On June 12, 2016, the Pulse Nightclub shootings here in Orlando, FL rocked everyone’s world. At the time it was the biggest mass shooting in United States History. Looking back, there was so much grief being felt by everyone and we all wanted to do as much as we could to support the cause. Some, like me, felt powerless. Others stepped up and threw themselves into the cause. It was a wonderful thing to see, and with those people leading the way, Orlando felt strong again.
Carolyn introduced me to Keith Newhouse, creator and author of the book. At our first meeting, they asked me to illustrate the entire book, which I couldn’t do, but I consulted with my friend and fellow kid’s book illustrator, Gladys Jose Fabii, who suggested we turn it into a collaborative effort. Her idea was to ask local illustrators to donate a piece of work to the book, and together their art would bring Keith’s story to life. Keith and Carolyn loved the idea. I agreed to help out as much as I could with whatever they needed, which meant that they would name me Director of Layout and Design.
So as a team, we cut down the book to 32 pages, which took some great editing by Keith, and started on our quest to roundup some illustrators. In the end, 22 artists from the Orlando area, as well as Atlanta, agreed to help out making Keith’s book a reality.
From there, the book came together at lightning speed. Sketches came pouring in as I started laying out the book in Adobe InDesign. Keith wrote and rewrote the manuscript, making sure that every word had meaning. Watching it all come together was a beautiful thing. Below is some of the wonderful art. What variety!
We couldn’t have done it without help from this amazing group of illustrators. Thank you Scott Donald, Katrina Constantine, Jacob Park, Victor Davila, Chelsey Austin, Tara Tokarski, Dawn Schreiner, Liz Von Villas, John Carmean, Stephanie Valderrama, Alexa Ponce, Reina Castellanos, Daniel Traynor, Gladys Jose Fabii, Carlos X Diaz, Hugo Giraud, Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn, Fernando Sosa, Kristen Pauline, Matt Wilson and Anna McCambridge. This book shines because of you!
So now, after just a few months, we have a complete book. It’s beautiful. It’s truly inspiring what can be done when people come together for a good cause.
The book is already available for Kindle pre-orders on Amazon! Wow!
It’s getting some press coverage, too!
Thanks to Keith, Carolyn, Bob, Joél Morales, Kenny Tello and Greg for making this book happen and for asking me to be involved. I am proud of what we accomplished and look forward to seeing it out in the world putting smiles on people’s faces. :)
All sale profits will go to Orlando United Assistance Center, a place offering support, resources, and hope for those impacted by the Pulse tragedy.