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Larry the Lonely Leatherback Watercolor

Hello friends!  It has been way too long since I posted anything on my blog!  I have been resting a lot over the last couple of weeks from all of the commuting I did for nine months to get my daughter to school.  Whew!  I won’t have to worry about it again until the middle of August, and hopefully, during the first part of the school year she will get her license!  🙂

In addition to re-watching “The Walking Dead” from Season 1, (I began it a couple of weeks ago and I am now in the middle of Season 4.  I can’t believe how much I had forgotten!)  I have been working on my picture book to get it ready to take with me when I go to a picture book workshop in August.  Of course it is scheduled for the Saturday after my daughter’s first week of school.  So I may have my son driving her that week so I won’t be too tired out for the long drive to Walnut Creek, CA.  It will take us about four hours to drive there from where we live.  We haven’t been down there since my dad passed away about seven years ago.  We are planning on meeting a couple of old friends for dinner afterwards, the maid of honor and best man from our wedding!  It will be great fun, I am sure.

So here is Larry in full color.  He is swimming on 8×10 watercolor paper.  And this is the page where it says, “Larry is lonely.”  I used a mixture of Cerulean & French Ultramarine blues for the water, Cadmium Red Deep Hue with lots of water for the underside of Larry and accents on the rest of him, and Paynes Gray for his skin.  I still plan to experiment with different water background colors, though.  I like the blues, but I am wondering what his gray color will look like against some greens or greenish blues?  Also, the reason I have him filling up the page is because I am trying to emphasize the enormity of him because he is a Leatherback sea turtle who could weigh a thousand pounds or more!  On average they can weigh anywhere from 500 – 1500 pounds!  That’s a huge sea turtle!

So what do you think?  I really am interested in constructive criticism!  Feel free to say what your first impression is.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂


Lonely Larry Watercolor


Writing With Pictures

Hello friends!  I hope everyone is having a great week!  I am so far.  I have been busy with many things, but now it is “hump day!”  Yippee!

I wanted to share with you about a book I found at the library.  I like it so much that I bought a copy online and received it in the mail on Friday.

It is called “Writing With Pictures:  How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books” by Uri Shulevitz.  Here’s a picture of the cover.

Writing With Pictures

Part One is titled “Telling the Story.”  Included in this chapter are the main aspects of putting together a picture book or a story book.  A picture book has a certain format, and the story ideally should be able to be told without words.  However, as we know, most picture books do have text to go with the pictures to tell the story effectively.

The story must be clear and readable.  There needs to be a sequence of events not only in the story but also in the pictures.  For instance, if you are writing about someone travelling in some fashion, you need to show a background that visually advances the airplane, car, or person.  The example Uri uses is a car driving down the street.  If the sequence has no visual frame of reference for how the car is driving, then he says, “we cannot tell whether the car is moving at all.” (pg. 21)

Part Two is titled “Planning the Book.”  This includes how to make a storyboard and a book dummy; the size, scale, and shape of the book; and the structure of a printed book.

In my picture book about Larry the Lonely Leatherback, I have been working on trying to keep it as simple as possible.  However, I am discovering that I  am not sure I have enough action going on in the story or pictures.  I don’t want to bore kids and parents to death!  I do have one sequence of something Larry does that I have not posted yet.  I like it, and I think the pictures and description of what is happening in the story are presented clearly.  However, I am thinking it may be one of the things that has made my book so long.  It is about 40 pages right now.

Some picture books can go up to 48 pages, however, the average length is 32 pages.  This length includes the end pages which are located at the beginning and end of the book and can be blank or have pictures, the copyright/dedication page, and the title page and the story’s pages.

Part Three is titled “Creating the Pictures.” It instructs us in the process of doing illustrations, covering topics such as picture space and composition, principles in technique, style, and much more.  Since I am primarily an artist, I have been concentrating mainly on the drawings.  Now I am working on my story to make it more interesting.  Writing AND illustrating is much more difficult than most people think.  I have read in many places that a lot of writers think writing a picture book is a piece of cake.  I am here to tell you IT IS NOT!  There is so much to think about.

How does the story flow from beginning to end?  How do the illustrations tell the story? What is the theme of the story?  My story is about a lonely Leatherback sea turtle finding friendship.  Friendship is a very common theme in picture books for the very young which is my target audience.  Yet what will happen to bring that about?  Even small children feel lonely at times even if they don’t know what their feeling is called.  I want to convey this through an animal that is not seen much in picture books.

Part Four is titled “Preparing for Reproduction.”  It covers printing basics, color preseparation which is somewhat outdated now, but can still be useful knowledge, and techniques for reproduction.

Finally in the Appendices, there is a section about finding a publisher.  Of course we have many, many more options now than we ever have, but again, still useful information.

I hope this post doesn’t sound scattered; that is kind of how I am feeling at the moment. The book I have been talking about has so much more to offer.  I have barely scratched the surface.  Also, I read a lot of reviews about it on Goodreads, but many were not favorable because they felt the illustrations he includes in his examples are “outdated.”  As far as I am concerned, that is really irrelevant.  I think this is a wonderful teaching tool for all of us who have ever wanted to write and/or illustrate a children’s book.  I am enjoying it, and I would encourage you to check it out!  There is a great deal to glean from this man’s knowledge.

Well, that is all for now.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Picture Book Rough Draft. So far………



© Patsy H. Parker


Page 1Page 2


Page 3Page 4


Page 5Page 6


Page 7He swims

Page 9Page 10

Page 11Page 12

Page 13

What is his favorite food?  To be continued………..


Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Watercolor Larry the Leatherback!

Here’s a quick watercolor sketch of what I want my Larry the Leatherback sea turtle to look like in my picture book that I’m working on.  I did it with watercolor pencils.

Have a great day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Watercolor Larry

Picture Book continued……

Here’s what’s next in my picture book, “Larry the Lonely Leatherback.”

Page 7 says,   “When Larry feels lonely,”

Then this is page 8:


He swims

 What do you think?

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂


Hello everyone.  It has been a long time since I have had time to post anything.  I have been working on my first picture book, and I want to share just the first few pages with you!  It is just in pencil for now.  I haven’t begun to paint it in watercolor yet which is what I want to do.  I may even do some pen & ink with the paint, but haven’t decided yet.  I need to play around with that.  

It is going to be called “Larry the Lonely Leatherback.”  It is a very short story about how Larry is lonely because he has just said good-bye to his friend Alicia.  So he swims the ocean in hopes of finding a new friend.  But first he has been missing her so much he has forgotten to eat.  So when his stomach starts growling, he goes in search for jellyfish.  And just when he is about to catch one, he bumps noses with another Leatherback.  A female!  She smiles shyly at him and when he introduces himself, he says, “‘Hi.  I’m lonely…I mean….Larry.’  He feels embarrassed.”  Then she introduces herself as Lucy and asks if he wants to go catch jellyfish with her.  So they swim away together to catch jellyfish and Larry the lonely Leatherback sea turtle isn’t lonely anymore.

So here are the first few pages of the story:

Larry the Leatherback

Page 2 of Story

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5


Page 6

 © Patsy H. Parker

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug (especially if they are lonely!) 🙂


Picture Book Creation

Hello, and happy Fourth of July to all of you who celebrate it here in the U.S. 🙂

Today I just wanted to share this link to the class I just started online. It is about how to write and illustrate a picture book or a story book for children. However, her ideas and just watching her do the art work could help any writer or artist in my opinion. In fact, last night I couldn’t get to sleep, because I had so many ideas running through my head!

Yesterday I went to a coffee shop that has faster internet service than we do, and I began the classes. I made it through a little over one class before my laptop died. I can’t believe I forgot to charge it the night before! So I charged it up yesterday afternoon for a few hours, and then my family and I went out to dinner to a Mongolian barbecue place. I took my laptop with me since my husband wanted to go to the grocery store. So while he shopped, the kids and I hung out at the bookstore across the street, and I finished the class I was on. I was having so much fun, though, that I started another one, but he came to get us before I was done. I had about ten minutes left, but even though the perishables were in an ice chest, I had to stop in the middle…again! Oh well, it is okay. I came away from the first two classes and the first half of the third with lots of ideas and things to work on until I can get back to it.

I caught a sale on this class online which made it really affordable for me! I love the illustrator. Her name is Shadra Strickland, and she has illustrated many children’s books. Here is a link to her website. I love her artwork, but most of all I love watching her DO IT! She is so free-flowing and creative – I am very inspired! Can you tell?

Anyway, yesterday at the coffee shop after my laptop died, I sat and drew a bunch of sea turtles in different poses in my sketchbook in pencil. Time flew, and before I knew it, I had been there for three hours! I ate a wonderful egg and cheese croissant and had two cups of coffee. They also never had so many people there that someone who stayed to eat needed a table. In fact, 95% of the people who came in were retired and much older than me. But they were her morning regulars, because they all knew each other and were chatting away! One guy brought a bucket-full of yellow squash and zuchinni from his garden and was giving them away. So I came home with a few free yellow squashes! That was very nice of him.

So, any of you writers or illustrators, if you want some fresh inspiration, check out Shadra Strickland, and be inspired! I know I am!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

Studio Mariëlle Stolp

Happily filling my art journals

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