Melissa Reyes Tag

Sausal Creek 9- Reading at Mills K-5

Here’s a shot of me and author Melissa Reyes reading at Mills Elementary school. We were invited by a fellow teacher and had a blast talking to the kids about the book, Oakland history, and nature. The kids actually were taken on a field trip to Sausal Creek in Dimond Park so they had lots of questions and comments. Follow Mills on Instagram for more photos.
Melissa Reyes also has a website for her healing, doula, and kids books work called Remedios!
Dig this? check out this throwback to reading to a bunch of kids at Woodland Elementary in Oakland 

Sausal Creek 8 – Photo of Me and Melissa reading

Here are two photos of me and author Melissa Reyes reading to some children in South Sacramento‘s “Meadow View Elementary” , photo by Nicole Martinez
To the date, we have read separately and together in many different settings and the book has reached a lot of people. 
Melissa Reyes is a former elementary teacher and decided to write the book when she could not find a picture book about a historic geological landmark in the Bay Area. The children had tons of questions and responses at this reading and it was a blast to visit Maestra Martinez’ class! Check out the welcome sign they made!
You can purchase the book here “I Am Sausal Creek”

Sausal Creek 5- Process of illustration

Peace, if this is your first time hearing or seeing “I Am Sausal Creek” let me present you the cover and some process shots from the creation of the book. Here is a link to purchase.

So me and author Melissa Reyes began work together on this book last year , but she has been working on the words for much longer which are beautiful, to the point, and poetic. And I would say they are equally matched by Cinthya Muñoz who translated the book. 
Basically I start off every project (whether is on a book, for an organization, game company, whatever) with thumbnails. 1. Thumbnails: these are like quick jotted down ideas of what I see when I read text from the project or look at my notes. 2. Rough Sketches: Basically I ask my client or art director on the project to choose half or less of the thumbnails they liked, then I do a slightly larger sketch of those thumbnails. 3. Refined Sketches: Here, we decide on one image to express the idea/ story. This one image may need elements from the other sketches or revisions to refine it. Illustration tells a huge amount of the story with image. 
Whether it is used in storytelling or character design, you see images that communicate the story/idea beyond the words, or you see that there are things missing that the project is trying to say. Sometimes, both. This is truly collaboration because the art must serve the story. And sometimes the story must change to fit the art. In this case, the text evolved very slightly, while the images went through changes until they were just right. 4. Color: Depending on the project, i include very rough color sketches to show where i will place color. The watercolor comes out quite different that my digital color though.
5. Final painting: This is what it looks like once its all done. All elements have been painted or drawn in. Take a look at some more sketches with the final paintings.

The final has a few edits as you can see.
If you are a student or first time working on a picture book, feel free to email me questions. I’ll try to answer them best I can. To get a copy of the book, please go to 

I am Sausal Creek 3-Photos from Bk release

final book cover with translation
Josh from Nomadic Press
Me talking
Janine Macbeth of Blood Orange Press
Maya Gonzalez of Reflection Press
Cinthya Muñoz (translator for the book) and Melissa Reyes (author of I am Sausal Creek)

The book release of “I am Sausal Creek” was a great success. Hella people from all over the bay came through to support. We had lots of stars and up and coming stars of the independent Bay Area children’s book movement. If you are interested in getting the book these folks were here to represent or support you ca cop it here. Please tell your local book store or library to hit up Josh at Nomadic Press!!

I Am Sausal Creek 2- Book Release!

This Sunday! EVENT link: Come Through

Yo! This amazing book is DONE! We wrapped illustration on this a few months ago, the cover is done as you can see. And the book has been printed! Wow, this is my second published children’s book to come into the world. If you are a supporter of the “We Need Diverse Books” campaign you need to come through to this event and meet the team. We are:

Melissa Reyes-author/teacher/activist . Melissa has been the driving spear for this project and she embodies the heart of the story. As a former school teacher she saw the need for this type of story and researched her butt off to make it happen. When she approached me last year with the project I knew I wanted to be down as soon as I read it. I cannot wait for more people to fully understand the impact that a book like this has and will have.

Cinthya Muñoz Ramos-activist, momma, and amazing translator who gave this book and mine the royal treatment by offering translation that is a doorway to spanish speakers whether they’re from DR or Mexico. If you need your book translated into spanish, you need to holler a this fierce mujer!
And then there’s me. Robert Trujillo –author, illustrator, dad, I am honored to be a part of an “Bay Area Independent Children’s Book” creating family that includes folks like Janine Macbeth, Innosanto Nagarra, and more. My first children’s book “A Taco & Cheese Taco Birthday” will be out on Arte Publico Press this fall. I am Sausal Creek is now available and my first self published children’s book “Furqan’s First Flat Top” will be out later this year.
Nomadic Press– A Brooklyn and Oakland based publisher who have been supporting us through the design, layout, and printing of Sausal. They are an amazing publisher who are pursig new direction in children’s book publishing here in the Bay. 
So, if you’re in the town, come through! If you want to see some finished spreads from the book, go to my website!

I am Sausal Creek-Post 1 (PubSlush Launch)

Hello everybody, I have been working on this book since the beginning of the fall last year. I met Melissa Reyes through some mutual friends and family many years ago and I was immensely excited and inspired to begin work on this project when my TYS crew mate Cece recommended me to the to illustrate it. To my great surprise Melissa checked out my work and wanted me to work on the book! Tiiight! Immediately after reading the story I knew I wanted to work on it because unlike so many other kids books, it was not only informative but a smooth read (not too much, not too little)!

I started thumbnails, sketches, etc for this book many months ago and have gone through every phase except painting, which I’m doing now literally. Melissa has an incredible, beautiful, well written story that will be invaluable to children, educators, and parents once it is completed. Not only does it help educate about environment and history, but it also tells of a rich local history here in Oakland California. The creek that the book is about is still flowing and still supporting life and laughter. Not only that but it is supported by an awesome team called Nomadic Press, and is translated by a local organizer/parent by the name Cinthya Muñoz. 

I can’t wait to see this book in schools and on shelves everywhere, please check out the video and see some sneak peaks at some of the drawing and painting for the book “I am Sausal Creek/ Yo soy El Arroyo Sausal”.

LINK to support