My First Job as an Illustrator

After I went away to college and no longer lived near my parents, we still had a desire for closeness, particularly around the holidays. We started a tradition where my mother would write a story and email it to me, I would create illustrations for it then send the finished pages back over to them, then my father would help bind and ship the story. They would go out to all the friends and relatives as their Christmas present.

I’ll admit, my illustrations were pretty bad at times.  Sometimes I really didn’t put the care into them that I needed to.  As I look back on each thin, hand-bound volume, I can see a lot of progress and I think that’s valuable.  Besides, there were other advantages too.  The extended family, who are devoted non readers, would start calling each other and discussing the story. And I got a little much needed holiday cash.  We all three had the feeling of continuing a holiday tradition that drew us together.

Now, for this year, my dad was the one who wrote the story. I had the idea to publish the last twelve or so stories into one big volume. I also would re-illustrate the stories that needed it. So “Yuletide Lights” was born. It’s fifteen stories, each one born of personal experience, and filled with the central themes of the holiday season. They stories are in general heartwarming and filled with generosity but in some truly touching ways. Each story is a slice of life, a pair of magic glasses with which you can peep into another life, another way. The story I wrote is about a lost cat in Japan, but even it happens around the Holidays. The little girl in the book my dad wrote might as well have been me, and I remember versions of many of events in these and other stories. Many times I’ve been moved to tears, working on this project.

I had fun preparing, editing and illustrating these stories, as much fun as I hope you have in reading them.

If you’d like to see this volume, it’s available both in paperback and Kindle.

Since I already posted a picture of the cover, two posts back, I’ll share some of the interior illustrations instead!








Trash Burner Stove



This little drawing is for the latest Holiday Story my family is putting out.  We do this each year and are thinking, at some point, of doing an anthology.  The stove is called a Trash Burner, and is a small wood stove that people use to heat small spaces or burn things they don’t want.  I had that as my sole source of heat for about four years.

(Author’s note:  Since the site redesign, we have indeed completed the anthology.  It’s available on Amazon under the title “Yultide Lights: Holes in the Christmas Stocking.”)