Jellybeans for Breakfast?

Local author, illustrator create children's book
Feb. 16, 2013 @ 12:20 AM

For one it was a labor of love that lasted about eight months. For another the gestation period was 13 years.

They are the writer and illustrator of a children's book created and produced solely in Sevier County. "Jellybeans for Breakfast?" was written about 13 years by Shawn Cline, who waited for the right time and person to help her bring it to life. That person turned out to be her hair stylist, Teresa Glaze, who is also a local artist.

The walls of Glaze's Hair Art Express salon on High Street in Sevierville are filled with her inspirational paintings "The Living Water." It was those paintings that had Cline broaching the subject of her own children's book and asking Glaze if she would be interested in creating illustrations for it.

"She was cutting my hair one day and I said, 'I've got this little story, can I email it to you and you tell me what you think, because I need someone to illustrate it,'" Cline said. "And she liked it."

"As I was reading it, my mind was going all over the place with all of these visuals, things that I was seeing in this book and I was so excited," Glaze said.

The book centers around a bunny named Billy who eats jellybeans for breakfast. "And during the day he finds out why that might not have been the thing to do," said Cline, whose day job is teaching water aerobics and swimming lessons.

She said she got the idea from remembering holidays like Easter, Halloween and Christmas when children get a lot of candy and that's all they want to eat. "There's kind of a teaching tool of nutrition," Cline said of her story. The book also shares some trade secrets about Easter.

Illustrating a fictional children's book wasn't something that Glaze had given serious consideration before. She was concentrating on her "Living Water" series, which illustrates how Jesus is the the living water for those who believe in him.

"Years ago I had done the "Living Water" painting," Glaze said. "I had felt like the Lord was leading me into doing something for children. I would have people come up and ask, 'Have you ever thought of doing a book for children, explaining the "Living Water?'"

Glaze didn't give the idea much thought at the time, though. "I hadn't the first thought about how you would even start something like that."

Two weeks before Cline asked Glaze to look at her story, Glaze said she had started giving serious thought to writing a children's book for the "Living Water" series.

"So when this came along and she asked me to illustrate it, at first I wasn't going to do it," Glaze said. "Because I thought, no, I'm doing Christian illustrations. I thought, no God, you want to me to do 'Living Water.'"

But after more thought, Glaze decided she could learn something in the process of illustrating "Jellybeans for Breakfast" that she could later use in her own work.

"I felt led to do this because it was a teaching tool, because I had never done a project like this, never done a children's illustration, didn't have a clue about it," Glaze said. She prayed over it and was encouraged enough to take on the project a little at a time, concentrating on each scene one by one.

For someone who admittedly likes to tackle a project and finish it as soon as possible, Glaze said she learned how to go about it at a slower pace.

"I was taught through this research, how do I want to lay it out, do the sketch and then I had to think, is Shawn going to approve of this. It's not just about me," Glaze said.

She also had to learn how to create continuity among the drawings so that the characters were recognizable from one page to the next. She recruited her toddler-age grandchildren to help test herself. After creating one sketch, she would let her grandchildren look at it, identify each character and have them tell her about the scene she drew.

She would then show them another page and ask them to point out a specific character.  "And they were able to tell me (who was who), and without being able to read they were interpreting the words," Glaze said.

Once the 21 paintings were created and after a few edits to the story, the women had to determine how to get the book in print.

Another of Glaze's customers. Paul Radcliff, came through, offering assistance through Thomas Group, his wife Jessica's family printing company. Along with reproducing the prints from Glaze's original artwork, they also pieced the book together and printed it.

"It was like giving birth," Glaze said of seeing the book completed for the first time.

They are selling the books on their own. They are available for $15 at Glaze's salon, Hair Art Express on High Street, across from King Family Library. They can be ordered by email at shawneecline@yahoo.com or Glaze at teeglaze@comcast.net. There is also www.facebook.com/JellybeansForBreakfast.

The process hasn't discouraged either Cline or Glaze from tackling new projects. Cline said she's thinking about writing a screenplay of the story, and Glaze is tossing around ideas for her "Living Water" children's book and possibly a coloring book.

"This was something that I would have never believed that I was capable of doing, but God already knew that I was capable of it," Glaze said.