A Year of Kids' Books #12

I am into the concept stage for the character design for the next book about Snailiarty. This book was (as most of them have been) inspired by my daughters and one of their toys and some of the amazing things they've said over the past year. I have decided to do the book digitally from start to finish because I am going to broadcast some of the work on Twitch.Tv. 

I am continuing to refine how I use Twitch and am planning to very soon incorporate youtube as well. This blog will never die, though, since writing is something that I hope to never stop doing. But since it is so easy to make videos now, it doesn't really make sense to rely on a single medium for communication. The same is true for making art; I will keep doing watercolors, and I will keep working with physical materials as well, and I will also start to make some of those available for purchase. More on that sometime soon.

Here is the little painting I did of Snailiarty on a leaf. I'm not sure this is the version of the character that I am going to go with, but I like it enough to show the world. I thought I might paint it to get an oil(y) painting feel, but I haven't done enough oil painting to be happy with the results. Maybe at some point I'll move away from the line work and focus more on an oil painting style, but for now I'm focused on drawing and coloring the way that I do it best. 

Thanks to all for your support.

Snailiarty "resting" on a leaf.

Snailiarty "resting" on a leaf.

A Year of Kids' Books #11

It's been a rough couple of weeks here finding time to get all the things done that need to be done. I'm sure any parent can relate to times like this. I'll say more about my Grandma in a separate post, but she passed away last week, and even though I didn't spend as much time around her as my cousins did, she still showed me all the love in the world whenever I was lucky enough to be near her.

Igor the Elephant is a Big Ole Grump (the working title for this current book project) is basically done...still. But I have given myself a little more time to look at the illustrations and the story before I send it out on April second. I'll wait until the second to prevent any presses from deleting the submission under the assumption that it is obviously an April fools' joke. (And that joke is the kind that I think Granny would've liked because it hurts no one.)

This camel looking over its shoulder at a control tower is the beginning of some illustration work that I plan to do for my collection  waiting for the Enemy . I'm not sure about the style yet, but this is a starting point. 

This camel looking over its shoulder at a control tower is the beginning of some illustration work that I plan to do for my collection waiting for the Enemy. I'm not sure about the style yet, but this is a starting point. 

Happy Monday.

Random Art Post

I fell off on this for a while. We had some travel plans and other stuff going on. Anyway. Here is something I was working on for my girls. It’s a Gobleen (that’s how my oldest daughter pronounces goblin). She wanted a blue gobleen, so that’s what this is. I did it in colored pencil, and I made it waaaaaaaaaay too big. It took forecer just to get it to this stage, and I still have layering to do in order to finish it up.  

 

Possibly this will be something I do a book with in the future. For now, Grit the Gobleen is just looking off in the distance and pointing.  

 

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A Year of Kids' Books #10 Thank you, family!

This post is less about the books than it is just a public thank you to my family for being so supportive of what I am trying to do this year.  I want them to know that it means a lot to me that they care enough about what I am doing to ask questions: even if most of the stories I am writing are not much more than elephants who need naps and snails who eat too much of the wrong thing. 

This is a triceratops' skull I did in blue because my daughter loves blue and she loves dinosaurs.

This is a triceratops' skull I did in blue because my daughter loves blue and she loves dinosaurs.

The reason their interest matters so much is because I know there are kids out there (and plenty of adults) who do not get much support from friends and family when it comes to the work they're doing. So if you happen across this post and you're one of those people who feel like no one is paying attention to your work, don't give up on it. If you really believe in the value of what you are doing, then it is worth it to struggle on. You may have to redefine what success and happiness mean to you, but that's all part of adapting to the world you live in. 

This is a Robot 1 concept. He'll be hanging out with me for a while as I get to work on the next book. I wonder why he's blue....

This is a Robot 1 concept. He'll be hanging out with me for a while as I get to work on the next book. I wonder why he's blue....

I have a bit of "inventory" to do on this book to make sure it's ready to go, and then it'll be time to start the next one. Hooray for the boring parts of writing a book. 

Have a great week. We're gonna do our best to over here.

A year of Kids’ Books #9

Dozer and Pinky run home to tell Mama Panda how they helped Igor the Elephant,

Dozer and Pinky run home to tell Mama Panda how they helped Igor the Elephant,

I am (most likely) a mere cover image away from sending this book out to presses. Once the book is complete, I’ll start work on a new one that I’ll do beginning to end on Twitch.TV I don’t mean I’ll do every single part of it live; anyone who has ever written anything (or for some sick reason watched someone write something from beginning to end) should know that there is a lot of what appears to be goofing off (to quote Bill Watterson) during the process of drafting and revision. That doesn’t make for interesting viewing. I guess one could argue that none of this does, but I would argue that I don't care because I don't have the time or patience to alter the pursuit of my dreams based on the fancies of random people I owe nothing to. If you're bothered by that statement, then you are a person I do not care about.

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There are a lot more Pinky the Panda Bear books to come. I've begun work on the animated audio books as well (I’m building the locations as time permits), and I am extremely excited to get these characters out and exploring their world in book form and then as animated characters too.  

This is all slow going. It will continue to be for quite some time. But each painting I do, each drawing I do, and each little scene I write helps me to make the next creation better.

Have a great week. We'll do our best to have a great one too.

 

A Year of Kids' Books #8

The Spirit Panda Tree where Pinky's family goes to remember their ancestors.

The Spirit Panda Tree where Pinky's family goes to remember their ancestors.

This is the eighth official post for the year of children's books. This book is nearly done. Once I finish up the last watercolor, I'll digitize all the paintings (do color correction and clean up), and then send out to a few places in the next couple weeks: so long as nothing crazy comes up. I'll cross my fingers.

In addition to this book, I've been spending some time trying to figure ou what the best medium is for getting these locations created so that I can use them in the animations as well as the books to create a level of consistency in the world between the book forms and the animated ones. Watercolors take (me) a long time, but when I did this tree in colored-pencil I realized that colored pencils take me a long time too. So if I want the books to be the best I can make them, then it's gonna take a while. I could slop each book together with no concern for how they look each time, but I'd rather be proud of the work I do even if no one other than my wife and kids ever see it. 

I really like the texture the colored pencils added here, and I am working on a little animated short about Pinky and Dozer visiting the Spirit Bear Tree that I think should be pretty easy to finish. I'll keep refining this stuff as I go until I eventually (I hope) fall into the right combination of mediums to tell the stories the way I want to, which I hope is the same as the way they are meant to be told. 

The twitch broadcasting will continue, and I am hoping that once I get these books and short animations rolling that I'll figure out a way to make this sustainable without using Patreon, but if it comes down to it, I have a Patreon page set up and ready to go. More on that in the event that it goes live. But for now, I'm hoping to avoid it. 

Thanks so much to all who are following this. Any interest at all means a lot to me.

Oh. And here is "Robot Fry" walking. One of these days I'll finish the little music video.

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Have a great week.

A Year of Kids’ Books #7

So I am almost two full working months into this year's kids' book project, and I am closing in on completing my first book that I'll submit. To all of you who've asked if the books are available to buy: they are not finished, but thank you very much for your interest.

My plan for these books is to seek traditional publication once they're done. I am not against self-publishing (I've done it before), but until I have the kind of household name that allows me to self-publish and generate enough sales to make it so that the work I put in pays out more than I put in, it doesn't make sense to do it on my own. In any case, I really appreciate the kind words and comments from friends and family, and the moment the books are available, I will let people know. 

That's a lot of watercolors on the floor.

That's a lot of watercolors on the floor.

The past week was a little rough. Everyone in the house got sick, and we did some home improvement stuff (and it was Valentine’s Day). But things are back in full-swing again on the twitch stream, and I hope to soon get the youtube channel up and running as well.   

Here is the link to the most current twitch stream where I talk a little about character design while sketching up two more pages for the book in progress. Click the button to check it out.

Thanks for all who’ve popped in and said hello on twitch. I know it happens early, but there is no other time I can work. So it means a lot that anyone at all takes the time to say hi. If you can't sleep, I'll be there every Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 5:30 a.m. till 6:30 a.m. unless the girls wake early, and then I will leave you hanging. And I will not be sorry about it.

Another week down. Back to it.

 

 

A Year of Kids’ Books #6

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This has been a bit of a slow week as far as progress on the current book goes. But the first draft of the next book is about done, and I do have a few more of the sketches for the current book finished up. As I near the end of the work on this first book, I have started to get ready for the "pseudo-animated" versions of the books that I'll be doing for my youtube channel. This is mostly for my daughters (at least initially), but they'll be available on Youtube for anyone to watch when they're done. Animation take a long time if you want to do a Hal-way decent job, but that's true of most things. Fortunately we have computers top speed things up a bit.

Anyway. Two books are done, and I am hoping to get this third one done bye the middle of next month. 

Don't be afraid to stop by my twitch channel to see what I am working on. I do the work from 5:30 till 6:30 a.m. EST, so most likely you aren't awake when it's going on. But the videos are there to watch anytime (for free in case there was any question.) 

View the channel by clicking the button below.

 

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

 

New Potty Chart

Potty training is on my mind all the time, and in order to try and make it fun when possible, I've been making potty charts with Pinky Panda Bear for my daughter to get excited about. Because I want to make sure it keeps being engaging and fun for her, I've added a character to each of the charts. Eventually this will become untenable, but for the moment, it's not a big deal. She requested Nick the Beaver this time (he's an engineer who builds all the things that Pinky, Dozer, and Igor use to go on their adventures. Yesterday he built a robot to clean up their play room. It didn't go well (but that means there'll be a book, so I guess it went well overall.)

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Here is the Potty Chart:

Hopefully she like the way Nick turned out. I think he looks all right. But he'll keep on changing as I figure out more about the way Pinky and the other characters should look and move in the world I'm building. 

All right. Back to making. Thanks to everyone for your support. 

A year of kids' books #5

Last week I streamed a lot of prep work for the pages I'll be doing in watercolor and ink for the book I am currently at work on. The roughs below are just some of the work I did on the stream.

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This one I did the watercolor for already.

This one I did the watercolor for already.

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This is a longer children's book than I've done before (32 pages or so), so it's a bit more of a challenge getting enough illustrations (and making sure that those illustrations are the right ones.) But the best way to get better at a thing is to continue to challenge yourself, and I am going to keep doing that.

I have two books completed already this year, and I am excited to show the second one once it arrives (Shutterfly sent it to my old house....) But this book seems like it may take me a couple more weeks depending on what kind of parenting and commission demands come my way (both sets of demands are a blessing; that is not sarcasm for anyone who may be confusing my present self with my self from the olden days).

So I'll continue to build and customize the twitch channel while I work away at this book, and then when it's time for the next book, that's what the channel will focus on. (I will stream a game now and then as well, but that will be rare considering gaming is not a high priority for me at the moment). 

If you are interested in seeing what I'm up to on twitch, please stop by. I'll be posting the videos (or at least the ones that have some kind of lesson or value) to youtube at some point so people can stumble across them whenever they please, and I may make a few tutorials here and there. My main focus this year is kids' books with Pinky Panda Bear, Dozer Panda, and Igor the Elephant and finding those books a home with a press that believes in what I'm doing, and that means I won't be spending a bunch of time creating any kind of content that is unrelated to that goal.

Please check out the twitch channel, consider following me even if you can't make it to the stream (since it is free and helps me out). And if you don't know what twitch is, then I will gladly explain it to you in detail. Amazon bought it, so it's not going away anytime soon.

Here is where you can find me on twitch:

Thanks for your support. Keep on making. I will too.

Last stream of the week.

I worked on the bunk beds that Dozer and Pinky Panda Bear sleep in today while talking to a couple folks who showed up to hang out. 

Feel free to check out the channel and a big thank you to Beardedninja for the donation. Every dollar helps me make the channel better.  

You can see the latest stream by following the link below. Keep on making. I will too.  

 https://www.twitch.tv/videos/224886192

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Random Art Post: Dozer Excited

Here is what I worked on today during my twitch stream. It's a reference image I made to prep for the watercolor I'll do later this week.

That's what the channel BDJ Makes is all about: making things.

This year I am making kids' books, and if you check out the stream live or on demand, then you'll get to see much of the work that involves. You'll see mistakes, and you'll see failures and successes. 

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You can see the stream (and listen to a little convo about a potential commission by clicking the button below.)

Thanks to all who've checked it out so far. Don't be afraid to follow me there. It's free, and every follow helps me out. Happy Wednesday.

Twitchin’

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In order to hold myself accountable and to continue to build a community around BDJ Makes, I’ll be doing Twitch streams of my digital character designs and prep work for the watercolors and more. Theae are gonna be at like 5 am EST, but if you want to check it out later, they’ll be available to watch on Twitch on demand (until they expire there), and I'll also post them on my Youtube channel where they'll remain until the internet dies. I'

If you want to come chat with me while I’m working and see what I’m up to, this is one of the best ways to do it. Be advised that any stream may end immediately when one of my daughters wakes. But that just makes it more exciting for everyone, right?

Click the button below to check out my twitch channel. And if it is something you're interested in, please don't be afraid to subscribe. It's free, and it helps me.