Illinois Author-Illustrator Visit

Last weekend, I was invited to Elgin, IL by Katie and Parker Thompson to participate in a Starlight Parade. The Cycle City-themed parade was a way promote their future nonprofit community cycling center, the Elgin Bike Hub. The city of Elgin does not have a single bike shop (YET)! These hard-working, proactive folks are not only looking to create a bike shop, but to play a more ambassadorial role such as: education, community outreach, and working with the city on more comprehensive cycling infrastructure. I was so honored to participate in the festivities and to support their mission!

A special thanks to everyone for accommodating my knee injury!

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Friday afternoon I visited the Elgin Bike Hub’s farmer’s market booth.

 I had some small helpers drawing bikes with me to make a poster for the Starlight Parade.

I had some small helpers drawing bikes with me to make a poster for the Starlight Parade.

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Friday night, we Starlight Paraded around downtown. Katie Thompson kicked off the parade with the megaphone and Parker Thompson wrapped the whole thing up at the end (Thompson announcers pictured in squid hats). The sky erupted in thunderstorms immediately after and we headed inside to the after party (scroll through)!

photo credit GBPL

Saturday, I read Cycle City and did a drawing demo for families at the Gail Borden Public Library . I love their library bike!!!

 Sunday, Parker Thompson, his kiddos and I borrowed these awesome ebikes from the fantastic  Four Star Family Cyclery  in Chicago. We rode them to a very sweet kidical mass.

Sunday, Parker Thompson, his kiddos and I borrowed these awesome ebikes from the fantastic Four Star Family Cyclery in Chicago. We rode them to a very sweet kidical mass.

 Kidical mass was lead by the fantastic biking aficionados  Chicago Family Biking  and  Roscoe Village Bikes .

Kidical mass was lead by the fantastic biking aficionados Chicago Family Biking and Roscoe Village Bikes.

 Photo credit Roscoe Village Bikes.  Parading through Roscoe Village!

Photo credit Roscoe Village Bikes.

Parading through Roscoe Village!

 photo credit  Elgin Bike Hub   Here I am reading Cycle City to a very cute Kidical Mass audience! I love when my audience can sit in a box bike!

photo credit Elgin Bike Hub

Here I am reading Cycle City to a very cute Kidical Mass audience! I love when my audience can sit in a box bike!

 photo credit  Elgin Bike Hub   Drawing demo after reading Cycle City! A very fun weekend in Illinois!!!

photo credit Elgin Bike Hub

Drawing demo after reading Cycle City! A very fun weekend in Illinois!!!

Completing Cycle City

Early in 2017, while I was about halfway through the illustrations for my debut picture book, Cycle City (Chronicle Books, March 2018),  I had a looming deadline and not enough time.  I thought if I could get away from my regular responsibilities for a week, I might have a chance of getting back on track.  

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I soon learned about the Sou'wester Lodge in Seaview, WA.  Sou'wester lodge is a magical, art-loving place that rents cabins, rooms in a house, camping spots, as well as a fleet of vintage trailers.  They have a sauna, a massage trailer, a music studio trailer, loaner bikes, and a consignment shop trailer.  They host events, retreats, and workshops.  And they do artist residencies!  I applied, and eventually booked a week there.

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The Old Spartan, my residence for one week.

Inside the Old Spartan: compact, efficient, perfect!

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At Sou'wester, I worked about 10 hours each day, mostly on linework!  So so so much linework to be done!  I brought my light table, used a fountain pen and some microns to trace all of my spreads onto 300lb Arches paper (snob-paper for paper snobs).  I listened to the entire Harry Potter series on audiobook that week!

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Amidst the chaos, one finished piece! 

 

 

I'm so happy I was able to have a whole uninterrupted week to work at Sou'wester, it really was a treat!

Click through the gallery to see more photos of the Old Spartan and some of the places I walked to in Seaview, WA!