In an earlier post, I talked of how my story for Never Catch a Netherpott started as a short story written in hopes to be published in a magazine, and how it later became the story for my book.
For any book to happen, I needed to try my hand at drawing these characters. I used to love to draw. In elementary school, my friends and I would draw for fun at sleepovers, usually drawing our favorite superheroes or mapping out video game designs. I really enjoyed art class in high school and I could sail through class easily enough with my so-called skill, but utilizing it in a book meant for the "masses" was quite another thing altogether.
So, one day, I went off to a coffee shop nearby and put colored pencil to paper. Here was my first attempt at the character of Ethan:
Ha ha! Are you kidding me? I almost gave up right there. (Maybe should've too, but I still had coffee to drink.)
So, I thought it best to change things quite up a bit. I kept trying. Here was try # 2:
Was this an improvement? I thought so, yes. I kind of felt I was on to something here.
A little momentum and a slight coffee buzz can do a lot for some creative self esteem. So I drew another.
I was really feeling the red puffy down vest at this point. I thought for sure I had found my Ethan. He had his fishing hat and everything. Why wouldn't the world feel the same as I felt about this character? Mission accomplished, right? I grabbed up my art supplies and headed home, proud and ready to show my wife this great thing that I was going to make. I just knew she would be as excited about this as I was.
She said he looked like an old man.
She said kids wouldn't like him. (She was so right, of course, but at that moment...I didn't quite agree.)
So a few days later I went back to the coffee shop and tried again. Finally...I found my character.
The story for "Never Catch a Netherpott" started as an assignment I had done while attending The Institute of Children's Literature. I wrote it intending to submit it to magazines as a short story.
I started messing around with drawing again, and to my pleasant surprise, I could still decently draw. So, after some edits, some hours logged on GIMP (a program like Photoshop), and learning a desktop publisher, I put together this little book.
After some serious thought, I decided to go the "self-publishing" route. Since I did the art as well as the story, and the cover design and interior layouts, I figured I could give it a try on my own. I figured most traditional publishers do most of that work in-house, and I may have gone beyond the phase in which they are looking to use, in terms of writers.
So, no publishing contract, no bragging rights, etc. Though I do know this. I followed through with something. I kept going, when normally I would've stopped or started something else. I learned a ton. I am having fun. I am hard at work on the 2nd book.