Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Forever Young: the book!

I just found out about this. A combination of two of my fave things--children's books and Bob Dylan. Ginee Seo Books (Simon and Schuster) just pubbed a new picture book based on one of my favorite Dylan songs, "Forever Young". It's a real sappy tune, and I love it. It really does make a perfect picture book, now that I'm thinking about it. And the illustrator, Paul Rogers, did a kickin job of getting it done. I hadn't heard of him before, and looked him up. His other illo stuff (on his site) is quite different than what's in Forever Young, but very nice. On his blog (newer stuff?) there's tons of excellent drawings. More sketchy line work that I dig a lot. He talks more about his work on the book, on his blog here. Great blog too!

AND, there's actually a promotional video to accompany the launch of this book, backdropped by this sweet Dylan ditty! So great.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Welcome to my world.

A typical email exchange between me and a family member down south. This one, with my stepma, Shirley, about her and my Dad's cat "Smelly".

From: Shirley
Subject: Smelly's Show
Smelly cat should be on this show. Watch Danelle and The Catty Shack on Animal Planet's Cats 101 Saturday, Dec. 6th 8:00pm EST.

From: Me
Re: Smelly's Show
We don't have cable so we won't see it. Are you on too or just the cat?

From: Shirley
Re: Smelly's Show
They filmed me & Smelly and I had to show & talk about my Smelly handbag.

From: Me
Re: Smelly's Show
Smelly handbag?? Sounds like a lot of fun. You'll have to tape it for us.

From: Shirley
Re: Smelly's Show
I had a pocketbook made from Smelly's hair couple years ago, Daniell @ Catty Shack takes the hair and weaves it into yarn and then makes pocketbooks from the yarn.


Monday, October 20, 2008


I've not asked, but I'm sure my illustrator pal, Jeff Newman has had his unfair share of Seinfeld-inspired jokes.

Saturday, Jeff and I held our semi-annual meeting of the minds at Kenosha's upper crust, The Brat Stop restaurant. Jeff is one of the few children's book illustrators I know personally and we share common interests, frustrations, likes/dislikes, laughs, and stuff like that. He's a real nice guy.

Jeff's got some good stuff in works. I've got stuff in works too, so that's what was discussed (shown and told) at said meeting o' minds. Good times, as always.

Jeff just did a great interview with children's book blogger, Minh Le (or is it Roscoe P. Hargrove?) at his snappy and fun kids lit. blog, Bottom Shelf Books. Definitely worth a read, here.

If you're short on time, here's a pic pulled from that. Jeff taking a puff on a very Arthur Conan Doyle-ian pipe. Goes well with the violin and hearth in background.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Everything you ever wanted to know about Matthew Cordell...*

About one year ago, I wrapped drawings for a picture book titled, MIGHTY CASEY written by one James Preller. Before I go any further, I must say that it is not so uncommon for authors and illustrators who work on the same book to never meet, correspond, shake hands, lock eyes. But one thing led to another (a shared Dylan obsession kicked it off), and now JP and I are old email buddies (one day we'll meet face to face). And MIGHTY CASEY will come out from Feiwel and Friends in the forthcoming spring (March-April-ish, 2009).

Preller's got a top notch blog. A good mix of the personal with the business. And today, he has chosen me as his subject. He's starting a line of interviews for his blog and I got to kick if off. So, please take a moment, and head over there for all the dirty secrets.

*...but were afraid to ask.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

That's a promise!

I just came across this video. It's weird and too excellent. Ben Kingsley (er... SIR Ben Kingsley), for whatever reason is doing an homage to Ian MacKaye and one of my old faves, the early 80's hardcore band, Minor Threat. Gandhi, anyone? Good lord, this vid rules. Watch and rejoice, Minor Threat old schoolers! (WARNING! lyrics are peppered with F-bombs. Not for kiddies who might be reading this!)

Sir Ben Kingsley STOMPS into the shoes of Minor Threat's Ian MacKaye from Mean Magazine on Vimeo.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Lion, the Unicorn, and the Baby

I found out last week, that a recent picture book I illustrated has just won an award. THE MOON IS LA LUNA, written by author Jay Harris, is a book of poems that combine (with rhymey fun) both English and Spanish language. The award is the 2008 Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. And the award is the "honor" award, which is a nice way of saying "runner-up". This is really excellent! The top prize went to the well known Linda Sue Park and her book Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems), Pictures by Istvan Banyai. (Banyai, incidentally, is a keen, keen illustrator. Very nice to be in the same place, same time.) I might also add that since this is a poetry award, my part is that of support player. But I'll certainly take any "by association" praise. Congratulations to Jay Harris!

This weekend, a lot was done to prepare for the arrival of Julie's and my babe girl. We secured orders on furniture (crib, dresser, etc). Who knew the whole crib thing could be so complicated? It was a major accomplishment. And we also did a tour of the hospital where the birth will take action. We saw the labor/delivery rooms, as well as the nursery, as well as the rooms where you decompress and recoup after the birth. Wow. It's almost here. There were some newborns in the nursery, hot out of the oven. Man they were awesome. I never looked at a baby like I do now. It's real different, knowing you'll be holding one of your own soon. Those babes were wrapped up so tight, only their heads could move. Man. Cool.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blog Love

I just got a bit of blog love from my friend Esme Raji Codell over at her blog yesterday. Part of an ongoing event to spread the word on your favorite blogs by way of an "I love your blog" award. What I'm then supposed to do is keep the blog love going and recommend my favorite 7 other blogs on my blog (not including, I suppose, the blog/blogger who's recommended me/you). Kind of like a chain letter, maybe, but there's no deathly consequences if you fail to participate. And this is all for the love of the blog. Therefore, check out these 7 excellent blogs:

1. Julie Halpern
2. James Preller
3. Jeff Newman
4. Feiwel and Friends
5. The Comics Reporter
6. The Daily Cross Hatch
7. Drawn!

Then, favorite blogs, to keep this thing going, according to Esme, there are rules:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

This is DEFINITELY the most times I've used the word "blog" on my blog in any given blog post since I started this here blog. Blog.