picture book

All posts tagged picture book

Kris & Krampus Kringle Kickstarter Launch!

Published September 5, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I’m back from another soggy yet fun-filled Faerieworlds festival weekend and ready to brave the real world again! I actually have a pretty insane amount of stuff going on in my life now. I’ll catch you up on some of the other things later, but just to name a few…teaching more classes at the new Vine Gogh painting studio, trying to buy our first house, and the launch of the Kris & Krampus Kringle Kickstarter campaign! 

The goal is to raise enough money to fund publishing with Bookbaby, provide the universal ISBN number/barcode, and pay for the print-on-demand service and online distribution of the book. Writing up all of the info on the Kickstarter page took me so long that I actually didn’t finish it until right before we left for camping at Horning’s Hideout for Faerieworlds on Friday. Considering that this was my first attempt at creating any kind of crowdfunding site, I think I did a pretty good job. Martyn filmed the awkward video of me in front of the beautiful giant tree in the backyard, which was a little bit of challenge with all of the background noise. Good thing he knows how to edit!

The Kickstarter campaign will go until midnight on the last day of this month (September 30th.) Martyn and I are collaborating on a bunch of cool Krampus rewards packages for all the people who participate in the fundraising. Quite a few people have contributed so far, and since I was gone over the weekend with no internet reception whatsoever it was such a nice surprise to return today and see all of the new backers and thoughtful Facebook shares and comments. I don’t have much more to say about it other than you can figure out yourself by checking out the campaign page. Please have a look, contribute if you can, or share with your friends! I’ve only just started promoting the Kickstarter online and can definitely use all the help I can get! Thanks guys!

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Illustration Promo Cards

Published July 7, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I don’t have a lot to post tonight. I just thought that before I move into the next big project I should include a little blurb about what my finished illustration promo postcards are going to look like, because I’m pretty excited about them! Here’s the front and back of the cards:

Postcard Front and Back

Once again my amazing husband Martyn “Marty” Cooper has assisted me with the layout design. I knew that I wanted the back of the card to be a warm off-white like my business cards, and I knew that I wanted to include a little spot illustration of toadstools somewhere on there, and also that I wanted use the same font style that we used in my children’s book. He totally made it happen and much more. I love the wavering handmade look of the lines on the card, and the “affix stamp here” was also his idea. I’m pretty in love with it/him!

I ordered the cards from overnightprints.com just like I did with my business cards, because those came out awesome. Just as a review, this is the design of my business cards (front and back all hand-drawn by yours truly.)

Business Card Whole

My postcards will arrive in roughly a week from today, and I can’t wait to use them with my manuscript submission packages! I also wanna send some out to agents and whoever else I think might hire me as an illustrator for a project someday.

I also got a call from Office Depot today informing me that my five dummy books are now printed and ready for pickup! Martyn is DJing at Dots Cafe tonight so I haven’t been able to take the car and get them just yet, but I’m totally going to swing by on my way home from work tomorrow. I’ll let you know how they turned out!

 

 

 

Bertha Illustration Coloring

Published July 5, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Hope y’all had a happy ‘Merica Day! I finished up that illustration of Bertha on Sunday night, so here’s some final work in progress pictures I took of the coloring process as well as the final piece.

First, here’s where I left off in my last post after I was all done with the inking:

Bertha Linework

Then I started blocking in some color with my trusty Prismacolor markers.

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Added some more layers of color.

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Even more layers still, scribbling some dark navy blue shadows into the leaves for that extra richness and depth.

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I honestly didn’t take that many photos. Whoops. Here it is pretty much finished on my art desk.

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Here’s the final scan.

Bertha Illustration Final

I probably mentioned this in my last post, but the reason I made this illustration was for some promotional postcards that I plan to get printed from overnightprints.com to send along with the snail mail submissions of my children’s book. I just dropped off the files for my book at Office Depot yesterday to get the first round of five dummies printed for the publishers, which should be finished by the end of this week. I can’t wait to see them! For the back of the postcards I will most likely be using the same old world fairytale font style as we did in “Kris & Krampus Kringle”; perhaps with a spot illustration of some toadstool mushrooms for an extra little accent. I might try and figure out that part out tonight. Till then, be safe, and watch out for any remaining patriotic explosions!

 

I’m Back/Recap 2: Bertha

Published June 23, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

It’s been a month since I’ve been posting weekly or on the regular, so here’s recap part two! Some of you might recall how I fell down a lucky rabbit hole on Wikipedia a few weeks back and discovered Perchta. Please actually click on the wiki link that I just provided for the complete article, because it’s entirely fascinating and obviously much more articulate than anything I could possibly ever describe in this post! She’s also quite a looker:

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From what I have gathered, Perchta (or Bertha in English) is another Yuletide character from Alpine folklore who is kind of like the female counterpart to our good friend Krampus. Her name means “the bright one” and she is a pagan goddess/wintertime witch who is sometimes said to be a ruler of beasts and the leader of the Wild Hunt. She appears during the Twelve Days of Christmas in two very distinct guises. Sometimes she is very beautiful and fair; clothed in white robes as she visits the dwellings of good children and rewards their yearly efforts with gifts of silver coins left behind in their shoes.

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At other times, when children have not been good, and especially if they have committed the particularly loathsome crimes of not spinning their entire allotment of wool, or eating something on the night of her feast day other than the traditional meal of fish and gruel, then Perchta would appear as a haggard, hideous monster and slit their bellies open in the middle of the night!

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She would then proceed to disembowel her prey and replace their organs with pebbles and straw, presumably then stitching them all back together nice and neat since she is also a goddess who oversees sewing, weaving, and spinning. She can really make Krampus look like a nice guy…and that is saying something!

Speaking of which: I guess Krampus has a girlfriend! Don’t they make an adorable couple?

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I’m in love.

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Seriously though–from all that I have read so far, Perchta and Krampus do kind of go hand in hand during Krampuslauf parades and similar events involving all manner of Christmastime merriment and debauchery. Festival goers might dress as “beautiful Perchten” (the plural form of Perchta) for good luck:

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Some were perhaps not quite so beautiful.

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Alternately, others would don animal skins and scary masks as flat out “ugly Perchten” to scare away the local ghosts and devils from the town. A lot of the ugly Perchten masks even resemble Krampus, but often with lighter fur and multiple intertwining horns.

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I always love the group photos.

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Perchten on parade!

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Some of the masks even highlight her dual nature and serve as a two-in-one!

Frau Perchta

Frau Perchta

Another interesting aspect of Perchta is that the older stories describe her as having an odd, extra-large foot, or goose/swan feet.

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In some of the older portrayals of Krampus he also has mismatched feet; one human foot and one cloven hoof.

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I always assumed this was a demon thing. Since I was that weird kid who spent all of my free time in the library reading everything I could find on mythology, the paranormal, and the occult, I actually do know a thing or two about demons, or at least how they were oftentimes depicted in medieval artwork. The medieval Christian explanation went something like: Man was created in God’s image, so although demons are known for their powers of deception and their shapeshifting abilities, they can never truly take on the sacred form of a human being. Like, they can ALMOST do it, but they’ll always be at least one thing that’s a little off about them–like a cloven hoof or a tail or something.

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As a fellow person with unusually large feet, I can only imagine how this would make shoe shopping an absolute nightmare. I feel you, dude.

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This explanation also accounts for changelings and fairies and all kinds of other weird fantastical humanoid critters that were ever said to roam the Earth before Christianity became the dominant religion in Europe. A clever way to transform the pagan gods into something that you wouldn’t want hanging around your village, and probably further enforcing the need to go to church!

However, just like Krampus, the origins of Perchta predate Christianity. The only two explanations that I could find about the odd foot thing is that it’s an indication of Perchta’s shapeshifting abilities, since she is a goddess after all, and my favorite explanation…she needs a big ol’ goose foot to work the treadle on her spinning wheel! And that, my friend, is evolution if I ever heard it!

So with all of this amazing inspiration, I quickly decided that I need to draw my own Perchta character. I’ve already been considering writing a sequel to Kris & Krampus Kringle someday down the road. Other ideas for possible characters in the second book include some other cool characters from Nordic Christmas folklore, The Yule Cat, The Yule Lads, and their mother, the wicked giantess Grýla. With all of these characters essentially originating from the same universe, it makes me want to write crossovers and backstories on them even more. I also think that I will write the sequel to take place four years later, so that Krampus would be as old as Kris was in the first book (nine years old) and Kris would be about thirteen. This would set things up perfectly for an awkward first romance!

Based on the idea that my Perchta character would be the same age as Krampus in the second book, I started sketching what I imagined she would look like as a young girl. For pronunciation’s sake I decided that I should call her by the English spelling of her name, Bertha. I mostly based her design off of the beautiful Perchten form, but I decided that I still wanted to incorporate a few of her more monstrous features as well. This is the first sketch that I drew.

Bertha Sketch

You see, this way she’s still very beautiful but she also looks like she can be a bit of a brat if provoked. I kept the long blonde hair and let the golden halo/stylized rays of light in some of those beautiful Perchten masks morph into a more naturalistic braid crown. I also added some small curled double horns. Her nose is also a little bit beastly, but still more delicate than how I draw Krampus’s nose. I was happy enough with the initial sketch to then refine it into a finished character design.

Bertha Design

I made sure to include her lacy bonnet this time, as well as the goose feet and her love of the textile arts! I also gave her an ugly Perchten mask that I imagine her wearing most of the time…like maybe she’s really shy so she doesn’t usually let people see her real face. It ended up looking a little like a creepy tiki mask, but I swear that I based the design on the wooden masks in the old drawings posted above. I think that someday I would also love to make a puppet of her just like I plan to do with Kris, Krampus, and Mama Kringle.

So that’s about it for this post. Over the past few days I’ve been working on an illustration of Bertha knitting under a wild rose bush tunnel in the woods. It’s going to be another pretty little portfolio piece when it’s done, and I might also be turning it into a promotional postcard to send to agents and publishers along with my info and dummy book. I will be sure to include some work in progress pictures of that piece in my next blog entry!

 

 

 

Book First Print!

Published May 18, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Guess who got the first test print of her book from back from Office Depot yesterday?

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Martyn up finished formatting the text on Sunday and we made some last final edits just before it went to the printer. Although it’s just a test print dummy from an office supply store (note the spiral binding instead of what will eventually be a real hardback cover) the pages still look absolutely beautiful and quality! The text and the layout also worked out perfectly, including some of the trickier pages that had multiple spot illustrations or double-page spreads. At first I was a little bummed out and worried when I found out that I wouldn’t be able get my first printed copy from bookbaby in time for the SCBWI Spring Conference this weekend, but now I’m just glad that this test print ended up working out so well. It’ll definitely be more than good enough to show off my vision for the book at the conference!

Here’s a close-up of the cover. The protective sheet of laminate makes it near impossible to photograph but hopefully you get the idea.

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If you are someone who gets to see me in person on a regular basis I’d be more than happy to show you the first print of the book. It represents about a year and three months of hard work. If that thing was a human baby it would be six months old already!

Besides finishing up this first not-so-dummy copy of my book over the weekend, I also have been working on one last final piece for my portfolio. It’s another illustration of Lucia because she’s pretty, and because I wanted to have more examples of my illustration style besides just the artwork from my book. I know I posted this on my Facebook/Instragram already, but here was the line drawing before I began any of the coloring:

Lucia Linework

I’m almost finished with the coloring now and I hope to be all done with it by the end of the night. I’ll post the completed illustration tomorrow if I can!

So yeah, this weekend I finished the test print of my book, almost finished the last illustration for my portfolio, and I even remembered to vote!

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I feel very productive. I also might have even had two job interviews lined up for this week, but I’m not even going to tell you about that. You’ll just have to guess if that’s true or not till next time. Bye!

 

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

Published April 15, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I know that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover…but I mean come on, have you even seen this thing?

Kris & Krampus Front Cover

Title Page/Dedication

Published April 6, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Here’s a second post for the work I did on my book over the past week. The story itself is now fully illustrated and I’m just working on the artwork for the cover and beginning pages. I also had a couple of random loose ends to tie up… little scraps and bits and bobs because I often will make all of the visual elements of a page on separate pieces of paper. Here’s a good example of what I mean:

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They probably make very little sense to you now, but everything will fit together eventually…I hope.

Here’s a little spot illustration that I made for what will become the dedication page:

Dedication Page

The image is of creamed eggs, which is a Christmas breakfast tradition in my family passed down from my Dad and I think my Grandma before that. The dedication message will read:

“For Christmases Past, Christmases Present, & Christmases Yet To Come.”

It probably also has a lot to do with my own personal backstory of finally overcoming and reclaiming the Christmas holiday after years of associating it with the deaths of my loved ones, pain, regret, and disappointment. Then again, this entire book probably has a whole lot to do with my own experiences and issues at least on a subconscious level. Pretty much all stories and works of art inadvertently capture their creator…I think that’s pretty unavoidable.

I also drew out what will become the title page of my book. This was the first version that I came up with; the direct scan of the original:

Title Page Before

After I somewhat haphazardly colored this, I decided that I would have preferred the word Krampus to be in red ink to better stand out against the sooty hoof prints. I also wanted my own name smaller and scooted down a little on the page. Luckily there’s this thing that I never use and always forget exists called Photoshop so I didn’t have to redraw anything! Martyn helped me alter it into this version, which I like much better:

Title Page

I’m both dreading and really looking forward to the whole text formatting process once all the illustrations are complete. Dreading because I know that it’s gonna be a lot of tedious work and I really don’t know what the heck I’m doing, but also looking forward to it because Martyn is going to help me out and then it will finally all be done! Martyn is actually going to be doing the majority of the formatting and layout stuff himself. I’ve had the flow and layout of the book at least generally figured out all along when I made the storyboard and planned out each illustration, and that should make everything go a lot more smoothly…but he’s the one who’s going to do all the final rearranging. I plan on crediting him as the layout guy on the copyright page when everything is said and done.

Oh, and just for kicks I also got that storyboard page that I’ve been using for my book scanned so that I could post it here on my blog:

Kris Krampus Storyboard

A lot of those thumbnail sketches used to just look scribble, but it’s really exciting and satisfying to realize that now nearly all of them have been brought to completion!