ToddMcQueen_headshotby Todd McQueen

Two weeks ago, I delivered the final art and text of my first picture book, BOB AND ROB AND CORN ON THE COB, to my publisher. What a great feeling that is; years and years of hard work—and a lot of frustration—finally coming that much closer to fruition. Looking back, I see that the trouble comes not from where to find inspiration, or how to get inspired, or even whether an idea is good or bad—but from knowing whether an idea is ready yet, and if I get into it, will it float?

After all, an idea is like a boat we intend to take to sea on a long journey. That boat should be sturdy, because the conditions can get rough, and sometimes the progress won’t be easy, and we’ll have to fight just to stay upright. There’s a lot riding in that boat, and we have to know (or at least believe) it won’t fall apart in the middle of the ocean at the first sign of adversity.


Now, I wish I could tell you that I had this image in mind all along, and my journey to publication was smooth and quick because I had spent the time developing that idea to its fullest potential. But no, I learn lessons the hard way, and equipped with only a title, I started swimming, figuring that the boat would get built as we went along. But it’s hard to build a boat while you try to sail it, so I had lots of problems, and things would fall apart, and I’d have to stop and rebuild, then sail a little further until things fell apart again… and again and again.

But because of these setbacks, I have a better perspective now. I see the creative mind as a shipyard and a harbor, and both should be a busy place. There should always be ships being built, (and built well, regardless of how long it takes), and the harbor should be full of them, ready for assignment, worthy of the challenge that lies ahead. And maybe, if I can get into the mindset that it is always picture book idea month, that today is the day for ideas, if I can learn from the mistakes I made during the journey of this first project, then I just might get to make a few more books before I die. And that, dear friends, would make for a very happy ending.


LR_BobandRob_cvr1Todd McQueen is a graphic designer and illustrator living in Phoenix, Arizona… which is strange if you consider the maritime theme of this article. His first picture book, BOB AND ROB AND CORN ON THE COB, will be released in May 2014 with Sky Pony Press. You can visit Todd, and meet some of his friends on his Facebook page, or on his website



Todd will give away one copy of the collaborative schedule planner book he had a hand in creating, BE IN CHARGE see For every 50 comments after the first 50, he’ll add another book. Todd will give away up to 5 books, if he gets at least 250 comments.

These prizes will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for these prizes if:

  1. You have registered for PiBoIdMo.
  2. You have commented ONCE ONLY on today’s post.
  3. You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge. (You will have to sign the PiBoIdMo Pledge at the end of the event.)

Good luck, everyone!