Just for fun, and because my blog has been on the back burner far too long, I thought I would post some of the illustrations I did for my series, since they have become obsolete. Perhaps you’re wondering why I didn’t include the illustrations in the trilogy when I republished. (Perhaps not but I’m going to tell you anyway).
When I went to a local school with my books to talk to two fifth grade classes, I talked about the story, and showed them my website. I had them captivated with the Tall Ship adventure, and intrigued with instructions on how to build a yurt. They were entranced with the tale and I think that had I been allowed to offer my book for sale to their parents, they all would have raised their hands. I let them ask me questions and when they were done I asked them a question.
I asked, “how do you feel about illustrations in the books you read?”
It was unanimous. My target audience didn’t like pictures. Why? Because pictures were for chapter books. Pictures were for books for young readers, and of course being in the fifth grade, they weren’t young anymore. They were ready for big people things.
That’s when I made my decision not to illustrate my stories any longer.
Of course, there are some kids who like the images in my books. Say, for instance, the children I used as models. (Insert a wink here!) Like Elijah, (portrait below) who posed for young Ian in the first book! The son of a my daughter’s friend, I knew Elijah since he was a baby. He made a perfect Ian and there are still more photos I have of him that I’d love to paint.
His sister’s painting never made it into a book, but the idea was to have a model for the young Cassie (of Cassandra’s Castle) when she appears as a dream in Rubies and Robbers (which is now known as part three in the trilogy Ian’s Realm Saga). I can’t find the file at the moment but I did do a color portrait of her.
Two other young people made it into Ian’s Realm Saga. Cheyenne, whose image represents Abbi as a young girl. Cheyenne posed for me several times, once at the Tilbury Event, which I will tell you more about on another blog post, and again on horseback. I think these photo sessions were memorable for her, because she’s since offered to pose for me whenever I need someone. Hopefully that will be soon. I love including people in my stories even if I’m not going to physically put the images in the books.
Below are Ian and Abbi entering Alcove Forest on horseback, led by Ian’s father. This is just before they meet Xylon for the first time, the little computer character who warns them about the dragon. A fun scene!
To avoid riding in the sun, Alex veered west, following a fork that left the prairie and entered the forest. As they moved from soft dirt to a bumpy path of rocks and roots, Callie lost her footing, tripped, and sent Abbi bouncing off the saddle onto the ground, screaming.
Alex jumped off his horse and ran to help her.
“I’m OK,” she said.
Ian dismounted. When his feet touched the ground, he heard a grunting sound, alternating with coughs, murmurings, and a clearing of the throat.
“Dad,” Ian whispered. “Listen.”
Alex drew his sword as Ian cautiously stepped next to him; together their eyes scanned the brush and undergrowth of the woods. The sun was high above them and its light glistened through the trees onto the sword ferns. No breeze broke the stillness, only the hum of an occasional horsefly. They saw no one, and yet the grumbling continued.
“Oh no,” Abbi gasped, scooting backwards on the ground. Her surprise turned into a laugh. “Look.” She pointed to a figure in front of her.
A little, bearded man no more than a few inches high wearing black knee breeches and red suspenders was frantically beating a dusty baseball cap across his pant leg. He stopped long enough to punch his fist into the cap.
“Dad, look. It’s the little guy I made on the computer last year.” Ian knelt next to him, thrilled, eyes sparkling with delight.
“So it is,” Alex said.
The little man looked up in shock, and when he saw them all gawking at him, he struck a salute. “At your service, sir,” he said. He held his cap behind his back with his other hand.
“How darling,” Abbi said.
The little man gave her a disapproving look.
Ian scooted closer to him. The creature was the same little avatar he had designed in Anima Draw last year; somewhat balding with curly black whiskers under his chin, and squinty blue eyes topped by bushy white eyebrows. His cheeks were rosy red and he sported a black mole next to his left eye, a detail that Ian had been careful to include.
“You talk?” Ian laughed, surprised and in awe seeing his animated character move about like a real person.
The little man glanced up at him with a grimace. “You do too,” he snickered.
“I didn’t make you to talk.”
“Well, sir, I do. And if you would kindly keep your four-legged beasts from knocking me over and destroying my cap, I would say ‘thank you’.”
Unfortunately you won’t find any more of my books with illustrations. But that’s okay because really, now they’re for grown ups, and the words should be illustration enough, at least that is my attempt.
You can find these words and more in the novel Ian’s Realm Saga. Keep an eye on my Facebook page if you ever want to be in a book, though because just recently I had some models come pose for a cover of my latest.