Sep 152016
 

In August, I shared the first five illustrations of the “Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book here. I also shared the basic story line for the book:

In the beginning of the book, Mia Meow, a small cat with big dreams, looks out a window from the inside of her home. Although she loves her home, she longs for adventure, desiring to play with the squirrels and birds that she sees from her inside perch.

Mia Meow lives in a creative place with her human companion who is an artist. Her particular art tends to be creating havoc!

In a bout of mischievous play, Mia Meow discovers a red crayon on the floor. She whacks the crayon around the floor as cats will do…

…and then she hits it so hard, it sails through the air onto the table. On the table is a collar and a piece of paper.

Being a curious cat, Mia Meow dons the collar. Cats are not naturally given to drawing, but with the collar, she feels a creative impulse that she has never experienced before. She begins to draw with the crayon. As she draws, she discovers that the collar has given her magical powers, and her drawing comes to life off the paper.

Throughout the story, Mia Meow discovers her magical power is her creativity, and her imagination takes her on a grand adventure! 

(Read the post and see the first 5 illustrations here.)

I have the next sequence of illustrations ready to share. As the story proceeds, Mia Meow wears her magic collar and uses her magic crayon to create new friends and new adventures along the way. (Note, some of the illustrations are missing the collar, which will be added to the paintings later.) “Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book Illustration Squirrel and Bird in tree First, Mia Meow uses her crayon to draw the squirrel and bird that she usually watches from behind her window on the inside, and watches as her imagination comes to life! Mia befriends the bird and squirrel that she has created. “Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book Illustration Farm animals Next, Mia creates a cow, a pig, a goat and a chicken and she enjoys visiting her new friends on a farm. “Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book Illustration Forest animals After visiting the farm, Mia explores the forest, creating new friends, including a bear, a raccoon, a skunk, a fox and a rabbit. Mia has a few more adventures ahead of her, and new friends to meet. Stay tuned for more illustrations and more of the story! The book and the illustrations should be completed within the next month. My plan is to have the book self published and ready to have preordered copies shipped before the 2016 winter holidays in time for gift giving. You  can preorder copies of the “Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book  which will be published in the near future. Preorder your copy here. All hardcover preorders made before 9/15/16 will include a pdf copy emailed to you for mobile device reading. Life is an Adventure! BZTAT
Aug 112016
 
The process of creating the illustrations for the "Oh My, Mia Meow!" Children's Picture Book is in full gear! I have been spending a lot of time creating paintings that will tell the story along with the written words for the book. Each illustration is a 30"H x 40"W acrylic painting on textured wood. Below are the first four illustrations. 1-Mia-Meow-book-illustration-window-scene-LR In the beginning of the book, Mia Meow, a small cat with big dreams, looks out a window from the inside of her home. Although she loves her home, she longs for adventure, desiring to play with the squirrels and birds that she sees from her inside perch. 1-Mia-Meow-book-illustration-studio-havoc-LR Mia Meow lives in a creative place with her human companion who is an artist. Her particular art tends to be creating havoc! 1-Mia-Meow-book-illustration-pouncing-crayon-LR In a bout of mischievous play, Mia Meow discovers a red crayon on the floor. She whacks the crayon around the floor as cats will do... 1-Mia-Meow-book-illustration-finding-collar-LR ...and then she hits it so hard, it sails through the air onto the table. On the table is a collar and a piece of paper. 1-Mia-Meow-book-illustration-scribble-LR Being a curious cat, Mia Meow dons the collar. Cats are not naturally given to drawing, but with the collar, she feels a creative impulse that she has never experienced before. She begins to draw with the crayon. As she draws, she discovers that the collar has given her magical powers, and her drawing comes to life off the paper. What comes next? Throughout the story, Mia Meow discovers her magical power is her creativity, and her imagination takes her on a grand adventure! Stay tuned for more illustrations and more of the story! The crowdfunding campaign for the book has concluded, but you now can preorder copies to be published in the near future. Preorder your copy here. All hardcover preorders made before 9/15/16 will include a pdf copy emailed to you for mobile device reading. Life is an Adventure! BZTAT
Jun 262016
 
Children love Mia MeowI have done a lot of important things in my life. As a therapist for children and families for over 20 years, I helped many young people overcome difficulties in their lives. As an artist and teacher, I have enriched many lives with my creativity. Each person that I have encountered in my work has been as important to my life as I have been to theirs. My pursuits have been driven by the sentiments in this often repeated quote: "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." ~ Forest E. Witcraft I have taken pride in knowing that I have helped others throughout my career. Still yet, I have always wanted to do more and reach more people. I have a desire to make a difference in the lives of children around the world, regardless of whether I actually meet them. I know that the stories and artworks of Mia Meow have already made a difference in the lives of the children who have been in my art classes. It would be so wonderful to bring that same joy to others on a grander scale. You can help me make a difference by helping me bring the "Oh My, Mia Meow!" Children's Picture Book to countless children around the world. Each contribution to the Indiegogo Campaign brings us one step closer to publishing the book and sending it around the world. Part of the campaign is making the book available to children via schools and other child serving organizations. You can choose to make a contribution that will allow me to donate books to worthy groups as well as secure first edition copies for yourself. You can join me in the exciting adventure of bringing the "Oh My, Mia Meow!" Children's Picture Book to the world by clicking on the link below:

"Oh My, Mia Meow!"

Indiegogo Campaign

Please visit the link, and share it with others. If you would, please share why it is important as well as sharing the link. The success of a crowdfunding campaign is determined by how many people help to get the word out about it. Even if you choose not to participate yourself, someone you know may wish to do so. Thank you so much for your support! Life is an Adventure! BZTAT
Jun 052016
 
Mia Meow Children's Picture Book Project about a creative catHave you heard about the "Oh My, Mia Meow!" Children's Picture Book Project? I have done a lot of special projects through the years, and all have been important in some way. This project, however, rises to a whole new level of importance for me. The more I get into it, the more I realize that this book can have significant impact on the lives of children, and there is nothing more important than making a difference to a child. The book itself is simple. An ordinary cat faces everyday obstacles and seeks to find a way to overcome them. In the process, she discovers her power through creativity and ingenuity, and she becomes a very extraordinary cat. She explores new environments and meets a variety of animal friends along the way. It is an adventure that is revealed through colorful illustrations that intrigue and enamor children, and thus, inspire their imaginations. Simple books for children can have a lot of power. Life lessons that are revealed through endearing stories and imaginative illustrations help children develop perspectives to shape their understanding of the world. Tapping into children's imaginations allows us to broaden their understanding so they can create their own worldview. So, what is so important about this book project?
  1. The stories and artwork of Mia Meow grew out of my work with preschool children. Their enthusiasm for the character, the artwork, and the story is what inspired me to create the book.
  2. The Mia Meow story teaches children that they can overcome obstacles with creative thinking and imaginative resourcefulness.
  3. Our culture tends to emphasize idealized stereotypes of power and mastery. Typical childhood "superheroes" have unrealistic strength and mythical weapons to demonstrate power, and they give children an unrealistic vision of how they should engage with their world. The story of Mia Meow lays a more realistic foundation for a child's belief in his or her own creative abilities as a source of personal power.
  4. The story encourages arts integration as an important learning process for young children. The arts are key to childhood learning and healthy emotional development, yet so many schools struggle to maintain arts programming due to funding cuts. Mia Meow offers a creative and fun approach to learning which is supported by research in its effectiveness.
  5. The book engenders a love and empathy for animals, encouraging children to be considerate and respectful of all creatures.
  6. The book project and crowdfunding program, which will be launched soon, has a goal of raising funds for creating and publishing the book, but beyond that, there is also a goal of donating books to programs that serve children. My hope is that the crowdfunding campaign, once launched, will raise enough funds to donate books to:
  • Preschool classrooms of schools involved in the Artful Living Program, where the Mia Meow story and art were inspired.
  • The Canton, OH Police Department Community Policing Program, as a way for police officers to develop positive relationships with children and families in challenged neighborhoods.
  • Libraries in Stark County, OH and surrounding areas.
  • Other school and youth programs designated by contributors. Although my own focus will be local programs, my hope is that contributors will consider donating books to programs worldwide.
I will be launching an Indiegogo campaign soon for the "Oh My, Mia Meow!" Children's Picture Book Project. I am using this online program to allow others to be a part of the project to gain seed funding for publishing the book and also to encourage donation of books to worthy programs. I hope that you will consider helping me with the campaign by contributing and/or sharing it with others to get the word out. Thanks so much for your interest in the project! Life is an Adventure! BZTAT