Maria Brophy


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How we got our HOW TO DRAW Art Book Published

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Walters Wave Painting by Drew Brophy Mixed Media on Wood  48 x 72 2009 RS

"Walters Wave" Mixed Media on Wood by Drew Brophy

I’m very excited – this week we’ll get our first copies of a new book that my husband, Drew, and I created.  (Truth:  It’s mostly Drew.  I just put the deal together and wrote a few things.  But I’m proud to now be able to say that I”m a published author.)

We were fortunate to get a book deal with one of the largest art book publishing companies in the United States, Walter Foster Publishing.

The book is called HOW TO DRAW WITH DREW BROPHY and it is a fun, slightly edgy book for creative kids and teens.

It’s a 48-page paperback sized 9″ x 12″.

It shows kids how to draw beach scenes and surf elements as well as flames and skulls (friendly skulls).   There are bonus pages in the back that show a kid how to paint their own skateboard and surfboard as well.  And that’s what makes it really cool, I think.

Artist friends have been calling all week to congratulate us.  And they are asking “how’d you do it?” and following up with “why didn’t I think of that?!”

The quick answer is – we filled a need. There’s a really long answer, too, and I”ll get to that.  But first, about the need.

It’s hard to please young kids these days.  After age 7, Sponge Bob and Spiderman are just not cool anymore.  And parents aren’t going to buy their 10 year old a tattoo-oriented book or something considered completely inappropriate.  Our book has cool stuff that boys and girls will love, but it’s not so edgy that parents won’t approve. It’s a fine line, walking that tight rope.  But we pulled it off.  The sales numbers will tell in the end.  (I’ll keep you posted.)

How to Draw Book CoverHOW WE GOT OUR BOOK DEAL:

It really helps to focus your efforts in a small niche.  Drew is known as one of the top surf artists in the world, and he’s known globally for his surfboard paintings.  He also creates artwork for cool stuff like skateboards and skimboards.  That gave him a lot of credibility to be able to create a “HOW TO” book that kids would actually want to be seen reading.

(It doesn’t hurt that Drew has the guts to surf humongous waves in some of the most challenging, death defying surf spots in the world.  In the action sports world, risking your life, for some reason, gains a lot of respect.)

We met our contact, Rebecca, of Walter Foster in 2007 at the License Show in New York.  We had an exhibit booth there, and it was good for us because that year we met a lot of people that we eventually did licensing deals with.

It took another year before we actually signed a licensing agreement with Walter Foster.  And we were new to how these things worked (Drew had only one other children’s book deal before, but it was a small company and was handled very casually).

The process for creating the book took about a year.  After that, the final approved copy was sent to China for reproduction last November.  All in all, it took about 2 years from start to finish.

Drew created all new artwork for the book.  He started with a sketch for a painting, and broke the elements out individually to demonstrate in the book how to draw each one.  In the end, he took all the elements together into one big sketch and created a large painting he affectionately named “Walter’s Wave.”  There were also other elements, including skulls and flying flames and lettering that were sketched out separate from the Walter’s Wave artwork.  We wanted to create something truly interesting to kids, fresh art that you won’t easily find.

Painting Walters Wave 2009 Drew Brophy in StudioThe book also has a section that talks about Drew’s history as an artist.  Luckily, we had many great photos of Drew taken from past projects over the years, and so these photos were used in the “About Drew” and other sections of the book.  (This is why I say it’s so important for Artist’s to Shoot Themselves.)

Great photographers like Michael R. Foley, Jason Wallis, Darin Crawford and Aaron Bickford contributed to the book with their photos of Drew at work or surfing.

I can’t believe that it’s been since 2007 that we first starting talking about doing this book.  The time actually went quick, and now that it’s here, we are already planning our next one.

It’s an honor to have a book published by Walter Foster, and I’m thankful to Drew that I was able to be considered one of the authors.  (Those who know me well know that I’m a shameless opportunist!)

Paving the Way for Niche Books: My surf artist friend, Ron Croci, pointed out that if this book sells well, it will open the door to other “niche” books like it.  Companies are cautious about putting money into niches like surf, skate, lowbrow, or anything that’s considered “underground” or alternative.  Drew and I are hoping that this book flies off of the shelves and as a result, publishing companies will be more willing to hit the alternative art markets.

We’ve set up some book signings and events.  Our first will be right here in our home town in San Clemente on  MARCH 27th.  We will have an exhibit set up with the original artworks that are in the book, including the “Walter’s Wave” painting, a painted Lost Surfboard and a painted Skateboard.  We’ll be in Cocoa, Florida on April 17 & 18, and in San Mateo, CA, at the MakerFaire on May 22 & 23rd.

How to Draw Book Gift Pack RS

If you are interested in getting a copy of the book, it’s only $8.95 and you can buy it here.

Or, even better, Drew and I came up with a great HOW TO DRAW GIFT PACK for only $29.95.  The gift pack includes: One book, one 11″ x 14″ print of “Walter’s Wave”, a bookmark, a 9″ x 12″ drawing pad and a pencil!

Order your HOW TO DRAW gift pack HERE.

If you order by April 1, the book will be signed by both Drew and myself.

For those of you looking to get a book deal of your own, I would recommend that you put yourself out there and network. I find that most of my deals come from networking more than anything else. It’s all about meeting people, forming relationships, and continuing to nurture them.

If you buy the book, please feel free to give me some feedback on it.  I’d love to hear any and all, positive and negative.  It’ll help us do an even better job on the next one!

Life is Good!  Maria xxoo

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16 Comments How we got our HOW TO DRAW Art Book Published

  1. Archan Mehta


    Glad to know you are going places with your husband, Drew.

    Now, the Brophy’s are not just surfing the waves–and painting waves–but actually, making waves. That’s nice to know, but I always knew you could do it. I was supportive and prayed for your success.

    Yeah, keep on writing and painting, both of you–and network like crazy.

    And how about finding other publishers as well? You have a good one, but don’t just stick to the same old, same old. Try something new, and you never know who’s out there, looking for you.

    “When the Lord closes one door, the Lord also opens another door.”

    Best wishes. And three cheers: Hip Hip Hooray. Hip Hip Hooray!

  2. deni

    i know your book will be a beloved “keeper” on the shelves of many because you know your audience, and you know your craft. one of the many things i admire about you both is you walk the walk, and this passion shows through in all of your efforts. you really do believe in helping your community, and we know it too. drew might not belong in a clique (ref. the other related article linked to this one) but he has a “posse” whether he wants one or not. : )

    1. Maria Brophy

      Hey Dennis! There’s a BOARDS N WAVES EXPO in Cocoa, FLA on April 17 & 18. We’ll have a booth there and a book signing. Drew will be giving board painting demos, too. Come on down – would love to see you!

  3. Donna R.

    How many books were published, how many sold?
    What was the deal for payment you arranged?

    What were your costs in creating the book; e.g for photographers, artist, etc.?

    Did you consider self publishing with print-on-demand?

    1. Maria Brophy

      Hey Donna, thanks for the comment. To answer your questions: The first run that Walter Foster had printed was 5,000. Then they will re-print when necessary, depending on sales. The book just arrived this week from the printer, and sales are humming.

      There were no up front costs to us – we were paid an advance of royalty by the publisher. The photographers allowed us to use their photos without a fee, and we attribute them in the book.

      Self-Publishing: Sounds like a lot of work to me. Using a publishing company means I got paid up front; the company has done this a million times so they took care of all the details of graphic design, layout, etc.; and they would sell to their existing accounts.

      Walter Foster already sells to thousands of retailers. I don’t have relationships with book retailers. So using their distribution channels is what I call working smarter, not harder! (I can sell about 250 books through my website, they can sell 25,000 through their channels….huge difference in volume.)

  4. Daina Scarola

    Maria and Drew, I have a thing for great kids’ books with nice stories and cool art. I find myself collecting ‘keepers’ for when my nieces and friends’ kids come visit since we like to read and do crafts together. But this book is awesome and makes me think of two of the coolest kids ever- Lief and Kane. At ages 6 and 4, they can downhill ski, surf, skateboard like nobody’s business. They’re younger than the age group you’re thinking of, but this is the book for them. I’ll be looking for it. Thanks so much!!

  5. Dennis T Panzik

    That’s right, I had got an invite. I won’t be attending to set up but I may come out.
    How’s it work; cuz when I was in the Orlando surf expo, they say it’s not open to the public, yet friends of friends came in? Is there a fee. I think they got in for free by saying they had a friend set up inside.

  6. Pingback: HOW TO DRAW Book for kids and “Walter’s Wave” Painting | Drew Brophy - Surf Lifestyle Artist

  7. Pingback: Licensing Expo Recap – How Much it Costs and Should you Exhibit - Maria Brophy | Maria Brophy

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