Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Make a Joyful Noise


“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.”
Listen for the sounds of worshiping and mirth.
Hear the trilling songs of birds in the trees,
The music of the wind, sighing in a breeze.

A joyful noise could be from the barking of a dog,
A chorus of cicadas, the croaking of a frog,
The purring of a cat, content to be alive,
The buzzing of bees, swarming in their hive.

Each individual makes their own joyful sound,
The gurgle of a baby, children laughing all around,
Singing in the shower, dancing in the rain,
Shouting, running, clapping, calling Jesus’ name.

Creation contains a myriad of joyful sounds everywhere
Which may be heard as music, rejoicing, worship or prayer.
Whatever the sound might be or however it is perceived,
All joyful noises made to the Lord are lovingly received.

© Connie Arnold
I thought this illustration from my Animal Sound Mix-up children's book was appropriate for this poem. It was done by Kit Grady. If you would like to see more of her illustrations, feel free to visit her website.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fun Animal Video

Perhaps you would like a little animal fun for your day. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Beautiful Birds

Do you remember seeing these birds on a post I did in October with my poem, Ten Singing Birds? You can see the post here. I am very pleased to let you know that I have learned of the artist who did this beautiful bird collection.

Tracy Lizotte designs and sells watercolors of children, birds, animals and nature. It is delightful to discover her beautiful work, and I'd like to invite you to visit and enjoy also at Tracy Lizotte Studios and perhaps you might enjoy one of her lovely prints for yourself or a gift. Hope you enjoy her work as much as I do!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Manny the TV Watching Dog


The title alone catches my attention, doesn't it do that for you? Sounds like a dog that many people would feel right at home with! Children enjoy animals, especially pets, and watching TV, so the combination in this new book, by Linda Derkez and her husband Mike, is sure to delight kids and their parents.

There are three chapters in Manny the TV Watching Dog, and in each of them Manny's master is looking for someone to do specific tasks, and Manny is quick to say, "I can do that." Unfortunately, the TV turns out to be too big of a temptation to Manny, who is constantly distracted from the job at hand for some fine TV watching.

Many of us can certainly relate to this happening, to ourselves and our children. Linda has creatively written this story with a dog who acts quite human in many ways. The adorable illustrations add to the fun as children follow Manny's positive well-meaning offers and what happens each time.

Click on the book image to go to Amazon and take a look inside the book and order. Linda is the author of several other children's books, including Chip's Sharing Day and Cody Knows.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Down Under Calling


I just finished a book by my friend, Margot Finke, that was quite delightful! It is the story of a 12-year-old boy named Andy who lives in Oregon, and his grandmother, Rose, in Australia. They become pen pals, and Andy learns that he has a very cool grandmother! Rose tells exciting stories about her life growing up and the many animals around where she lives and adventures with them, including caring for a baby kangaroo. They soon feel like they know each other even though they live so far apart, and the love grows as Rose shares her stories and memories and Andy tells about his life, problems, and special friend, Kelly. Andy and Kelly start spending time on the internet learning more about where his grandmother lives and the animals there. The summer boredom that had started to creep into his days is banished as Andy anticipates the arrival of the next letter from Rose filled with more amusing and exciting tales.

This is a great book for middle grade children that will hold their attention while helping them learn some interesting facts about the land "Down Under".

Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes midgrade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband, children, and grandchildren.  Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between her writing. Her husband is retired, and very supportive.  

Margot didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, "I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my heroes! "

She has 13 published books + Survival by Walkabout, the follow-up to Taconi and Claude, is due out soon.  All her books, +  Video readings, trailers, reviews and sample pages can be seen on her website. Margot also does Skype Author Visits to many schools in the US, and she runs a Manuscript Critique Service. Nothing gives Margot a bigger thrill than to hear that a book she helped polish has been published.  “This is always a huge YEA moment.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Beautiful "Silence"

Don't you think Silence is a perfect name for a book without words? This delightful book is filled with illustrations by award winning artist, K.C. Snider. She has illustrated dozens of books for Guardian Angel Publishing. This is her first book on her own.  Her remarkable, vibrant art is beautifully displayed on each page as an adorable mantled ground squirrel quietly visits scenic areas in Crater Lake National Park.

Containing no words, the pictures tell the story as this small creature makes its way around the lake, rides two boats, interacts with children, adults and other creatures, tastes, samples and explores the many things the park has to offer. Each illustration is a detailed and precious work of art set in spectacular surroundings. Children and adults of any age can enjoy this art filled book while using their own imaginations to discover the story. KC has again shown her tremendous artistic ability in this new release from Guardian Angel Publishing.

You can visit KC at her blog and feel free to leave any comments or questions you might have for her. Silence is also available from Amazon in paperback or hardcover.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Creative Illustrations by Ginger Nielson

Today I am pleased to share with you a post by Ginger Nielson, the artist who did the vibrant, lively illustrations for my new children's book from 4RV Publishing. You can learn more about Ginger and see additional artwork and books on her website.

                                                                                                                                                          Recently I had the pleasure of illustrating Connie Arnold's picture book, "Count 1, 2, 3 With Me." Published by 4RV Publishing, LLC, of Edmond, OK, the book is being released this month. It was a delight to illustrate her creative ideas for counting. There were new challenges for me as well, as I needed to create illustrations for some things I was not used to painting.

When I begin illustrating a picture book I like to go over the manuscript a number of times. Sometimes I will jot down ideas for an image in the margin of the document. Other times I will create a little thumbnail image to remind me of a thought I had while reading. When I am satisfied with the way the pages will move along I create a small storyboard showing all the pages in the book with tiny images or ideas for each page.

Most picture books are under 1000 words, but even the shortest ones present a challenge. Each image needs to stand on its own. There should be enough clues in the image that even a toddler can "read" the book.
Once I have decided how I want to illustrate each page, I begin sketching. For this phase I use soft sketching pencils and might even fill an entire sketchbook before I decide which of the images are the perfect ones for the story. Next, I scan or photograph the images and transfer them into the computer. Very large work needs to be photographed because my scanner is limited to legal size work.

With the sketches in the computer I go directly to my favorite painting program, Painter 13 by Corel. This program is similar to photoshop, but designed with traditional painters in mind. There are dozens of brush types, pens, pencils, chalk, paper textures, and much more to choose from. It is very much like painting traditionally but there are no bottles of paint to spill and the UNDO feature is a blessing if you mess up your painting. You can even decide how far apart the bristles on your paint brush will be.
I "paint" directly on a CINTIQ screen. This is a large monitor. I use a stylus pen on the screen to create the artwork. By choosing different brushes or pens, or chalks, I can create illustrations in much the same way as I do when I paint traditionally. I also keep my large screen Macintosh computer monitor open as I work. I keep other things on that screen that I might need to refer to as I paint. It is great to have reference material, email, and sketches readily available on that other screen. It has the advantage that I don't have a ton of papers all over my work area, just a screen full of images, or notes. This type of dual monitor set up allows me to drag images from one screen to the next. That way if I have a sketch on the iMac and I need it for my painting I can just pull it over and place it onto the canvas on the CINTIQ.

As the painting progresses I print out the finished pages, gather them into a book form and take a look at the flow of the work. If I am happy with the progression, illustrations, color, design, and composition, I am ready to transfer the finished work in the computer to a layout program such as In Design, place the text, and create a PDF ready for printing. If the PDF preview is correct I send that to the publisher or editor.
Sometimes the work on a picture book can take as long as a year, other times I can finish the work in a few months. Painting in the computer is not necessarily faster than traditional painting; it takes time to do either.

One little thing I love to do in each book I illustrate for 4RV Publishing LLC, is to find a place in the beginning of each book to place the "4" the "R" and the "V" where people can find it if they look. Sometimes it is easy to find, other times not so easy. It is there in Connie's book and it is easy to find if you look for it. (See if you can find it in this post!)

Many thanks to Ginger for the fascinating information. I'm happy to be able to share a few of her illustrations from Count 1,2,3 With Me. Aren't they delightful? My blog tour will continue on Monday. Be sure to check out my previous post for blog schedule (and watch the video if you haven't seen it yet). You can order Count 1,2,3 With Me from 4RV or my website.