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The Big Catch

I'm proud to announce that the 3rd Mac Wiebe children's book will soon be hot off the presses, ready to be enjoyed by children everywhere! The story is about my cousin Mac Wiebe, his brother Mitch, and their friends and family. They go on a (maybe) ill-fated fishing trip to Spruce Woods Provincial Park, hoping to land the fish of a lifetime. BUT CAN THEY DO IT???

Check out the Mac Series books HERE!

The Big Catch, written by Kim Wiebe and Illustrated by Kyla Wiebe
The Big Catch

A sketch of an illustration from the kids book, "The Big Catch"
The Big Catch, initial thumbnail sketch

I have never been fishing on a lake. The only fishing experience I have had is in Taiwan in a "shrimping restaurant". You go into a big cement room, pull up a little plastic stool to a big cement pool of murky water, and hope to catch enough shrimps on your line to justify the money you spent per each hour you squat there. While you sit there watching your floater bob lazily on the water, several veteran fishermen sit across from you, pulling in shrimp every five minutes or so. You glare at them, resenting their success, but wait! Your floater is moving! A shrimp has started to pull your hook along the floor of the pool. You screw up your courage, whip up the line, and yes! You've hooked a shrimp! So you now try to extricate the hook from the shrimp's little face. It pinches you several times. You go to put the shrimp in the little basket where you collect your catch, but with a tiny wiggle the shrimp dives from your hand to the freedom of the pool. Your stomach grumbles like an accusing monster within, and you sigh miserably. You will never eat any shrimp, and you will die in this cement room.

Needless to say, it wasn't my cup of tea! My experience had a happy ending though. We had brought enough food to supplement our small shrimp catch AND we got a coupon for a few skewers of free shrimp. So I didn't have to carefully savour every last nibble of the THREE SHRIMP I caught while we were there. I got to eat my full, plus some homemade potato salad and bran muffins that we brought.

So my fishing experience did not at all help me bring any kind of reality to Mac's adventure! Maybe someday I'll get to go fishing out in the wild and get a better sense of what it's like.

My favourite part about this illustration process was definitely studying Michael Martchenko's illustrations in Robert Munsch's kids books, and trying (desperately? futilely?) to emulate a Kyla version of his sense of humour and his great character design and composition. I humbly admit that I am not nearly in the same ring as Michael Martchenko, but it's still cool to notice tiny wins in my illustrations - things I wouldn't have thought to do if I hadn't had a "Mad About Munsch" book open by my desk the entire time I was drawing and painting this book!

So I lacked real-life inspiration from fun childhood fishing trips, but I did not lack in inspiration from a great book illustrator that I love and admire. What things do you find inspiration from? Do you have a great fishing tale from days of yore? Is there an author or writer that always just gets you, somehow? I'd love to hear about it, if you do! Maybe your inspiration will spark inspiration in me, too!

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