Parents and friends of toddlers, take note: Santa Barbara illustrator Molly Hahn is releasing her second kids’ book just in time for the holidays. This Sunday, December 12, from noon-5pm, she’ll appear at the French Press (1101 State St.) to sign copies of All the Things I Can Do! a 32-page soft-bound book geared for ages 3+.
The bright-eyed, bubbly UCSB grad, who goes by her “Mollycules” pen name, has dedicated her latest book to the power of the imagination. All The Things I Can Do! features Mila, a little girl with big dreams. Each page reveals another of Mila’s visions: She rocks out with a band, bakes fabulous cakes, and appears as a fashion designer with a bevy of well-dressed friends. But Mila doesn’t limit herself to the creative industries: She also dreams of being a martial artist, a farmer, a world traveler, an entomologist, and an entrepreneur. Unlike Hahn’s previous book, Under the Sneep Tree, All The Things I Can Do! doesn’t have a very complex plot. It’s really a celebration of a child’s boundless imagination, presented in a series of beguiling, whimsical illustrations.
For this book, Hahn began with miniature sketches and then painted each scene digitally using Adobe Photoshop, a program that allows her to adjust hue, saturation, and light effects instantly. The resulting illustrations show off her developing sophistication as a colorist, ranging from a bright Where’s Waldo?-esque parade scene, complete with trumpet-playing mice, to a deep-sea–diving mission where a floodlight illuminates a googly-eyed octopus. She also introduces some beautiful textures, from a crumpled mountain range to a butterfly’s delicate, lacy wings. And for those dedicated Mollycules fans, the friendly Wamboozles from Under the Sneep Tree make a star appearance alongside Mila as part of a dramatic stage production.
Sunday’s signing will also feature S.B. musicians Spencer the Gardener and Meghan Lehman. If you can’t make it to the signing, never fear; All the Things I Can Do! is also available on Hahn’s Web site, mollycules.com, where you can also find her Sketch of the Day.