A Second Sneak Peek of My Children’s Book, “A Birthday”

I’ve already introduced you to my labor of love—a children’s book called A Birthday that I’ve been working on for…um…more than 20 years. With that amount of time, “labor of love” seems more than appropriate, right?

A Birthday is based on a student film I did that caught the attention of Disney Animation Studios back in 1987. The story follows a little old lady, Emma, who is alone on her birthday.

So far, I’ve finished five of the 32 illustrations that I need to complete the book. The next two illustrations, pictured below, were images that I created simultaneously (Old Emma & Young Emma), trying to make a time jump with these two.

An illustration from Brenda Chapman's A Birthday

Brenda Chapman illustrations

It’s funny seeing the little girl. My daughter was 2 when I did this one, and she always held her hands up and twisted them back and forth when she got excited about something—the above pose was inspired by her.

And the funny thing is, my daughter is named after my old lady character “Emma.”  The character is named after my wonderful Great Aunt Em whom I loved dearly. She always had kittens somewhere on her farm whenever I’d visit. In the barn, or the old chicken coop, under her porch—it was magic!

Aside from having a bunch of illustrations to finish, I want to rewrite the story and possibly add to the ending. I find it interesting that a project can sometimes be punched out in a really quick space of time, and then others are a very slow evolution – you never know how your muse is going to affect your creative spirit!

I have one more illustration to share with you, so stay tuned. And in the meantime, I’m making plans to head back to my studio and finish Emma’s story.

Is there something that you’ve been working on for years and struggle to finish?

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