I wanted to share more about my newest creation: The Confetti Hearts book (available 10/14) and all the behind the scenes things of how this book came to be.
This time 2 years ago, I took on two massive (and new to me) projects: illustrating my first children's book and painting my first outdoor mural: the confetti hearts wall. Both of these projects were really interesting to me for different reasons. Learning more about children's books aligned with my passion for stories. Not only have I always loved reading, but I grew up typing stories on my grandmother's typewriter to then illustrate. With A Good Night for Mr. Coleman, I was fortunate to learn more about the book illustrating process. At the same time, I got to step into the world of public art, which fascinates me in its ability to engage with people in everyday life. With the confetti hearts wall, I wanted to create a piece of art that invited everyone to experience the magic of art. I didn't have any expectations with how the confetti hearts wall would be received; just hoped that it would brighten someone's day. As time went on, I was incredibly touched by how many people enjoyed the art and especially by how many teachers invited me to visit their classroom to talk with their students. The more I visited classrooms, the better I got at explaining the meaning of the confetti hearts wall to kids: that every act of kindness is like a single heart on the wall.
My visits helped create a well versed, kid friendly explanation of the confetti hearts wall that slowly evolved into a book idea. After releasing the ABC animals print & book this past Spring, I started thinking about what a 123 book might look like and was typing out ideas on my i-phone during one of my many long 2020 walks. Because the way the confetti hearts add up is similar to counting, the idea to paint the confetti hearts wall as a book formed in my mind. I wasn't initially sure what the narrative would be, but I immediately knew the message and what the book would visually look like: hearts appearing on the pages one by one until the mural was formed. So, step by step, I drafted a story to illustrate on my i-phone notes.
Illustrating the book, I started by drawing inspiration from real life photos and observing surrounding Southend scenery as I walked nearby, mostly paying attention to rail trail, the magic carpets, and light rail. I scrolled through this hashtag gallery and made notes on how different kids posed. Though I included a dog as the narrating force in the book, I intend for the main character to be the child reading the book. I want the reader to feel like and believe they are the one creating the confetti hearts wall magic. As you flip through the book, the story will teach you the story of the confetti hearts wall: that your small acts of kindness add up into something big, bright and beautiful. The last pages of the book read:
I hope the book allows you to bring the confetti hearts wall magic into your home. This book will be available both in my Charlotte, NC studio as well as on my website beginning 10/14. Unless you plan to visit my studio and buy your book there, please allow 3 weeks for the book to be printed and shipped.
Thanks for following along! XX
PS-- big thank you to my new friend Bean for lending her heart, kindness, and style to these book photos. I so appreciate you being my model for this!