Maine Authors

'Message of the Owl' a labor of love and teamwork

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Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 5:00pm
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The flight of blue jay over a coastal town, drawn by Bob Rose, and digitally altered by June Rose in their new children's book, “Message of the Owl.”
The flight of blue jay over a coastal town, drawn by Bob Rose, and digitally altered by June Rose in their new children's book, “Message of the Owl.”

Local artists June and Bob Rose wrote their first children's book in an unusual manner: by yelling at one another from separate rooms.  

For anyone unfamiliar with the free-spirited couple, June and Bob Rose live in Edgecomb and are well known in the art circles of the Boothbay region.

Bob Rose is from Boston. He worked as art director of children's books right down the street from Ratheon, a company that builds missile defense systems for the United States government.  

“While they made bombs, we made books,” Bob Rose said.  

June Rose is a native of Boothbay and grew up with the last name Webster.  She gushes with so much energy that it's an understatement to say she is enthusiastic about art.

“We need art so much, it's such a necessity to the soul,” June Rose said.  

For two months the couple wrote and illustrated a book they said was inspired by the animals that inhabit their backyard.

They said they wanted to weave the wisdom found in life through a cast of misunderstood critters, like skunks, mice, muskrats, crows and raccoons, and call the book “Message of the Owl.”

As the story evolved, the animals adopted personalities; a mixture of local characters, manifested through June and Bob's personal experiences exploring the unique landscape of Maine.

“I really like giving it a Maine theme and how nice it is to live here. We're connected with every single one of these characters,” June Rose said.

First, Bob Rose started drawing what he saw outside with a sharpie and watercolors, while June penned the story with anecdotal prose.

“Message of the Owl” is written in three parts and explores life problems with a cast of characters and original art.

When it came time to format the book, the couple fully embraced technology, although they say learning how to outwit a computer can be both frustrating and rewarding.

June Rose blended her husband's illustrations in Adobe Photoshop, altering the pictures with a “magic wand,” which resulted in a “liquifying” effect. The result was an exquisite composite of color and movement enhanced, what one might call a “digital watercolor.”

In the two years it took to write and publish “Message of the Owl,” the couple said there was always an underlying purpose.

“We wanted it to kind of lead people from all walks of life to get together and solve the problem,” Bob Rose said.  “The message is not necessarily from the owl, it's an awakening within each person.”

June and Bob Rose said they are in the process of writing another children's book entitled “A Tale of Two Rivers,” another anecdotal animal story that takes place on the Sheepscot and Damariscotta rivers.

Signed copies of “Message of the Owl” are available at Sherman's Bookstore and Studio 54 in Boothbay Harbor, and The Weatherbird in Damariscotta.