Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Boy who cried Shmutz

I am so proud to share the thoughts and ideas behind my wonderful new book "The Boy who cried Shmutz" by the truly gifted author Sandi Hershenson
Firstly I'd like to mention that I felt everything I'd ever done or thought has prepared me for this book, it just felt like pieces of a puzzle coming together
It all started November 2011 when I discovered uTales (a fantastic group of writers & illustrators looking to collaborate) I responded to an invitation from Sandi looking for illustrators, she liked my portfolio and sent me the story.
The minute I read the story I was hooked! I loved it & felt really attached to it!
It is a retelling of "The boy who cried wolf" and filled with Yiddish vocab ,funny, sweet & beautifully written!
Sandi & I, although miles away (she lives in the States) had so much in common and we forged an instant connection. Both being mothers to 4 kids we keep strange & busy hours and total different time zones, but what I loved best was that every minute of the day one of us was awake & pouring love & good energy into our book!

For the next couple of months I lived, ate & slept "Shmutz" I was constantly thinking of ideas, watching people & collecting information. I fell in love with the main character and based him on my youngest son Etai, who became the "shmutz" patroller in our house!
Etai laughing his "tuchus" off

Etai with his cheesey grin

A family trip to Bulgaria greatly inspired me with the house & buildings. One of my darling friends became the "soap lady" and even Sparky (our dog) got a part in the story.

I had the book printed for Etai (as yet it’s a digital book-although Sandi & I totally believe we will get it published) and to this day he insists upon reading it every night!

Ok so I thought I'd share a bit of the process with you
I first did some rough sketches, uploaded them into our book (uTales has a draft book format available-which is simple & user friendly) Sandi supplied the text. On approval I slowly worked into the finished artworks .
Rough sketches

Drawing them onto good quality paper with my most loved pencil & leaving my faithful HB pencil lines to shine through, giving it, I believe a really nice feeling .I then painted with my Dr Martin's inks, shaded with my caravan ache pencils and scanned the pictures one by one.

Hershel coming alive on my notice board

scanned picture of the buildings with Hershel
Working on Photoshop I added different dimensions, textures, and patterns …basically playing around with the images…letting them have a role in their destinations! Then because it is a digital book I was able to have some fun with special effects & "animation"
We then decided that the text would work better if I did it on InDesign with my drawings, which is what I did. I made a PDF for Sandi so that she could see it all & check for any mistakes or changes we need to make. She was as excited as me! So I then saved them all as jpegs & uploaded them into our book…added some sound effects & movement here & there ….AND  finally after 5 months we were ready to submit our book for approval…fingers crossed
Hershel on "Shmutz" patrol

Hershel laughing his "tuchus" off

The villagers "kvetching"
After a bit of twigging here & there our book was published! Most exciting!!!
Thank you Sandi for the wonderful opportunity!!! Together we will move mountains!
And thank you uTales for a fantastic site!!


  1. Fabulous... just love hearing the process. I love this book and think you and Sandi do make an awesome team. Here's to your continued success! Mazel Tov!

    1. Thanks so much Joanna!It really has been such a fantastic journey!and lets hope continues to be so!

  2. Fantastic, hope you get it published soon!

  3. Thanks Tim !It is a digital Book published by uTales, but yes we really believe it will get published in print form!

  4. Wonderful! Thank you, Claudia, for sharing your process--it always helps and inspires!

  5. So fun to be able to follow along....I read the preview and it was really fun. Thanks for sharing...I love the sketch book!