Is Your ART, work, when your having fun?

So you do art work, can you call it work, when your having fun?

sketch for picture book, and app of boy and his dog in the basement.

Because I’m “working” late and often responding to things on Facebook my friends, family, and students know I “work” late. Sometimes I get accused of being a workahalic, (I am addicted to workahal) but is it really work if I’m having this much fun? I love drawing. I love illustrating ideas – but most of all I love the satisfaction I get when I see how children and parents respond to my work. The ability to communicate with pictures is basically a part of who I am. I can’t imagine what life would be like without being able to create narrative images. I don’t want to know what it would be like….I think you know it’s not work when you’re doing something you would do regardless of the monetary compensation.

The Money is Irrelevant

So “working” on this monster app isn’t work at all – it’s therapy. I don’t feel any stress or anguish over it and that in and of it’s self is my payment. When I’m finished and it is formatted for Ipad / Iphone and perhaps the new kindle fire, the money I make, or don’t make is a distant by-product of my passion. I’m not going to be a phony and tell you I don’t want it to make money but the money is irrelevant to my joy and happiness in the creation process. I’m not going to worry about editing “this or that” in or out to please a certain demographic. All I’m going to do is make an app / ebook that I would want to buy and use with my kids – again, I’m going to be selfish.

Don’t forget, we teach workahal, I mean art and illustration and painting and stuff at

Self Publish Your Art Your Stories and Your Illustrations

Warning! Self Publishing Artists and writers are going digital, you might regret it if you don’t

A Running Rat

I’m no expert here – but I do self publish and I have to share what I’ve learned both as encouragement and as a warning. If you want to how to write your children’s books and or illustrate children’s books, now’s the time.

I hope to help you find the motivation to start self publishing your own stories and illustrations digitally. The warning is that if you don’t do it soon you might have regrets in a year or two or sooner.

Lowly Self publishers compete with big business

I’ve been doing a lot of reading of various blogs and web pages about self publishing digitally and most agree that we are seeing a change in publishing the likes of which we haven’t seen in our life times. Until now the gate keepers have been large traditional publishers. They held the keys because they could afford to put up the tens of thousands of dollars to print large runs of picture books. Also, they had established complicated distribution channels that an individual author, or illustrator/artist would be hard pressed to compete with. Most of this hasn’t changed. The day of the large publisher is definitely NOT over and I’m glad – I like the publishers I work with, and most of them have been very good to me.

E books cost so little to self publish

What has changed is how inexpensive it is to publish your work which means that one of the two cards that publishers held, has evaporated. Now the only real advantage a large publisher has is a distribution channel. I’m not underestimating how important this channel is either. Large traditional publishers have relationships with stores that you and I do not. They have publicists working for them to promote our books and editors to polish the final products. They have customers that they’ve established long before you or I ever worked with them, and way before we put on our author and illustrator/artist hats. They know the business better than we. They submit our books to all the major book awards and from what I’ve been told that list is well over 200. Imagine trying to research, compile, address, and pay for 200 give away books and shipping, just to put them in the hands of jurors who probably won’t pick your book anyway. And I’m sure there are a lot more things that they do that I’m overlooking.

The E-Book opportunity may not last for self publishers

The time is now, will, maybe a few years ago but I still see a huge opportunity that isn’t going to last forever. Like the Oklahoma pan handle rush of 1889 there was opportunity for a limited time and then it was OVER. For the first time in our lives a new platform is emerging that is giving the early birds a distinct advantage. I’m sure that you’ve all thought about e-books – I have been for the past year or more. However, I never realized how important it is to be first to market until I started reading and researching. It only takes an hour or so poking around on Amazon or Barnes and Noble to see self published books doing extremely well.

The new e-book digital format is growing

Awhile ago I published my first e-book – Monkey & Croc at Barns and Noble and it’s done pretty well on B&N. The only reason it did so well as it is – is because of the lack of competition. When I published it there were a little over 500 e-books for children ages 3-5 on B&N. Crazy right? Think of how many thousands of books there are in hard copy in that group. Look, I don’t even own an ereader but you can’t ignore this new format – it’s coming on strong. Amazon said that for any particular book that they sell in physical format – they sell 48 digital copies of the same book.

Intellectual property, art and words and pixels for sale.

Aside for being early to market you can afford to sell an ebook for only a few dollars because the only cost you have is your time. Right now the big publishers are selling their ebooks in most cases for about the same price as their hardbacks. This is another reason to get your book to market quickly. While they sell their books high – we can sell ours low and create an advantage for the buyer. Think about it…if you bought a new ereader or ipad and you wanted to load it with content wouldn’t you gamble on a few unproven $2 and $3 books since the alternatives are $12.99 books that you might already own?

I believe there’s still time to capitalize on the e-book movement

My belief is that if you can create a following due to timing – your book could gain the kind of momentum that could build a franchise. If this happens there’s also a good chance that a traditional publisher would want to buy your book and print hard copies. Another option is that you incorporate a print on demand publisher and offer hard copies on your own. Either way the future is bright for self published books. I think that there will always be a place for large publishers but now there is a much larger place for self publishers.

Join a critique group, writers or illustrators, find help

Some drawbacks: You won’t have the benefit of an editor and this places a great responsibility back on your shoulders. My suggestion is to acquire the help of a professional writer and/or join a critique group that can help you polish your story. Another obstacle is finding software that will easily let you turn your jpeg images into an e-book. This was a very frustrating process for me and without the help of my brother in law I don’t think I would have been able to release Monkey & Croc. There has been talk about Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Itunes holding back publishing software and only releasing it to large publishers. Monkey & Croc suffered a bit with a few minor hiccups because we couldn’t get that software. I think that this will soon change as open source programs become available. Where there is a need someone will fill it.

I published Monkey & Croc on Barnes and Noble’s site. They take 35% of every sale but they give you an account for free and you can check your sales in your back office any time you like. It’s neat to go in and check every day or so.

It’s amazing what parents will let their children do if it means education

Finally for those who don’t think that parents won’t turn their kids loose with an expensive e-reader to beat up, you’re right. However think of the advantages – Carrying an unlimited amount of picturebooks on a plane, train, or automobile will keep kids pacified much longer than the few books parents can carry in hard copy form. And how nice will it be for the parents who have long commutes with children in tow to and from day cares. How long do you think it will be before they develop the kid proof ereader? I suspect it’s around the corner.

At the beginning of my illustration career I was asked to complete an illustration about e-mail – I asked the art director, “What is email”. It’s happening now.

Children’s Text Book Cover Illustrations for Innovatus

Text Book Cover Art for Innovatus Children’s Text Books

 I painted 9 textbook covers in one year for Innovatus in acrylic.

innovatus cover
One year I painted 9 textbook covers for Innovatus in my dry-brush acrylic style or technique. I know what you’re thinking, what’s Innovatus? I know, I think it’s Latin for innovate, or maybe it means Innovate us! 1st person plural command form for Innovate.
It was a really fun project and I got to work with Karen Steinberg who I had worked with over 10 years ago when she was at Harcourt. I know what you’re thinking, where’s Harcourt? I think it’s by the second star to the right then direct till morning…

Some animals come with baggage

Where was I? Oh yeah. Working on these covers was interesting because I had coming up with “acceptable animals” to paint. Apparently not all animals are created equal in the politically correct world of educational publishing. Some animals come with baggage. In some countries for example, certain animals are sacred while others are “dirty” and there for not an appropriate fit for the classroom. You dirty dawg! It was a challenge finding usable animals without repeating. Ho the webs they weave. I just want to paint.

I also found it funny that in this cover the animals absolutely had to wear helmets for safety but were allowed to desecrate natural arches with their combustion engine desert machines – up to a $5,000 fine in a national park. Just sayin’.

There Once was a Cowpoke who Swallowed an Ant: A Picture Book

Children’s Book Writer, Helen Ketteman & Artist, Will Terry Team Up Once again

Yet another wonderful picture book for all ages, especially children.

0002 Cow poke 1

I don’t care how many children’s books you’ve illustrated it’s always exciting to get that box of new books from the UPS guy – who I gave a BIG hug to – it was awkward.
This book is now available at many retailers and it’s the the fourth book I’ve illustrated by Helen Ketteman (Published by Albert Whitman) What a sweet lady! I had the opportunity to get into a car wreck with her in Houston. We were in the same car when her friend (who was driving) got into a crash. Everyone was fine but it was really nice to see how she comforted her friend who was quite frazzled. You can really tell a lot about someone’s character when they’re under stress.

School teacher turned author. 

0002 Cow poke 2Helen is one of those school teachers turned author – dangerous! I think that’s why she writes such fun books that kids really seem to love. This one is just pure fun. I think there’s been a shift towards books that teach a moral or celebrate a historical event. This book is just fun. Is it ok that we let kids just be kids sometimes and have fun? I’m still a kid and I like to have a little fun once and a while…ok all the time.

0002 Cow poke 3

Anyway if you’re looking for a fun book that doesn’t teach a darn thing your children might like this one!Buy There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed An Ant


Kid’s choice; favorite book to have read to them

Cow poke swallowing a texas long horn steerI keep hearing kids say this is their favorite book to have read to them in March you can find it at amazon, and read it to a kid. 
Favorite place to lean art? At home on the computer.

Not All Illustrations Get to be in the Show

Cow poke 5 All that work, and then ‘no’, this little illustration is a still borne. It doesn’t get to live and breath and be a part of the book.

Hmmm… Wonder what I should order? 

It seems to be a lot of problems accidentally swallowing critters in children’s publishing these days…
Wow, everyone likes this book. (Thanks to Photoshop)
Cow poke 6 Cow poke 7


Where Are People of Color in Children’s Books?

Walter Dean Myers, didn’t relate, he was black reading books about white kids.

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of FolioAcademy,LLC or every artist there in. We can’t help it if Mr. Will Terry has an opinion after all. ~your best friend, Wayne Andreason; Mgr.


The New York Times recently posted an article entitled: “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” Walter Dean Myers, the author shared his experience growing up reading books that he didn’t relate to because he was black and most of the books he read were about white kids. It’s a very thoughtful article that provokes many questions.

My mom didn’t ‘pass’, & wasn’t allowed to attend a white school

I thought I would share some of my experiences as an illustrator relating to ethnicity in children’s books. I grew up in a white suburban neighborhood just north of our nations capital in Maryland. I always identified myself as white even though my grandmother on my mother’s side has native american blood in her ancestry and my mom is suspected of having an African American father. It wasn’t until I was in college that my mom felt comfortable sharing that as a child she wasn’t able to attend the white schools because she couldn’t “pass” – a term meaning you were classified as having a mixed-race heritage.

There’s color in my Genes but I think of myself as white

Continue reading

Illustrations & Artwork for My Own Book

writing and Illustrating my Own Book

“Get used to disappointment” ~Dread Pirate Roberts

These are some character and environment sketches for a book I wrote and tried to get published. I’ve already scored one rejection on. We learn by our failures right? But in the publishing world you need many many failures, rejections, refusals, dis-approvals, and disasters in order to be a success right? (just say yes) I’ve written many a children’s book my friend and so far the score is, Publishers 15 – Will Terry 0.
Enjoy it while it lasts publishers – for one day I shall laugh at you for buying one of my manuscripts…MWAA HAA HAAA!




:) folioacademy is awesome.  (<<< subliminal message)


How To Make A Story App – Step 5.5

Finish the artwork.

(for earlier steps scroll down or click the following links)

How to Make a Story App – Step 1
Scene of Gary in his little house.

Shoooeeeee – that took a while! But it was worth it… I hope.

I’m not going to even try to explain how much fun I’ve had with the art work in this story app…like…nope…not going to even try. But Hey, I had a LOT of fun.

Of course it has been an incredible commitment and sacrifice. Lots of work with little or no guarantee of financial reward. I even had to turn down PAYING work and slack on my duties at FolioAcademy to have enough time to work on it – which will cause some to question my sanity. But those same people will probably say it was a good move if this pans out financially.

Do I suffer form insanity? Nope, I enjoy it.
Show me any thing of value in this world that didn’t come with some crazy idea and a lot of sacrifice? For me the journey is worth it alone. I’m content because I’m seeing my idea come to life. How many people can say that? Will it make money? We’ll find out as I plan to publish all my sales figures right here on this blog. Get ready to say, “I TOLD YOU SO!”This week I’ll be adding text and finding sounds…
Now available, Step 6.


How To Write A Children’s Book

I’m very happy to announce TWO things this morning. The launch of Ann Cannon’s Folio Academy video – “How To Write A Children’s Book” and our Fall 30% off Sale at Folio Academy on the entire store! (use code: fall3 but you have to find the promo page and it is hard to find.  )

Ann is a very accomplished author of children’s books. She has published tons of books and written way more than that. She is busy doing what she loves. Like and artist.

So about 6 months ago we asked her if she would be interested in making a video tutorial. We wanted a lesson designed specifically for illustrators and beginning writers. Let me be Frank, my good friend here, Will Terry probably wanted that video for himself. With all the possibilities of indie publishing both traditionally and in electronic form becoming available – the demand for the kind of information packed in her tutorial is going up.

It took us a while because Ann is a busy woman who also writes a weekly column for the Salt Lake Tribune but we finally got time where we could all get together. I really hope this video helps the illustrator who wants to create their own story.


….AND – you can get it for 30% off for till Oct 16th if you use this secret code: fall3 at our secret and hard to find, promo page …after, like Oct 16 at midnight or some where around there depending on what time zone you live in, that the sale ends, and no, we don’t know if there will EVER be another sale at FolioAcademy. Feel free to call Will Terry and ask him, but he doesn’t know either. But between you and me and the lamp post, we probably will sooner or later. Want Will’s number?

Here is one of Ann’s latest books and you can check out the tutorial here.