Hope you’ll join me for a live reading and Q&A on August 15!

“Meet national bestselling author Terri Libenson as she talks about her newest book, Becoming Brianna. Terri will be doing a book reading and also holding a virtual Q&A session. There is no registration required for this free virtual event. Simply visit our Facebook page at the scheduled time. If you are interested in ordering one of Terri’s books, please visit The Bookshelf.

Terri Libenson, Author is the bestselling author of Invisible Emmie, Positively Izzy, Just Jaime, and most recently, Becoming Brianna. She is also the Reuben Award-winning cartoonist of the internationally syndicated comic strip The Pajama Diaries and was a longtime writer of humorous cards for American Greetings. Terri lives with her husband and two daughters in Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her online at www.terrilibenson.com.

This program is part of the Cambridge Comic Arts Festival 2020 

Hey, everyone! If you’re like my own kids, you’re going to be home for a while, waiting out the worst of the COVID-19 virus. At first, being “stuck at home” may not sound so bad. It’s an escape from tests, work, and maybe even those kids and teachers you try and avoid most days at school. But after a while, it can get pretty boring. So here are a few ideas for some screen-free fun time:

1. Well, of course, I’m going to say this…READ! This is such a great opportunity to take a break from your phone, video games, and other electronics and escape into someone else’s imagination.

2. Get outside. Okay, so you may have to avoid crowds of people, but it’s probably okay to ride your bike or walk to a park or wherever else you like to go (just ask a parent first if this is okay).

3. Have a game day (or night). If you’re gonna be stuck with your family, take out your frustrations on a friendly competition. It’s probably healthier than a family screaming match.

4. Whip out those neglected art supplies. Remember when you were in kindergarten and used to draw, paint, and craft with abandon? I’ll bet there are still some art supplies lying around. It’s a perfect time to get creative. Make your own comics! Try a collage from old paper scraps! Paint your little brother all the colors of the rainbow! Okay, kidding about that last one…maybe.

5. Along those lines, it’s also a great time to catch up on writing in a journal. Or start a novel. Believe it or not, boredom can weirdly spark your imagination.

6. Write letters to faraway friends and family. Once upon a time, people corresponded with pen, paper, and the written word. You can still do that! You can also draw funny pictures they can keep. But if that seems too old-fashioned, you can still FaceTime them your funny faces.

7. Finally, if you go to “Fun Stuff” in the menu above, there are some cool little games and videos. Also, here is an excerpt from my upcoming book, BECOMING BRIANNA:

That portion and the rest of BECOMMING BRIANNA comes out May 5, 2020. In the meantime, hunker down, stay healthy, and keep reading and creating!

Thought I’d share a fun peek into creating the art for Becoming Brianna, upcoming in the Emmie & Friends series. The process pretty much follows the same path as the first three books, except I kinda actually know what I’m doing now.

Each book is told in two different styles: graphic novel (like a comic book) and illustrated novel (lots of text with spot art). For the spot art, I create many rough illustrations in pencil on paper, and then I scan them in. Here’s an illustration I scanned for chapter 1:

Next, I redraw and color the image in Photoshop on my digital drawing tablet. A technique I often use is “tracing” over the rough image in order to create the new image. This is what the final illustration looks like:

I use the same technique for the graphic novel portion of the book. The only difference is I start with a page template so that I get the size right. Here’s what the template looks like:

Not much to look at, huh? But it really helps me. The pink part is my working area (note: this is reduced; it’s really about 5 inches by 8 inches). On the digital tablet, I can “layer” it under my drawing and remove it when I’m done. I’m then left with the artwork with the correct proportions..

Here’s what a rough scan of the graphic novel artwork looks like (from chapter 2), layered on top of the pink template. You can see I adjusted the opacity of the pink part so that it’s lighter and easier to see under the rough drawing.

Here’s the final black line art. I traced it over the rough art, not yet removing the pink template:

And here’s what it looks like, all colored and finished (pink layer removed):

And that’s it! Now multiply that by a billion times (okay, math isn’t my strong point), and I’ve got an entire book. In reality, it takes me about a month to do all the rough art and four months to do the final art.

Becoming Brianna comes out in May, 2020. You can pre-order here. Hope you enjoy it!

A while back, I posted the artistic process of Emmie’s and Katie’s chapters from my first book, Invisible Emmie. I thought I’d do the same for the characters from Just Jaime, Jaime and Maya. This time, I’ll also give you a little insight into both the writing and artistic process.

I used to start off by writing (okay, scribbling) chapters on a regular legal pad (below). I also quickly sketched out the illustrations, as you can see. This is from an Emmie chapter. It doesn’t look like much, and I’m probably the only one who can read my writing (um, barely), but it’s okay because no one had to see these notes but myself.

With Positively Izzy and Just Jaime, I skipped the legal pad. I just typed everything out in a Word document and indicted where art would go with notes or little rough sketches that I scanned in and inserted. As I rewrote (and rewrote, and rewrote), I did more finished-looking sketches. Here’s an example of a final typed manuscript page with the rough sketches.

Once the final manuscript was approved, I got on my trusty digital drawing tablet (Wacom Cintiq), and did all the final art. Just Jaime hasn’t been published yet, so I can’t show you what the actual printed page looks like, but I can show you the two final pieces of art. See any differences between these and above?

For the Maya (graphic novel) chapters, I sketched out the artwork in pencil on plain old computer paper.  Then I scanned each image into my computer and inserted them into the manuscript between the Jaime chapters. Here’s an example of the very first page of Maya’s first chapter:

Here’s the final art that I created on the digital tablet. The one major difference is that I changed the dreamcatcher to deflated party balloons. Can you spot another difference?

There was a lot of art for Jaime, but — as with all the books — I really enjoyed doing it.

I hope YOU enjoy reading Just Jaime in May!

Some of you may have noticed that I posted my upcoming book’s cover a few weeks ago. I had to take it down because there was a last-minute title change. I’m pleased to reveal the NEW (and final) cover for…

 

Just Jaime comes out in May, 2019. I hope you like it as much as I loved writing it. It carries a theme that’s loosely based on real events, one that’s so incredibly universal in the middle school world: exclusion. But don’t worry…it’s also packed with plenty of humor!

You can pre-order Jaime here.

And more great news: Emmie and Izzy now come in a boxed set, perfect for the holidays! You can order that here.