Thursday, June 29, 2017

More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions Part 8: Drawing Faces and Details


More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions is a book dedicated to those who don't mind a few dandelions and for the dads who are always wishing for more time with their children.

I hope you buy the book for your family or as a gift for an enthusiastic new dad or a blossoming young reader! The book is available on AMAZON. I really appreciate your support!

As I have said in the previous posts in this series, my goal was to create the illustrations for More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions without a computer. However, I was very nervous about drawing the facial expressions. I kept thinking, The wrong smile, an eyebrow going the wrong way, or eyes not in the right place could ruin everything! All those hours of stamping could be wasted if I don't get the facial expressions just right.

My nerves almost pushed me to scan the stamped illustrations into my computer and then digitally draw in the facial expressions. I thought, This would allow me to make mistakes without ruining my art.

Then, I found a light box at a church rummage sale for $1. I had not thought about using this tool before, but as soon as I saw it I knew how helpful it could be. The light box gave me the confidence I needed to finish the illustrations without a computer.
I laid a clear transparency sheet over my stamped art and drew the facial expression until I got it right. 
I was able to make mistakes on the transparency without ruining my art. (And there were A LOT of mistakes!)
Once I got the facial expression I wanted, I moved the clear transparency behind the stamped art. The black line was visible and I could trace directly onto the stamped art.
I was dreading this part of the process but instead it was very relaxing and fun to see my characters come to life.


I added faces to every stamped illustration that I made, even the ones I didn't like! There were over 100!
After all the illustrations were complete, I scanned the best illustration of each page spread. My dad owns a print shop and has the latest and greatest in scanning technology. He helped me get the colors just right! (Thanks, Dad!)

Later, I added the text to the scanned art. (I did have to use the computer for this.)
Original Scan

Text Added Illustration

After adding the text, the only thing left for me to do was to upload all the pages to Createspace for publishing. I went through numerous digital proofs and two printed proofs and finally More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions was ready! After six months of hard work it was time to set the book free for others to read and see. I hope you like it!

This is the final post in my 8-part series! Click here for previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7  -- Please share these posts with family and friends. Thank you!!


More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions is available on Amazon:





Wednesday, June 28, 2017

More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions Part 7: How long does it take a dandelion puff ball to form?


More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions is a book dedicated to those who don't mind a few dandelions and for the dads who are always wishing for more time with their children.

I hope you buy the book for your family or as a gift for an enthusiastic new dad or a blossoming young reader! The book is available on AMAZON. I really appreciate your support!

The biggest challenge in making More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions was illustrating the time passing from when the family encounters dandelion flowers to when the dandelions change to puff balls. Before I could fully conquer this illustration challenge I had some research to do. I needed to know how long it took for a dandelion to make the change.

I chose six dandelions in my backyard to observe. Next to each dandelion I placed a stake where I tacked a baggie with a note card to record my observations.
This was test subject #1. It was a dandelion that made its home right between a flower bed and my rain barrel.
I started counting the days as soon as the flower closed up. This was April 19, 2017.
The dried up yellow flower was visible on top for six days.
On Day 7 the flower fell off to reveal a fuzzy white top.
The puff ball arrived on April 28, 2017.
The dandelion took ten days from the moment it closed to when it reopened with a puff ball. This research really helped me. I decided the best way to show the passing of time was with a calendar that showed ten days passing between the family's walks to the park.  I also put the characters in different color clothes to show that it was definitely a different time. Below is the final illustration from the book.


What happened to the other five dandelions I researched?

A few were eaten by bunnies like this one. How do I know?
This was nearby. (Note: I put a bunny that eats dandelions in the book.)
This dandelion took 12 days to open. Right after the "10-day" dandelion turned to a puff ball it rained for a day and half. Once this dandelion dried out it opened up too!
This research allowed me to finish all the stamping. Next up was drawing all the facial expressions!

Do you want to learn more about the making of this book? Read Part 8

Did you miss the first few posts in this series? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions is available on Amazon:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions Part 6: Dandelion Crafts and Activities


More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions is a book dedicated to those who don't mind a few dandelions and for the dads who are always wishing for more time with their children.

I hope you buy the book for your family or as a gift for an enthusiastic new dad or a blossoming young reader! The book is available on AMAZON. I really appreciate your support!

My youngest daughter was two years old when she said, "More. MORE. MORE!" when she saw dandelions on a walk around the neighborhood with me. Now she is five and this year she was more excited than ever to play with dandelions.

She made dandelion stew in the backyard.
She rubbed dandelions on her skin. 
And asked, "Do I like butter?"
The yellow on her skin tells me that she loves butter!
I made her a dandelion crown.
She has always loved picking dandelions for me and her mom!
I don't know what inspired this photo while we were walking to school, but it turned out pretty cool!
We collected dandelion flower tops and dried them in the sun.
We placed the dried flower tops in a mason jar for a beautiful decoration.
We pressed dandelions inside a big book.
They looked amazing after a few days!
We sprayed dandelion puffs with hair spray to keep the seeds from blowing away.
It really does work!
Oh, dandelions we love you so! So much fun! I hope my book inspires your family to play with dandelions every spring!

Do you want to learn more about the making of this book? Read Part 7

Did you miss the first few posts in this series?  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions is available on Amazon:

Monday, June 26, 2017

More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions Part 5: Illustrations


More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions is a book dedicated to those who don't mind a few dandelions and for the dads who are always wishing for more time with their children.

I hope you buy the book for your family or as a gift for an enthusiastic new dad or a blossoming young reader! The book is available on AMAZON. I really appreciate your support!

I was committed to a non-digital approach to the illustrations for More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions. I only wanted to scan each final piece of art at the end. No digital collage. No major enhancements. Just stamps.

I started each illustration with a piece of 11" x 17" white smooth bristol paper.
I measured the margins and left plenty of room in the middle for the gutter of the book. Then, I stamped the illustration based upon my preliminary sketches.
The facial expressions of the characters would be drawn later. The text would be dropped into the "talking bubbles" after the art was scanned.
This was my stamp palette. Many of the stamps were used over and over throughout the book. Some stamps were made and only used for one or two pages. Placing the stamps on this piece of wood was a way to keeping track of them, but I often misplaced them! Halfway through the book I lost the stamp I used for the dandelion leaves, so I had to cut a new one.
The scraps from cutting the erasers piled up over the course of the project.
I illustrated the first page spread on January 29, 2017.
My confidence grew after I successfully stamped the baby's stroller.


I only used ColorBox pigment ink pads for the illustrations. The other stamp pads in this photo were being used by my daughter who often worked right along side me. 
A view from above. You can see my daughter's stamp illustration too!

I purchased larger novelty erasers at Five Below to stamp the larger images.
I laid the illustrations on the floor when I was halfway through to make sure the story was still flowing. I referred to my preliminary sketches to plan for the rest of the book.
On May 23, 2017 I stamped the last illustration.
 I stamped many page spreads six different times to get them right. In the end, I did over 100 illustrations. The best illustrations would be picked for the book.
It was a journey with many challenges along the way! I started the project in the middle of winter and I rejoiced when the dandelions started popping up in the spring. I believed more than ever that this was going to be a special book.

Do you want to learn more about the making of this book? Read Part 6

Did you miss the first few posts in this series? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

More. MORE. MORE! Dandelions is available on Amazon: