Letter I – Insects Revisited!

Bryan Ballinger has since sent me a new version of his page!  He wanted to take another crack at it and it is equally fantastic!  Here’s his new one (which is even more musical and has a scratchboard feel!):

And for those interested here is his old one:

Click here.

Stay tuned!


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Letter G – Ghana

This book is literally for the children of this letter’s subject.  Although we hope children everywhere will enjoy it, we are especially hopeful that this book will be put to good use to educate and assist in the learning of the students of Ghana.

Jeremy Vanhoozer was the artist responsible for bringing this map to life.  As with many of the incredible artists participating in this project, Jeremy is someone who I’ve been a fan of for almost as long as I can remember.  He is an incredibly prolific artist who loves to draw robots and most other things fun.  His cut out style was perfect for this page.  Here is Jeremy’s piece:

And his Bio:  Jeremy Vanhoozer has worked as an artist for over 15 years.  He started his career at the Disney Studios as an illustrator, and has worked for many top studios since.  Currently Jeremy works for Cartoon Network Games Studio as an Art Director.

We’re only a few away from the end!  Stay tuned.


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Letter B – Bolga Basket

Sarah Jackson has finished her image for the Bolga Baskets.  Beautifully hand woven out of colorful grasses they are just one of the many beautiful products the talented people of Ghana produce.  Marilyn shared with me that many of the skills of weaving these baskets is with the older generation and how it is important for the youth of Northern Ghana to take up the mantle so the tradition is not forgotten!

Here’s Sarah’s beautifully illustrated and designed image for B: Bolga Basket.

You can see her concept sketch here.

There are only a couple left!  Stay tuned!


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Letter J – A real “Jewel” of a picture

I do apologize for being gone from this site for so long.  On top of being swamped with work, and having a few project hurdles to figure out, I also had a new baby arrive!  But she’s worth the month off, trust me 😉

So back at it now!  Today I have for you the talented Miss Dishy’s (or my friend Michelle McBride) version of the Letter J: Jewelery.  The beadwork that they create in Ghana is just amazing!  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work along side Michelle for a number of years.  She has some of the best ideas for kids books and is a talented designer and illustrator.  Here’s Michelle’s piece:

And her Bio:  Michelle has a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design. Her passions stem from children’s books, any type of graphic design, colour studies and paper engineering.  Most of her personal work involves some type of humour as her favourite thing is to make people laugh.
Everyday she is grateful that she is able to make a professional career out of being creative –because when she worked for a phone company, she was really terrible at it.
She currently resides in Canada and is the creative director of an advertising studio.

It feels great to be back! Stay tuned for more soon!


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Letter D – to our heartbeat!

I really enjoy music of all (well most) kinds and styles.  I find music can really define or express a culture, or people, or almost anything really in a way that is unparalleled.  The subject for the letter D for this book has a LOT to do with music.  Drums and Dancing.    I’m no good at either, but really enjoy them both.  Drums always seem like a heart beat of music to me, as it beats faster or slower depending on how excited it is, as well, I can often feel it in my chest more than any other instrument.  Dancing seems to be music in the form of movement.

An incredibly talented friend of mine agreed to this subject.  Cory Godbey.  His work just “feels” and I appreciate the sense of life, emotion and meaning behind it.  Here is Cory’s piece for the Letter D:

And Cory’s Bio:  Cory Godbey lives in South Carolina with his wife Erin Elizabeth and his cats.  He fist discovered his love for drawing while in math class and soon after that began drawing pictures for elementary school textbooks.  Cory went to college to study old drawings by well-known artists, and says he still looks at these old drawings when he runs out of ideas.  He enjoys accordion music, pasta, and when it rains at night.

Only a few left.  Stay tuned!


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Letter M – ….went to Market

The word Marketplace gives me a much more colorful and imaginative image in my mind than the word Store, or Mall.  For one it just sounds busier, and two, it feels more authentic and less big shop-ish.  Well, for letter M, Marketplace was the subject.  Marilyn (another great M word) sent us many interesting pictures of what the market looks like in Northern Ghana, and I knew it was going to take someone with an gift for life and story to do this one justice.  Thankfully, Brittney Lee said yes!  She creates some of the most beautiful and colorful work I’ve seen and her flowing lines and shapes almost seem breath (you must also check out her paper sculptures!!).  Here is her Letter M page:

Brittney’s Bio:

Brittney Lee is a 27 year-old artist who currently spends her days drawing and dreaming at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California. When she is not drawing, she can be found sipping coffee, eating chocolate, or playing with her mischievous orange cat. You can see more of her work at britsketch.blogspot.com and in her shop at britsketch.etsy.com!

Starting to draw close to the end here!  Stay tuned!

-Mike (not a bad M word either…)

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Letter O – Who’s up for a game?

I am a huge board game fan and strategy games top my list of favorites.  The subject for the letter O is Oware, a type of “board game” that also happens to be strategy based, AND is considered the national game of Ghana.

I first met Gabe Wong a number of years ago.  We very briefly worked together, but I remember seeing his portfolio when he applied and I instantly loved his style.  His work just “feels thoughtful” and  his illustration of this Oware game is a great example!  About Gabe:

I love challenges, I love thinking, and I need to make things meaningful.
I believe that hard work always pays off.
I believe that respect is more important then creativity.
I want to give back and make the world a better place, some of my friends think this makes me too much of an altruist.
I want to make people rethink the way we live in our world.
I like collaborating hint hint.

I am glad he likes to collaborate!

Stay tuned!


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