Several years ago I tried to illustrate one of my uncle’s stories. When I was 10, my family made the 20 hour drive from Cleveland up to Minneapolis to visit my dad’s brother Dave, his wife Peggy and daughter Heather. At that time, in the early 60’s, he starred in a Children’s Entertainment show called Dave Lee and Pete the Penguin. We were fortunate to be able to visit the stage and see how it all worked and later I was thrilled to be walking down the street holding his hand while children passing would all point and exclaim,”It’s Dave Lee!”
Thirty five years later, after my children were grown, we attended a family reunion in San Diego where Dave lived, he being the only one from that generation to still be alive. I was constantly amazed at his memory and how he remembered all five of us, his brother’s children, and who we married, where we all lived, etc. I started asking him questions about the Dave Lee show and asked him if he still had any of those stories he told on TV. These stories came out of the “top of his head” each morning and were usually about animals personified. He later sent me a packet of around 20 stories, mimeographed (like the old machine I used to help run in the school office in 1962!)
It took me forever to illustrate one of the stories because I am a “copy” artist; if I can see it, I can paint it! I Googled “Polar Bears” and traced every picture I could fine, finally finding enough poses to complete the illustrations for the book. Published on Lulu.com, I think I sold a dozen or so, all purchased by me!
Desperately wanting to try again and knowing what a grueling task it was for me delayed my second attempt until, sadly, Uncle David passed away.
While carousing through Etsy.com, I noticed a hand-drawn avatar that I liked, contacted the artist and Nalin Solis agreed to illustrate one of my uncle’s books! You can view the book and even purchase it on my Etsy site!
plan on attending the SCBWI Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Summer Conference in LA August 3-6. I’ve got lots of reading to do in order to figure out how it all works. More later….