Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Making of "Our Treasure"

A beautiful keepsake picture book for children about the Eucharist, our Treasure.

Available December 22, 2010.

~ Front cover ~

~ Back cover ~

Children learn during story time at school
that there is priceless treasure waiting for them,
whenever they want to become very rich.

Do you know where "Our Treasure" can be found?

Illustrator Kristina Marie Pope and Author Michele Elena Bondi
discuss the illustrations.

The beautiful illustrations by Kristina M. Pope.

Kristina with Andre, Alyssa, and Nick Bottesi
during a meeting to discuss Our Treasure.

From The Dedication Page:

The story in this book was first presented almost ten years ago to my son’s elementary school class. In 2009, the good Lord gave Joseph Karl Publishing the assignment to turn it into a picture book for children. My friend Alice worked with me to conceptualize the cover design, while we prayed for an illustrator. My son and daughter suggested their gifted art teacher, Kristina M. Pope. Her beautiful illustrations delighted us one by one.

My beloved children Andre, Nick, and Alyssa Bottesi spent countless hours working on the storyboard and the story. Their excellent suggestions, together with those of my sister Belinda Bondi, author Nancy Carabio Belanger, and dear friend Susan Schoenstein, truly brought the story to life.

The graphic design work of Roseann Nieman at Niemanart Graphics expertly combined the illustrations and text. Erin Howarth at DDM Publications handled the exceptional book packaging to complete our heavenly assignment.

I extend my sincere thanks to Andre, Nick, and Alyssa, Alice, Kristina, Belinda, Nancy, Susan, Roseann, and Erin for contributing your tremendous talents to this keepsake book for children about the Eucharist, “Our Treasure.”

God is at work in you!


The first storyboard.

The first storyboard taking shape.

Andre works on his laptop.

Nick holds the initial storyboard.

Alyssa reads through the story.

Kristina's illustrations were weighed
and then shipped to Erin for scanning.

Michele working in the studio with Kristina's pictures,
which were professionally scanned by Erin and sent
to Roseann in graphic design.

On this page from the book, Ben imagines where the treasure can be found.

Andre reading through the story.

The text, the sample book, and the storyboard.

Working on the PC at Apostolate Studio.

Going through the story, again.

Some pages were reversed several times
before we settled on their final order.

Editing the story, again and again and again.

Creating the book's prototype.

Teen author Andre Bottesi works on the story.

Creating the the final storyboard.

Teen author Nick Bottesi reads through a prototype of the book.

The final storyboard for Our Treasure
traveled with us all over town.
We even worked on it during dinner at an Asian restaurant.

Nick, along with our revisions to the original storyboard.

Nancy Carabio Belanger's suggestions were fantastic.
Here, she edits the story for children using a grape Smencil.

Bringing the story to life in the studio.

So many decisions to make.

The material on graphic designer Roseann Nieman's desk.

So many little changes.

In the story, the love of Jesus makes Josh very happy.

The original illustrations returned on the Feast of St. Therese,
and arrived along with the first edition of God Moments.

We wanted the illustrations and storyline for Our Treasure to reflect the tremendous love, joy, and beauty available to us in the Blessed Sacrament. Great attention to detail went into every aspect of this book, from telling the story to creating the illustrations, during editing, while combining the text with the images using state-of-the-art graphic design, and through exceptional book packaging.

Not only are the illustrations very visually appealing, Kristina included many symbolic images throughout the book. Readers are encouraged at the end of the book to go through the story once more and find them. The ideas of my skilled storyteller colleagues were integrated to make the story very fun, interesting and profound for children, and also for adults.

Some of the features of the children in the story belong to real children. Photographs of the children of friends and colleagues were given to Kristina to use in the illustrations. The names of the characters in the story were borrowed from real people. Some of the children were given the names of friends of my children and children of my friends. One boy was named after our pastor, Fr. Ben Kosnac, and the first little girl in the story was named after my sister. We decided that the name of the mother telling a story of such great importance should be highly significant, and after giving the matter much thought, we named her Mrs. Browne in honor of the priest who baptized my children, Monsignor George Browne.

The pages at the copier.

Last color checks before the book went to print.

One final check with Roseann
to make sure everything was just right.

Joseph Karl Publishing's Fantastic Youth Division

My sincerest thanks go to
Nick, Andre, and Alyssa,
my phenomenal children,
who spent countless hours working with me
creating the storyboards
and prototypes of the book,
and editing the story,
over and over and over again,
until we got it just right.

God is at work in you!

The final storyboard in the studio.

All Jesus did, He did for us.

Jesus, You are "Our Treasure."

+ + +

More behind-the-scenes photos
from the world of Catholic Indie Book Publishing:

We worked on the book in multiple coffee shops, restaurants,
at Apostolate Studio, and even in a hospital.

Yes, it does.