting it. I'm sure this was a tough assignment for you, but I know that your experience combined with your fantastic talent will be a tool for God to touch lives. Thanks for your courage and compassion. The illustrations look wonderful! I'm going to check out your article on being a better illustrator in 2010. Your advise has helped me so much already.

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  6. It seems like you are working really fast on this one? Is it just me? The illustrations are beautiful, and what a touching subject. There aren't many books out there like this, that's an honor to be a part of.

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  7. Oh Kate... this book is going to be so lovely! The illustrations are breathtaking. Congratulations on such a beautiful job!

    Dealing with cancer is one of the toughest things in life. For the one with it and everyone around them. This help is going to help many kids all over. What a blessing that is! xo

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  8. Having lost a loved one to cancer and having a little grandson who has survived and is thriving I have seen both sides of this disease.

    Your gift will make this a beautiful book and I am certain the story will match your fantastic illustrations.
    This painting and the cover art are truly beautiful.

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  9. Lovely work! My first dog died a horrible death from cancer. I am interested in seeing more children's books that deal with hardships; it's like the media often forgets that children experience grief too. I look forward to reading it!

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  10. This will be a very touching book! I love your illustrations from what I've "peeked" at already! :)

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  11. You should be excited! Congratulations!!! :) I'm excited for you!!! I have lost my grandfather to cancer and now another family member has come down with it. Cancer is an aweful thing!!! I'm glad that your making this book and educating children on it.
    *HUGS*

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  12. Thanks everyone. I promise this book has a happy ending!!!

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  13. I am glad your taking on this project Kate.

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