I Done Did My Dummy

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After months of working on my new book, I finally finished up my dummy and sent it off to my editor. I am pretty jazzed about it. It’s my baby. If you have ever had a baby, you are convinced that yours is the best looking baby around… while others are thinking… “What a funny looking kid”.  Haha!

I am hoping that others will love my baby too.  I made it for others to enjoy!  Parents reading to little ones, those are my target audience.  I can picture them reading this to their little one on a cold winters night before bedtime. I love the idea of wide-eyed little kids being swept into a story… walking into the very pages and settling in.  I hope my editor likes it!

(If you don’t know what a dummy is, it is a prototype or mock-up of a book).

Happy Toosday!

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And why am I happy?  The “flu” flew by in record time.  One day in bed is enough for this happy camper. It’s back to the studio!

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Over the weekend I attended the Picture Book Summit in the privacy of my studio!  I joined more than 300 other authors and illustrators. What fun!  We listened to advice from all the experts from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm!  Barely enough time for lunch and potty breaks but well worth the time. There is already talk of another one next year.  If you are an author or illustrator I highly recommend it!

ONWARD to new adventures!

 

Living in my Illustrations

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Being an illustrator is great fun.  Why?  Because you can use your imagination to go places you’ve never been and do things you’ve never done. For instance, I have always wanted a log cabin up in the mountains.  As a teen, I used to imagine having a studio up a flight of wooden steps to a big room. It would have rafter ceilings and a window seat for me to look out of.  It would be warm and cozy and I could sit and do my art all day long near a roaring fire in the wood stove.

When I began thinking of places for my character Burl the bear to live in, I made it just like “I” wanted it!  Warm and inviting!  When you walk through the doorway of my story, you will find a home that lives in my imagination. It will be a place that I love and I will revisit it many times as the story progresses. I must be passionate about what I draw or it becomes listless and boring. This process is what makes a story believable.

My experience tells me that children notice the tiniest of details.  I did a school visit after Peepsqueak was published by Harper Collins Publisher.  I read the book to the children and then we talked.  Through out the story there was another story going on in the book. It was a little tiny mouse who appeared on many of the pages.  The children did not miss it. They even commented on the mouse as I read to them.  I let them in on a little secret.  I named the mouse Elliot.  When I told them his name they all squealed with delight and pointed to the cutest little boy in their classroom who was named Elliot!   He was beaming.  Suddenly he became part of the story. He was so happy!

These are the things that make a story magical in the eyes of children and adults alike.  Its also why I continue creating images.  I love seeing characters develop.   I love finding their voices. .. what they are like… what they like to do.  It does not stop when I leave the studio.  I think about them all the time, until I finally know how they would react in any given situation. That way they become very believable creations and loved by all.

Stay posted,  Burl and Briley are growing on my heart daily.  I can hardly wait to illustrate the books that are in my mind!

Another Big Give-Away!

Once again, it is time for the 2nd Big Peepsqueak Give-A-Way!   

Will you be the winner?

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Will you get a box in the mail full of Peep goodies?

This time around, the prize is for both of my books, “Peepsqueak”, and “Peepsqueak Wants A Friend,”  AND a Peepsqueak plush toy!

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Are you up for it?

Here are your 2 easy instructions:

1.   If you have not read Peepsqueak yet,  go to the story link below and listen to Brad Mendleson read it aloud.

2.  Go to the Amazon link below, and give me a review.  So I know you are entering the contest, start your review with the words, “I LOVE PEEPSQUEAK!”.  If you have read the second book, please feel free to review it too.  At the end of two weeks, I will take the names off the Amazon site and put them in a bowl and pick the winner!!!  You will be able to watch me draw your name!!  Here are the links! 

Peepsqueak story link:  http://www.readmeastory.tv/category/read-me-a-story/

Amazon review link:  http://www.amazon.com/Peepsqueak-Leslie-Ann-Clark/product-reviews/0062078011/ref=cm_cr_pr_btm_link_3?ie=UTF8&pageNumber=3&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

Please SHARE this with others.  Peepsqueak is waiting for you!!

love, Leslie Ann and Peepsqueak!

Is Spring Springing?

I love flowers!

I love flowers!

The weather is teasing me!  A warm day, a nice breeze, flowers peeking from the cold wet ground, and then WHAM! A freak snow storm!  Such is life in Colorado.  Peepsqueak is not worried.  As you can see in this picture, he is thrilled to find the first Spring flower.

Do you have any flowers up yet?  We only have a few tulips and iris peeking out of the dirt. Flowers are still a few weeks away.  I am ready!

 

I LOVE TOYS!!!

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For as long as I can remember, I have LOVED toys!  To have a toy made from one of my cartoons is my dream come true!  It will help the world see my character the way I see him.  REAL!!  ha ha!  This series of plush Peepsqueaks in the pictures above, were the first proto-types that came to my home. Merry Makers is the toy company we worked with.  It was so fun to see my little Peepsqueak transform from page to puff!  He is such a cute little plush!!  Merry Makers did such a good job!  You can buy Peepsqueak now if you go to their website. They welcome retail orders online at http://www.merrymakersinc.com and retail and/or wholesale orders at 888-989-0454 or via email at merrymakers@merrymakersinc.com.

Below is the final Peepsqueak. I just love him!  Isn’t he cute!!! I brought him to a preschool yesterday and the children loved him and all wanted to pet him…. so they did!!!!

So order your Peepsqueak now!  He is waiting to live in your home!!!  Don’t forget, the books, “Peepsqueak”,  and “Peepsqueak Wants A Friend” are at your bookstore waiting for you too.  They would all make great gifts for the kiddies on Easter.

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New York Fun – Surtex 2012

After months of prep work, Surtex 2012 is history.  It was a great time of meetings, and visiting with other artists.  It almost feels like a dream now that it is over.  I am filled with ideas and hope for the future!

Here is a picture of Margaret Anastas, my editor at Harper Collins, me, and Annie Stone, Margaret’s assistant.  It was so fun sitting at Harper C. and visiting with everyone who worked so hard on Peepsqueak and his promotion.  I do love my HC family.  They had a nice breakfast for me and we all met in the Harper Collins library. I wish I had a picture of Jeanne Hogle.  She was my graphic designer.  She escaped the room before I could snap her picture.

After our meeting, I packed up 30 books and headed to the Javitz Center in a doozy of a rainstorm!  I LOVED that cab driver for picking me up!!

Messing around with my friends Jane Shasky and Megan Halsey during my Peepsqueak book signing at Surtex. Everyone was in such a good mood!

Here is my teeny tiny room at the Best Western.  I was surprised at how small it was, but in the end, it was cozy and I was so glad I stayed there. It was a good retreat after a busy day.

Can’t forget my sweet agent Alicia Dauber. She had everything running smoothly!

Outside my window all the horse drawn carriages were lining up.  New York is so full of LIFE!

As amazing as the big city is, it is always nice to come HOME!   I had to get my zinnias planted!!  Now it is back to work for the next show!