Monday, September 19, 2011

Road Work Ahead Blog Tour

Road Work Ahead is going on a blog tour!

May thanks to all the bloggers for making this happen. We appreciate it! Check out our Facebook Fan Page for news, activities, updates and more.

Buy on Penguin, Amazon, BN, or Your Local Indie Bookstore

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Process: Picture Book Dummies

Final Book, "Toddler dummy", "baby dummy"
Today is the release of Road Work Ahead!

I thought I would share more of my process in illustrating the book. I started to get in the habit of making a mini dummy of my initial sketches, which is quite helpful in seeing how the pacing and page turn works out.

The "baby dummy" is about 3" x 3" in size, and I mock this up for myself before even sending the sketches to the art director. I spend a few days flipping through it and making notes right on the dummy, before revising the sketches. I find it helps so much in making sure there is continuity between each spread.

 So after the first round of sketches to the art director, there were a few adjustments to the pagination of the story. This book has very simple text and the art does alot of heavy lifting, so it was very important my illustrations added a rich layer to the story that the text doesn't necessarily spell out or say.

After reading the notes and making revisions, I make a "toddler dummy," which is around 5" x 5". A bit bigger so I can really see the little details I might want to add, or subtract.

And now the book is out into the world! This book is perfect for little boys who loves cars and trucks and all things construction! (and I'm also hoping little girls will like it too!) 

Road Work Ahead, written by Anastasia Suen, published by Viking, illustrated by yours truly, is out now. Buy on amazon, BN, or your favorite local indie bookstore. :-)

P.S.-Thank you SO MUCH for all the lovely comments on here, Facebook and twitter about my last post. I haven't written one of these from-the-heart posts in a while, and especially with some crazy stuff thats been happening in my personal life, I know I need to stop once in a while and smell the roses. Here's to many more dreams coming true.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dreams Coming True

Let me get sappy for a moment.

My next picture book, Road Work Ahead, will be coming out this Thursday. I'm celebrating this book in a special way because this book is my first, honest-to-goodness, 32 page hardcover trade picture book. Yes, its got a dust jacket and everything, with my name and bio on the back flap.

I think I've waited 10+ years for this.

As an aspiring illustrator, I would walk through the children's section at Barnes & Nobles, looking through all the books, wishing someday, just one day, I'll have a book with my name on it. The idea of having my name and bio on the back flap was a huge deal to me.

For the past 5 years or so, I've gotten a chance to work on some amazing projects: books, games, puzzles, apps. Time flies and I am still in disbelief of how my body of work has grown with a portfolio I can be proud of. I'm grateful for all the people who gave me a chance- art directors, editors, designers, fellow illustrators, and most of all, my rep. I'm even grateful for the naysayers- yes, they are out there but they only pushed me to work harder to prove them wrong.

I've been getting many emails these days from other illustrators asking me for advice. I'm always really flattered and still in a bit of disbelief that I'm now on the other side, to be considered knowledgeable enough to be giving out insight. After all, I'm just like most artists out there- I still struggle with creativity, have insecurities, and always looking for the next gig.

But I want to say dreams do come true. Work hard. Believe. Is there enough cheesiness in this post?

Ok, let me get off my soap box. I'll be back on Thursday with more Road Work Ahead updates!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Making of: A Picture Book Cover

My latest picture book, Road Work Ahead, is coming out in less than a week (September 15th)! So I thought I would talk a little bit more about my process here. With the cover, I wanted to show as much cool vehicles as I can, which is the stars of the book. I actually only came up with 2 versions of the cover for the publisher to look at and was pleased they picked the one that they did. 

Version 1

Version 2

Color final
I was pretty determined to use those orange work stripes as part of the design of the cover. I'm hoping with the title bar being right in the middle will be eye catching and attention grabbing.

A fun note with the back cover- woohoo, I sneaked in a chicken on there! You'll have to check out the book to see why that makes sense!

For all things Road Work Ahead related, check out the Facebook Fan Page and we'll be having a blog tour!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Halloween Fun + A Giveaway!!

I can't believe its September already, and it means back to school and one of my favorite holidays are just around the corner- Halloween! Besides my oldie but goodie, The Haunted Ghoul Bus, I illustrated a new Halloween book, Halloween Howlers: Frightfully Funny Knock-Knock Jokes written by Michael Teitelbaum, published by Harper Festival.

To celebrate, I'm excited to be hosting this giveaway with awesome prizes from Thats My Folio AND Sunshine Smile Publications! These are two new websites for artists to promote their work.

 The prizes include:
  • -one year subscription to Thats My folio
  • -Sunshine Smile Publications will be giving away an illustrator Showcase on the Sunshine Smile Publications website and 6 months of publicity posts (1 post per month)

 To be eligible to win, all you have to do is ONE of the following:

  • Leave a comment on this blog post, telling me one of your favorite costumes for Halloween
  • Copy this retweet on your Twitter Status RT @JannieHo enter to win a 1yr subscription to @thatsmyfolio + showcase from @S_SPublications
  • If you are not on Twitter, you can send a blog post to Thats My Folio with a Halloween themed or a general post of a project you are working on with an image of your work.

  • You are also qualified if you become a member of Thats My Folio's Flickr Group
It also doesn't hurt if follow us on twitter, we'd appreciate it :-)

This is a great prize for any illustrator looking to promote their work. I will pick a winner next Monday, September 12th. Good luck everyone and hope you'll spread the word!

 **Thank you everyone for entering here and on twitter! Using, the winner is Lyn Martin! Congratulations Lyn! **