Monday, July 31, 2017

PERSISTENCE with guest Lisa Hainline


By Lisa Hainline

It was 18 years ago and struggling to homeschool a child who was in and out of the ER, doctor’s offices, with one more disease being “tagged” to her almost each time we went, and a husband who was checking out of life, that drove me to my knees.

This precious girl, trying to be brave at every turn, was like a runaway freight train with her ideas and ambition. At six I found her outside the house (and too close to the road for my comfort) in the front yard with a table and sign she had made to sell her rocks that she had painted herself. With new boundaries in place, she eventually made $300 and bought herself a dog! This venture opened the door towards four adventures more into entrepreneurship, each with its own incredible story, using her gifts and talents, and with NO prompting from me.

Sammey Char was my inspiration. One day during our reading time, the idea of Polly came to be, and the poetic prose just flowed out. I am not a writer and certainly not a poet (struggling see the beauty if I cannot understand it most of the time), so this was quite a surprise. Next came the thumbnails for the story and characters that also seemed just to flow out.


As an artist and designer, I illustrated two of the spreads and sent a dummy of the book to 53 publishers. Three publishers loved it, writing that they had already “fulfilled their juvenile fiction quota for the year, but please send us your next work.” Life was hectic at the time and homeschooling a sick child was all I could do, so the Lord said to me, “You will revisit this, it’s okay,” and I let it go.

Present time circumstances had found me in an uncompromising position of having to move in with her and her husband, as my present husband also “checked out of life” and abandoned me. My freelance business almost came to a stop, allowing for the move north to San Jose, CA, and I spent eight months looking for work in my field to no avail. The Lord said to me “if I had wanted you to work, I would have given you a job months ago” and then reminded me of this book. “REALLY, LORD? I can’t relax! I have to hustle!” I responded.

That night, I went downstairs, and the kids knew I was stressed and said; “STOP STRIVING! Pretend you’re retired and just ‘be,’ relax.” And then Sam said “Remember that children’s book you did years ago? DO THAT!” Confirmed, I jumped into learning how to illustrate digitally versus using paper and paint, as I had no space to set up a drawing board, and I revisited my “old friend.”

Once I started illustrating again, it set a whole new creative “fire” in me. I took my sketch pad into the bathroom with me because as I showered, I would see images in the marble tiling, animals and characters and I found the need to record them.  I posted my progress on Facebook and people would encourage me on. Some would see the stuffed animals I was incorporating into my story (because I loved Polly’s stuffed pig that she drags everywhere) and they would ask me to add THEIR pet, so there is a hedgehog on one of the pages and a friend’s new terrier puppy on another.  

Adding a coloring book to the campaign was a natural as I had many people who loved the original black and white dummy 18 years ago and worked very hard at NOT coloring it in. The line work just seemed to beg for a black and white version, so I illustrated the book in line and added in some simpler illustrations for younger grades along with blank pages that included “idea starters” to get imaginations flowing.

My greatest encourager (and harshest CRITIC) through this process was my daughter still. She is responsible for many things in the book including the book’s front cover when I wanted to use it as the title page (the original design I wanted to use was then incorporated into the cover for the coloring book). It was she who chastised me for putting alligator shoes on a moose; “MOM, that’s like an animal wearing FUR! You can’t kill off your friends!” So we put ruby red slippers on her instead, thinking it still is funny to those who know “the rest of the story.”

Polly’s Pink Piggy Parlor had blessed me in much more ways throughout this process, like when I had confusion on how to do the strokes digitally so that it would look like watercolor versus acrylic paint, and the Lord Himself would speak to me upon awakening with technique, and I had never tried.  My imagination was always on so in trying to sleep, visions of some of the characters hairstyles or such would come to me, and just knowing that His hand guided me every step of the way was a huge blessing, no matter if it sells any books or not.
I recently heard from a young mother whose 12-year-old autistic son laughs openly at the book and requests it to be read to him the following day, both of which he’s never done before. We’ve developed a friendship and he’s made huge strides in clarity, sleeping, peace and not rages, and responding to Love as I encouraged her to pray over him, take communion and authority over his body through Christ Jesus and the power of His love. If that’s all this was about…I can receive that.

As we are made in the image of the creator, I rest in the surety that the more we pursue Him, the more ideas He gives us and creates THROUGH us. I have started other storylines and characters and again, am content whether they make it to press or not. He is the master creator, master designer, master illustrator, and master marketer.

In His grace,

Lisa Hainline

Author, Illustrator & Graphic Designer

Read Lisa Lickel's reviews here and here.
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