Gunther the Underwater Elephant.
This is a story that I began writing when my children were all at home. I was working full time and had only the kitchen table to draw and paint on, only the kitchen walls to hang the finishes on, and only a few willing publishers in NYC to visit in person. At that time there were "OPEN WEDNESDAYS" at several houses. Anyone could wander in with a portfolio and be seen by an editor. One particularly generous editor looked at the paintings, which were pen, ink and watercolor and asked me: "Do you know how to do a Color Separation?" I tried for weeks after that to master color separations on tracing paper and acetate, but failed miserably at the technique.
Gunther's paintings and story were shoved into a folder and it was another year or two before I began working on his story. Then the children grew, games and plays, and college trips took precedence and Gunther sat and waited. Eventually we moved north from the NYC metro area to NH. By this time I had actually illustrated several small books and stories for other authors.
Having left my day job and finding our new home had the extra "ROOM" I needed I dived back into my passion of illustrating for children's books. I joined SCBWI, paid my dues, bought the yearly copies of The Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market and embarked on a full time illustrating career. Might I add ... very late in life. But my mom always said I was a late bloomer. ( But as you may know, sometimes those final flowers bloom the brightest.)
This fall, after many revisions and many words removed, changed, and even some new ones added, Gunther's story is now complete, with my illustrations, and will be released by that "wonderful little publishing company that could"... 4RV Publishing LLC in Edmond Oklahoma.
How long was that journey? What is my point in telling you all this? It took more than 20 years from that first drawing and story to get to this point. There are so many artists and authors who are disappointed with those early rejections. All I have to say is you MUST keep trying if you believe in your work.
Gunther the Underwater Elephant will be released mid September of this year. I will announce his launch with pride and a collection of give-aways, take-aways, and personally signed posters. For those who buy the book and cannot attend a book signing, I will prepare a personally signed bookplate for your book. My fondest hope is that you will love little Gunther just as much as I do *:)