Thursday, July 3, 2014

Baby Beards! Part 3: Revising, a Dummy Book, and purchasing supplies?

This is Part 3 of a 10 day series of blog posts recapping my journey to self-publishing my new book, Baby Beards!. Baby Beards is a picture book that celebrates healthy eating, messy faces, and the photographs we love to take.  This book would make a great gift for a family expecting a new baby as there are many pages to add your own photographs and record "First Foods" and "Favorite Foods".  (Someone even suggested to me that this would be a great 1st birthday present too!).

If you missed the previous two posts -- click here (Part 1) and (Part 2).

Baby Beards! -- a picture book and a memory book!
Baby Beards! is available in paperback and as an eBook for Kindle! If you are an Amazon Prime member you can get a FREE Kindle eBook download!

Part 3: Revising, a Dummy Book ad purchasing supplies?
I wasn't inspired to move forward with Baby Beards! for a few months. The excitement of the Mazza Museum Writing Strand conference was over.  There was a possibility that Baby Beards! was going to turn into many of the other stories I have written -- resting in the drawer.

However on December 4, 2013, I wrote in my journal about a silly dream that I had. In the dream, a famous children's book author-illustrator and his editor wanted to meet me and review my work. In my dream I agreed to meet them halfway between my house in Ohio and Los Angeles but I thought to myself, "But, I have nothing. Time to revise." In my dream, I work hard at revising and was ready for the meeting but no one showed up. I thought, "Maybe it was just a dream, but maybe it wasn't. I should go all the way to L.A. anyway. Because I have something."

That was the dream. A little corny, but it must of have been my subconscious telling me it was time to get Baby Beards! out of the desk drawer to work on it! Coincidentally, four days later on December 8, 2013, I made a breakthrough with my text for Baby Beards!. Many of the words that are in the book were written on this day:

Breakfast's ready.
Time to eat.
Baby's hungry.
For a treat.
Baby Beards! Draft - via www.ericvr.com

On the bottom of the journal page, I made a sketch that looks a little like the baby in final version of Baby Beards!.

I established the day's food menu too! Breakfast would be oatmeal, snack would be yogurt, lunch would be noodles, dinner would be rice and beans, and then a bubble bath! The healthy eating theme of the book was emerging.

Baby Beards! Draft - via www.ericvr.com

In January 2014, I kicked the revising into high gear. I started generating ideas for the illustrations too. My favorite part of reading books to 9-24 month old children is talking about the pictures. I wanted there to be many things for a parent and a child to talk about -- food, cameras, dogs, words, etc.

I rewrote the text on a journal page and then imagined what pictures could be added.  On the page below, I wrote the verse from the breakfast scene and then branched out from "a baby beard" the words "cut up peaches, whole grain oatmeal, whole milk, blueberries, and raspberries."  

Baby Beards! - revising a picture book via www.ericvr.com

On the page below, sketches of the dog (licking an empty bowl) and camera (with the written note "camera throughout") were ideas that showed up for the first time. One of the notes on this page states, "Tray is smeared. (use actually smeared food!)"  I did consider using real food for the illustrations for a while, but I really wanted to keep my final art. However, I didn't have a clue about how to preserve art made with food and I didn't want mold in my portfolio.

Baby Beards! - revising a picture book via www.ericvr.com

On page below, I wrestled with the words "baby giggles" and "tub is sudsy" for the bath scene.  I chose "tub is sudsy" because I felt it fit the pattern of text better.  Also, on this page came the idea for the baby beard faces to be illustrated as a photograph.  I really liked this idea because every parent loves taking pictures of their children with happy, messy faces!

Baby Beards! - revising a picture book via www.ericvr.com

Below are a few more sketches:

Baby Beards! Sketch - www.ericvr.com

Silly Baby Face Sketches for Baby Beards! via www.ericvr.com

A baby in a highchair sketch via www.ericvr.com

At this point, I wanted to see if all these ideas and the text would work as a book with page turns.  So, I made a "dummy book" in blank sketch book.

Dummy Book for Baby Beards! via www.ericvr.com


Dummy Book for Baby Beards! via www.ericvr.com

Dummy Book for Baby Beards! via www.ericvr.com

It felt great with having the whole book sketched out, but I was scared to death of the next step. I thought, "Would I be able to make the illustrations to bring my story to life? Would I be able to get what's in my head onto paper?"  I really didn't know.  So, I did what I thought would be best thing to do -- I went to Michael's craft store and buy really cool paper and paintbrushes.

This was part three of how Baby Beards! became my new self-published picture book. (Did you miss (Part 1) and (Part 2).?) Want to read Part 4 - CLICK HERE!

Buy the paperback book and get the KINDLE eBOOK for free with KINDLE MATCHBOOK program! WHAT A DEAL!


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