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The snowy owl was very close to being finished when I wrote my last post. I got distracted by another project (which I’ll tell you about down below) so the final details had to wait a bit. She’s now really, really almost done. This morning I worked on the eyes a little, to get that slightly irritated look that owls seem to have, and I gave her more feather texture on her chest, legs and cheeks.
As soon as the paper mache clay stiffens up a little I’ll smooth out these new feathers, especially around the face, by laying a piece of plastic wrap over the clay and lightly pressing down with my fingers. Then she’ll sit over a furnace register for a few days while she waits for her black spots and orange or yellow eyes. (I’ve seen both colors in photos – does anyone know what color her eyes are really supposed to be?
Anyway, you should see the finished owl in a few days. I know that many of you have been working on your own owls, and we’d love to see how they turned out.
Now, for that pre-announcement. I’ve been working almost night and day for the last month to finish a project I actually started back in June (the baby chickens are my excuse for letting it sit unfinished for so long…). My part of the project is done, and it’s now up to the printers to do their part. In about a week, it should be available on Amazon.com – my second self-published art book.
I promised myself I wouldn’t mention it at all until it was actually available online, but I just couldn’t wait. So, (drumroll please) here’s the cover image of my new coloring book for older kids and adults. (Edit – the book is now available here on amazon.com. It’s not terribly popular, but I still think it’s one of my best yet!)
The book has pictures to color, obviously, but I also added a page of text for every picture. I know this isn’t the way “you’re supposed to do it,” but I never let that stop me. Of course, it does mean that this is a bit of a gamble when it comes to actually selling any – so keep your fingers crossed for me.
I know this image is too small to read the text, but this is how the “chapters”Â look –
On each left-hand page is a small hand-drawn map, and some information about the animal and the efforts that are being made by conservation groups, governments and local communities to save them.
At Jessie’s suggestion (thanks, Jessie!) I also included a section that gives readers a chance to think about things they can do to help. For instance, we learn that sea turtles and other wildlife are endangered because they eat plastic garbage bags and other plastic junk that floats in the water. Since the plastic starts out in our garbage cans, I ask them what they might do to reduce the amount of garbage they throw away.
I also included the web address of a conservation group for each animal pictured, a list of other related animals that are also at risk, and a short section of interesting facts – did you know that Asian elephants are more closely related to the mammoth than to African elephants? I didn’t, until I did the research for this book.
I can’t wait to see how people respond to this book.Â As soon as it becomes available I’ll ask Amazon to let people see inside the book. I hope you’ll take a look give me some feedback.
Oh, and here’s the back cover:
Now I’m on pins and needles, waiting for the proof copy to arrive in the mail. It should be here tomorrow.
And the snowy owl will be done soon. I promise. Remember, send those photos of your own owls – we want to see how they turned out. (Instructions for submitting photos.)
Oh, one last thing before I forget. If you haven’t been watching Xan’s greyhound portrait marathon, you’re missing out – she’s even letting us see some of the intermediate stages as she finishes the little paintings, from the original photos all the way through to the final result. Quite inspiring – you can find them on her blog here. Good job, Xan!