Why I Wrote a Children’s Book – The Good Night Knight

Why I Wrote a Children's Book

Why I Wrote a Children’s Book – Spoiler Alert: It was my daughter.

I began to write my children’s book when my daughter was one and a half years old, and I had just been laid off from my job. The layoff was unexpected, as you might imagine, but it was not the first time I was told that my services were no longer required. It wasn’t even the second or third time. It was the sixth time. Which sounds like a lot, but a career in art/design is often an unsecured one.

I had become used to the idea of short term stints with different companies as my lifelong career plan. This lay off changed the way I looked at my career accomplishments though. It was with a smaller company so the fact that they struggled wasn’t a surprise. I was aware that when times are tough, the creative department is among the first places to go for cuts. All of these things were old hat to me. What was different about this lay off? This time I had a daughter to take care of.

I was afraid and stressed. Kids aren’t cheap. Healthcare isn’t cheap. Rent isn’t cheap. Everything is even harder without a paycheck. My wife was working part-time with no option for full-time. Unemployment helped, but adjustments had to be made to our lifestyle. I questioned what kind of a partner, parent, and provider I was. Not only was I looking for a new job, but I was questioning all of my career decisions to that point.

I was a bundle of nerves and stressed like never before. But I wanted to keep a positive attitude and be strong for my family. I didn’t want to let them down and I didn’t want my daughter to worry…or even begin to grasp the concept of worrying (she’d have a lifetime to learn about that). Most of all I wanted to encourage my daughter to be strong when challenges arrive and to give life your all. Then it occurred to me. How could I encourage her to stay strong in the face of fear and follow her dreams if I hadn’t?

A children’s book is born.

I have spent years telling myself, “one day I’ll create the characters and books that I want to do. Not just work on someone else’s vision or products”. But I never set a date to do this. I never had a plan and so my projects were put on the back burner and never happened. It was safe and easy to collect a paycheck working for someone else and only dream about what I’d rather be doing. That is, until I faced the life-altering event of being laid off with a child at home.

After this layoff I decided that I was going to create a children’s book that delivers the message, “Don’t be afraid of the unknown”. The book would be completely my vision. As the writer and illustrator I would fully realize my hopes for my daughter and bring this book into existence. I was unsure of how to go about getting the book published or printed, but I would find a way. I would need to venture beyond the walls of that which I was familiar. And I would need to be strong while facing the fear of the unknown.

I created the Good Night Knight for my daughter. But it was also a lesson for me (actually many lessons as it turns out). Dreams and hopes are vital, but they remain in the ether until you take action. So, start that project you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. Go beyond your walls of personal comfort and discover what lies ahead.

If you’d like a digital preview of my children’s book, The Good Night Knight, submit your email and name below to have a link sent right to your inbox.

Find out more!

For updates on The Good Night Knight’s progress, please go to our facebook page.

The Good Night Knight ebook cover - FREE children's ebook preview

The Good Night Knight ebook cover

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The Good Night Knight – FREE children’s ebook preview

FREE children's ebook preview

FREE children’s ebook preview

I’m looking for a few good readers and supporters for the launch of my children’s book, The Good Night Knight. Submit your name and email address then you will receive an email to download a FREE children’s ebook preview of the book. This ebook is the first half of the story that will appear in the final printed book. I’ve created a few different file formats (iPad, Kindle, PDF). I need your help to see if they work the way they should. So, sign up, download, and let me know.

 

Here’s the request

If you submit your name and email address I will send you the ebook preview of The Good Night Knight. Please test it out, proofread it, and enjoy it! If something doesn’t work properly for you and your device, go the Good Night Knight facebook page, locate the free digital preview post and leave a comment.

 

Some details for transparency

I am asking you to sign up to my email list to build a tribe of like-minded individuals. When you submit your email you will receive an email asking you if you meant to sign up. Agree and you are in! The next email will contain links to download the digital preview. By signing up, joining the tribe, and testing the ebook versions of The Good Night Knight you will be on a list to receive early and special offers related to the book. Of course, if you want to get the free ebook preview and then unsubscribe you can do that too. This offer will only be available until August 15th, 2017. After that, we will be moving on with the production of the printed book and the various supporting items.

 

My pledge

When you sign up I promise to send very few emails along the way. Nobody likes to be harassed and honestly, I’d rather spend time creating new projects than sending annoying emails. I may send an email asking to help spread the word or share a post. Hopefully, it is the kind of artwork or story that you would want to share even if I didn’t ask anyway. Of course, your information will remain private and protected. I will never sell your info because that is shady, dirty, and really wrong. I’m trying to make new friends here! And that is no way to treat friends.

 

The Good Night Knight FREE children’s ebook preview

Thanks to all that have shown their support already and welcome to the new friends that have just arrived. Please sign up for the FREE children’s ebook preview and connect with me on facebook!

The Good Night Knight ebook cover - FREE children's ebook preview

The Good Night Knight ebook cover

Thanks,

Josh Will

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Spirit Halloween Illustrations

WitchHoleandHand_11x17So, I had to sit on these for an entire year, but now I can finally share them. Last year I did some illustrations for Spirit Halloween. They are now available in the Spirit Halloween stores. It’s a series of wall clings. I’m a huge fan of Halloween in general so doing these illustrations was an added bonus to my season. I’m currently working on some new ones for next season. Let’s hope doing this kind of illustration work is part of festivities every year.
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RatHole_11x17

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Inktober – Vincent Price

I have no delusions about participating in every day of Inktober, but I did feel moved to complete this one…at least I did one right?
Inktober_Vincent_Price

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Deadpool & Harley Quinn – A Love Story

Deadpool & Harley Quinn sketch cover comic

Deadpool & Harley Quinn sketch cover comic

While I was behind an Artist Alley table last week at Baltimore Comic Con, my brother said, “You should get one of those blank sketch cover comics and draw something”. So, I did. I figured I would take the 2 most popular characters for cosplay at this convention (and almost all conventions really) and pair them up on one cover. Then I figured both characters are psycho and a little untrusting. That’s how my sketch cover idea was born. I sketched it in blue pencil first (as per my usual) and then used a combo of tech pens and brush pens to ink it. The finished piece didn’t sit on our table long before some adoring fan snatched it up and gave it a good home.
Deadpool & Harley Quinn sketch cover comic - Blue

Deadpool & Harley Quinn sketch cover comic – Blue

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Baltimore Comic Con

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I’ll be attending this weekend’s Baltimore Comic Con, Friday – Saturday (Sept. 02 – 04). My brother and I will have table A274 in the Artist Alley. If you’re in the area stop by, say “hi”, and check out some of our illustrations.

There will be tons of artists at this show. Go to the link and scroll through. I’m sure you’ll find a couple you like.

baltimorecomiccon.com

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Hector the Inspector – A Dog Painting

Hector is our rescue Chihuahua-mixed-with-who-knows-what dog. He has a lot of the usual Chihuahua traits: he shivers when it’s a little chilly, barks at things way bigger than him, and burrows under blankets or pillows as much as possible. Hector also constantly wants to check things out and sniffs around everything. So, he earned the name Hector the Inspector. I decided to paint a portrait of Hector as an “Inspector”, as a gift for my wife.

I grabbed a sheet of cold press illustration board, cut it to fit an 8 in. x 10 in. frame, and prepped it with a thin layer of white gesso. While the board dried, I did some searches for classic portraits, Sherlock Holmes, and animal paintings. I used these images, along with photos of Hector to inspire the piece. As I mention in most posts, I use a non-repro blue pencil for my initial sketching because this phase for me is very loose and messy. Then I started to refine it with a standard #2 pencil.

Hector_1

The next phase was to start the painting. I use acrylic paint. The paint is mix of brands that I’ve acquired over the years (usually whatever was on sale when I ran out of a color). Still refining the shape and features of Hector, I used burnt sienna to begin. In this part of the process, I tried to start defining shadows and textures.

Hector_2

The background was next. I knew I wanted his hat and jacket to be yellow or green, so for contrast I chose dark reds to go behind him. I also wanted to keep this rough and nondescript to help the figure standout when the piece was finished.

Hector_3

Now the fun begins! Color started to be added and textures started to be defined further. I worked in some cool tones for shadows and some yellows for the lighted side.

Hector_4

The fur and the eyes were simultaneously the toughest part and the most rewarding part. Getting those things right were what would make the piece a success. I made sure to make the eyes the point of most detail and the point of most contrast. It breathes the life into the painting.

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The last steps were finishing the jacket and blending some of those edges into the background.

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I added a close-up to show a bit more detail here.

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And an actual photo of Hector.

Hector_the_Inspector

The finished piece is now framed in the most gold and fancy frame I could find (without spending a fortune) and hangs in our family room.

If you’ve got questions about the painting or my process please leave a comment or send me a message. Thanks for reading!

-Josh

 

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Marc & Mimi – Custom Comic Book Cover

MarcMimi_Final

Friends approached me to create a custom piece for them. The idea was to feature the couple as two independent and original superhero characters that have joined forces. We decided on a custom comic book cover.

My first steps were to work out what the characters were going to look like. Marc wanted something along the lines of a film noir detective with nods to Alan Moore’s the Watchmen. Mimi wanted a badass, X-men style demon hunter. Once the character designs were approved by the couple, we were on to the next step.

MarcMimi_sketch

I worked on thumbnail size sketches to figure out a composition that highlighted each character and their stories equally, also keeping in mind the look of some classic comic book covers. I did 5 – 10 of these at a level of scribble that I can understand and anyone else seeing them might think that I have no fingers and one eye.

MarcMimi_Thumbnail

When the composition was at a good place, I scanned it and printed onto two 8.5” x 11” sheets which I taped together (limits of my home printer at the time). I used non-repro blue pencils to draw the details. After a bunch of hours, it was ready to be scanned again. I did some cleaning up in Photoshop and placed it in Illustrator to work on the graphic elements. The title, “Marc & Mimi”, has a classic comic book arc and perspective. The issue number, date, and publisher icon represent their wedding anniversary. I did these parts in illustrator to make sure they were clean and properly proportioned. I know that the old school guys did this by hand, but I wanted the finished piece to be as polished as possible…and I didn’t trust my hand lettering. Then I converted these parts to a light cyan to match the blue pencil I used for the rest of the illustration and printed it directly onto a new cover sheet.

MarcMimi_Type

With the type set and sketch in place I printed it onto a proper comic book page board in very light cyan. I did some minor tweaks with blue pencil again and then it was time for ink. I always use a variety of tools to ink a piece. I like to work thinnest line to thickest. I like to use tech pens for backgrounds and inanimate items like buildings, cars, etc. I use brush pens for some of the finer detail in the characters and then a traditional brush and ink for the character outlines and major features.

That’s it! Marc and Mimi are happy with their final custom piece and that makes me happy. If you want to know more detail about my process or equipment I use, leave a message and stay tuned. I have plans to add more posts like this and expand on the details in the future.

Thanks for reading.

-Josh

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A Birthday Commission – Avengers Assemble

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Here is the most recent commission I did. It was a simple request: An original illustration of Captain America (and other Avengers) completed in time for a daughter’s birthday. The finished piece is 8″ x 10″. Non-repro blue pencils and a variety of pens, brushes and brush pens for the inks. A fun piece. Plus, how could I let down a young comic book fan?

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C.R.O.T.C.H. issue# 1 available on Comixology!

CROTCH_issue_1_Cover

What is C.R.O.T.C.H.?

Celebrities Reacting Offensively To Criminal Happenings

In the heyday of Hollywood, organized crime ran show business. As it grew, the government had no choice but to step in and clean things up.

When they finished, they realized that they couldn’t leave Hollywood to govern itself, especially with such a wealth of untapped potential, so the government created the C.R.O.T.C.H. department.

C.R.O.T.C.H. had jobs that needed attention, and eager men and women looking to break into show business would do just about anything to have their names in lights. Quid pro quo.

Years later, C.R.O.T.C.H. changed its business model. Instead of making stars, they’re in the business of keeping stars in the spotlight. When their 15 minutes are up, or they get arrested one too many times and the public perception begins to turn, C.R.O.T.C.H. steps in to offer them an extension.

Some people are more desperate to keep the spotlight.

Written by: Jon Kos
Pencils, Inks, Lettered: Josh Will
Colors: Quico
Price: $2.99

Available now on Comixology
Get your copy of issue #1 today!

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