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!

New comic pages for Cognito Sanchez

Children's Books, Illustration, Writing

Happy Wednesday to you! I’m working on sketching out new pages for my graphic novel work-in-progress Cognito Sanchez: Dive Another Day. Here are some rough sketches of upcoming pages. More pages plus ink and color coming soon!

Cognito Sanchez_Page 14 by Sheri RoloffCognito Sanchez_Page 15 by Sheri RoloffCognito Sanchez_Page 16 by Sheri Roloff

You can find finished art samples for Cognito Sanchez and other projects on my illustration page. Thanks for taking a look!

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.

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!

 

Cognito Sanchez: Opening Spread Sketch

Children's Books, Illustration, Writing

I’m excited to share a sketch of the opening spread of Cognito Sanchez: Dive Another Day! I’m working on sketching the first chapter, so more to come soon. In the meantime, you can see more illustrations here. Thanks for stopping by!

Cognito Sanchez: opening spread by Sheri Roloff

 

In-progress: Tom & Gibson storyboard

Children's Books, Illustration, Uncategorized

I’m working on a 32-page origin story for Tom & Gibson. I started with small thumbnails on graph paper, which I’m now fleshing out more in Photoshop.

In-progress storyboards for Tom & Gibson by Sheri Roloff

Once I get the story to flow exactly how I want, I’ll move on to full-page sketches. That’s all for this work-in-progress Wednesday. Have a great week!

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. 🙂

WIP Wednesday: Rediscovering Collage

Art, Uncategorized

Welcome to WIP (Work in Progress) Wednesday. I should be showing you art (that I haven’t made yet…) for my graphic novel project. But instead, I’m going to share my new-found love of collage with you. What?! I know… I’m confused about it too.

Good News Collage by Sheri Roloff

So, I’m not sure what instigated this collage frenzy. Maybe it was all the cleaning and sorting of art supplies during my recent move (I found so much cool stuff I’ve saved over the years thinking, “I could make something with that!”) Maybe it was the awesome heavy-stock glossy booklet sample I got from work that is just begging to be filled. Or maybe I’m anxious about working on my graphic novel and dabbling with something that’s purely play and essentially uneditable is refreshing.

Evil Megasquid Collage by Sheri Roloff

 

I’ve mentioned this in the past (probably to make myself feel better about a different random side project!), but I still love it. Austin Kleon touts the importance of side projects and productive procrastination:

“I think it’s good to have a lot of projects going at once so you can bounce between them. When you get sick of one project, move over to another, and when you’re sick of that one, move back to the project you left. Practice productive procrastination.” – Austin Kleon in Steal Like an Artist

So maybe this collage phase isn’t all bad…?

P.S. Despite what appears to be a current lack of focus, I soaked up tons of inspiration and knowledge at SCBWI’s Wild Wild Midwest Conference a few weeks ago. I shared a few highlights here.

Cognito Sanchez: Dive Another Day – Cover Concept Reveal!

Uncategorized

I’ve been hard at work on a manuscript and sample art for a 160-page graphic novel. I’m really excited to share the front and back cover with you today!

Cognito Sanchez: Dive Another Day by Sheri Roloff

The idea for this book sprouted from a couple illustrations I did of impostor squirrel several months ago. Since then, it’s grown into a full-blown story with an eclectic cast of characters. Here’s the pitch:

JAMES BOND meets MADAGASCAR with a mockumentary twist in COGNITO SANCHEZ – a graphic novel series for kids ages 8 to 12.

I’m taking this illustration with me to SCBWI’s Wild Wild Midwest Conference this weekend. I can’t wait to hang out with my fellow writer and illustrator friends and soak up more industry knowledge. I’m on the hook to write a conference recap post for the SCBWI-Wisconsin Chapter’s blog, so more on the conference coming soon!