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The Coyote and the Rabbit Folktale

As a children's book illustrator, Denise has many things to say about the process, her struggles, and children's books on the market today.

Illustration for the children's book The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairytales and Folktales from Around the World

Illustration for the children's book The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairytales and Folktales from Around the World

My Thesis Book

Some years ago I started an alphabet book for children as a thesis project for my illustration degree. The whole project transformed and morphed many times before I was done. I am planning a series with several of my folktales and fairytales from around the world.

Collage Illustrations

First, I decided I didn’t want the typical “A is for Apple” type of book or animal alphabet book; those have been done. I have a love of fairy tales and so the fairy tale theme began. Second, my advisors saw some of my collage work and suggested that I make the illustrations in collage instead of watercolor. Knowing that would take much longer, I began right away. But even then the transformation continued.

Before a child talks they sing. Before they write they draw. As soon as they stand they dance. Art is fundamental to human expression.

— Phylicia Rashad

Global Fairytales

After doing R is for Red Riding Hood and J is for Jack in the Beanstalk, I thought I was going to have trouble finding fairy tales for all 26 letters if I stuck to the typical Grimm’s Fairy Tales. And that’s when it hit me to be more global. Why not research fairy tales and folk tales from all over the world? This added to my work but in the end, it became very satisfying. This one is a South American folktale.

A value sketch for the final illustration.

A value sketch for the final illustration.

C is for The Coyote and the Rabbit

A South American Folktale

The coyote and the rabbit have always been enemies but the rabbit is trickier than the coyote. One day, the rabbit came to a big rock, and he was leaning on the rock when the coyote came by.

"What are you doing there, brother," the coyote asked.

"Quickly, brother, the sky is falling down on top of us. Lean against the rock and hold it up while I go for a stick to hold it up," said the rabbit to the coyote.

"I will, but hurry," said the coyote and began holding it up with all his might. The rabbit went and left the coyote. After a long time, when the rabbit didn't return the coyote shouted:

"Come back, brother! I am so tired. I can’t hold the rock up much longer." The rabbit still didn't come back.

"That’s all I can take. I'm going to leave even though the sky may fall down on top of us," said the coyote. So he ran away and fell into a ditch.

Later the rabbit came to a pond and as he was looking at the reflection of the moon, the coyote came to where the rabbit was. The rabbit saw the coyote coming, so he began to drink the water from the pond.

"What are you doing, brother,” the coyote asked the rabbit.

"Look, brother, there's a giant cheese down there," answered the rabbit. "If we drink all the water we can get the cheese. Drink it, you're big and you can finish the water faster than I can."

"Yes I can, brother," he said and began to drink the water.

"I'm going for a walk," said the rabbit. The coyote continued to drink the water, but the rabbit didn’t come back. The coyote's stomach began to hurt him, and he got the runs. After a while, he realized that he wasn't able to finish the water, so the coyote abandoned the effort. He knew he had been tricked again.

You might not make it to the top, but if you are doing what you love, there is much more happiness there than being rich or famous.

— Tony Hawk

Published with Lulu

This story is a South American folktale and is shortened to fit into my book. If you would like to read the full version, you can Google the title and find several versions of The Coyote and the Rabbit or sometimes known as the Rabbit and Coyote.

I self-published The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from Around the World this last year with Lulu.com because Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing) refused to allow illustrations that spanned the central gutter of the page. They demanded at least a half-inch margin around the outside, which was doable, and a half-inch margin through the center margin, which was not. That would destroy the look and cohesiveness of the double-page illustrations, and so I had to find a different publisher who would allow it. KDP obviously does not understand illustrated children’s picture books.

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

— Pablo Picasso

My rough color composition to do the collage from.

My rough color composition to do the collage from.

Final Thoughts

I hope you like my story and my fairy tale alphabet book idea. Lately, I’ve been doing some research to begin another one. There were so many stories I had to pass over with the first book because there was just not enough room or letters in the alphabet. I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Any art communicates what you’re in the mood to receive.

— Larry Rivers

The final collage illustration for the book.

The final collage illustration for the book.

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 27, 2020:

Chris Mills,

I'm glad you like the collage concept. It is so very time consuming but so satisfying. Stay warm in Wisconsin! Thanks for commenting.]

Blessings,

Denise

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on January 26, 2020:

Great idea for a children's picture book. I like the collage concept as well. Thanks for sharing your project with us.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 23, 2020:

Dora Weithers,

I have loved researching these global fairy tales and folk tales. I've learned a lot about people. I'm glad you approve. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 23, 2020:

William Kovacic,

I sort of feel sorry for the coyote too. I had a sister who would pull pranks on me like that and I usually fell for it. Not fun. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 23, 2020:

Marie Flint,

I'm so gratified if the thumbnails, value sketches, color compositions, and final product are a help. I learned this method of producing in art college and thought I could skip steps as I left them but found that it is always a better outcome if I do all the steps. What you don't see is that I often try several value sketches to see what lighting will work best. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 21, 2020:

I like your creativity. Such a fun project. Global folklore is a great idea. Success to your noble work!

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on January 19, 2020:

I feel sorry for the coyote, Denise. He drank too much water and now he has the runs. Poor thing. Maybe he'll learn to think twice when dealing with a rabbit.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 18, 2020:

RoadMonkey,

Yes, it was a labor of love. I'm so happy you like it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on January 18, 2020:

I agree with all the commenters--this is a great project and the illustrations are unique.

As far as rabbits being tricked, there's no better story than the "Rabbit and the Hedgehog," also from Grimm's. One possible morale for the male reader is to have a wife who could also be your twin! ha!ha!

Keep up the great work. Your value sketches are helping me.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 17, 2020:

Linda Crampton,

Me too. Does that make us simple or just empathetic? I have a sister like the rabbit (quick-witted and always tricking me) and I've always been rather like the coyote... a little slow to see the joke. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 17, 2020:

Devika Primić,

I'm so happy you think it is extraordinary. I love doing it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 17, 2020:

Bill Holland,

For so many years I was resistant to complete my education. I knew it would cost me so much and as you know, an art education has the same price as business but not the same returns. Still, I'm really glad I did it if only for the knowledge of how to approach illustrating my own books. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 17, 2020:

Lorna Lamon,

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I loved researching and then illustrating all these stories. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 17, 2020:

Liz Westwood,

How kind. I'm so glad you think the illustrations work for the story. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

RoadMonkey on January 17, 2020:

Great hub. I love fairy stories and folk tales. This is one I have not read before but the rabbits are always so much cleverer than their enemies! Your book sounds great, a real labour of love.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 17, 2020:

I love your illustrations, Denise. The use of collage was an excellent idea. I enjoyed reading the folk tale about the coyote and the rabbit. I couldn't help feeling sorry for the coyote.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 17, 2020:

Hi Denise a lovely story and I simply love it! You have created an extraordinary project here.

I like the combination of illustrations every detail is perfect.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 17, 2020:

I really love your thesis project, and I love this story. So very creative, my friend.

Happy weekend to you and blessings always.

Lorna Lamon on January 17, 2020:

Another wonderful tale from the collection Denise with beautiful illustrations. It's also interesting to follow your journey.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 16, 2020:

Thanks for sharing some of your work with us. This is an interesting project and the illustrations are great to go with the tale.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 16, 2020:

Eric Dierker,

I'm so glad you liked it. I was happy to see your name pop up too. You've been missing for a couple of weeks and I was beginning to worry. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 16, 2020:

Really cool idea and Liked the story. I am afraid that I am a bit of the coyote. Love your illustrations.