The Magic of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards

Art, Illustration, KidLit

This past weekend, I had a dream come true!

I got to fly to Traverse City, Michigan, to accept a beautiful bronze medal for The Spill with its incredible author, Author Jacqueline Leigh! The book won the medal in the Picture Book – Preschool category of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards.

What made this trip even more special was getting to take my biggest supporter–my amazing mom Cathy–on this adventure with me! We had so much fun exploring the beautiful town of Traverse City and celebrating one of our favorite shared passions–books!

My other favorite part of this amazing trip was getting to finally MEET Jackie! She and I had so much fun working together over the last year and a half to bring Faye to life, and we never imagined we would be meeting for the first time at an AWARD CEREMONY! (We went through the entire illustration process for The Spill living on opposite ends of the country in two different time zones! Thanks to technology like texts, emails, Skype, and Dropbox, we never missed a beat!)

Meeting Jackie was like meeting up with an old dear friend!

At the Moonbeam Awards ceremony, each medalist got the change to speak about their book for a minute or so, and I cannot put into words how inspiring that part of the evening was! (Maybe that’s why I’m an illustrator, and not an author?) 😉

The award-winning books covered a wide range of meaningful topics, across all age levels and genres. Tears were flowing at tables across the room after many acceptance speeches, and the feelings of solidarity and camaraderie among the authors, illustrators, publishers, and their special guests was contagious!

Here are some more fun pictures from the ceremony and our day exploring Traverse City!


How Do The Pictures Get In The Book?

Illustration, KidLit

I had the pleasure of teaching a kids workshop on illustration a few weeks ago at my favorite Billings bookstore, This House of Books!

In a wonderful summer series the bookstore hosted for children featuring workshops from different STEAM careers, I was honored to fill the slot for the “A” with some Art. I am a firm believer in the importance of the arts in our lives, and even more so in the lives of our children and students.

I brought my sketches, my storyboard, and my final watercolor paintings for The Spill, so I could show the kids my process from start to finish.

I even brought my light box along, which was a huge hit! All the kids got the chance to trace Faye, just like I did so many times throughout the six months it took me to finish all the artwork for the book.

The kids learned about basic story elements like setting, characters, and plot; they learned how to show emotion and action through body language in illustrations, and they even sketched their own storyboards!

I was thrilled to see such amazing little budding artists, who will be the storytellers of tomorrow! This event made me even more grateful for a life involving books, art, and children. What a beautiful combination!

Thanks so much to This House of Books for inviting me to come present this fun workshop! We will ALWAYS need stories and stories are so much better with pictures. I felt so lucky to get to share the wonderful world of illustration with such creative little minds–our authors and illustrators of tomorrow!

**Draw something everyday!**

~Erika

(Huge thanks also go to Rosanna Buehl–one of our amazing bookstore volunteers–for all of these awesome pictures!!)

New Adventures — New Focus

Illustration, Motherhood

It has been an exciting year for me and even more exciting for Hank the Tank!

In the last few months, Hank graduated from pacifiers, his crib, and from diapers; he celebrated his 3rd birthday, he went on his first road trip with a hotel stay, and he even learned how to ride a bike! (With “twaining” wheels) 🙂

In that same period of time, my first published book as an illustrator was released, and I celebrated with my very first Book Signing! (I am still pinching myself about that adorable book!)

Needless to say, it has been a very busy spring! I hardly had a second to catch my breath chasing my tornado-toddler around, so I didn’t get much time to write any Tired Mama tales for the blog. What I DID write this spring though, were a few new children’s book manuscripts and I can’t wait to (hopefully) bring those to life soon as well!

As I have discovered is true with motherhood, I am finding the only constant in life is change. I have been so humbled to have you all following along with my (mis!)adventures in motherhood, but my course is shifting somewhat these days. My focus is now on LIVING the moments with Hank, rather than reflecting and writing them while he sleeps. These days are so precious and so action-packed that I just can’t seem to find the time it takes to put them into words anymore!

That said–I also realize this is a great opportunity to simplify my social channels and combine my blog and my illustrator portfolio website into one streamlined site, which I have been working on this week. I’d still love to have you all follow along to keep up to speed on my book projects, author/illustrator news, and my artwork, but I’m afraid the motherhood stories will be fewer and farther in between!

Thanks so much for your support these past few years. I hope you hang around to see where the future takes us!

Cheers to new focus and . . . to a new name for this blog: Erika Wilson Books!

(And as always. . cheers to all of my fellow Tired Mamas!)

To New Adventures and New Books!