LAUNCH DAY! Chibi Samurai Wants A Pet Giveaway!! [CLOSED]

Hooray, hooray!! What a big day! Today, August 8th, 2017, is the day Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet is officially released into the world!!! The excitement of publishing a book never wanes, though I STILL feel sheepish about promoting them. I wonder if that will ever go away?

I did something new and made a stop motion video/book trailer with my trusty friend Rachel and also received an extra heaping of help from the lovely Haley and always awesome K. Keep in mind that this is my very first attempt at stop motion video-making so it’s not totally smooth, but hey, I think that’s part of the charm. It was SO MUCH FUN. I printed out a bunch of images from the book and created some video specific images as well, and it felt like we were at camp in the best possible way. Rachel wielded her magic to make things fly and grow and look cohesive. I used Photoshop to edit the images and Smoovie to create the video. I was nervous about the negative reviews I read for Smoovie, and I tried a number of free software that confused the heck out of me at first. Then I downloaded the trial version of Smoovie just to see, and it was such a breeze I decided to get the full version. It’s totally idiot proof and very intuitive, though it doesn’t come with anything fancy like onion-skinning or fading or zooming. Suits me just fine. Now I want to make all sorts of stop motion videos!

I’m preparing for the launch party this weekend, and if you’re in town and especially if you have little kids, I hope you’ll stop on by! Where: Queen Anne Book Company. When: Sunday, August 13th at noon to 2pm-ish.

And what would a blog post from me be without a giveaway, right? I would love to offer up a signed copy of Chibi (as we affectionately call this book and Chibi Samurai) to 2 winners. Any comment will do, but I often get asked what my favorite books were when I was little, so feel free to share if you’d like! The giveaway will be open until next Friday, August 18th! I feel like I don’t need to include this anymore, but international entries are always welcome. Good luck!

Okay, now back to planning a party and working on book #4!

Happy Friday + Hallelujah!

Happy Friday, my friends! I did it! I did it! I completed my rough art for the next book that’s coming out in 2018. Normally, I create digital rough art using only Photoshop brushes like these and these, but I wanted to try a little something different.

For this next book’s rough art, I used only black watercolor and I enjoyed it so much! It’s a different kind of challenge to paint with a single color to create various shades. Surprisingly, it took less time to hand paint than it does to do everything digitally. How could this be? I’m still scratching my head. That’s a bit of a sneak peek of the next book up there. It’s a continuation of the Little Kunoichi series and the ninja world is going to keep expanding.

Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet will be out on August 8th, which feels just around the corner. I’ll be doing a mini PNW book tour, so Portlanders: if you have recommendations for awesome places to stay and eat, I’d love to hear ’em!

What’s nice is that with each book, I’m learning from previous mistakes and developing a system that minimizes stress, so I don’t feel quite as drained after each phase. Hooray!

Now I have a slight respite until final art is due mid-September, so I’m going to go full hog in preparing for my upcoming Japan trip. We fly out June 24th! Because we’re traveling with K’s school, there’s so much paperwork involved…better get to it.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Painting bonanza
and loving each progression
book-making is FUN

P.S. Furoku members! The next edition has been delivered!

Happy Friday + Little K Turns TWO

By Sasha

Happy Friday, my friends! It’s Thursday afternoon as I type this and it’s hailing. Massive amounts of raindrops are thrashing against our window panes that don’t seem up to the task and thunder and lightning and sunshine are adding to the confusing yet exciting mix. By the time you read this (if it’s Friday), I will be headed out of town with M and K for a little weekend getaway in Roslyn. Let’s hope the weather gets better.

Left: By Dylan // Right: Ines

So! May 5th is not only Children’s Day but Little Kunoichi’s 2nd birthday!! How amazing. I am currently up to my eyeballs with sketches and illustrations for my next book that will be published in 2018, and yesterday, an advance copy of Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet arrived on my doorstep. I still have a hard time believing that this is all happening.

Left: S.C. (this is debatable) // Right: Poppy

I did not get my act together enough for a fun giveaway or celebratory post, but I wanted to acknowledge this special day somehow. I remembered that last January I had taught a watercolor class to a group of elementary school kids and about a month later, I received a big envelope stuffed with wonderful thank you cards from the kids. I became very emotional – they’re brilliant, just brilliant! What better way to commemorate my very first book than by sharing these special cards inspired by Little K?

By Beth

There were so many cards and because the names weren’t all entirely legible, I chose a few that I could decipher and that I felt captured the energy of the kids.

Left: Valentine // Right: Max

I love how fearless children are about making art. How do we allow them and encourage them to keep that fearlessness?

It’s been a dream-like adventure since Little K flew out into the world. I don’t think my self from five years ago would recognize my current self that is whistling away and drawing cute ninjas and samurais. I feel like I’ve somehow regained a tiny little bit of fearlessness. I like it.

Left: Leo // Right: Coral

Anyway, I’ll be celebrating away this weekend (and sketching/illustrating like crazy) and I hope you all have a terrific one too!

Two years go by quick
There’s much to appreciate
And that includes you*

* I don’t think it’s possible to thank you enough. Although my postings are far less frequent, I’m so grateful that you stop by and preserve that sense of community that I love so much. Thank you, thank you!

 

Happy Friday + Sewing Happiness Anniversary

Happy Friday! Somehow I totally missed that this Wednesday was the one year anniversary of Sewing Happiness. A whole year! Yesterday, I attended a marketing meeting for Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet coming out in August and I’m currently working on the illustrations for the book that is slated to be released in 2018, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied…

It’s interesting because I think Sewing Happiness is doing just as well as Little Kunoichi in terms of sales, which I hadn’t expected. I was gently warned that because the book topic is so niche, it was a gamble. A crapshoot, if you will. Then again, every book is a gamble and nothing is ever guaranteed. All I know is that I love making books. Absolutely love it. I want to keep creating books and I want to keep improving my skills. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to do this, especially with Sasquatch Books/Little Bigfoot.

I received many wonderful responses for Little K, but maybe it’s because the content was so personal — the emails and feedback I’ve received from people who read Sewing Happiness have been so heartfelt and candid in astonishing and humbling ways. I’ve always been prone to tears, but it’s been a year of consistently wiping at tear-stained cheeks. Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out!

I often get asked, “What’s your favorite project from the book?” I have origami pillows and fabric buckets scattered all over my little abode, and the eco bags and knit dresses often come in handy, but the most used and loved item I sewed is the cross-back apron. Hands down. I made about ten of them for the book, and I wear one every day (I have them hanging on a hook in the kitchen and will grab one that strikes my fancy — I can even wear some of the kid’s versions because I made the straps adjustable).

A little behind the scenes: this image was cropped in for the final, and the bamboo stick was tied to a nail above the kitchen doorway on one end and a curtain rod on the other end…

I listen to a lot of audio books and podcasts, and the pocket that’s part of my many aprons is perfect for my phone. I wear it when I cook, do dishes, paint and sew. There’s something comforting about donning a long apron and puttering about the house. If you have the book, have you tried any of the projects?

See how the fabric was taped to the wall? This image didn’t make the cut, but I liked it.
I actually preferred my hair down, but the powers-that-be thought my messy bun was better so that’s the version that ended up in the book. K is holding extra sprinkles in her scooped left hand there.

I need to dive back into illustrating now, but I plan to do a round-up of projects I’ve seen from Sewing Happiness around the web and on Instagram. They’re so awesome!!

Have a delightful weekend, all!

A year goes by fast
Book babies are so lovely
J’adore my lit kids

P.S. The images are outtakes from the photoshoots. Styled by the incomparable Rachel and shot by the always fun George.

My next book! Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet

chibi-cover

Hello, my friends! I know that updates here have been sporadic and unpredictable these days, but I have a pretty good reason. I’ve been deeply involved in book-making fun and my hours are spent dreaming up stories and images for the printed page. When I startle back into “real life”, I’m amazed to realize that days and weeks have passed.

I’m SUPER excited to share the next book in what is now the Little Kunoichi series!!!!!!! Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet is already available for preorder but will be officially released on August 8, 2017. I’m totally, utterly and unabashedly head-over-heels in love with this book. The message I tried to include is one of my core guiding tenets and I had a spectacular time painting the illustrations.

Danielle of the lovely blog This Picture Book Life did a sweet cover reveal post about the book, and I hope you’ll hop on over to read more about it. I share a bit about my illustration process and the thought sequence that led to the cover.

You know, sometimes I can’t believe this is my life. I’m currently working on the next book in the series, and it’s magical. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It all started with this little blog, and I give this space a virtual hug of appreciation every day even if I don’t update it as regularly as I used to. For now, I’m heading back into dreamland, but I will be back with an SVE wrap-up later this week! xo