gmhTODAY 23 gmhTODAY Dec Jan 2018 - Page 69

Jordan Rosenfeld AUTHOR ' S corner Jordan is the author of four writing guides and three novels. Her articles have been published in such places as: Alternet, The Atlantic, Marin Magazine, the New York Times, the Petaluma Magazine, Salon, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post and many more. The Accidental Illustrator… Mark J. Hoffmann M ark J. Hoffmann, a postal worker in Morgan Hill, has a history of falling into creative projects. His most recent was to illustrate a new children’s picture book, titled Little George and the Christmas Socks, written by Joe Malerba. Hoffmann connected with Malerba through a Facebook group that he runs for fans of something known as vinyl- mations, another creative hobby he fell into. Vinylmations are Disney-inspired Mickey Mouse figurines painted in any way a customer desires. After receiving one such figurine for Christmas from his husband, city council member Rene Spring, he painted The Little Mermaid on it, and put it up for sale on his Facebook page, where it sold in ten minutes. He realized he was onto something. “Joe was following me on Facebook through my vinylmations figures page. He posted that he’d written a children’s book and I said I had illustrated some before.” The rest was history. “The entire process was done online, over email,” Hoffmann explained. “I drew twelve different styles of George he could choose from and we based the look of the book around little George.” The cheerfully illustrated book was published in late summer, and Hoffmann drew a standing-only crowd at BookSmart of Morgan Hill in September to launch the book. Hoffmann said that Malerba gave him “total creative freedom and he liked every picture.” Hoffmann enjoyed the hand-drawn look of the images. “Nobody hand draws stuff anymore. It gives it a Christmas classic feel.” It couldn’t have been simpler or more different from Hoffmann’s last experience years before illustrating a series of children’s etiquette books for the American Etiquette Institute featuring a character called “Eddy Cat.” “That experience was challenging. I didn’t have creative freedom.” In addition to books and vinylma- tions, the self-taught artist’s creative wanderings have led him to create pins for the Hard Rock café, plus a custom line of rubber stamps, and greeting cards. “You have to ask; they’re not going to come knocking on your door,” he said. While he’s not interested in writing g any books himself, he’s open to illustrating others, and he and Malerba may continue their collaboration. “Little George may go on to other adventures.” GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN december 2018-january 2019 69