The inspiration behind the book, a great group of kiddos who each modeled at least one or more of the characteristics listed in the book throughout our year together. But what is the book about? It's about spending time with your child and/or the children in your circle of life. This book is about investing time to slow down and read with, and to, those hungry to listen and learn. What You are a Rainbow lacks in plot and story line, it makes up for with conversation starters and compliments. I included a sample page in yesterday's blog to illustrate how the acronym unfolds. Seven pages, seven colors of the rainbow, and seventy-seven positive characteristics to share with your children. There might be a little hidden fun too.
A Closer Look at the Process from Idea to Book...
Mary and I spent time taking photographs of different flowers fitting in the ROYGBIV color pattern. While enjoying walks, driving around, and spending time together...we looked for just the right color and flower for each page.
We took nearly 80 photographs, of different flowers, with different angles and lighting. Once home, I downloaded the pictures so we could view them on a larger screen. Some had us return to the same flower for a different angle or different lighting to capture what I saw in my head. Mags helped me narrow it down to two of each color and then I selected the flower of choice for each page.
This collage of the photographs, taken by Mary Buske, represent the main photos I used as a visual aid to sketch and paint each flower used in the book. Thanks Mags.
I emailed the photographs to my Kindle Fire so I could work on the sketches during my breaks, while sitting at my parents, or wherever I might be. A benefit of bringing them with me via the Kindle Fire, was the ability to re-size the photo for a closer look.
With the sketches complete, it was time to start painting. This process required more time than I thought. I have a new appreciation for painting and the artists that create them using water colors. I never thought it would be easy but I hadn't expected the necessary time and variety of strokes and techniques. I learned so much.
Supplies: The trip to the store proved to be interesting because I've only seen water colors in the tray we use in the elementary school. It was amazing to see the tubes of water color. I picked up the starter kit, water color paint brushes, a basic $.99 paint tray, and a pad of water color paper. I returned home apprehensive yet excited.
I laughed a lot in the beginning. Laughter is a nervous reaction of mine. I wanted the flowers to be just right and I had an image in my head and prayed to transfer it to the paper.
With the completed flower, it was time to prepare the rainbow back drops. Each page is a rainbow, different on each page - just like each child is an individual and unique. Once the watercolor was dry, I cut around the flower to remove the white background. Some of this required using an artist's exacto knife (not sure of the official name of this tool) to get between the petals. The cut flower was then glued on top of the coordinating page.
For instance, the red flower went on the paper with the thickest line in the rainbow being red.
An underlying lesson in the book, each page is organized to match the color scheme of the rainbow: R - red, A - orange, I - yellow, N - Green, B - Blue, O - Indigo, and W - violet.
I allowed time for the glue to try before going to the next step.
With the page graphics ready, it was time to add the words. I spent too many hours to count for the research for this part of the book. My initial lists for each letter had many words, as I thought of them, I wrote them down. I carried my notepad for this book with me wherever I went, just in case. In addition to the words brainstormed, I looked up characteristics I saw in the kiddos in my class, that didn't start with R, A, I, N, B, O, or W, in my handy thesaurus.
For some of the letters, the list of words was overwhelming where others lacked the oomph I was looking for. More time in the research and word play. In order to narrow down the word lists to a reasonable and fair number of adjectives per page, I looked up each word on my lists and hand wrote the definitions.
With definitions in hand, I read and reread them, eliminating words that didn't work and highlighting the ones that I new MUST be included. Then the tough calls needed to be made. How many words? Could one have more than the other or should they be the same? I decided each should have the same number of words, but how many words? Yikes, more decisions to be made.
The way I determined how many words tied into the research I'm doing for the sequel to Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey. While reading and praying, a common number came to mind so I decided this would be the number of words in the book and on each page for my first children's book. A quiet and soft reminder to forgive without listing "forgiveness" as an attribute, since there are no /f/'s in the word, rainbow. Matthew writes, "Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." in Chapter eighteen, verses twenty-one and twenty-two. While there aren't hundreds of words, there is an aspect of seven.
With the painting, cutting, research, and writing complete, it was time to scan and upload each into my computer. Once scanned, I used my computer to add the "You are..." to each page.
One of my favorite things with each page is the 3-D effect the flowers have on the page. I purposely didn't tape my watercolor papers so they would lift, I hoped the dimension would maintain its integrity when scanned, it did! From /R/ to /W/, the colors order of the rainbow is modeled and positive characteristics are displayed.
A rainbow complete and ready to shine and inspire others...especially the kiddos.
Release and read...
The first child to the market today, Kaleb, made my afternoon. He and his mom, Tiffiny, encouraged me more than they might realize. It brought such joy to read some of the book to him, picking a few of the positive attributes from the book I see in him. The cherry on top of this great moment, his mom captured it with her camera and shared them with me on Facebook.
Has this filled in some of the blanks and mystery about YOU are a Rainbow? I hope so. May this book encourage our future...the kids.
YOU are a Rainbow!
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323