BIG NEWS! My debut picture book is going to be published by KWiL!

Children's Books

My debut picture book Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus is set to be published by Milwaukee’s own KWiL Publishing in Spring 2018! KWiL has a cool business model as a small, startup publisher, and I’m excited to partner with them not only on the book, but also on promotions, community events and more! KWiL’s founder Abby Janowiec and I celebrated the contract signing by hanging out with the book’s main characters Steve and Daryl. We are pretty darn sneaky… 🙂

Sheri and Abby hanging out with Steve and Daryl

So what’s Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus about? I think KWiL puts it nicely:

“After a long and successful run of the Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus show, Steve and Daryl are retired, relaxed and ready to eat pizza, lots and lots of pizza, until…a kid—the reader—shows up expecting a round of hide-and-go-seek. Reluctant as they may be, this dinomite duo never disappoints; and as soon as they pop the pizza in the oven and go over the rules, the countdown is on.

Alternately talking directly to the reader and arguing with each other over whom the reader found first, Steve and Daryl are a delight, and even more delightful to find, which is what readers are invited to do on three full spreads. Combine dinosaurs, pizza, hilarious countdowns and actual games of hide-and-go- seek, and young readers will be asking to read—or better yet—play with—this book over and over again.”

The story was inspired by several random things, including this drawing I posted in February, which then evolved into these guys:

Steve & Daryl by Sheri Roloff

The look of Steve and Daryl continued to evolve when I sketched out the entire story, so the Steve and Daryl you see in the final book will be a tad different than the drawing above. But I’m in the process of finalizing tweaks to the sketches and manuscript, and then I’m diving into final art. Stay tuned for teasers as it all comes together!

My art book “Empathy” is done!

Art, Writing

I’m delighted to announce the release of an art book I created called empathy. I felt driven to put this together in the wake of all the crazy things happening in the world lately.

Empathy Cover by Sheri Roloff

I used spray paint artwork I made a few years ago as the backdrop and designed words over the top under the helpful advisement of my Design Yoda (aka my talented graphic designer friend that always has amazing feedback and ideas!). The message inside is for writers, artists and doers everywhere. Keep going – don’t stop. The world needs your writing, art and actions.

Empathy Spread by Sheri Roloff

I hope you’ll view and download the free PDF here. Or if you’re looking for a shiny new book to add to your shelf (or perhaps a gift for someone who likes shiny things), you can purchase a print copy here.

Please feel free to share this with others. I made it to process thoughts and feelings, and I hope it resonates with you.

Inktober Day 4

Children's Books, Illustration, Inktober

I’m not sure if this is cheating, but I’m trying to combine some of my current projects with my daily Inktober work. So, the pages below were created over the course of a couple days, not in one sitting. Is that a requirement? I don’t know. But I am drawing and inking (digitally and/or analog…ly) every day and posting updates (not always here, but on Twitter). And that’s the point, right?

Without further ado – here’s the opening spread of Cognito Sanchez: Dive Another Day.

Cognito Sanchez page 2 by Sheri Roloff

Cognito Sanchez page 3 by Sheri Roloff

Use a Graphic Designer’s Mindset to Boost Illustration Impact

Art, Children's Books, Illustration

It turns out a graphic designer’s perspective can be a huge asset when illustrating. Often a few key tweaks can take an illustration to the next level. I try my darndest to think like a designer, but whenever I need outside feedback on my illustrations, I ask my designer friend for her thoughts and BAM! improvements abound.

Here’s my newest example. I created a title page for my in-progress graphic novel using the concept of a TV show opener. You know, the part where the show’s setting and characters are introduced during the theme song. Here’s what I initially came up with:

Cognito Sanchez_Title Page_v1 by Sheri Roloff

I was pretty happy with it. It felt balanced. I liked the flow and layout. But when I placed it within the context of the cover and the chapter 1 sketches, it felt a little out of place. Now, this is an area where graphic designers shine: creating a cohesive look and feel across multiple materials. Upon asking for feedback, my designer friend suggested flooding the background with a color to better coordinate with the cover. And that’s when it hit me: expand the skyline image and extend the water behind the panels below. I also added bubbles, just for good measure. Here’s the result:

Cognito Sanchez_Title Page by Sheri Roloff

So much better! I’m much happier with it, and it coordinates far better with the cover now:

Cognito Sanchez_Cover by Sheri Roloff

It’s exciting when small changes make such a big difference. For more in-depth look at how graphic designer superpowers can boost illustration work, check out my SCBWI blog post. Or befriend a graphic designer today!

 

Dinosaur Morning by Sheri Roloff

WIP Wednesday: Collage Part 2

Art, Uncategorized

I’m happy to say that I’ve finally chipped away at the synopsis of my graphic novel. I’ve heard people bemoan writing these before, and they’re right. It’s a little painful to sum up 160 pages in 500 – 600 words. It also feels a tad robotic. But I’m doing the best I can! If it sucks, my critique group will steer me in the right direction. 🙂

Since sharing my synopsis would be boring, and I don’t want to share any spoilers , you get more collage! Haha! This collage side project is super fun though. I think these two pieces are my favorite so far.

Dinosaur Morning by Sheri Roloff

I came across some notebooks during my continued cleaning and sorting efforts and found droves of old song lyrics (some better than others…heh) that never made it into any of my songs. I thought it’d be interesting to use snippets of these lyrics as collage elements. Here’s the first attempt.

Present Tense by Sheri Roloff

Well, that’s all for now! Hopefully I have something aside from collage to share with you next week, but no guarantees. 🙂

NaNoWriMo success!

Uncategorized

I managed to finish my first-ever NaNoWriMo attempt by the skin of my teeth. Thanks to an 8K day on Sunday, November 29, I eked out the remaining 1.5K on November 30. Phew! So, with my October pre-NaNo writing, I have about 55,000 words so far.

I exported the manuscript from Scrivener and printed it as it stands right now just to feel the physical weight of the words. And so I could drop 240 binder-clipped pages onto a desk and hear a satisfying thud.

NaNoWriMo results

This manuscript requires a lot more love and attention of course. I skipped around in an effort to crank out whatever scenes I could at the time. Fortunately, this is easy to do in Scrivener. So there’s a beginning, middle and end, but there are several holes. Next step: read through what I have and make a missing scene list. Then I’ll crank those out, and then comes serious editing time.

My other (completely different) writing project involves impostor squirrel. And I look forward to creating and sharing more sketches of him in the future!

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year? How did it go? Please share in the comments below.

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner!

Uncategorized

This year I’m taking the plunge and participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Truth be told, I’ve never technically tried writing an entire novel before, let alone writing one in 30 days. So I feel a lot like this astronaut cat…floating in the abyss with a vague look of concern.

Astronaut Cat by Sheri Roloff

But I’m also really excited! I’ve been prepping my characters, plot and setting, and my outline is nearly complete. (I have a couple loose ends to tie up before November 1, but I’m close!) And for some crazy reason, I think I can do this.

Anyway, you likely won’t hear from me this November since I’ll be doing my darnedest to crank out 50,000 words. But hopefully a victory post will mark the end of this journey.

Good luck to all the other NaNoWriMo-ers out there!

Run, Cheetah, Run! — New Illustration Sample

Uncategorized

I’ve been working on more portfolio updates. Here is an example of a full spread illustration for my story Run, Cheetah, Run! Click on the image below for an enlarged view. Thanks for taking a look. 🙂

Run, Cheetah, Run! by Sheri Roloff

New & Improved: Flight of the Flightless Birds

Uncategorized

I decided to revise Flight of the Flightless Birds. I created a cleaner background and lightened up the ground to place a clearer focus on the birds. I think this also helps make the ground appear farther away. Check out the original version here. I’m much happier with the new version, but which one do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below.

Flight of the Flightless Birds by Sheri Roloff