#Inktober2016 – Day 1

Children's Books, Illustration

I’m excited to participate in Inktober this year! I won’t usually be doing full color, but I needed to draw this for a separate project, so… two birds, one stone (no pun intended!). I inked and colored this in Photoshop.

Here’s a rare Polaroid of Cognito Sanchez (from the Squirrel Intelligence Agency) trying to keep a low profile out in the field. He’s actually not doing too bad. 🙂

Cognito Polaroid by Sheri Roloff

Happy Inking!


Use a Graphic Designer’s Mindset to Boost Illustration Impact

Art, Children's Books, Illustration

It turns out a graphic designer’s perspective can be a huge asset when illustrating. Often a few key tweaks can take an illustration to the next level. I try my darndest to think like a designer, but whenever I need outside feedback on my illustrations, I ask my designer friend for her thoughts and BAM! improvements abound.

Here’s my newest example. I created a title page for my in-progress graphic novel using the concept of a TV show opener. You know, the part where the show’s setting and characters are introduced during the theme song. Here’s what I initially came up with:

Cognito Sanchez_Title Page_v1 by Sheri Roloff

I was pretty happy with it. It felt balanced. I liked the flow and layout. But when I placed it within the context of the cover and the chapter 1 sketches, it felt a little out of place. Now, this is an area where graphic designers shine: creating a cohesive look and feel across multiple materials. Upon asking for feedback, my designer friend suggested flooding the background with a color to better coordinate with the cover. And that’s when it hit me: expand the skyline image and extend the water behind the panels below. I also added bubbles, just for good measure. Here’s the result:

Cognito Sanchez_Title Page by Sheri Roloff

So much better! I’m much happier with it, and it coordinates far better with the cover now:

Cognito Sanchez_Cover by Sheri Roloff

It’s exciting when small changes make such a big difference. For more in-depth look at how graphic designer superpowers can boost illustration work, check out my SCBWI blog post. Or befriend a graphic designer today!


New Comics: Cognito Sanchez Sketches & More

Art, Children's Books

Hi there,

I’ve been knee deep in first chapter sketches for Cognito Sanchez. Here is the newly imagined first page. My inspiration was TV show intros where they show the setting and the main characters while the theme song plays.

Cognito Sanchez_intro page by Sheri Roloff

I’ve sketched out the first chapter of Cognito Sanchez. See the first few pages here.


Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

Cognito Sanchez: Opening Spread Sketch

Children's Books, Illustration, Writing

I’m excited to share a sketch of the opening spread of Cognito Sanchez: Dive Another Day! I’m working on sketching the first chapter, so more to come soon. In the meantime, you can see more illustrations here. Thanks for stopping by!

Cognito Sanchez: opening spread by Sheri Roloff


In-progress: Tom & Gibson storyboard

Children's Books, Illustration, Uncategorized

I’m working on a 32-page origin story for Tom & Gibson. I started with small thumbnails on graph paper, which I’m now fleshing out more in Photoshop.

In-progress storyboards for Tom & Gibson by Sheri Roloff

Once I get the story to flow exactly how I want, I’ll move on to full-page sketches. That’s all for this work-in-progress Wednesday. Have a great week!

Greetings from the Squirrel Intelligence Agency

Art, Children's Books, Illustration

Hello there!

I’m excited to share some of the characters from from my graphic novel work-in-progress: Cognito Sanchez! See a mockup of the cover and additional art here.

Cognito Sanchez_SIA Characters by Sheri Roloff

I’m working on more art samples, including SIA (the Squirrel Intelligence Agency) headquarters, the villains (muhaha!) and perhaps a sample spread. More soon. Thanks for stopping by!

My Embarrassing Christmas Wish List

Children's Books, Writing

Truth be told, I belong to one of those families that makes Christmas wish lists. And I know we’re not the only ones because my husband’s family does the same thing. This year my list includes an embarrassing number of kid’s books.

Yup. I’m one of those weirdos.

Now, maybe if I had kids, it would be less weird. But…I don’t have kids. So instead I go under the guise of being an aspiring author/illustrator who wants to add new favorites to her inspiration library. Unless I’m talking to fellow children’s book authors or illustrators, I still sound like a weirdo.

Eh. Oh well!

So I’m late to the party here, but I recently discovered that I’m a huge fan of David Wiesner’s work. I asked for these three titles: Flotsam, Sector 7 and Mr. Wuffles!

Mr. Wuffles

I have to admit, I glanced over Mr. Wuffles! a few times before I checked it out. I love cats (even mean ones like mine!), but based on the cover it looked like it was just about a cat. FALSE. This book is about WAY more than just a cat. It is an amazing journey told through impressive visual storytelling that includes space ships and aliens! It also made me realize the strange visual similarity between ants and aliens. How did I not see this before?

Mr. Wuffles_inside page

Next on the list is Carnivores. I love Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat’s illustrations never disappoint, so I asked for Carnivores before even checking it out in person! The cover alone is hilarious: three meat eaters in meat packaging. I love how uncomfortable they look. I feel confident that this will be a good addition to my bookshelf.


Last, but not least: Dragons Love Tacos written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. The conversational tone between the narrator and the reader really draws me in. And I dig the illustrations. Same deal with Secret Pizza Party…which I may already have.

Dragons Love Tacos

Do you have anything embarrassing on your Christmas wish list? Like an electric toothbrush, or socks, or the complete 42-disc box set of Gilmore Girls? Or…picture books?!