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Drawing with Baby Dragons

Today is the day that the very first book that I illustrated is born. Baby dragon Baby Dragon, written by Melissa Marr and published by Penguin hits the shelves today! It’s about the adventures and friendship of a high energy little dragon and a fierce little girl. Melissa modeled the baby dragon after her own young son whose high energy has sometimes made making friends difficult.

I can’t help, but see my own little ones in the book, especially since the illustrations were made at a time when my small family was expanding. I started rough drawings for the book right after my second son was born. And the energy of Baby Dragon so reminds me of the energy of my oldest son.

Drawing with baby
Working on Baby Dragon thumbnails while baby sleeps.

So today, on Baby Dragon’s birth day, I find myself thinking back to those early baby days. I’m also reflecting on what a crazy, messy thing it is to have illustrated my first book during those first years of keeping a tiny human alive and a slightly older human happy and healthy too. All I can say, is thank goodness for Zachary Rau for picking up the pieces and cheering me on.

There was a lot of drawing with the baby sleeping in a sling or with the baby sitting on my lap. This worked great until he figured out how to grab things off my desk. We had also just moved into our first house. My studio originally doubled as the baby's room... so I could draw while he slept. Then we moved the boys into a room together and my studio doubled as the playroom.

Messy studio with kids
This is what it looked like.

It seems fitting that, on the day of Baby Dragon's birth, it's spring break, both kids are home and things at the house are crazy. The kids were especially dragon like this morning. With that, I gotta run. The toddler is up from his nap and it's time to help Zack pick up and make dinner. The adventure continues.


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