Self-publishing ‘Let’s Visit New Hope,’ Part 4: Sketches to finished art

lvnhcoverfront300The new children’s book ‘Let’s Visit New Hope’, written by Gayle Goodman and Roy Ziegler and illustrated by me, Pat Achilles, has just been released by the New Hope Historical Society. We used Amazon’s online publishing service, Createspace, to publish it.  This series of posts will follow the steps in the creation of the book.  

Some of my initial sketches for the children’s book Let’s Visit New Hope were just what the authors wanted, leaving me few changes to make before the finished illustrations.  The vignette below, used on both page 10 and the title page, hardly changed at all through sketch, color sketch and finished art.


But some of the sketches, for various reasons, needed changes before I put brush to board. (For these illustrations I painted with acrylic paints on illustration board.)


For instance, at the beginning of the story Benjamin Parry welcomes us to the Bucks County countryside, with his New Hope Mill in the background.  I had researched photos of 19th century mills still in existence today, and men’s clothing of the time period, to sketch the scene.  When author Roy Ziegler added some details to the text, explaining Parry’s was specifically a flour mill, I added a cart with wheat sheafs and sacks of flour. For the finished art I also redrew Ben more in the proportion of a real person (click on the image to enlarge).

benparrymillskwpSome initial sketches changed completely.  I had planned to draw the carousel at Peddler’s Village, but author Gayle Goodman convinced me that the the ball cannons at nearby Giggleberry Mountain would be a much more exciting romp to draw.


One of my favorite projects in this book was creating a double page spread panorama of New Hope.  We took some artistic license by putting several of the major historical buildings in town together – the Parry Mansion, Bucks County Playhouse and New Hope’s first Town Hall building – but I think it captures the essence of this lovely river town that has so much personality.  You can see the progression of my illustration from sketch to finished page in the 30-second video below. I will have prints of this scene and others in the book available for sale on my Store page soon.

You can obtain author-and-illustrator signed copies of ‘Let’s Visit New Hope’ by ordering through the New Hope Historical Society’s website at My next post coming soon: Publishing with Amazon’s Createspace. Previous posts in this series are on my blog, just scroll through .   If you want to read future posts as they are published, subscribe to my blog by clicking on the +Follow box at the lower right of your screen and you will get email notifications when I have posted the next article.

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