Showing posts with label blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blog. Show all posts

Some Illustration Sketches for a New Book about Ferdinand and Nina in Zehland

Ferdinand and Nina are starring in a new story! Actually, it's an old story, but newly written in picture book form. In this story, Mother Hen sends Ferdinand to the market to buy fruit for dinner. She should not have done that - we never know what Ferdinand will do.

The text for the book is completely written - yay! (though it's subject to change as I illustrate it).

I will share one of the sketches that I've worked on so far.  I first did this sketch to show him pulling his wagon to market right after Mother asks him to go:


There are some things I like about this sketch.
  1. It shows strong forward motion to carry the reader to the next page. 
  2. Ferdinand has left his ball and bat behind and looks like a chick on a mission!
But I had to use words to convey that he was reluctant to give up his baseball practice to obey Mother.  And I prefer to let the picture tell the story instead.

So I redid the sketch to look like this:


What I like about this one:
  1. There is some reluctance evident because he's looking back even as he moves forward. 
  2. He is still going in the direction of the next page.
  3. He does not look determined just yet. But that's OK, the determination can develop as the story develops.
I like them both actually, so input is welcome! Which do you like better? Let me know either below or on the Zehland Facebook page.

An Amazing Conference for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

This post is about me. Not Ferdinand and Nina. (Sorry chicks)

Although...I take that back. It's really all about them.

This past weekend I attended a fabulous conference for children's book writers and illustrators. Friday through Sunday. My head is still spinning even though I didn't attend on Saturday because by the time I signed up for it in March, the Saturday workshops were full.

Friday and Sunday were enough.

It was titled "The Power of Re-invention". Which is perfect because after taking the workshops, listening to editors and agents, booksellers and teachers, published authors and illustrators, I realized that I've got a bit of re-inventing to do. Not much. Just tweaks here and there. But that is challenge enough!

A Chickling Ballet - Ferdinand and Nina Baby Chicks Dancing

"A Chickling Ballet" fine art print on watercolor paper
It should come as no surprise that dancing a duet in a ballet was not Ferdinand's idea of an adventure. But it certainly was Nina's. She loved the thought of wearing a pink tutu and a sparkling tiara and dancing onstage in satin pointe shoes.
(The complete story along with how Nina convinced Ferdinand to dance with her comes with the original painting or print.)

New Chickling Desk Calendar

Happy to have a new desk calendar ready for the coming year!

It took some deliberating, but finally Ferdinand and Nina decided upon some appropriate themes for each month of the new calendar. Generally the themes have to do with holidays, but not always. Some things took priority - like football.

Nina insisted upon this one for the cover, because it's an ART calendar.


The Colts and the Rams - Football Season in Zehland



Labor Day signals the official start of the football season in Zehland every year. With fall approaching, everyone looks forward to watching their favorite teams play.

Ferdinand had wanted to be on one of the teams, but he realized that as the only chick, he would have been trampled by the larger animals, so he just watches like everyone else.

 Nina likes to watch the game too especially when her favorite team, the Colts, are playing (they wear pink and purple, so naturally they are her favorite).

Watermelon on the Fourth of July


The best part of a summer picnic is the watermelon. Now you can argue with this. Perhaps you like the hot dogs or the potato salad or the lemon meringue pie. But at Tulipa Farm, watermelon rules!

Father's Day Croquet


Father's Day in Zehland means a family gathering with a barbeque. But that's not all! After everyone has had their fill, while Mother Hens are cleaning up, the Rooster Dads go out on the lawn with their offspring for a lively game of croquet. As long as the weather is nice.

Well, the weather was very nice on this Father's Day. So everyone got their colored balls and mallets and went out to play.

Nina's Broken Bone - A Chickling Story

This Chickling painting and story is a special order for one of the Zehland collectors who broke her hip recently. Happy to say, she is on the mend and will be home soon!


No one knows exactly how it happened (except perhaps Ferdinand and he’s not telling), but Nina found herself quite unexpectedly laid up with her leg in a cast. Nina is a fast hopper and she had been racing Ferdinand home from the library. She had caught up to him and almost passed him when suddenly she tripped on something and took a nasty fall.

Breakfast in Bed - A Mother's Day Chickling


It was early morning on Mother's Day. The sun had not yet risen, but Ferdinand and Nina were already busy.

"You go look for some flowers," whispered Nina, "I'll make the muffin."

They tiptoed about in order to not wake Mother Hen. They wanted to surprise her with breakfast in bed. Even the big white rooster was in on the plan. He promised to wait until breakfast was served before he began crowing to greet the day.

An Earth Day Chickling - Ferdinand and Nina plant a Garden

April 22 is Earth Day! The sun is shining and the breeze is soft and mild in Zehland.

Ferdinand and Nina saw that someone had planted some lettuce seeds in the garden. Ferdinand guessed it must have been Emmy Fluffentail, the cottontail rabbit, because she loves lettuce.

 "Let's plant something too," said Ferdinand.  Nina thought that was a good idea. They got out some garden tools and a package of dried peas for planting. My, chicks love peas!

Happy Valentine's Day from Ferdinand and Nina


Hope you have a friend to share with this Valentine's Day.
Sending Big Hugs from Zehland!

Baby Polar Bear Chickling


You know it's cold in Zehland when the polar bears come to visit. They appear out of the Far North in the deep of winter and stay only as long as the weather is frigid.

Last week, the temperature was so low that it felt Arctic. So Ferdinand and Nina decided to build an igloo. They had studied all about the Arctic in school. Ferdinand had done a presentation on how to build igloos for his project and Nina had made some native Inuit costumes for hers. So they felt prepared. Nina pulled out her faux fur boots and parkas to keep them warm while they got to work.

2013 Zehland Calendar and Christmas Book!

Whee! Time for a new calendar!

Ferdinand and Nina romp through the new year while smiling at you on your desk.  Chicklings Zehland calendar will make you smile back from January to December.

It sits on your desk, once you fix the bottom (so some assembly required, but not much).


Ferdinand and Nina's Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the farm
Not a creature was stirring 'cept some mice in the barn.
The livestock were nestled all snug in their pens
With dreams full of goodies and treats by the tens.

Cornucopia - a Thanksgiving Chickling

The days were growing shorter, the autumn leaves had fallen and Ferdinand and Nina were looking forward to Thanksgiving. "I'll be an Indian chief!" declared Ferdinand. But Nina  had a different idea.

"No, you were one last year. This year, I will be an Indian maid and you can be a Pilgrim." she said.  "I was the Pilgrim last time."



Ferdinand thought this was a fine idea especially when he was dressed in his tall black hat with the shiny buckle and black jacket with a big white collar and cuffs. He looked quite handsome as a Pilgrim.

Hansel and Gretel Halloween

It was Halloween and Ferdinand wanted to be a ghost again since he had so much fun scaring all his friends the year before.

But Nina would not hear of it. A white sheet thrown over the head was all very well for your first Halloween, but the second demanded something more elaborate. She was enchanted by the story of Hansel and Gretel and the Gingerbread House. Perhaps if she and Ferdinand dressed as Hansel and Gretel they would find a gingerbread house too.

Ferdinand did not think so.

"Why not?" asked Nina, "Hansel and Gretel dressed that way and look what they found!"

This was hard to argue with. It was true.

Ferdinand for President



Ferdinand is running for president. Seriously!
 He actually has a fairly good following among the animals at Tulipa Farm. And if you have not yet decided about the coming election, he would like your vote as well.

Lemonade Entrepreneurs


It all began when Mother Hen sent Ferdinand to the store to buy some nice berries for the family dinner. Ferdinand does not enjoy shopping, so as it turns out, he was not the best choice for the errand. Nina likes to shop, but she was busy with chores. Even so, Mother Hen should have sent her.

Roosters Day and Celebrity Status

Home>Blog>Roosters Day and Celebrity Status

Celebrity Status

Father's Day is almost here and Ferdinand and Nina are getting ready to treat their Dad. They call it Rooster's Day in Zehland. Since it is such an important occasion, I was going to put Rooster's Day first, but Ferdinand is clamoring for attention.

He wants you to know that he is famous. You are now the fan of an actual famous baby chick. Well, two. Nina is famous also.

Just a day or so ago, the two were featured in a blog post by a famous artist, Mikki Senkarik. She called them two of the cutest chicks she and her husband had ever seen. And ever since, you cannot talk to them. I was afraid of this. It has gone to their heads.

Ferdinand and Nina on the Fourth of July

Home>Chicklings>Ferdinand and Nina on the Fourth of July

Ferdinand and Nina have decked out their boat for the Fourth of July holiday. They've decked themselves out too in red, white and blue. While they enjoy the fireworks display, they have not forgotten those who serve and all who have served to keep our country free. Let's thank a veteran today for our freedom!