icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


This was a huge project for me in that I had to research the women, costume and all the events of the era.
I laid out the book by cutting out the manuscript and pasting it to the dummy for the first layouts.  I always loved calligraphy but had never done any so I taught myself to write and create calligraphic images. The stiff pen nibs of the period and constantly dipping for ink influenced how I drew. There was no room for error with these drawings, a single mistake required me to begin a new drawing. Using water color paper (necessary for the paint and pastel) caused the pen nibs to catch and either splatter or the line went off in the wrong direction.    
While I was working on the book we were hit with Hurricane Sandy and lost power for two weeks.  I worked by candle light and the fireplace kept us barely warm. Cokie graciously invited us to stay with her. We couldn't leave the house unattended. Staying home put me in touch with the ladies I was drawing.
Cokie Roberts was a joy to work with.  
Calligraphy pens used for the final drawings. My favorite was second from the right and an antique gold nibbed pen (very flexible) that my husband gave me.
I hand mixed sepia inks both for transparency or opacity and to get a more golden tone.
This was one of my first attempts of art inspired by calligraphic drawing.  I wanted to make a connection between words and imagery through line.
Calligraphy practice sheet.  I had to teach myself calligraphy for this book and I LOVED it!
For color consistency I had to recreate all the original signtures.  Cokie Roberts helped in tracking down signatures and thought I'd made a great forger!  Actually, I used a light box to trace them but found that the nib of the pen was usually catching on the fibers of the paper, splattering everywhere.  However, there's nothing like capturing the sense of a person like their handwriting.  Difficult but a great experience.
Sepia sketches placed in layout for the timeline.  Creating a long time line with tiny images was a challenge.
Spot illustrations for the historical time line of the war before the addition of color.l
FOUNDING MOTHER soldier, sepia and ink with water color and sepia.  Quarter shows scale.
Yes, women also soldiered in the Revolutionary War.
Calligraphy and flourishes.
Rough ink sketch placed in dummy. 
I start with rough drawing, this one is ink and brush, on tissue.  I choose the best image and then place it over a light box, place the final paper over it and draw the final art in pen and ink over the sketch.
Finished sepia ink drawing done over a rough sketch on a light box.
I printed out the final drwing, cut it out and positioned it in the layout.
Deborah Read Franklin. Portrait, sepia line and pastel.
This is the final art.  Sepia and ink line drawing overlaid with water color and pastel color.
Rough sketch on tissue paper with  text blocked in the book dummy.  Deborah Franklin facing off with meancing crowds while defending her home.
Preliminary art in sepia ink on tissue paper.  Sorry for the poor photo quality taken at night at the end of a long work day.
Instead of a decorative border I used the words of the women.
Unfinished original art in sepia and pastel placed within type layout.
Printed art with modified type placement.
Endpaper layout to determine placement on the page.
For the ends I chose to use the women's words to create the drawings since their words were who they were.
Layout for one of 4 endpapers
Finished art in sepia with a touch of pastel and water color.
Original art in sepia ink, pastel and water color.
Layout for text and art placement.  I used a well-known image from the period as inspiration for the enslaved man.
FOUNDING MOTHERS: Interior portrait in sepia ink and pastel and spot illustration in sepia. ELIZA LUCAS PINCKNEY
First cover idea, original art pen and ink and pastel.  I had many ideas for the covers, these are just a few. 
FOUNDING MOTHERS: Original cover illustration, sepia ink drawing and pastel.
2nd cover idea in layout with type.
 Final cover illustration.
Final Cover
There's an image of the women planting a small tree for the interior, here they are with the tree they all nurtured.
Color correction of 1st and 2nd set of proofs against the original art. Once I deliver the final art, the team at Simon & Schuster did their magic.  So many people are involved in the production of a book and my team at S&S, headed by my editor Alyson Day, were wonderful in every way.
And we're not done.....proofs then undergo a series color corrections at Harper before they go to the printer.
It's a team effort, and at Harper I have a great team...thank you, ladies!
This book was then followed by LADIES OF LIBERTY.  If you want to see me drawing images from the book in a live video, I have it on the site. It's The New York Times  live video interview in which Cokie Roberts talks about the book while I draw.