Tale Of The Suede Paper That Was Born To Fly

Years ago, before the new millennium,I invested in a massive box of grey suede paper. The box was 6 inches deep, three feet wide and 4 feet long. Storage was a problem. I bought it for a job I took at a well known theme park hotel doing quick, soft pastel portraits of exhausted, sweaty tourists. For a number of reasons not the least of which had to do with the antebellum costume I had to wear, I quickly determined it was not the job for me. So the box of suede paper languished under my bed while I spent my days painting wall murals.

Eventually I excavated what had become known as ‘the box’ and decided to use some of its contents to paint some nostalgic portraits from old family photographs. But still it was a big box and a dozen portraits made nary a dent.

Fast forward about 15 years. My friend Diana Scimone, for whom I had illustrated a series of three children’s books called “The Adventures of Paw Paw”, called me with a new project. She had started a non-profit organization to fight child trafficking and written a book designed to warn children and their parents against the perils of child trafficking. Would I be interested in taking her manuscript and translating it into a wordless book? The idea being that this book could be distributed all over the world with no language barrier. I was captivated not just by the notion of doing the illustrations but also by the anti-trafficking message. It occurred to me that my enormous box of suede paper would be the perfect support for the illustrations. Imagine that paper just laying around waiting to be used for this project. Nine months and almost one hundred illustrations later our little caterpillar was ready to become a butterfly.

The wordless ‘Born to Fly’ book is already receiving glowing reviews in five countries where it is being tested with at risk children. But that isn’t the end of the story! Diana took 43 of the original illustrations and inserted them into her chapter ebook which is now available for download on your ebook reading device. You can visit BorntoFlyBook to purchase, learn more or try out the childrens activity pages. Diana’s adventure tale of Blossom discovering her purpose will inspire you and captivate your child. I just like knowing that even my under appreciated grey suede paper was born to fly.


Filed under art, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Tale Of The Suede Paper That Was Born To Fly

  1. Kathryn Stanko

    It’s so encouraging to know that often times we already have just what we need, “to Fly!” Thank you Leah!

  2. Leah,
    I knew part of this story of course, but did not know about the antebellum costume. Amazing. Glad Blossom pulled you away from that!
    It was a joy to work on Born to Fly with you, as with our other projects. What’s next?? A sequel??

    Diana Scimone
    The Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking

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