My new book Merlin’s Guide to Mythical Creatures from Many Lands will always hold a special place in my heart–not because of its whimsical subject matter or the fact that I got to inhabit the character of Merlin the Magician–but because of the book’s co-illustrator: my son, Luke.
When Luke was just a little guy, three or four, as soon as I would come home from teaching school, he would want to write a story. I would set him on my lap at the dinner table, and we would write a story. It was a simple process: Luke would tell me what to write, and I would write it. These stories always seemed to revolve around Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong, and King Koopa. Then, of course, there had to be illustrations. I would draw them, but Luke always kept the job of coloring for himself.
We've come a long way from those days! Luke is a freshman now, and our days of writing and illustrating stories together seemed far behind us. That is, until this summer. Writing a book about mythical creatures had always been a goal of mine–who doesn’t love mythical creatures?–and although a draft of the full book had been written, there were still the illustrations to do. Tons and tons of illustrations. So many, in fact, I had decided that as a full-time teacher there was no way for me to complete them all. The book would just never be completed.
But Luke kept encouraging me. “Dad, you can do it!” I tried to explain how illustration was so time-consuming, and the book would need many full-color illustrations to bring the creatures to life. Then he found a solution: “I’ll color them for you.” So I trained Luke on Photoshop, and this summer we started the process of bringing these creatures to life. It was like the old days: I would draw, and he would color. We had just as much fun this go-around as we did in the old days–although as you will see, Luke’s coloring has drastically improved! Bottom line.
In short, the reason this book exists is because of Luke. It is my first full-color book and has nearly 100 illustrations. I am even more proud to say that the finished product is a cooperative effort between father and son. We are excited to share Merlin’s Guide to Mythical Creatures from Many Lands with all of you. And if you enjoy it, thank Luke!
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