Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The mulberry & bliss logo


As I am wont to do, I played around some more with the mulberry & bliss logo and came up with the above version. I'm still not sure if I like just bliss and the book alone but I do like the typeface better. Let's see how I feel in a week. Or in the next hour or two.

Introducing the new Mulberry & Bliss logo/mascot, drawn by @merlobird (on IG), the same artist who created catchpenny the crow who you might remember.

While all my Mulberry & Bliss mini picture books are by me, making them "self-published", I hope that before the year is out that I will have published at least one mini picture book from an author/illustrator who is not me, so I can truthfully say that Mulberry & Bliss is an independent publisher of books. 

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

My Pwoermds for April 2023

 April is National Poetry Month and also International Pwoermd Writing Month so I created a catchpenny books notebook and wrote a pwoermd a day along with some extras. I might post the extras later. Here are my pwoermds for April 2023.

Friday, February 10, 2023

In praise of nonsense

Original efelump that some said looked too much like an aardvark.

I'm a big fan of nonsense, and for a number of well-reasoned reasons (which I will not go into right now) believe it is not only something that makes us human, but is also a necessary ingredient in the education of our youth. A recent blog post by Elayne Crain about delightful nonsense words, reminded me that I wrote a mini-diatribe on the subject that I was going to add to my mini-picture book "Birb Goes Twerp", but due to space considerations I decided to leave out. For my fellow follyphiles I have posted it below.

A message from the author, Francis S. Poesy 

I believe that the power of nonsense to improve the human condition is very strong. I also believe that this power is equal to the power of humans to dismiss nonsense as just so much nonsense. It is because of this detestable equilibrium of sorts that we find ourselves in a barren, boring, wasteland of utter sense, with everything and everyone ordered in perfect logical rows and columns, while we still find ourselves, and our children, none the happier, nor none the wiser for it.

Though I am but one man with limited skill and more limited talent I decided to take a stand for nonsense by attempting to write a book devoid of any sense at all. It was a much tougher task than I at first expected and it has left me, while not broken, at least a little rougher around the edges than usual. I will leave it to the wiser among you to decide how well I have succeeded. My only hope is that it sets the door ajar to shine at least a sliver of light on how powerful nonsense can be in the lives of readers, young and old.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Birb Goes Twerp - A mini picture book - Part Two

If you haven't read the first post about my self-published mini picture book Birb Goes Twerp, you can read it here.

If you have, then you are in the right place.

As I was playing around with what style to use for the book I stumbled upon an amazing children's book in the used book section of Taylor Books in Charleston, WV, while on the way to Thanksgiving with my extended family.

Near, Far by Silvia Borando

The book was Near, Far by Silvia Borando, published by minibombo, an Italian children's publishing house (and published in English in the U.S. by Penguin Random House). The bright colors and simple illustrations were mesmerizing to me so I attempted to copy, mimic, steal, borrow, imitate, and pay homage to the genius of the style in my book. I'll let history decide how close I came.

Full disclosure: when I first bought the used book(s) at Taylor Books I was planning to use the internal pages for covers for the upcycled note pads I make from packaging paper and other sources. And I did. But between reading the book and cutting it up (I know, I'm a monster), I decided to imitate the style for Birb Goes Twerp. And to be fair, the inside pages of the book made some amazing little note books with peek-a-boo inside covers in some cases.

Upcycled note pads with Near, Far internal pages for covers

An adorable peek-a-boo hippo. Other covers included a snake, a hedgehog, a bird and other creatures.

I make upcycled note pads/books under the name catchpenny books

I also ended up buying another copy of Near, Far and a number of other minibombo books by Silvia Borando. I even sent a copy of Birb Goes Twerp to Silvia in Italy as a kind of thank you for the inspiration. I don't know if she has gotten it yet, or if it will even make an impression, but I hope it will.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Birb Goes Twerp - A mini picture book


That's me there with a copy of Birb Goes Twerp, my latest self-published picture book. I'm calling it an all-ages mini picture book, and it is possible that self-published all-ages mini picture books may become my thing. It is hard to tell as I have a bit of a problem focusing, but I am rather enamored with the idea of publishing more of these little books.

Before I get too far into this post, let me tell you where you can get a copy of what one reader said is an "AMAAAAZING!!!!!" book. It is available in physical form, PDF, and EPUB (Kindle) on Gumroad. Go check it out!

If you have a blog or some other venue where you post reviews and would like a review copy, let me know and I can hook you up with a PDF version. If, for some reason, which I cannot begin to fathom, you would like to feature the book or me on your blog or other venue, I'm open to doing interviews and you'd probably get a hard copy for yourself and one to giveaway to your readers.

Okay, with all that out of the way...

At some point - possibly the first time I ever heard the term "birb" used on the internet - I have wondered what sound a birb would make. I settled on "twerp". It just makes sense. Am I right?

I also thought that a fun picture book would be an animal sounds concept book (I love concept picture books) based on this internet slang. I sat on the idea for quite some time, mostly because I don't consider myself an illustrator, and illustrators are (as they should be) expensive to hire.

That said, I am a doodler and I do have experience as a self-taught graphic artist working in publishing, prepress, and the software industry for at least a couple of decades. So when I finally upgraded my iPad to one that could handle Procreate, I decided I would try my hand at illustrating this book myself in a style that I had been doodling around with for a while.

The above mentioned doodle style.

I was originally thinking that I would do them in a cut paper style with backgrounds but I soon moved on to trying out a risograph print style.

Cut paper style

Risograph print style

 I didn't choose either. Tune in to my next blog post to find out what changed my mind! And if you have read this far, thanks for reading.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Make an Upcycled Kraft Packaging Paper Notebook

I posted a step-by-step picture tutorial on how to make an upcycled kraft packaging paper notebook with no special equipment on the catchpenny books website.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

FrightFall2022 - October Art Challenge

 I recently purchased a new iPad that was capable of supporting Procreate, which I almost immediately downloaded and began exploring.

I have experience with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop so it wasn't too difficult to pickup Procreate and start doodling. And seeing as it was so close to October, I decided to participate in the October Art Challenge named Fright Fall 2022 and hosted by Retro Supply Inc., a company that provides brushes, textures, etc. for use with Procreate and other graphics applications.

So, here are all the #FrightFall2022 prompts with my renditions. And if you haven't already, and you like spooky stuff, I do recommend checking out the #FrightFall2022 hashtag on Instagram for more autumnal fun.


Candy - Cannibal Candy Corn!

Hocus Pocus - No relation to the (imho) highly overrated film of the same name.

Crow - A murder of a crow.

Urn - Poorly drawn in the style of Edward Gorey.

Eye - Don't look at the evil eye! Oops, too late. Sorry.

Razor Blade - Free hugs!

UFO - Unidentified? Really? I mean, he has his ID right there.

Slasher - A big fan of slasher movies, Oliver realized too late that knife handling was more dangerous than he had imagined.

Centipede - Nothing to see here. Just a centipede minding its own business, doing whatever it is that centipedes do.

Fortune Teller - Sometimes it is better not to know your fortune.

Poltergeist - Little known fact: Most poltergeists are just cats living one of their nine afterlives to the fullest.

Jack-O-Lantern - Just a Jack-O-Lantern

Curse - Curses!

Tombstone - Yup, still dead.

Bride - Over the years they had forgotten exactly who had been the bride and who had been the groom but the tragic event on their wedding day had not given them enough time together so they decided to never part despite their “condition”.

Cyclops - Just a #cyclops wandering about foraging for foodstuffs like roots, mushrooms, and lost seafarers.

Bigfoot - Misconceptions about what Bigfoot truly looks like have proven advantageous for this solitary and reclusive creature. Its penchant for flopping in soft muddy patches of forest floors for fun helps contribute to continued confusion as to this fascinating creature’s true stature.

Corn Doll - Pro tip: If you don’t have any good ideas for the day’s prompt just draw the thing dead with its spirit leaving its body.

Monster - She loved her time in the countryside because of the beautiful flowers and because there was no one to make her feel like she was a monster.

Reanimated - Maybe Zombie Guy just wants to talk.

Moth Man - He's like a super hero, right?

Blood - I want to suck your me!

Candle - Suddenly, Candle realized its inevitable fate.

Demon - My favorite candy growing up.

Puzzle Box - The dreaded RGB Puzzle Box! Can you find something good to watch before it breaks your will to live and you are compelled by its evil to watch infomercials until 3 in the morning?

Cauldron - Root of hemlock always upset Cauldy’s tummy.

Toad - It turned out that stealing Frog’s tin crown WAS the way for Toad to get all those princesses to notice him.

Necronomicon - The digital age has made practicing dark magic much easier, but the craft has definitely lost much of its ghastly charm.

Creep - While Burgess knew his appearance was somewhat creepy, he did not consider himself a ‘creep’ per se.

Wrong Turn - Honestly, anyone who falls for this deserves what they get.

Costume - Constance was not a fan of dress up, so most years she attended the Annual Afterlife Halloween Masquerade Ball disguised as herself.