After two years of working on the story concept and another year of coming up with final images for this 96 page picture book, I finally get to say, "Yay! It's coming out this October, finally!"
Where's Halmoni? will be published by Little Bigfoot, an imprint of Sasquatch Books. I worked with wonderful people there who made this painless as possible for me. It was just the art that was giving me grief.
I seriously could not fathom how I was going to finish the 96+ pages of art in 9 months...but here it is. True, after page 60 or so, I finally got the hang of painting the characters..and had to go back to fix the the earlier images. And yes, there was this complicated landscape scene that I must have reworked and recompositioned about 20 or more times. On certain days nothing I drew came out kosher - they were all wonky and WRONG. I would get emergency call from my critique group mates, telling me to STEP AWAY FROM THE PRECIPICE JULIE! as I was pulling my hair out. And how I loved and hated my PS: "Yay, I can fix it! S*!# how does thing work?!" And then I had very talented colleagues pushing me to go beyond what I was willing to do. I truly hated and loved them for it, and the book is so much better for it. Thank you!
I feel like one of those moms who share their traumatic birthing stories with each other: "Oh, yeah. My labor lasted 38 hours without epidural. It was hell." But I think people in creative fields understand this very well. That whenever we create something that's ready to burst out of our heads, we try to give it flesh and blood so that it can exist in the world. The process is both hopeful and often excruciating. It does indeed feel like gestation and birth.
When the book finally comes out in October, I'll watch it take its first steps. Then let go.