Friday, June 17, 2016

Tameka's New Dress Cover Reveal!

Ta da! I'm happy to be able to share with you all the final cover for Tameka's New Dress written by Ronnie Sidney II, illustrated by me, Traci Van Wagoner, and designed by my husband and partner, Kurt Keller. This is a touching story and has been a very interesting book to illustrate. I wanted capture the mood and progression of Tameka's self-confidence growing throughout the book with my colors, leading up to her getting her beautiful new and colorful dress as you see on the cover.
Tameka's New Dress by Ronnie Sidney II, illustrated by Traci Van Wagoner

Book Summary

When you’re the new girl in school it can be a little scary. It’s even tougher when your parents aren’t there to help. Some of the kids might be friendly but what about that mean girl who’s always picking on you? The author brings up the subjects of childhood trauma, parental substance abuse, kinship care and bullying with a gentle touch suitable for even the youngest children. Tameka's New Dress shines a light on these tough things and lays them out on the table to talk about. He also presents us with a strong girl in Tameka, who not only finds adults who can and do support her, but also finds a way to confront her bullies without becoming a bully herself. Real tips for real life situations are presented here – just what real little children need - a great addition to the library shelves.

Tameka's New Dress is the second graphic novel in the Nelson Beats the Odds series.

To preorder your copy visit

About the Author

Ronnie Nelson Sidney, II, MSW was raised in Tappahannock, VA, and attended Essex County Public Schools (ECPS). While attending ECPS, he spent several years in special education after being diagnosed with a learning disability. The stigmatization of special education created a lack of interest in school. Nevertheless, he graduated from Essex High School in 2001, but with a 1.8 GPA. With limited options regarding four-year colleges, he enrolled at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA. The following year, he transferred to and completed studies at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, VA. After several years of hard work, he was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services in 2006.

Ronnie's early academic challenges ignited a passion within him to pursue social justice and to work with youth. He has spent over eight years in the mental health and academic counseling fields and currently works as an outpatient therapist at the Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck Community Services Board (MP-NNCSB). Ronnie is an active member of the Richmond Association of Black Social Workers (RABSW). He founded Creative Medicine: Healing Through Words, an expressive writing program for offenders. He implemented the program at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia for six months before expanding the program into an LLC. The company's mission is to improve participants' social, emotional, and physical health through therapeutic writing and dialogue. For more information, visit the author's website at 

Behind the Scenes
And now, some of my illustration process for creating the cover art.
pencil sketching

Two sketch versions

Final sketch
Final cover art

To see more of my artwork and some sneak peeks of interior illustrations for this book, follow me on Facebook and visit my website to see more of my art and more books I've illustrated.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you have enjoyed my creative journey with creating Tameka's cover, and I hope you will buy the book and share in her journey as well. I would love to hear your thoughts about the book, about my process, or about your experiences that are similar to Tameka's.

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