It’s been over 2 months since I popped the question (March 9th, 2013) and looking back, it couldn’t have gone any smoother. The night before, I suggested to Alissa that we go to a book store to grab coffee and read; nothing out of the ordinary for us. She was in and the plan was in place.
Her sister, Megan, arrived about 10 minutes before to plant the children’s book that I had written and illustrated. As we were walking in I subtly noted that my creative director, Brody Bond, had mentioned a new featured children’s author whose illustration style looked just like mine. She took the bait, as it really isn’t that hard to get Alissa into the kid’s section of a book store.
As we walked in, I saw the book looking over-sized and out of place. Oblivious to the book's whereabouts, Alissa didn’t even bat an eye. I walked over, casually picking it up saying, "this must be it." I handed it to Alissa and she began to read. At first she had no idea what was going on, after all it was just a normal Saturday morning.
By the third page, an illustration of us at an Orioles game, she began to realize something serious was going on. From that point on she began to flip through the pages barely looking at the text as the tears began to flow. I got down on one knee as she reached the second to last page. Seeing the illustrated version of me also kneeling she blurted out "YES, YES!"
I had to tell her to turn to the last page so I could ask for her hand in marriage. She continued to say yes and her sister, who had been taking pictures the whole time, came out of hiding.
The Barnes and Noble we were in was great about the whole thing. Megan asked for permission from the manager that morning and the clerk in the children’s section made an announcement over the intercom as soon as it happened. They really helped make the moment all the more memorable.
I knew that, with my illustrative skills and Alissa’s interests, I needed to do something over the top creative. With Alissa being an aspiring school teacher (currently an administrative assistant) and having a tremendous love for kids; I knew that a children’s book was the way to go. The challenge with this was creating and printing a book at the quality level I knew she deserved. I initially played around with the idea of doing a simple character animation, but felt that the book was more her taste and it certainly made for a more memorable proposal. There is something very nice about having a tactile object that we can now keep and look back at remembering this exact moment.
It all started with a sketch. The base of this story was the characters so I knew that they needed to be as close to finished as possible. I then took the characters into Illustrator and added lines and color until I had the look and color I liked. Once I had the characters in place I proceeded to write the story.
I looked at some children’s books to help establish a motif and feel, and began to write a rough version. I selected key dates we had been on and places that were significant to us, building the text from that. I privately consulted a few friends and made some revisions as I went.
In the meantime I worked on illustrating the background and moving the characters to best fit the scene. I spent many an evening and Sunday afternoon getting the backgrounds to have a look and feel that I liked.
Once the book was completed I surveyed multiple online book publishers, ultimately settling with Picaboo. They were the only company that could easily accommodate my minimum page requirements.
What a memorable moment in our lives. It is a day that will probably never be forgotten. Thanks to all that were involved throughout the process and thank you Alissa for saying yes. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.