How and Illustration is Made: Behind the Scenes of Danny and the Tree of Life

The latest tale within Tales from Mr. Pelinger’s House is Danny and the Tree of Life. It’s about a boy who grew up in the shadow of the largest tree in the world at the top of the temple on top of the largest mountain in the world. Read about his journey to climb the fabled Tree of Life as it spans through the galaxy. Travel up this tree with him to see all its wonders!

Before you do, let us see how this tale was made.

First I draw and paint the backgrounds in graphite and then colored pencils. Then I will draw and paint a very large head to be added to a smaller body… Well, when it is done, the head won’t be so large or the body so small. Photoshop allows me to put these drawings together like that old toy called Colorforms. This process allows me to get more detail into the faces, but still, be able to save money by working on sheets of paper under 9″ x 12″. It is also easier to store the paintings since I will be moving them from place to place (nobody else is buying them…). Below is an example:


Keep coming back and see how the rest of the book was made. You can also find Danny and the Tree of Life within the pages of Tales from Mr. Pelinger’s House. I welcome you to get your copy now.

Behind the Scenes with Danny and the Tree of Life

Chris Dowgin in bowler hatThe latest Illustrated Children’s Classic from Norge Forge Press. A Wonderful tale of Danny who climbs the Tree of life and all the amazing things that he finds in its branches and flying past. A great tale for anyone who is young at heart! A truly endearing tale.

Follow Chris Dowgin every week to see how his illustrations are made. Sometimes he will post a few versions of an illustration where he will ask you to answer in the comments below which version you like. Also if you have tales of myths about the Tree of Life, please share below. If you have any ideas about what Danny should find on his travels up, let us know!



Which of the three final illustrations do you like?


Nap Time


Furry Friends

Chris Dowgin at Desk


Now, which one of the final illustrations above did you like? Should Chris keep the blocks? Tell us below.


Wizards and the Grail


Come back next week and see what Chris comes up with! Tell us what you think below.

You can also sign up for our newsletter by emailing us at to keep up with Chris and the rest of the great content from Salem House Press!

Chris Dowgin in teens drawing at desk

Chris in his teens at the desk.

How a Book is Made!

Danny and the Tree of Life

Follow this post weekly to see how images for this new book are made. Danny and the Tree of Life is the story of Danny who has come across a mysterious tree. It is the tale of what he sees when he scales the tree.

We will show you from digital collage sketches, drawings, and final illustrations. Below are the first few illustrations. We hope you enjoy them!




So come back every week and see how this story shapes up!

How an Illustration is Made: Milk Street in Salem

This One Will Have You Creaming…

At least that is what this famous illustrator would want; he has shares in Puleo’s Dairy in Salem. What were you thinking with your dirty minds…

Welcome back to the wacky news from the magical whimsical side of Salem! I am Mr. Zac spilling all the odd secrets of this quirky town. Today Matt Maguire is the milkman on a currach, a leather boat St. Brendan and the Culdee monks sailed to America before Lief Erickson. He is making his delivery to me on Milk Street. This is a weird corner. This is where Collins Cove reached the shore in the days of Prince Henry Sinclair and his third generation Vikings from Orkney. Just behind this corner is a house with a flooded tunnel from the high water table that still exists. They used to drop goldfish into it from the basement above it.

So Matt who has illustrated several illustrated stories for Heavy Metal and once was set up to be the illustrator for Wolverine was kind enough to pose for this illustration.  He was drawn on some cold press bristol with graphite and then painted with watercolor and colored pencil. He is drawn on a separate piece of paper from the background to achieve a level of detail not gained from drawing him on the same piece as the background.  So he is scanned and placed seated in the boat in the final drawing using Photoshop. This conserves paper costs also. I was drawn in the same way.

Above you can see the finished piece composed using Photoshop much like a Colorforms activity. Now look in the tree and see if you can find all of the hidden images. List them below.

Pick up the first book of the Salem Trilogy, A Walk Through Salem, at Barnes & Noble,, The Witch House, or Remember Salem and learn a little more about Blackbeard.


~Mr. Zac

Come back every Tuesday at 3PM for new stories about Salem and images from the Salem Trilogy.

How an Illustration is Made

Below you will see how the latest illustration from Speak Softly and Carry a Sticky Wicket was made. This is the latest in the Mr. Pelinger’s House series where Teddy Roosevelt and Queen Victoria battle it out as celebrity contestants in the house.

Every Wednesday as the story develops we will let you see the newest illustration and its process from sketches to the finished drawing. So now, sit back, and take a look…

The British Invasion:

The People They Still Owe Who Wrote the Music:

Come back every Wednesday and see which ruler beats the heck out of the other verbally, mentally, and in all other ways…

So who do you think is winning this week? Which country is better? Tell us below in the comment section.

Till next Wednesday have a Cherio Time!

~Mr. Pelinger