Archive | February, 2012

Here Goes Nothing: The Adventures of Editing

28 Feb

   Have you ever gotten back an assignment from school or a report from work with dreadful red ink circling your every error?  When this would happen to me, my feelings ranged from slight embarrassment to complete humiliation.  I would think to myself–But I looked over it a hundred times!  How did I miss that?  The truth is, no matter how many times we review our own work, sometimes we make silly errors and other times, we don’t even know we have made an error until someone “kindly” points it out. 

   In writing “The Adventures of Green Bean” series, I have made a mistake or two that Team Green Bean members have kindly corrected.  A few weeks ago, Kevin, Cate and I were reviewing “The Adventures of Green Bean the Brave,” when they both noticed a goof that I had made without even knowing it! Green Bean was about to do something daring in the story and she said, “Here goes everything!” Cate and Kevin looked at me and Cate’s hand went out to stop me from continuing to read through the story. 

   Cate said, “Don’t you mean, ‘Here goes nothing!’?”

   I looked at her blankly. “What?” I replied in confusion. “Is that what I meant?”

   I repeated the two sentences in my head. Sure enough, I thought the figure of speech was “here goes everything”—like you’re risking it all. That’s my logic, but I was wrong. I was initially overly critical of myself and I felt embarrassed by the mistake, but then I considered the valuable lessons this incident provided.

   First, always have your work thoroughly edited by a knowledgeable person. The second lesson is to think twice before using figures of speech.  This is especially important when writing for children because if adults can get it wrong, then so can kids!  I need to ask the question: Will my reader know what I mean? “Here goes nothing” is a familiar phrase, but will a five year old get it?

   The other day, I was watching my fantastic three year old niece, Amelia, and just this kind of misunderstanding occurred. Amelia and I were playing baby dolls; complete with diapers, bottles and blankets courtesy of my eight month old, Sina. We were getting everything set up when I asked Amelia to spread out the blanket.

   “What’s that mean?” she asked with her inquisitive baby blues looking at me with confusion.

   “Spread out?” I clarified.

   Indeed, Amelia didn’t know what I meant. I spread out the blanket as I explained. She understood and we quickly moved on. 

   I took this incident to heart and I have now combed through “The Adventures of Green Bean the Brave” with a mindfulness of this valuable lesson—Will my reader understand my expressions? Now the edits I have done reflect consideration of this question. Thank goodness for editors and nieces!

   As I review this blog, I sadly realize that I will not have anyone to edit it before it goes onto Go Green Bean. So I ask you, dear reader, to forgive any errors I have made and kindly edit in your mind.  In the future, I will guarantee to you that any story I post on Go Green Bean will be thoroughly edited–twice! 

Have you ever opted against an editor and suffered the embarrassing consequences?

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Secondary Characters: Josie

25 Feb

In the Adventures of Green Bean, there is a multitude of secondary characters that Bean encounters in her journeys. One of the most important characters is her best friend and favorite doll, Josie. The more Libby and I talked about this character, the more I saw a ratty old rag doll in my head. I like the idea that when Bean is in a hurry she can drag this doll by its arm behind her, and when she is nervous or scared she can clutch the doll in her arms and squeeze her tightly. With a soft doll you can express more emotion with its body language than you could with a harder plastic doll. I also wanted to give the impression that the doll was handed down from mother to daughter, and that is why Bean cherishes it so much. So I started by roughly sketching some potential faces.

 

So here are some of the sketches I made for Josie. In making these drawings I wanted to keep Josie’s face and hair relatively simple to keep the idea of a vintage rag doll. From here I took some of the aspects of each drawing that I liked and tried to incorporate them into full body drawings.

In these images I tried to get a better idea of how the character looks as a whole. I knew what I wanted for the basic idea of her outfit, just a simple dress and shoes, but I wasn’t sure about the hair. After a few more tweaks to the overall styling I came up with this as the basic design for Josie.

Then I just added a little bit of color for the final look.

The Conclusion to “The Adventures of Green Bean Racer and the Dragon’s Fire Racecar Rally”

21 Feb

The Adventures of Green Bean Racer and the Dragon’s Fire Racecar Rally

Parts I and II

By Libby Beilsmith

   Green Bean leaned hard to the right on her lime green bicycle as she rounded the corner of the block.  She had to do it just right, or else she would ride off the sidewalk and straight into the street.  And she knew what could happen then—CAR!  Bean had practiced rounding the corner at high speeds dozens of times that summer.  She only needed to brake a little bit now that she had learned how to do it just right. 

   At the beginning of the summer, she had learned to ride the corner fast in order to keep up with the older boys.  But today, she was riding to beat the older boys. There was a lot at stake in this race.  The winner would get to decide the activities of the neighborhood kids all day.

   Bean had never been the leader before and she was itching to make a lemonade stand.  The boys said making lemonade was too girly, but if Bean won they would have no choice.  Just the thought of Reid stirring lemonade made Bean giggle.  Now all she needed to do was beat him. 

   Bean had two laps around the block left until the finish line.  Reid was her closest competition from what she could see.  He was half a street block ahead now.  She couldn’t hear anyone behind her, but she glanced back over her shoulder just to check.  No one!  Bean was so close.  She figured most of the kids had become too tired to finish the ten lap race around the block. 

   Reid was no longer in sight. “He’s already hit the next corner,” thought Bean.  “I’ve got to speed up.” But Bean’s legs were burning and she was short of breath.  What she wouldn’t do for a tall glass of ice cold lemonade right now!

   Up ahead,Blainewas watching the finish line.  Cori and Ryan sat with him. Cori was waving her arms wildly as she cheered for her best friend, Bean. 

   “Who’s all in?” gasped Bean as she came towards them. 

   “Reid is ahead and I think John is behind you,” reportedBlaineas Bean flew by him. “I think Reid cut through the Lost Alley.”

   Bean couldn’t believe her ears.  She wanted to stop and see if she had heard right, but that could cost her time.  The Lost Alley was not part of the race course.  It was a shortcut and not allowed. 

   The Lost Alley was a daring move for Reid.  You couldn’t ride through it nearly as fast, even if you wanted to.  The first part of the Lost Alley—right on the end of the alley—was Mr. Thompson’s prize winning blackberry bushes.  They practically covered the alley with juicy blackberries.  They not only splattered your legs and bike when you rode over them, but they stained your socks purple, which Mama didn’t like.  If you went too fast through them or moved your handlebars too quickly either way, your tires might slide on the slippery berries, and then you were really in for it!

   If you made it through the blackberries, then you had to worry about the yappy Princess Snuggle Poof.  She was Ms. Sarah’s annoying poodle.  Ms Sarah didn’t have a fence, so she would put Princess Snuggle Poof on a leash around the big lindenwood tree in her backyard.  Princess loved to misbehave—she barked at passersby, snapped at ankles and often managed to get off that old leash. 

   You had to ride across the Blaire’s driveway to avoid Princess and that meant riding down the huge slope in the pavement.  If you went too fast over the hump, your stomach would turn like you’re on a roller coaster ride. 

   Yep, Reid was crazy to try this stunt!  Bean steamed with anger, but this gave her a second wind and she picked up her pace.  “I will beat you, Reid, if it’s the last thing I do!” she yelled aloud. “I need to go into lightning speed!”  Then Bean’s imagination took off!

~~~

   “Shifting gears to lightning speed,” reported Green Bean Racer into her headset.  Her racecar went into lightning fast speed with a vroom!  It was the last leg of the world famous Dragon’s Fire Racecar Rally.  If she won, she would win the Dragon’s Master Cup.  The gigantic silver cup was filled with your favorite drink, straight from the royal kitchen of Princess Josie.   

   The past winners got to choose from delicious drinks like Zoozle Whip Hot Cocoa, Wishing Well Raspberry Water and Lemony Zestade.  Only the winners of the Rally had ever tasted these amazing concoctions!  Not only did you get to taste the special drinks, but you also got to spend an entire day at the royal castle.  What a treat!

   Bean was a fan favorite to win the Rally and she didn’t want to let anyone down now.  It had been a long race so far and she could imagine the taste of the delicious drinks in her mouth.  She just had to stay in first place.  She could see at least two cars in her rearview mirror.  She knew one of those cars belonged to Racer Reid—her toughest competition. 

   Bean had already twisted and turned through the winding roads ofDragonMountain. She took each turn with speed and accuracy and only had three dangerous obstacles left—SlimTailBridge, Scaly Slope and the Dragon’s Mouth. 

   “Keep it up, Green Bean Racer, and you’re sure to win,” said Coach Cori’s voice on the other end of the headset.  “Now you’ve got to crossSlimTailBridge.  It’s narrow and slippery—good luck.”

   “Thanks, Cori.  I’ll do my best,” reported Bean with concentration. 

   Bean could see the bridge in the distance.  Rough waves from the river below the bridge splashed on the pavement making it extra slippery to cross.  Bean had to turn her windshield wipers on full speed as she carefully crossed the bridge. 

   “One obstacle down; two more to go,” she thought.  “This is the hardest one yet—the Dragon’s Scales.”

   Bean had to drive down a hill full of razor sharp rock barriers that could pop her tires with the slightest touch.

   “Here I go!” she yelled as she weaved in and out of the rocks. Left, then right she steered the car down the slope of jagged teeth rocks.  

   Once through the Dragon’s Scales, Bean faced her final and greatest challenge—the Dragon’s Mouth.   Bean had trained for this challenge all year.  She slammed the gas pedal to the floor.  Her tires squealed as she got into position to cross the canyon filled with the fiery, hot lava of the Dragon’s Mouth.  She could smell her tires burning—it smelled like when you leave toast in the toaster too long and it comes out with black edges!  Bean drove at lightning fast speed up the mammoth hill. Then she flew across the canyon.  Swoosh sounded the car as it jumped the canyon. 

   “I did it! I’m going to win for sure!” hooted Bean wildly when she landed on the other side with a loud kerthunk!

   “See you soon, Bean the Victorious!” cheered Coach Cori on the headset.

    Bean checked in her rearview mirror to see if anyone was still behind her.  There were no cars!  But just then, she saw something strange in the mirror.  It was Bean’s friend, Philippa the Hoopoe Bird, flying fast behind Bean’s car.  Philippa looked very worried and Bean knew that something was wrong.  Philippa quickly flew up to Bean’s window.  Bean rolled her window down and the air gushed in louder than a tornado, bringing Philippa in with it!

   “Help, help!” screeched Philippa.  “Racer Reid is in trouble atSlimTailBridge.  His car has gone off the bridge!”

   The finish line was in front of Bean.  Her stomach turned in knots—what was she going to do? Bean put on a strong face, held the steering wheel a little tighter and turned around to help Racer Reid. 

   As Bean got closer to the bridge, she saw Racer Reid had hit a slick spot on the bridge and driven right into the water.  Now the car was floating down the river!  Reid was sitting on top of the car and he was waving his arms for help.  Bean jumped from her car and grabbed a rope from her trunk.  She slid down the hill to the river. 

   “Philippa, I need your help getting the rope to Reid!” cried Bean. 

   “I can do it,” assured Philippa as she took the end of the rope in her beak and flew it across the raging water.  Reid grabbed the rope and jumped into the ice cold water.  He swam as fast as he could, while Bean held on tight to the rope. 

   Reid flopped onto the shore with exhaustion.  He frowned as he exclaimed, “I hurt my leg in the accident!  I never could have gotten to safety without you both!”

   Bean smiled with pride at her heroic rescue of Racer Reid. 

   Bean may not have been the first to cross the finish line that day, but she was the only one with a passenger she had saved from certain death!

   “Green Bean the Brave, Green Bean the Brave!” shouted the crowd as she crossed the finish line. 

   The referee announced over the loud speaker, “From this day forward, this will be Green Bean the Brave Day!”  The crowd cheered for their new hero.  The people picked Bean up on their shoulders and paraded her around.  Bean even had her picture taken for the newspaper!  It was a good day indeed—even sweeter than one of Princess Josie’s delicious drinks. 

~~~

   Reid weighed a ton on the back of Bean’s bike and she couldn’t wait to get him home.  The other kids were amazed as she rode through the finish line with her strange passenger.  “What happened?” they asked.

   “I never should have cut through the Lost Alley.  That darn Princess Snuggle Poof ran right in front of me.  I almost ran over her.  I rode straight into the Blaire’s garage instead and knocked my knee on the trash can,” Reid complained.  “I was down until Green Bean came by.”

   John interrupted, “It doesn’t sound like you are going to be playing kickball with the rest of us then.”

   “So you won, John?” asked Bean.  John smiled big and turned his bike in a circle to celebrate his victory.  Bean was just a little bit disappointed she had lost the race after working so hard that summer. 

   “I think I better go home,” said Reid as he began to limp towards his house.  “I can’t play kickball like this.”  Bean followed behind him on her bike.

   “Do you need a ride, Reid?” asked Bean.

   “No thanks,” he replied with a sigh.

   “We could use someone to cheer on the sidelines,” suggested Bean.  “I think the game will be fun.”

   “You’re not disappointed about losing the race?” asked Reid.

   “Oh, I wanted a lemonade stand.  It sure would taste delicious right now,” said Bean with disappointment. 

   “You know, I think the other kids will be thirsty at halftime,” said Reid with a slim smile.  “How about I get some lemons and you get some sugar.”

   Bean smiled back at Reid, excited by his fantastic idea.  As it turned out, Bean got to see Reid stirring lemonade that day after all.   

The End

Thank you for reading Green Bean’s Adventure!  What did you think?  What did your kids think?  We would love to get your feedback!

Designing Green Bean Pt. 2

17 Feb

Short post this week as I am very busy working on this and other projects. Here are some sketches that I have been working on of Green Bean. Most are fairly quick rough sketches as I am trying to work on getting the character’s personality to come through, and get more comfortable drawing her over and over. You can see that Bean’s outfit has changed slightly and we went with coveralls instead of a dress. We figured this would be a better outfit for her to wear in her adventures, as it would give her a better range of movement.

bean sketch 1

bean sketch 2

Also, you can see the image at the bottom has been inked and modified with some stuffed animal friends and placed into the header of the blog.

“The Adventures of Green Bean Racer and the Dragon’s Fire Racecar Rally”

14 Feb

“The Adventures of Green Bean Racer and the Dragon’s Fire Racecar Rally”
Part I
By Libby Beilsmith

   Green Bean leaned hard to the right on her lime green bicycle as she rounded the corner of the block. She had to do it just right, or else she would ride off the sidewalk and straight into the street. And she knew what could happen then—CAR! Bean had practiced rounding the corner at high speeds dozens of times that summer. She only needed to brake a little bit now that she had learned how to do it just right.
   At the beginning of the summer, she had learned to ride the corner fast in order to keep up with the older boys. But today, she was riding to beat the older boys. There was a lot at stake in this race. The winner would get to decide the activities of the neighborhood kids all day.
   Bean had never been the leader before and she was itching to make a lemonade stand. The boys said making lemonade was too girly, but if Bean won they would have no choice. Just the thought of Reid stirring lemonade made Bean giggle. Now all she needed to do was beat him.
   Bean had two laps around the block left until the finish line. Reid was her closest competition from what she could see. He was half a street block ahead now. She couldn’t hear anyone behind her, but she glanced back over her shoulder just to check. No one! Bean was so close. She figured most of the kids had become too tired to finish the ten lap race around the block.
   Reid was no longer in sight. “He’s already hit the next corner,” thought Bean. “I’ve got to speed up.” But Bean’s legs were burning and she was short of breath. What she wouldn’t do for a tall glass of ice cold lemonade right now!
   Up ahead, Blaine was watching the finish line. Cori and Ryan sat with him. Cori was waving her arms wildly as she cheered for her best friend, Bean.
   “Who’s all in?” gasped Bean as she came towards them.
   “Reid is ahead and I think John is behind you,” reported Blaine as Bean flew by him. “I think Reid cut through the Lost Alley.”
   Bean couldn’t believe her ears. She wanted to stop and see if she had heard right, but that could cost her time. The Lost Alley was not part of the race course. It was a shortcut and not allowed.
   The Lost Alley was a daring move for Reid. You couldn’t ride through it nearly as fast, even if you wanted to. The first part of the Lost Alley—right on the end of the alley—was Mr. Thompson’s prize winning blackberry bushes. They practically covered the alley with juicy blackberries. They not only splattered your legs and bike when you rode over them, but they stained your socks purple, which Mama didn’t like. If you went too fast through them or moved your handlebars too quickly either way, your tires might slide on the slippery berries, and then you were really in for it!
   If you made it through the blackberries, then you had to worry about the yappy Princess Snuggle Poof. She was Ms. Sarah’s annoying poodle. Ms Sarah didn’t have a fence, so she would put Princess Snuggle Poof on a leash around the big lindenwood tree in her backyard. Princess loved to misbehave—she barked at passersby, snapped at ankles and often managed to get off that old leash.
   You had to ride across the Blaire’s driveway to avoid Princess and that meant riding down the huge slope in the pavement. If you went too fast over the hump, your stomach would turn like you’re on a roller coaster ride.
   Yep, Reid was crazy to try this stunt! Bean steamed with anger, but this gave her a second wind and she picked up her pace. “I will beat you, Reid, if it’s the last thing I do!” she yelled aloud. “I need to go into lightning speed!” Then Bean’s imagination took off!

~~~

   “Shifting gears to lightning speed,” reported Green Bean Racer into her headset. Her racecar went into lightning fast speed with a vroom! It was the last leg of the world famous Dragon’s Fire Racecar Rally. If she won, she would win the Dragon’s Master Cup. The gigantic silver cup was filled with your favorite drink, straight from the royal kitchen of Princess Josie.
   The past winners got to choose from delicious drinks like Zoozle Whip Hot Cocoa, Wishing Well Raspberry Water and Lemony Zestade. Only the winners of the Rally had ever tasted these amazing concoctions! Not only did you get to taste the special drinks, but you also got to spend an entire day at the royal castle. What a treat!
   Bean was a fan favorite to win the Rally and she didn’t want to let anyone down now. It had been a long race so far and she could imagine the taste of the delicious drinks in her mouth. She just had to stay in first place. She could see at least two cars in her rearview mirror. She knew one of those cars belonged to Racer Reid—her toughest competition.
   Bean had already twisted and turned through the winding roads of Dragon Mountain. She took each turn with speed and accuracy and only had three dangerous obstacles left—Slim Tail Bridge, Scaly Slope and the Dragon’s Mouth.
   “Keep it up, Green Bean Racer, and you’re sure to win,” said Coach Cori’s voice on the other end of the headset. “Now you’ve got to cross Slim Tail Bridge. It’s narrow and slippery—good luck.”
   “Thanks, Cori. I’ll do my best,” reported Bean with concentration.
   Bean could see the bridge in the distance. Rough waves from the river below the bridge splashed on the pavement making it extra slippery to cross. Bean had to turn her windshield wipers on full speed as she carefully crossed the bridge.
   “One obstacle down; two more to go,” she thought. “This is the hardest one yet—the Dragon’s Scales.”
   Bean had to drive down a hill full of razor sharp rock barriers that could pop her tires with the slightest touch.
   “Here I go!” she yelled as she weaved in and out of the rocks. Left, then right she steered the car down the slope of jagged teeth rocks.
   Once through the Dragon’s Scales, Bean faced her final and greatest challenge—the Dragon’s Mouth. Bean had trained for this challenge all year. She slammed the gas pedal to the floor. Her tires squealed as she got into position to cross the canyon filled with the fiery, hot lava of the Dragon’s Mouth. She could smell her tires burning—it smelled like when you leave toast in the toaster too long and it comes out with black edges! Bean drove at lightning fast speed up the mammoth hill. Then she flew across the canyon. Swoosh sounded the car as it jumped the canyon.
   “I did it! I’m going to win for sure!” hooted Bean wildly when she landed on the other side with a loud kerthunk!
   “See you soon, Bean the Victorious!” cheered Coach Cori on the headset.
   Bean checked in her rearview mirror to see if anyone was still behind her. There were no cars! But just then, she saw something strange in the mirror. It was Bean’s friend, Philippa the Hoopoe Bird, flying fast behind Bean’s car. Philippa looked very worried and Bean knew that something was wrong. Philippa quickly flew up to Bean’s window. Bean rolled her window down and the air gushed in louder than a tornado, bringing Philippa in with it!
   “Help, help!” screeched Philippa. “Racer Reid is in trouble at Slim Tail Bridge. His car has gone off the bridge!”
   The finish line was in front of Bean. Her stomach turned in knots—what was she going to do?

To Be Continued on February 21st

It’s A Jungle Out There

10 Feb

Working on The Adventures of Green Bean I have been given the task to create the world(s) in which Green’s imagination transports her. This week we are going to take a quick look at a concept for a jungle like locale where Bean befriends some indigenous creatures.

jungle1

As you can see, I began by laying out the basic colors. I then began adding some detail by painting the bark on the trees.

Jungle2

Finally I added some shadows and highlights to some of the surrounding plants and add textures to the image. I then tweek the colors to make the final image darker and more moody.

The Award Winning Green Bean!

7 Feb

The New Year started off with some exciting news for Green Bean. “The Adventures of Green Bean the Brave” won third prize in the Missouri Writers Guild Poetry and Prose Competition! This is Green Bean’s very first adventure and we are so happy to be recognized by such an esteemed organization. “The Adventures of Green Bean the Brave” is currently being illustrated and we hope that it will be published soon. We will keep you posted!

I have been getting a lot of requests to read the story. I desperately want to share the story with others on the Go Green Bean Blog; however, I questioned whether this would have any negative impact on future attempts to publish the story. I took this question to the Saint Louis Writer’s Guild Facebook page and asked other authors what they thought about posting it. The resounding answer was “Don’t do it!” The Writers Relief website was cited as saying that when a work is posted on the internet for general review by anyone, then the work is considered previously published. Good to know! So for now, “The Adventures of Green Bean the Brave” will remain in my desk drawer. But not for long…

In the coming weeks on Go Green Bean, you will be able to read Bean’s new adventure, “The Adventures of Green Bean Racer and the Dragon’s Fire Racecar Rally.”

Designing Green Bean

3 Feb

Kevin here. I’m super excited to be working on such a wonderful project. Libby has entrusted me with the creation of this world that she has in her mind, and I appreciate her confidence in my artistic skills. I feel like illustrating a series of children’s books is a huge undertaking, but I also feel it will be such a great experience. Hopefully it will be something that I can share with my daughter as she grows up. These blog posts are going to share my vision for the art of “The Adventures of Green Bean.” each week will chronicle different phases of the art, as well as character studies, and probably some stuff that won’t make it in to the books.

The first thing to do when creating a book, or in this case as series of books, is to come up with the main character. Our protagonist in these stories is a little girl named Green Bean, hence the Adventures of Green Bean. Libby, Cate, and I discussed in length about the different aspects of the character that we wanted to portray. Most of all we wanted her to be somewhat ageless so that a range of children could identify with her. Libby originally stressed that she wanted her to have curly brown hair, so in these images you will see some of the original sketches I did for Bean.

Bean Study 1

I liked where these were going but I felt that the curly hair took away some of the agelessness that we were going for. So I created these next three to give Libby and Cate some options.

Bean Study 2

It was decided that we go with the straight hairdo in the middle of the above image, and I was tasked with making a character mockup.

Bean drawing

So here is the image of Bean I came up with. I feel that it embodies the youth and agelessness that we discussed. I added in the doll to give her a sense of proportion and once again emphasize the youthfulness of the character.

Bean Color

And here with color. Green is her favorite color, hence the name Green Bean, so I tried to give her green elements while maintaining her femininity. These are still preliminary drawings of the character, and as the art style develops the character and colors are going to evolve.