Signing with Jim

Last year I worked on an educational book called Signing with Jim for Heinemann. It's the true story about a boy with down syndrome and uses hear aids to help him hear. When he transfers schools he has a hard time fitting in, because of his hearing issues. Instead of giving up, he decided to teach the other students sign language and gained many new friends along the way. It was a pleasure working on this sweet story and sharing Jim's courageous journey.

Created for the educational book, Signing with Jim.
Published by Heinemann, 2019.

Thumbnail Sketches


As an educational book for 3rd graders, this story had lots of text boxes that I needed to work around. The client gave me a layout showing what areas I need to paint through, even though text would be overlaid. You can see in my thumbnails, I carefully planned each page so that nothing important would fall in these area and avoid the gutter. 

Value Sketches and Color Studies


Once my thumbnails were approved, I gathered my references hiring several models to pose for the different characters. I then put together my value sketches. There were several sets of revisions we went through before final approval, but once I had the go ahead I digitally overlaid colors on my sketches to create color studies. I don't typically send color studies to clients, this is mostly for my use, to make sure everything is worked out before I pick up my brush. I then proceeded to the final painting in oils!

The Finishes