Letter to Our Readers

Hello Dear Readers,

Once Upon a Sketch was created in order to share our knowledge of the children’s illustration market with you, our readers and listeners. We started out with four contributors and after six months we were down to two. Since then Wilson Wiliams Jr and I have been working on this site every week, creating posts about the children’s market and trying to share our knowledge and information with you. Wilson and I talked twice a week about the site, how we could improve both the site and ourselves as artists. It was great to have someone to cheer for you, telling you how much they liked your last post and things that you could have added to improve that article. We bounced ideas off of each other, gave each other advice, critiqued each other’s artwork and talked about the latest episode of whatever was on TV that week. It was a really great experience for me. It’s helped me grow so much as a freelancer, artist and as a person. Mostly just reminding me that there are other people out there experiencing the same thing I am, going through life with a pencil and paper always next to you. Sadly, all good things come to an end. Saturday morning, August 17, 2013, Wilson passed away. Wilson had not been feeling well for the last week or so and from the last conversation I had with him, he thought he had food poisoning. Even the day before he passed he sent out this tweet “#foodpoisoning is no joke! May be good for losing a few pounds though…” It’s amazing how life works, one week you’re talking with someone and the next they are gone. It was truly great to have known him. My only wish was that I had the chance to tell him myself.

So what does this mean for Once Upon a Sketch? That’s a good question. I’m not sure. There is so much of Wilson in this site, I’m not sure how to continue without him. For now the site is going on hiatus. Then I will start looking for another contributor/partner to help me run the site. Thank you all for your readership. It was amazing for both Wilson and I to check the Google analytics on the site and see the numbers continuing to grow. Wilson loved that the content we created was out there helping others. I will work hard to help continue this legacy the best I can.

He was one of a kind and will be missed. If you have any wishes or sentiments you would like to leave for Wilson’s family please leave them on his Facebook page.

Norm Grock


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  1. Cyndi

    I’m heartbroken to see this news. I knew Wilson on the Blueboards where he was a great contributor and a supportive friend to all. He will be missed.

  2. Lisa

    Wow – so sad to read about Wilson. My sympathies to his family, and also best of luck to you in regards to the future of OUaS. I’ve recently discovered this site and have really enjoyed all the work you guys have put into it.

  3. Leandra

    So sorry to hear this, my prayers go out to his family. He was an incredibly talented artist.

  4. Mary Flynn

    So sad, he will be missed as a wonderful person and illustrator

  5. DianaM

    I am so sad to learn of this. I just can’t believe it. I knew Wilson from the Blueboards. What a wonderful, talented person. My sympathies to his family. This is so upsetting.

  6. Laurie

    It was so sad to read the news. Wilson left a wonderful legacy behind in all the artists he helped and mentored. And the Once Upon a Sketch site has been a great resource for so many people. My sympathy to you and his family.

  7. Elizabet Vukovic

    Such a great loss, he will be missed. This is an absolutely great website you guys build together with most valuable information for all artists. My condolences to his family.

  8. :Donna Marie

    Just today, through a notice on a LinkedIn page, I became aware, not only of Wilson’s death, but of Wilson himself. I was immediately drawn to learning about who he was and to see his artwork; I’ve only touched the surface.

    To say the least, hearing of such a young, talented man in such a way, is tragic. My prayers and condolences go out to you and all those close to him. I’m sure their shock and heartbreak run deep :(

  9. mary uhles

    I just saw this news. I can’t even believe it and am in total shock. Norm I know you must be at a loss and I’m so sad for Wilson’s family :( Let us know if the illustrator community can do anything.

  10. Mike Motz

    A heart-breaking loss to his family, friends and the online illustration community with whom he shared so much of his time and valuable knowledge. He was a rare gem. RIP Wilson.

  11. Dorothea (Thea Berg)

    I am so sad to hear this. I just emailed Wilson on the 8th of this month. He was the designer of my children’s book cover. He was such a nice guy. I am so sorry for his family & friends.

  12. Ruth McNally Barshaw

    Deepest condolences to his family and close friends in this shocking and terrible news. I wish you well, Norm, and hope that in time you can find a way to keep this valuable illustrator resource going. Thank you for this touching tribute.

  13. Emma D Dryden, drydenbks LLC

    I am so sorry to learn this news about Wilson. What a deep, deep loss for our children’s book community.

  14. Mili

    I am shocked to hear such sad news. I feel I have lost a friend I have just met, but have known forever. I shall miss him. The world is a poorer place with his absence. We have not just lost a warmhearted artist, but a wonderful man. My sympathies go out to everyone who has known him, personally or digitally. Rest in peace, Wilson.

    Norm… Please accept my condolences.

  15. Roelant Dewerse

    Norman, I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Wilson’s death, through Patti Gay’s blog link on the SCBWI LinkedIn forum. There are many messages on those other forums too, of people like me whose life he touched. Thank you for directing us to his Facebook page so we have a way of letting his family know we are thinking of them.

  16. Shirley

    Wilson. Such a kind, supportive, generous soul. He was one of my first blog buddies and I will miss him dearly. Norm thank you for this post. I am sending my best wishes to you, his family and this community as we mourn his loss. Whatever happens next, I hope you know that we are grateful for this site and the contributions to the community from Wilson and all of you. Take good care.

  17. Julie Rowan-Zoch

    From what you’ve written and the comments here, he will be missed terribly, terribly.. I am so very sorry.

  18. Debbie Ridpath Ohi

    I’m so very sorry to hear this news. Wilson was always such a positive and encouraging presence in the children’s book illustration community online, so generous in sharing knowledge and advice. My deepest condolences to you and Wilson’s family.

  19. Dana Carey

    I am so sorry to hear this. Wilson was so generous with his knowledge and enthusiasm. My condolences to his friends and family.

  20. Diana

    This is such sad and rather shocking news. He was such a positive and vital force in the illustration community. He will truly be missed. My deepest condolences to you and his family.

  21. Chris Oatley

    Just checked the site today and saw this post. My heart is extremely heavy, friends. I’m so very sorry to hear about Wilson’s passing.

  22. Norm

    Thank you all for your comments. I have shared them with Wilson’s family.

  23. M. Marie Williams

    Such sad news to hear this morning. With teary eyes, you will be missed Wilson. Love and hugs to the family and friends trying to cope with this loss.

  24. Ian

    I’m really sorry to hear the news. My thoughts are with Wilson’s family and friends. To pass at such a young age is a tragedy. He was an extremely talented artist and like so many have already mentioned so generous with his time and knowledge. What you’ve both done with this site is very inspiring.

  25. Kirsty

    Really sorry to hear this. I just found the site recently. Wilson’s children’s book query reply letter has been very useful.

  26. Priya

    So sorry to hear this sad news. I wish his family the best.


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