The book hub for Where Is My Little Square Bear?

Before & After

I’m a sucker for those “before and after” photos!

Any of them! Teeth whitening…gutter leaf blockers…Chia pet growth…and of course, the weight loss pills! Now, I don’t mean I’m a sucker in that I believe the picts are true cases and buy the product. I’m a sucker in the sense that I “ooo and ahh” at the images AS IF they are true! I usually then show my wife and say “See honey…our gutters would be THIS clean for about five hundred bucks!” She’s never as impressed as I am.

But still…some marketing genius figured out eons ago that if the public could see a “before” and then an amazing “after” the message would stick. For me it kinda’ does. KINDA’!

So, as I draw and develop art from my sketch book into the digital dreams of a new book, it hits me! The “before & afters” in the ads don’t show the time! They don’t represent how much work might be involved in getting that belly fat off! You take the pill….then exercise, eat better, sit on the couch less…and BOOM! Tight abs! But I’m no better when marketing my book! You see the black & white sketch and the finished color. I just had an idea for the page, and BAM! Photoshop glory! ……mmmmm….not quite.

None the less, I do love seeing the original idea for something and then how it finished out. I get the same “ooooo” when I see the rough outlines of a shape and then the final shiny page! I can’t adequately show you the time involved….but I can say you are welcome to enjoy and compare the Before & After of Square Bear. 🙂


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Square Bear is headed for school!

It may just be a small local school, but this last week I was invited to pick a day to come read (and present interactively) my children’s ebook to the 1st – 3rd grade classes at Union Hill Elementary. I couldn’t be more honored.

I so remember when local “professionals” would visit my elementary school and how in awe I was of the baker, post man, or apple orchard owner! They were the most “known” person of interest in my life at that moment. There was no better baker than Mr. Smith. No more dedicated postal worker than Mr. Erickson. Certainly no greater business woman than Mrs. Larsen who owned Larsen Apple Barn!

What’s so cool is that Mrs. Larsen was also our bus driver (something she did off season to pay the bills). I had no idea that she was “normal” or “small time” in reality. If she was in our auditorium sharing her job as an orchard director…she was probably known across the globe as such! I never imagined that if I were walking the streets of some far-off land, they would not know who Mrs. Larsen was. Ahhh…but does it matter? How big is “big time?” It’s as big as the person who sees it right? She was big (in popularity I mean) to me…and that was real. She seemed to make the most droll task of running a farm seem life-changing! I remember her for it.

So tomorrow I will stand before a couple hundred kids in a small town school and present “Where Is My Little Square Bear?” To some of those kids…as far as they know…I am a world renown author of a highly successful interactive children’s book. And I intend to feel as such 😉


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The Rain Makes Me Shine

Does anyone else get more creative when they are forced to be more introverted?

Maybe not exactly “introverted”…but when the rain starts coming down, the sky is dark, and there is pretty much no chance I am going to get out and drive around…I get super draw-happy! I want to just hunker down more and spread the digital paint across eternal expanses of screen! I want to make color appear where is was not. To make the sun shine in every corner of my little bear’s world…or whatever world is coming to mind.

I used to work in my parents basement doing art for clients. It was dark, very low ceiling, and water pipes going every which way. I loved those pipes though…you can hang all kinds of stuff from them for quick access!

Well our local paper did an article about me, and I remember the photographer and reporter wide-eyed as they came into this dank little studio under the house. Suddenly the story shifted from this young guy (I was 20 I think) who airbrushed his “lovely” creations, to this young guy who painted light in a dark world! When she asked what my inspiration was in this hole-of-a-place, I remember jokingly saying “well, every piece is a window out I guess”…and so that’s what the article was. A story about every canvas, every illustration board, every character being a portal to somewhere else. And I guess that’s what most images are anyway…a vision of somewhere else either far or near, real or surreal, bright or dark.

Now as I draw on my Wacom tablet (which is black)…to upload to my iPad (also black)…on a rainy day sipping coffee (…which is ALWAYS black) …I think of others now who get to look into my windows. They get to see a bear, or a flower, or an expansive green hillside. And let me tell you lovely people; those worlds may have come out of darkness in one way or another, but they are no less an effort to lift you up. Keep strong. You are loved! 🙂

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Square Bear 2 – Zoo Entrance

Square Bear 2 - Zoo Entrance

Another quick peek! The book is coming along!!


“Quality” Does Take Time

So it’s not that I don’t completely love the first Square Bear book…(henceforth referred to as SB1). But I wanted to get that book done as quick as possible. One; for the InteractBooks contest that was coming up, and two; I wanted to see just how quickly I could actually finish it! (It took a week…for the record). Like a child that takes 37 hours of labor to birth as opposed to the one that pops out in just under 2 hours, one is not more loved than the other right? Now the one may be more memorable than the other . . . (and I will let the good moms of America decide which one that would be 😉 ). . . but they are loved deeply and unconditionally just the same!

Now in the world of my art, I’m learning some embarrassing facts. That if I spend a LOT more time on a picture, the “quality” is higher. I say that in quotes because quality in art is a bit subjective. SB 1 has a “quality” that I wanted: simplicity. I wanted it to look like a painting with some pastel-ish feel. I feel we got that. Then I saw the art of Will Terry (http://willterry.com) and had the flash of “THAT’S more what I want to do!” So after some Terry-tutorials, and a lot of admitting I try to go to fast…I embarked on Square Bear 2. The quality will be….well…different!

So check out Will Terry… check out Square Bear 1 . . . and DEFINITELY be ready to check out “Square Bear 2 —-> Lost At the Zoo”

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Square Bear 2 Cover!

Square Bear 2 Cover!

Still in progress…but making some progress

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Exciting Square Bear Update…he is NOW an official “App”

Who knew that what started as a sketch on a page…would morph into an interactive book within a reader…and then blossom into a full blown, stand-alone app? But alas, the Square Bear is now available for you as a lovely app all by its self!

Thanks to everyone for giving Square Bear the momentum to see this day. Please grab a copy and leave us a review, because now, I believe a lot more folks will get to see what you think of “Where Is My Little Square Bear?”

Click here for the iTunes download page for Square Bear:  http://url2it.com/mpmn

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Follow Me To Find the Square Bear

Thanks for checking out my book “Where Is My Little Square Bear?”

Just download the InteractBooks free reader from iTunes: http://interactbooks.com/ and grab a copy of the Square Bear! Kindle and Android versions will be ready next month. Check out some screenshots of the book below.  Also check out the Facebook page: http://url2it.com/mans

This is a little story I wrote with my kids after discovering the company Interact Books. We wanted give a sort of “first-person” view of a child trying to find their teddy bear before bed. I always LOVED pop-up books as a kid…and went with that style of interactivity.

My son Canaan (8 years old) narrates the action as you search for the little square bear among the buildings of the city, corners of the park, or hiding in the front yard.

I gave it some mellow music and not a ton of busy interactivity. I don’t mind those books of course (everything has it’s place!) …but I wanted a fun, but calm story you could read to your kid(s) before bed. And of course it needed a happy ending! Hope you enjoy it and thanks for all the support. I’m a first-time author-designer-dad . . . and you have all been very kind. May you always find your little square bear………   -Eli


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Our Narrator

Our Narrator

My son Canaan gave a great reading for the narration track of the book. He also supplied all the sound bites for the objects that pop up.
The little laugh for the bear however is not Canaan…it’s the bear.

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The Cafe

The Cafe

…be sure to knock on the cafe door!

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