"The Moment Before I Lost My Mom" Kids Book Project Progress for SCBIW Portfolio Preview. . .and eventually Self Publish by April 2020

  • Hey art peeps! (Warning! this first post is super long, but I think its totally worth the read. Just might take ya 10 minuets though).

    I did this piece for "The Moment Before" monthly challenge a few months ago. I've decided to turn it into a Dummy book and eventually a self published kids book using this art as a springboard. My official publication date is a month before Mothers Day next year (April). I will be posting my progress on this thread.
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    This book idea started when I was at my Freelancers Union meeting last month, and one of my colleges said they loved this piece so much. They wanted to know more about it; they wanted to know the story behind it (and boy is there a story).
    Here is the WIP and the story of the art piece above in the link below:
    Anyway, so my goal is to have it made into a Dummy book by the 2019 SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference (Sept 13-15).
    Link to conference:
    Also! Anyone else planning on going to this one? It would be super cool to meet up for coffee/tea!

    Okay back to my master plan. So I have approximately 6ish weeks to get this baby done, and thats not counting the time it will take it to be printed and shipped to yours truly. I'm hoping, that you all will help keep me accountable. Oh! and also offer up any tips and suggestions as this crazy adventure advances.

    So more detail on the actual book project. This is based off of a real story in my life. And this is going to be a very emotional difficult project. But I've never felt a passion for a book project like this before either. The WIP link will have a lot of this info in it already, but this book is about me and my mom. My mom passed away 11 years ago this month (July 2019). I was 15 years old. During the time my mom was sick I built this hug rock flower garden. Every spare moment of my time I spent planning, building, planting and tending the garden. It was the place I could hide away and be myself while many people came to visit my mom while she was sick. Often, I would pick my flowers and bring them to my mom. She always loved that. But because she was so sick, she never got to see my garden in person. I was so so proud of my garden, it still hurts to this day that she never got to see it. But in this book project, I'm gonna change that. 🙂

    A few pics of my garden in its hay day:
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    Yeah, its pretty great, but since then, I've lost my green thumb, so let me know it you find it.

    My goal for this book is to help others (and myself) remember our lost loved ones without the sadness or bitterness that is usually attached to our memories of them after they are gone. I want to be able to remember my mom and smile and not tear up every time. Wow, I just got real personal. Oh well.

    I already told all my buddies and family that I would be in a type of hibernation mode these next few months getting this thing done. I've even gone so far as to go part time to my 9-5 job. So life will be interesting for a while.

    So yeah, stay tune for more exciting stuff! I hope to post several times a week. Next will be the text and the story board.

    Wow! this is a super long post! Maybe I need to get into writing novels instead of kids books.

    P. S. Also I apologize in advance for any misspells or grammatical errors. If you spot them in my book project, feel free to let me know. Spelling is kinda my greatest weakness. I'm just happy I wasn't born before spellcheck became a thing.

  • SVS OG

    @Squirrel-Size this is a beautiful project! I can't wait to see it unfold. "The Rock Garden" might be nice title!

  • SVS OG

    What a wonderful project! I can sooo relate to your story, although I was a little older when my mum died. I was 23, she had just turned 50. What a great way to commemorate your mom, and to work through your grief.
    I love the story of your rock garden as a sort of backbone to the book.
    Good luck, and I'm looking forward to seeing your progress (and finished book!).

  • What a beautiful idea, I'm really looking forward to seeing how you progress with it and obviously we're all here to help if you need it 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @Squirrel-Size This is a great project and I wish you a tonne of luck and success with it. I'm looking forward to seeing your updates. And fair play for making such a commitment to it. I have no doubt it will stand to you massively going forward.

  • I have to say, this will be wonderful emotional project fo you. This year I did a custom memory book project. There were 4 friends, which did a lot of things together and last year, one of them died in tragic accident. His wife gave birth to his son some month later. They wanted to show the kid some stories of his dad and also they wanted this book for themself to remember and to laught about their fun stories. So they wrote 16 stories and contacted me. I have to say, they were only happy funny stories, but alltogether it was wonderful to draw this stories.

    So your project will be great, but also difficult, because it is from Your life, many feelings there. Wish You lot of luck and success.

  • @Squirrel-Size Thank you for sharing this. I understand it's a deeply personal project, and I love that it will also be really meaningful to readers of your book who have had similar experiences. It will be as uplifting as you are hoping to make it, I'm sure.

    Your garden is absolutely stunning, by the way. I would love to see how it features in your book! You'll have my support throughout this endeavour.

  • @juliepeelart Awe Thanks 🙂 Yeah! The title is something I haven't figured out yet! So totally down to any suggestions 🙂 I'll add that one to my list!

  • Thanks @Annemieke! I'm excited to try to portray the rock garden too. I may have to do some extra practice on drawing flowers lol. Sorry to hear about your mum. Its hard no matter what age.

  • @hannahmccaffery Thanks! I really appreciate your all's support!

  • @ShannonBiondi Thanks girl! I really hope so 🙂

  • @MichaelaH Wow, that is a really cool project! But its sad too. I love what the three friends did to keep the stories and memories alive. That must have been such a cool project to work on 🙂 Thanks Michael

  • Thanks @animatosoor I hope it will be uplifting too. Hahahaha, thanks, I wish I still had my garden, but I travel so much now, it would look a wee bit more weedier then it was then.

  • @Squirrel-Size this is one of those images that has really stuck in my mind ever since you posted it. I am so glad to read that you are turning this into a book. It will be wonderful to watch your progress ❤

  • Wow that touches my heart! I'm excited to have you @BichonBistro along for the ride 🙂

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @Squirrel-Size wishing you the best on your journey here. Just keep in mind it will get very overwhelming after a few days/weeks working on it. Just take a break and recharge your mind. I know for experience if I don't take that break I start to turn out work I am not happy with. After a short break of a day or two, things seem to spark again.

  • What a lovely project! I'm wishing you all the best as you tackle it and offering any kind of feedback/support if needed. I can't wait to see this come to life!

  • Thanks man! Wow good advice @Chip-Valecek! I will be taking that to heart. That would be a good excuse to go visit my buddies for a few days lol

  • Awe! thanks @Alicja-W! Yes, any feedback/support would be awesome! 🙂


    here is my lovely sketchy storyboard. My text is not set in gold yet. I'm still trying to figure out the best wording and what not. Anyone good at word-flow stuff out there? Feel free to put some cents in. I've been working on this storyboard for several weeks now. I did some last minute touches before posting them below.

    The composition of the pictures are also not set in gold either, i'm just trying to get an idea of the flow of the book. Any tips, suggestions or ideas about the flow/composition are welcome! Each spread has a number on the top left. Right now this book project only contains 24 pages. A standard kids book usually has around 32 pages. So I might be inserting a spread or two more. Maybe somewhere near the end? What do you all think? My page formate is the same ratio as 11 x 8.5 (landscape) but it will be a bit smaller when printed (the line in the middle of each spread is about where the gutter would be). I also plan to have a title page art too, but I'll get to that later.
    If you notice I've included a pair of humming birds in each page (a mama and daughter bird). My moms favorite bird was the humming bird, and I saw them in my garden all the time. I thought it fitting to include some in the illustrations.

    I've self-published several books before, but never made a kids book "the proper way." Like taking all the steps such as: storyboarding, thumbnails, color/ value studies and all. This is my first book I plan to do proper like. I've also never done a legit Dummy book before. I heard a lot of Art Directors/Agents like to see a book idea all black & white line work. Not that I necessarily want an Agent at this time though. But I figured it could be good practice for the future perhaps. But from my experience as a graphic designer and building a GD portfolio, I've have found high praise by showing the different stages of a project as well as the finished product/project in a portfolio. So my plan right now is to have some pages of the Dummy book fully rendered while others will be in different stages of rendition (Black and white). What are your all thoughts on that?

    I think my biggest concern at the moment is the end of the book; the last two spreads. I feel like it might be a bit choppy.

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    P.S. Also, I'm a hug fan of goats. I have been one since I was a wee tike. Most of my books have goats in them. So if any of you all spot a squirrel that looks a lot like a goat, shout it out, so I can make the changes accordingly (I feel like I tend to give the squirrels longer necks and snouts then they should have). Thanks you all for your support so far 🙂

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