Kid Books List

KidLit

Made this illustration for my friend Kate’s children books critique website, you can check what she has to say at www.kidbooklist.com

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826 Field Trip: La Carrera Espacial

This gallery contains 4 photos.

I volunteer at 826DC, illustrating stories that classrooms of children write together. This are the illustrations I did for a field trip in Spanish, the story: “La Carrera Espacial” (the Space Race)

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The Midwinter Tree

MidWinter-Tree

Long before we reached the Moon or even before we crossed the oceans into the New World, there was a legend about a boy who got lost in the woods.

He had left his town searching for firewood to keep the hearth warm during the coming snowstorm, but the winds brought the dark clouds earlier than the elders’ predictions. Soon enough snow was falling from the skies with a fury not seen in many seasons.

The boy wiped his face as he tried to find amongst the snowflakes the way back home.

Snow covered the boy’s tracks almost as soon as his feet left the marks behind them; there was no way to know for certain the path he had taken before. There was white in front of him, and white behind him; everywhere he looked there was a blanket of snow covering the landscape.

Walking became harder and harder. His limbs felt numb and it didn’t take much for a boy of his age to get exhausted. The cold seemed to embrace him and invite him into the realm of eternal sleep.

His eyes closed as a cloud of breath left his mouth. Snowflakes kept falling on top of him, muting the sounds of the forest.

The boy felt warmth wrapping his body. He shook the frost from his eyes and opened them one more time, not certain of how much time had passed.

It was the middle of the night, that much he could tell. Yet there was light coming from a place close by. He turned to have a better view and even though he opened his mouth in awe, no sound came through.

In front of him was a tree that shone with the light of a star; its glow tinkled, moving with a life of its own. The boy squinted his eyes and that’s when he saw them. The light came from very small people that danced around the tree, glowing as if they had a lantern in place of their hearts. Some of them flew to the highest branches using translucent wings, illuminating not only the tree but also the darkened sky.

The boy watched them dance and felt safe and warm, so he closed his eyes peacefully. Under the lights of the tree he slept through the night.

Frost glittered with the first lights of the morn by the time he woke up. The tree stood in front of him yet there was no sign of what had transpired the night before.

He knelt besides the tree, thanked the spirits of the forest and headed back to his town.

When the watchman spotted the boy he rang the bell seven times to let the rest of town know the young one had survived. In the big hall the boy told them of the tree that had protected him through the night…

And ever since, people light a tree during Winter, to save and protect everyone under its glow.

 

© 2013 Santiago Casares

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Meerkats

I’ve been working on a new Children Book project about meerkats, and this is the first spread from it:

Meerkat Spread 1

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Delirium

20130620-211201.jpg

I’ll go tomorrow to see Neil Gaiman in his last book tour, so I made this small watercolor illustration of Delirium to give him as a thank you for all the stories and the inspiration he’s given me.

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Joe Dalek

As a big fan of Doctor Who, I’ve always wondered what would happen if a Dalek lived amongst us. This comic strip is the answer! :)

Joe-Dalek-01

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Reading

Book Flying

This is what reading feels like.

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Next Five (Washed ashore)

Here is my version of this Next Five excercise in Storyboarding, as suggested by Emma Coats (the first panel is a recreation of the original photo). Original photo can be found here.

NextFive4-1 NextFive4-2 NextFive4-3 NextFive4-4 NextFive4-5 NextFive4-6

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Cover Pierce v2A few months ago I did the cover art for a book in Spanish by Ambrose Bierce, En Presencia de un Ahorcado.

Well, since today it’s available for free at the iBooks store from Mexico. Click here to download it!

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One Last Matchstick

Inspired by The Little Matchgirl, by Hans Christian Andersen

MatchstickWilliam Robinson woke up on a bench partly covered in white. He could barely recall the bells of the church that had stirred him from his sleep as he straightened his legs. One of his hands grabbed almost automatically the empty bottle of Bourbon, shook it twice and then dropped it while he muttered unintelligible curse words. He stood up, and his stained Santa Claus costume made him stand out from the whiteness that surrounded him.

All of his joints screamed at him as he started moving.

The falling snow muffled the sounds of the city, making the night seem almost magical. Even though the air felt less cold, Bill knew he needed to start moving. His feet left behind a trail of shadowy footprints on the carpet of snow as he walked towards the statue of Andersen in the middle of the small park.

Bill looked up to the stars, and like so many times, prayed to his departed wife and daughter. Five years had passed since the car accident, since his heart broke and never recovered. Five years of part-time jobs that paid less and less, five years of hitting the bottle to ease the pain of absence.

As he cleared his eyes, his gaze switched from the stars to the ever-falling snowflakes. They seemed to appear out of nowhere until the light of the street lamps hit them, and only then did they became tangible only to disappear again once the darkness engulfed them once more.

Bill put his hands in the pockets of his red coat to warm them up, and in one of them he found an old box of matches. He grabbed it and pulled it out as he felt the texture of the cardboard with his numbed fingers.

Almost by inertia he lit one of the matches. He knew it would not be enough to warm him up, but still his fingers helped the match scratch the side of the box.

Tschick!

The warm light of the fire captivated him immediately and he got lost within the flame. He could almost see the smile of Heather and hear the laughter of Suzie, but a gust of wind blew the fire away and Bill found himself staring at a burned down stick.

“What in–” Bill left the unasked question linger in the air. The cloud of his breath flew away like a lost memory.

With trembling fingers he took another match out.

Tschick!

He could feel the warmth spreading through his body as the flickering light of the match changed the scenery. The small park covered in snow was gone, and in its place Bill found himself standing in the middle of the living room of the house he lived in so many years ago.

“There you are, William!” he heard, as his wife gave him a hug.

His eyes began to water up as the beating of his heart increased. Could this be real, he wondered. He smiled for the first time in ages, but his happiness was short-lived: scorching pain in his fingers made him drop the match into the snow. And with it, Bill found himself again in the shadow of the old church.

Bill looked back to the bench where he slept and to the empty bottle of Bourbon now partly covered in snow.

He knew what to do. He grabbed the rest of the matches, put them together and as he lighted one the others responded by igniting as well in a chorus of light.

Tschick!

He found himself back in the living room, and as he looked around he saw Suzy playing with the doll they got her that last Christmas. He smiled at her, but she was too caught up in her game to notice her father’s gaze. Heather grabbed his arm tenderly and rested her head on his shoulder and he felt like everything was right in the world, that things made sense. In short: he was happy.

“Come on now, and close your eyes darling” Heather told him, and he complied.

People returning from their New Year’s parties passed by the body of William Robinson, frozen in time. He had a smile showing between his grey beard and his eyes were forever closed in peace.

©2012 Santiago Casares

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