500 simple steps…Geezz.

A quick visual overview of my art process:


Thumbnail work to map out the scenes to Corina’s Script.


Sketch up with tone layout.


Ink and tone using Art Rage Studio.  This looks simple and I have to fight against my instinct to shade and detail.  The final art style for this project relies on the color and Halftone to finish the rendering process.


Start the coloring process in Photoshop. I use lots and lots of layers in Photoshop.


Finish coloring and tweak colors using photoshop filters.

On to the next scene….


Working out the final scenes









Working on the cliff scene.  Posting the rough out inks and the final inks.  In developing a children’s book art style, the biggest thing I have had to get use to is simple line art then rely on the painting phase to create depth and finish the rendering process. 


Hailey finds the Villain.



Posting a couple of scenes where Hailey discovers the cause of the thunder.

Hailey’s eyes burst open. What was that?!? Rex lowered his horned head and growled at the clouds. More dark gray clouds filled the sky. Lightning streaked between them; it looked like bolts of fire. Hailey’s eyes grew wide. “It is a dragon.” She climbed on top of Rex. “We need to get to the top of that hill. I want to see his face.” Rex snorted his reply; they headed up the hill

Facing Fears head on

I am finally getting to the interesting scenes of the project. This scene features the guardian angel character bravely preparing to fly into the storm. I think the scene turned out more symbolic than I thought it would. – Scott

Over the last few years, I’ve watched my nieces (and now my nephews) explore the world around them, as if every object , every person, every color and shadow were a universe all its own. That childlike wonderment has always given me pause, for behind it there is a sense of discovery and exploration unrivaled in the life of the adult due to one small thing…there is no pause in the curiosity. There is only the leap—hands outstretched to grab hold of every bit of life that rests before their eyes, moments without fear as every detail is studied as if it were the rarest flower or the final sunrise. Looking at the young ones, I have often envied them from time to time—their life without fear.

To watch a child learn to walk—to stumble and fall—only to get back up again and keep moving forward, is a constant reminder that that is the only way to truly live. There is no stopping their life force from rising up like the dawn and moving forward as if there were no roadblock, no tiresome day that drains the energy of scarce free moments at night. Always moving, always discovering, always tackling.

That age of innocence and youth was what I was after when writing Hailey. And I found myself being inspired by the will of the young I once shared to face fears head-on, to leap and not be afraid to fall, only to get up again and move forward to see what else lay ahead. That is the Hailey I imagine. The fearless one. The risk taker. The child I used to see in that reflection of glass, and now see in every child outside the mirror. And it is I, who have found the means to sit in childlike wonderment. Not because of the sense of discovery and exploration of the children I see before me, but for the rediscovery of the fierce female child I once knew myself to be—the one Scott has drawn Hailey to be—and allowed me to rediscover. The fearless lion and lioness in all of us that has the courage to face the storm. To be the one who keeps going when there is no reason in sight. May Hailey’s courage reawaken the fearlessness in you, as she has within me.

-Corina Marie Zurcher


Dimensional Octopus

So my task was to come up with a scene that captures this part of the introduction paragraphs written by Cornia:

“…And I’ll bet you didn’t know that with your magic, every time you dream, you put more stars in the sky every night you fall asleep. Stars are what monsters and beasts fear most, for the more stars in the sky, the more light there is and less darkness for monsters to hide. They like to keep you from your dreams, you know. It is the beasts who want you to be afraid. But there is nothing to fear—not really. For the stars are there to guide you and help you fight against them. …”

After few exploratory sketches I finally settled on the following idea:  A young Hailey sleeping with monsters in her room.


The concept sketch caused me to pause.  Was tentacles of a giant Octopus from another dimension the right monster?  Yes.  Yes it was.   They are odd and cool to draw.  Now Ink and add color:


Hailey’s World: Fairies, Dragons and Unicorns.

Posting a few more introduction scenes to the story. Working out the color schemes as we show you what Hailey sees…

after consulting with my older daughter I decided that insect colors would be fun for the fairies.


I think I need to add more detail on the dragon…. But the scene has potential.  I like the idea of unicorns being dragon hunters…. If needed.


Are All Babies Cute?

Page one baby fin color CLOSE

Are all Babies Cute?  … well I won’t answer that… but if the first page of a children’s book features a baby I hoped I could capture “cute” while weaving in hints of the story to come.

Posts to this little blog should start picking up.  I was able to push through a major personal mental barrier this week and inked a number of pages of the book in the  final art style.  The barrier was accepting the final art style that I have been working on for the past nine months.  When I first started this project, I thought the style was going to be a digital oil painting look.  But as the personality of the project took root, I realized I needed a more joyful look.  Especially as the target audience is young kids 4-8.  Considering I am not a natural cartoonist, I needed to practice and find my style fast…. and get comfortable with it.

So why did it become a barrier in the last few weeks?  Because once I knew I was comfortable with it.  That’s it.  No more excuses.  The progress of the book in on me.   I can’t blame circumstances.

As shown in this post and the header art,  my chosen style is simple line ink, strong bright colors with a painterly blend to them, and I have kept the halftone technique to add texture.

So here is the art for page one:  Pencil, Ink, finished color.




Next Step for page one:  experiment with the layout with Corina’s Text.

additionally, I have a number of other pages in final ink or color stages but I want to post in page order, … So I will be penciling the details for Pages 2, 3, 4, 5.

Thanks for checking out the blog.