BCIS Hosts Illustrator David Wiesner

The Bucks County Illustrators Society and the Lahaska Bookshop will host a talk and book-signing by Caldecott award-winning author-illustrator David Wiesner this Thursday evening, April 4 at 7:00 PM.

David Wiesner is the author and illustrator of many childrens books such as Tuesday, The Three Pigs and Flotsam, and is a three-time winner of Caldecott Medals, which recognize distinguished American picture books for children. Mr. Wiesner will speak about his illustration career and how childhood memories and  images influence the stories he creates. He will sign any of his books purchased that evening. This event is free and open to the public.

Please take a moment to g HERE to register for the event – it is free, but registering will give the Lahaska Bookshop an idea of how many people will be attending, so they can provide enough seating.

The event takes place at the Lahaska Bookshop, located at 162A Peddler’s Village, Old York Rd. (Rte. 263) and Carousel Lane, Lahaska, PA. There is parking in front of the shop, with other lots nearby in Peddler’s Village. For further info contact 215-348-4837 or bcillustrators@gmail.com.

“The Upside-Down Gardener” Book Premiering December 5

upsidedown_gardener_frontonlyI’m happy to announce that Chrysa Smith’s new children’s book, with illustrations by yours truly, will be introduced at a book launch at Lahaska Book Shop in Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, PA, on Wednesday, December 5, starting at 7:00 PM.

Chrysa describes her story this way: ‘Determined city girl Dory Oslo unwillingly agrees when her mom tells her she should plant a garden. How could something grow in their city plot with only a piece of sun shining above the buildings? Her determination to wake up those plants is strong and what follows is nothing short of a miracle. Only something highly unusual is happening, or is it? This story uses gardening as a tie-in to discussions about not giving up, trying something new, being a strong-minded girl and of course, the beauty of nature itself.’

udgdetail_1The public in invited to join us at the launch and enjoy some light refreshments. Chrysa has asked me to talk and show a bit about how I planned and created sketches and finished art for the book, and we will both be there to sign purchased copies. Please join us – you can get a lovely book perfect for 2nd to 4th graders, or for reading out loud to younger children, and then get a jump on other holiday shopping by strolling though lovely Peddler’s Village!

upside_down_gardener_detail1Another sneak peek into the book: it takes place in Brooklyn, and there is definitely some fantasy going on – as you can see from the flowers starting to bloom right in the NYC subway!

For directions to Peddlers Village, click HERE . The Lahaska Book Shop is near the corner of Old York Rd. and Carousel Lane, which you can see on the map HERE – there is a parking lot just outside the shop, with other larger lots around Peddler’s Village.  Other holiday events at Peddlers Village are HERE .




My Holiday Cards & Books at a Pop-Up Sale

I’m happy to be joining some artist friends – painters Denise Callanan-Kline, Shirley Mersky and Diane Greenberg – in a ‘Pop-Up’ sale – it all takes place over one weekend, in charming Lambertville, NJ.


As you can see, we will be selling original artwork, drawings, books and cards at our sale – all reasonably priced for holiday gift-giving. Many of the paintings are of local scenes, and ALL of the artists are local!

If you are shopping or strolling in Lambertville on the weekend after Thanksgiving, please stop in – the Chamber of Commerce office is only a few blocks into town from the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge, right at the corner of Bridge Street and South Main Street. 

I’ll have my children’s books and holiday cards for sale, and you can read more and see some samples of our items here.

Self-publishing ‘Let’s Visit New Hope,’ Part 1: Inspiration and Timeline

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.  

The authors of Let’s Visit New Hope contacted me last summer to ask my availability for taking on a book project.  Author Gayle Goodman, who has worked with grade-school children in the area, was the motivator, having realized there are no children’s books devoted to the unique, historic town of New Hope.  Roy Ziegler is a local author and historian whom Gayle brought on board for his particular expertise in the history of the area.


Art (c) M. Sasek

At our first meeting Gayle brought along two books from her childhood that somewhat inspired her to develop this project – and they became my inspiration as well. This is Paris and This is San Francisco are two of dozens of children’s books created by the incomparable architect-illustrator Miroslav Sasek in the 1950s and 60s.  They are delightful romps through famous cities of the world, with a dizzying number of beautiful illustrations drawn by Sasek, with the skill of a master but a child’s eye for fun.

They made me eager to do a book in this same vein, for our lovely local town of New Hope. The authors and I needed first to rough out a timeline for its production.

The authors had notes for the book but not a finished manuscript, and they planned to approach the New Hope Historical Society and other resources for grants or donations to pay for the art and production of the book.  From their typewritten manuscript, I would lay out the book from page 1 to 32, deciding which text and what art would go on each page.  I would sketch the illustrations and paint the finished art. And then the whole piece would be turned over to Createspace for printing – Roy had used Createspace for his other books and found good customer service and easy navigation. So basically we had to estimate the time needed to write the manuscript, gather donors, lay out the book, create the illustrations and have it printed.

Our ballpark estimations were developed: a couple weeks for the manuscript to be written; a month to lay out the book; 3 months to create the art; and a month to get it printed.  The task of soliciting donors, we decided, would come after I laid out the manuscript as a dummy book with pencil sketches.  We felt it would be a big selling point for donors if we could show them an approximation of what the book would look like, and also, having a 32-page dummy book would prove that we were serious about getting this book made.


Art (c) Pat Achilles

While we initially hoped to have the book ready for sale in December for holiday gift-giving, this was unrealistic for a full-color 32-page book. Instead we targeted March 1, which is Benjamin Parry Day in New Hope, as our hoped-for launch date.

In discussing the events and family-friendly places to include in the book, Roy suggested the idea of having Ben Parry himself – known as the Father of New Hope – be the narrator of the book, leading the reader through the town’s history and culture.  The Historical Society celebrates Parry’s birthday on March 1 at his historic home in the center of the boro, so Benjamin Parry Day was indeed the perfect time to aim for in introducing our book.

‘Let’s Visit New Hope’ is available at http://www.newhopehs.org. My next post coming soon: The Manuscript and Thumbnails. Please write questions in the comment box below the post and I will answer them asap. 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.