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Tag Archives: Steven the Vegan

My Interview with FreeFromHarm.org

FreeFromHarm.org recently contacted me about doing an interview regarding my children’s book, Steven the Vegan. FreeFromHarm.org is an in-depth news and information source for all things regarding animal rights, and veganism. I’m very excited that the book is starting to get recognition in the vegan community.

Check out the interview here.

 

Steven the Vegan on VeganCuts.com

Today, Steven the Vegan was promoted on VeganCuts.com VeganCuts is an amazing service that offers deals on vegan products ranging from foods, to … books! While I was completing the layouts of the pages I contacted VeganCuts and asked if my book was something they’d like to offer. (Duh!) Of course, they said yes.

Be sure to checkout the deal at VeganCuts.com and sign up for their newsletter to get deals on other vegan products!

 

A cover for Steven the Vegan

The cover for my next book, Steven the Vegan is done. Well, the front cover anyway. Ron and I have been using Skype to share his computer screen and to talk. This allows us to collaborate even more effectively on our work. (Isn’t technology wonderful … take that Amish!)

It was important for the cover to be colorful, and cute to a degree of putting someone into a diabetic coma. Ron’s ability to draw cute animals could put anyone into sugar shock. We both agree, using Skype is definitely more effective. I can tell him he’s doing it wrong, he can tell me I’m crazy, we can both compromise and BAM! we have another successful project.

We have already agreed that this will be the way we will work together on our next projects like Fields of Dreams, and Eartha 2. (Oh was I not suppose to mention the sequel to Eartha the Sea Turtle?)

Right now, Ron and I are also going over each page. Usually, he would send over a page, and I would critique it and send it back with some notes. Now, with Skype, we can actually work together and talk it out.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to see a cover for the book. What do you think of it?

UPDATE : The cover has been updated. As you can see, Steven’s palm is now open where the baby chick stands.

 

Kickstarter.com for projects

I recently created a project on Kickstarter.com for my latest book Steven the Vegan. The way Kickstarter.com works is like this. I setup rewards for people based on a specific donation about. For example, for $5.00 you can get a PDF version of the book when it’s available. For $15.00 you get a signed copy by myself and Ron Robrahn the illustrator. For $750.00 you get the signed copy, and a character in the book named after you.

In essence, Kickstarter.com allows you to “sell” your product, before it’s complete. No money changes hands until the project is fully funded.

Ron and I plan to use Kickstarter.com for our future projects as well, including Fields of Dreams.

Check out our project at Kickstarter.com

What’s up with Steven?

As many of you know, my next book, Steven the Vegan, is currently being illustrated by my long time friend, and buddy, Ron Robrahn (Hi Ron! <insert waving hand here>).

I thought it would be a treat to share one of the drawings as they reach their final stage.

There is a page in the book where Steven is asked “Which part of the chicken is the nugget?” A question I’m sure we all asked ourselves at some point, whether seriously, or humorously. (Is that a word?)

Here is the sketch Ron did for the page.

And here is the (near) finished color version of the sketch.

Pretty cool huh? I can’t tell you how great it is to see a story come to life… even if it is 2D.

Kindred Spirits Sanctuary

In my latest book, Steven the Vegan, a group of children visit a farm sanctuary where Steven shares with his friends the reason he doesn’t eat animals. Farm sanctuaries are places where farm animals go to live out their lives, free from the slaughter house destiny that plagues their species.

Part of writing a convincing story is research. I wanted to research farm sanctuaries and find out more about them. That led me to the Kindred Spirits Sanctuary in Ocala, Florida. The Sanctuary encompasses 36 beautiful acres. There are about  150 sanctuary residents. The animals living there are called residents, because that’s what they are. The residents receive around-the-clock care, carefully controlled diets, spacious barns, and green pastures to graze.

I am planning a visit to the sanctuary very soon, and hope to meet some of these amazing residents. According to the care taker, each of the residents has a unique personality, and their special needs are seen to. I cannot wait to get there and meet some of the residents.

Sometime research can be fun! Check out The Kindred Spirits Sanctuary and learn about some of their residents.

How to write and illustrate a children’s book, maybe.

I received some more storyboard sketches for Steven’s book today. As I looked over these storyboards I was trying to decide if I want to post these sketches as sort of a “How it was done.” documentary. This would share with all of you how the process of writing and illustrating a children’s book is done.I know it seems that writing and illustrating is easy, but it actually is an ongoing process that changes and evolves. Recently Ron, my illustrator, and I discussed adding some additional pages to get the visual story across better. These pages were not in the original story outline.

Adding pages adds more to the equation than just more content. You have to take into consideration printing costs, the added weight to the book, and shipping costs. Additional changes may include character changes. Sometimes physical changes to the characters occur later in the development. Those changes impact earlier drawings. For instance, let’s say we we realize that a character should be wearing a specific style of shirt, but we don’t realize this until 15 pages in. So this causes us to redesign the beginning of the book.

Like I said, it’s not as simple as it sounds.

So, what do you think? Should I post the storyboards? Leave comments and let me know.

Steven gets a web site

Steven the Vegan LogoOkay, this post name sounds like the title of an After School Special, but it’s not. My second book, Steven the Vegan which is currently being illustrated is getting its own web site. I have been working with a friend I found through Twitter.com Chris Spooner (Spoooooon!) on a design for Steven’s web site. Chris did the graphic design of the web site for Eartha the Sea Turtle and I knew when I was ready I’d have him design Steven’s.

Eartha’s web site is primarily geared toward the book and free coloring pages, whereas Steven’s web site will be a blog. The blog will include recipes, and interesting information on a vegan lifestyle. Many people do not know the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian. Some believe that vegan is a shorter word variation for vegetarian. I assure you it is not.

Steven’s book was inspired by the notion that young kids today will have a hard time explaining to their peers the concept of a vegan. Additionally, kids are finicky eaters. I am going to focus on kid-friendly vegan recipes, including vegan mac & cheese, sandwich wraps and more.

I have recently signed up with Kitchen Monki, an online resource for sharing recipes, planning meals and more. I will be embedding the recipes I put there on Steven’s web site.I am also teaming up with Meatless Monday to promote a monday meal, without meat. All the meals can be made by anyone. Whenever possible I will include links to where people can purchase the ingredient, but in most cases local grocery stores will have them.

Of course the site will also serve as a way to promote the upcoming book. I feel these affiliation will assist with the marketing of the book. We’ll find out in due time. 🙂

Links : Kitchen Monki, Meatless Monday, Spoon Graphics

An awesome illustrator

I’ve started receiving sketches of the illustration for my next book, Steven the Vegan. My illustrator, and long time friend Ron Robrahn is bringing my vision to life. Ron has always been an amazing artist. He does a great job of taking words on a page, and breathing life into them. You could tell him you want to see an orangutan in a kitchen making toast,  upset that the jar of jam is empty, and he would whip it up in no time flat. (Why do I have a feeling that when he reads this, he will draw it.)

In high school, Ron and I created a computer animated cartoon and won the Art Contest that year. Ron drew the characters on graph paper, and I recreated them pixel by pixel on an old Apple IIe using a program called Take II. Each frame was custom drawn, and edited. I can’t remember how long it took us, but it only lasted about twenty seconds, and that included a commercial interruption.

After high school, Ron and I lost touch. We occasionally were able to reach each other, and I learned he was doing caricatures for Disney in Orlando. I had already hired an illustrator for “The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle” when I found him on Facebook.com. I sent him a PDF of the book, and asked him to “draw” Eartha. Of course, he nailed it. He created some illustrations for the web site, and I knew he would be illustrating my next book.

We bounced some ideas around. Ron has some characters he already has created that we are looking into putting into print. My latest book, Steven the Vegan, is what he is illustrating now. I described Steven to him, and BAM again, he nailed it. Below is a sample sketch of what some of the illustrations will look like. I am extremely glad to be working with Ron on this, and hope to be working with him for a long, long time.

Sample Sketches

Meet Steven the Vegan

Steven

Here is a preliminary drawing of Steven from the upcoming book, Steven the Vegan. Steven will be joined by several classmates. As progress continues, I will post updates here. Very excited for this book, and to be working with my long time friend, Ron.