Last year I was lucky enough to illustrate a children's book for the first time. And was written by Kerri Monnerat and Olivia Chalkley, and it is available for purchase here.

Depicted above is the first spread in the book. I painted the book by hand with a combination of watercolor and gouache, and then touched it up on photoshop. I wanted the book to have multiple scenes per page with dialogue boxes like a comic book. I added the grassy border to give it a classic children's book feel. The border also has ants hidden in the grass in different places throughout the book, because I always enjoyed looking for hidden details like this as a kid. I also created a font out of my handwriting for the dialogue boxes. I enjoyed making up my own back stories for the 2 main characters as a way to chose their clothing styles. For example, I gave Bobby a Tie Dye T-shirt because I imagined his parents as new-age hippies who love jam-bands and good vibes. I based the architecture of the elementary school off of a school in my neighborhood in Asheville, North Carolina. The school is called Claxton Elementary. I chose it because I felt the design was inspired by greek architecture. I wanted the school to have an uplifting and inspiring look.
I made this ampersand with photoshop as a coloring page for the activities section.
Here is a quick description for the story:

"And? And is just one word. How is that helpful?"
Bobby is getting ready to go away to summer camp for the first time and is having a lot of feelings all at once. He's excited but he's also scared and worried. These big feelings are causing Bobby to feel terrible and act out, even being mean to his best friend Milo.
Lucky, Milo remembers feeling the same way when he first went to summer camp until he learned the power of AND. He shares his experience and what he has learned with Bobby and helps his friend overcome his fear.
AND is a book about feelings, friendship, and the permission to feel multiple, conflicting feelings all at once.
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