Trouble at the Lake: First Volume in the Squwak Adventure Series

This post is a follow up to a previous story about my collaboration with the Yell and Tell Foundation. Founder Jean Davidson decided to launch a book series this summer under the “Squawk Adventure Series” label to teach all kids to observe and yell when they see danger.


Yell and Tell Foundation Squwak Adventure Series logo

We just completed the first book in the “Squawk” series. Apropos of summertime, it is a book about water safety called “Trouble at the Lake”. Jean and her co-author Lori Walker wrote the book using many of the same mouse character types I created earlier this year for some Yell and Tell classroom teaching materials. “Trouble at the Lake” is a hardcover picture book to be distributed to schools across the country.

I utilized this first color drawing as my color palette template for each of the 24 illustrations. The individual mouse characters, Molly, Marco and Sam, each have distinct fur and eye color treatments. I’d keep this art on my screen and use the wonderful Eye-dropper tool to make sure Molly’s green eyes were the same shade of green throughout the book. Not rocket science, but a technique most illustrators use to keep the characters straight in the minds of the readers. First graders are astonishingly observant. One mistake might get you fired. :^)


Trouble at the Lake color template


In this book, I introduced a fish character to reinforce or echo the water safety lesson and play up the drama.


Trouble at the Lake fish character


I wanted to share a few of the initial sketches and the final illustrations. Unlike the Yell and Tell project discussed in a previous post which used tinted pen and ink drawings , the final art for “Trouble at the Lake” was done in Photoshop with a WACOM tablet.


Trouble at the Lake line artTrouble at the Lake color final artTrouble at the Lake cover line artTrouble at the Lake final cover artJean Davidson plans for “Trouble at the Lake” to go to press this month in time for distribution in late August or September, at the beginning of the new school year. She and I hope to get to work on the next volumes in the Squawk Adventure Series sooner than later.

Dozens of children’s lives have been saved by using Jean’s Yell and Tell curriculum. Jean created Yell and Tell following the loss of her four year-old grandson, Ryder Davidson, in a drowning accident. Her desire to spare others the tragedy she experienced has proven a great success.

For more information about the Yell and Tell Foundation or to pre-order “Trouble at the Lake” for your local schools, go to

4 Responses to “Trouble at the Lake: First Volume in the Squwak Adventure Series”

  1. Karl, as a board member of Yell and Tell since a board was shaped, I want to thank you for all the wonderful support you have provided. You and your characters have helped us carry the message so well to thousands of children globally. Thanks for sharing your talents to make a difference!

  2. Martin Dobson says:

    Great Stuff K! Good to see your special take on characters are as funny and endearing as ever..Love the Studio.

  3. Hi Karl and Erica: Just saw this and I want to thank you for putting this out there. Would love to see you again and looking forward to the next book in the series. Lots of hugs….. Jean

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