Monday, December 1, 2014

Year End Updates

Hello Everyone!

Happy December!  Hope Thanksgiving was a memorable one.

I just looked at the oldest post and...I can't believe it's been a year since we officially started this blog and project!!! 

Alright, moving on.

For those of you who are eager to support us NOW with your donations (instead of waiting for the Kickstarter campaign, see below), we are grateful, and ready to accept any amount!  Please click on the "Support Us" tab above and it will take you to the page that has the info on how to donate as well as the PayPal option. 

Alright, the Kickstarter campaign.  We worked hard but, unfortunately, didn't quite make the deadline that we've set for ourselves, i.e. mid November.  We had the option of pushing for a late November/early December launch but we thought better of it.  December is a very busy time of the year for most people and we didn't want to add to the busy-ness and get lost in the shuffle.  So we've decided to keep on working on the illustrations and marketing campaign but we will wait until February 2015 to launch our Kickstarter.  We hope by then most everyone would have recovered from the holidays and easier to reach out to.

But in the meantime, here are a couple of updates:

Our friend, Emi Endo, has offered to make fliers and other marketing materials!  She is a graphic designer and a writer.  Can't say it enough- I'm very grateful for this.  As soon as we get a sample flyer, we will post it up.

Also, this December 14, our friends Jade Shulist and Annie Frey, have invited me to present the book at their soon-to-be-open kid friendly cafe in Berkeley called The Rec Room.  I don't yet know what I'll do but I'm so excited!

Thanks, Emi, Jade, and Annie!  And thank you for checking in and for your support! 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Video and Translations

Hey All,

We're working on our Kickstarter video which we hope to launch by mid November!    Our resident videographer, Von Hernandez, is hard at work and we can't thank him enough.

Last week, we went to the Blake Garden up in the El Cerrito Hills to shoot the video.  It rained in the morning but by 3:30 the sky cleared up and we managed to get the San Francisco scene (Alcatraz Island, Bay Bridge, skyline, the bay, etc.) in the background.  Blake Garden is where the kids and I used to go for our picnics and is the inspiration for the picnic scenes in the book.  It is always peaceful and calm up there!  (We moved to Davis in July of this year and Blake Garden is one of the things I miss about El Cerrito.)

I've finalized the script for the audio and gotten permission to use music composed by a good friend of mine, Frances Ancheta.   Yey!

I feel so self-conscious, though.  I've been in several dance and theatrical performances before but being in front of the camera freaks me out!  Looking at myself in the video with an objective eye will be a challenge...

 (This is me before facing the camera.)

Additionally, we are adding both Bisaya and Tagalog translations.  Another good friend of mine, Chris Bustos, asked me why there were not going to be translations on the actual pages.  Originally, we planned to provide translation only on one of the back pages.  After Chris' question, I rethought the plan and decided that the book would benefit from Bisaya translations right on the pages in addition to Tagalog translations on the back pages.  This changes our lay-out a bit but it's something we could work with.  I've got Tagalog speaking friends, Ricarte Abejuela and Andreas Santos, helping me out with the translations.  I didn't think I'd need help with Bisaya since I speak it but I'm reaching out to my Bisaya friends for some insight.  Can't hurt! 

Thank you, Von and Frances and Chris and Ricarte and Andreas!  And thank you everybody for keeping in touch and supporting this project!  Happy Halloween! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Inking and Coloring

Hi All,

Where did the months go?  And how quickly!  The kids and I left for the Philippines back in May and that somehow stalled the project.  We also moved to Davis (California) in July and life has been pretty busy since then.

But onward we go.

I had to struggle a bit more with the manuscript.  I was seized with the sudden desire to keep the manuscript (really) short and tight.  I went slashing here and there and must have reduced the word count by half.  Andrew was dismayed when he got the FINAL manuscript.  He said I took out all the fun from the book.  He asked me to think about the drastic changes before he proceeded with his illustrations.  He was nice about it, though.  I valued his opinion so I once again did some soul searching:  who is this book for?  why am I writing it?  etc. etc.  It took me a while but eventually I did finalize the manuscript.  There's no going back now.

Since then, Andrew has been working on the colors.  I got to see all the mini pages loosely colored.  It felt so weird (yes, that's the best I can describe the experience!) to see the book coming together even more.  I know I said this before when I saw the line drawings arranged together in a book form.  I guess each phase just brings us closer to the final book and I am feeling very excited to be seeing the end of each phase.

And so we are off to inking and then coloring.  Below is a preview or sample page.  This is probably about 90% done.

I've also been doing my research on printing options and costs.  When I first started looking into various printers, I was overwhelmed by the options.  Fortunately, Janet Del Mundo, the same person who generously shared with me with her expertise on everything related to children's book publishing, gave me some leads on printers.  I'm pretty confident that the printer I'm going to be using will churn out quality books as they print for big publishers like the (ex) Children's Book Press.

Also, yes, we are getting ready to raise funds.  I spoke too soon in my last post back in April.  We are now targeting a publication date sometime in early 2015.  This time frame gives us about 3 months, until December this year, to finish the illustration and fundraise.  We hope to print and publish sometime in the first three months of 2015.  So please please consider contributing!  More on fundraising soon.

Thanks for the continued support.  Please check again for updates.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Brown is Brown? And Getting Ready to Fundraise


As we move on to the color phase, the big question that crops up is, "how brown is brown?"  Prior to today, I thought I knew what brown meant to me.  Apparently not, judging from the difficulty I'm having in choosing the "right" brown.  There's always more to the process.  Other than choosing the brown, we also have to choose which two tones to use, which finish, whether to go with or without outlines.  These are things that I don't tend to think of on their own.  All I seem to know (and go by) is how I feel when I look at the illustration, whether it's offputting or inviting or however way I'm feeling.  When I have to articulate why, I have trouble expressing the reasons.  Again, lots to learn!

Brown Enough?  Too Brown?  Not the Right Brown?

While Andrew is finalizing the pages, I'm putting together the fundraising materials.  We are targeting to get the illustrations done in the next 2-3 months and hopefully we can raise the money by August (GOSH!  That's only four months to raise at least $10,000.00 to fund a 1,000 print run!)  If we do this, we can aim to get the book published by and shipped back to us by November, just in time for marketing it for the holidays.  One can hope, right?

Chugging along... We can do this...

Thank you for the support!  Seriously.  It means a great deal.  Especially now when I get overwhelmed each time I start thinking of raising some serious cash for the printing.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Editing the Half Page Dummy

Hey All,

The layout phase is over and the half size dummy is in!  It's motivating to see the book take on its physical shape, to be able to turn pages and get a feel for what the book is going to be like!

So- Mike read the book to the boys a few nights ago and Charlie had a lot of questions.  He was clearly proud to have "his" book.  However, his questions brought up a few things about the book.  Because his perspective was fresh, some things that were off were immediately obvious to him.  Basically, the question and answer format confused him.  And if it confused him, I'm sure it would confuse many other readers and listeners, as well.  

This indicates to me that the manuscript needs a little more fine tuning.  In retrospect, the editor did bring this same issue up when she reviewed the manuscript.  I thought I had fixed the issue but apparently I have not.  But I'm confident I will resolve it this time.  I think it's a case of treasuring a "good" idea, hanging on to it and forcing it to fit when it clearly does not.  As Mike wisely said, maybe that idea is really another book waiting to happen. 

So, with a big sigh, I will let go of my good idea (for the moment!) and stick with what's simple and clean and cohesive.

And we move on!  Stick around for the full page dummy (that may or may not have the colors).

Thank you for the support.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quarter Page Phase Done

Happy New Year 2014, everybody!  I hope yours is off to a good start.

Our 2014 is definitely off to a good start.  Andrew and I finished the quarter page part of the layout phase.  I know we still have a long way and a lot more work ahead of us but it's very exciting to see the book start to take on a new life beyond the text!  Andrew sketched seven versions of the text and I got to pick and choose which versions I wanted. 

The craft of illustrating is so foreign to me.  Fortunately, Andrew brings with him so much of talent and expertise to this process.  I'm very thankful to be able to work with and learn from him. 

Here's a quick shot of the quarter page layouts.

We're moving on to the half page layouts after this.  We're getting there!