the making of Flakey
This book would not have been
possible without the help of my good friend and talented
photographer, Joe Shymanski. He took my vision for a dimensional,
life-like story and brought it to life.
Pictured here are many candid shots
from our various photo sessions with Flakey and the crew.
The images for
Flakey the naked Snowman were taken over a period of 5 weeks and
4 different photo sessions.
Over 1,100 pictures
were taken in the making of this book. Only 28 photos were actually
Although the snowmen
had eyes and carrot noses, their smiles were Photoshop'd in
Snowmen were created
with styrofoam and fleece. A rubber band held the material on
tightly in the back. So in truth, the snowmen could only be viewed
from one side.
Arms were created from
twigs and wire. There were only about 3 sets of flexible arms, so
the snowmen had to share.
The location in the
book, 'Frederick Lane' was named after the street where the author
grew up in Stephens City, VA.
The houses on
Frederick Lane were constructed of foam core and were only about 13"
All the trees in the
scenery were from real trees or bushes- some alive, some dead.
Have you published
No, Flakey the
naked Snowman is my first book- though I do have some ideas for
others. For the past 10 years, I've made a living doing
murals and custom
painting in the greater Washington area. Being self-employed has
definitely allowed me the time and flexibility to make this happen.
I noticed Pinky is
wearing a breast cancer awareness ribbon. Do some of the book's
proceeds go toward that cause?
In the spirit of the
book, I wanted to keep the charitable donations to those
organizations helping the needy. However, I wanted to include the
character Pinky because she represents the idea that although the
holiday season is a joyous time, there are still people fighting
their own personal battles. But, as in life, the joys and the
struggles can co-exist. Although I am not donating proceeds directly
to a breast cancer organization at this time, it is my hope that in
the future I can sell 'Pinky' greeting cards and holiday items and
give those proceeds to the Avon Foundation.
Similarly on the last
page 'Goodwill' is written on the box. It's a play on words as well
as a plug for the organization. Because it operates more through
regional offices, it's not slated to receive proceeds at this time,
but that doesn't mean it's not a great cause.
How did you
decide on what charities would receive the book's proceeds?
I wanted to
include those organizations that help the people most in need not
just this time of year, but all year around. Furthermore, I wanted
to give back to a charity in my hometown where I grew up, as well as
my home now here in Alexandria and the greater DC area. Finally,
generosity and love spans all cultural and religious boundaries. I
wanted to give a little bit to everyone.
How long did it
take you to write this book?
I had mentioned
earlier that this book is a result of 3 years of... well, mostly
dreaming. The end product is really a result of 3 months of hard
work in which I was DETERMINED to not let another Christmas pass me
by without a book! I was finished just talking about it. It was time
In summer of 2007, I had
illustrated my entire first draft of the book. After doing more
research on what makes a successful Children's book, I determined
that my original story needed a stronger main character and more
interesting pictures. My goal was to create the next holiday
classic. The 1964 Burl Ive's narrated television special of
Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer as well as How the Grinch Stole
Christmas were the inspirations behind this book. It is my hope
and dream to someday turn this book into an animated TV special as
well as an on-stage production complete with songs and dance numbers.
Is there any end to
photographer Joe Shymanski's awesome talent?
No. Next question.
What made you
decide to self-publish?
Because of my
background in design and print production, I felt that starting my
own publishing company was something I was comfortable with doing.
Again, a lot of
research went into learning about writing Children's books and
getting them published. In the end, it came down to autonomy. By
self-publishing, I was able to use all of my own ideas and artwork.
I realize by adding 'naked' into the title it would be a little
risky, but the book is so chock full of subtle humor and endearing
personalities, it just seemed fitting. And a little shock value
isn't a bad thing, especially in an industry where you DO judge a
book by it's cover. The cover grabs your attention and almost
immediately you fall in love with Flakey. Although it's a children's
book, it's really a delightful read for just about anyone. Because
it IS such a good introduction to alternative giving, you can think
of it almost like a oversized Christmas card to accompany your
What is your
favorite part of the book?
I'd have to say the 2
pages that introduce Fridge- that scene cracks me up every time.
Further comments and
questions can be directed to the publisher