Thursday, January 21, 2010

More About Me.

Ever wonder what nibs I use? What I collect? My pre-drawing rituals? Favorite comic strip? Musical instrument I play?

I have answered these questions and many more here, at David-Wasting-Paper, the blog of cartoonist/cartoon enthusiast David Paccia. David has sought out and Q/A'd some of the coolest in the cartoon/illustration biz. Bob Staake, Bill Griffith, Shannon Wheeler, and fellow Feiwel and Friends illustrator, Greg Ruth (also a fellow James Preller collaborator) to name a few.

Not sure what his motivation is, but he's getting some cool people to contribute. Thanks for including me, David.

(Up next is Rick Geary. Nice!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

TROUBLE GUM studies, etc. at new MacKids blog

Macmillan Children's has an awesome new blog up. It's a lot of behind-the-curtain type of stuff played out by various Macmillan Children's personnel. And for those not in the know, Macmillan is the great big pub that's home to imprints Feiwel and Friends, Henry Holt, Roaring Brook, Priddy, First Second, Roaring Brook, and Square Fish.

Already, I've read a cool piece by Nicole Moulaison, Production Manager for F+F and Squarefish, about color-correcting scanned art for print. And another cool piece by Reka Simonsen, Senior Editor, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. A "what's on my desk" fun one.

For my part, I was asked to send in some early stuff I did for TROUBLE GUM. Not finished art, but just sketches, thought process, color study work I did before the final art came around (like the drawing I did way back when, below, as a color test). Please do have a look at this, and please do have a look at this hip new blog!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Letterman

I suppose it's the fact that my BFA was made in design, but I love hand-lettering. In some (most?) cases, I prefer it. For any readers who have seen any of my previous book covers, you may have noticed some bit of hand-lettering going on--or not, depending on how much you appreciate such a thing.

It's fun to draw letters. I guess, in part, it's cause they don't judge. A "T" is a T. Just cause you draw it one way or another, doesn't make it not a T. I think, from now on, when someone asks what is my favorite thing to draw, I will say "Letters.". So, there.

Below are some sketches I whipped up for possible hand drawn title treatments for author Rachel Vail's and my forthcoming middle-grade one.

Below, below, is the standing font treatment. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Top Ten (December 2009)

1. GOOGLE'S HOMAGE TO E.C. SEGAR. Someone at Google has good taste. First they get it with Sesame Street, now they mark Segar's b-day (115!) with this one. Nice job.

2. RICHARD THOMPSON'S ANECDOTE REGARDING BRANT PARKER. I really enjoyed reading this blog post from the great Richard Thompson about when he was a young, aspiring writer/cartoonist and he met cartoonist Brant Paker--creator of THE WIZARD OF ID. A very vivid memory. Just cool.

3. GRIT COOKBOOK. The Grit, in Athens, GA, is the best vegetarian restaurant that I've never been to. (Whatever that means.) I got this cookbook for xmas and it's got some cool, savory stuff to do with tofu. Some of it looks fancy-complicated, but I'm game. We kicked it off with a dang tasty tofu ruben sandwich last week.

4. JOHN BURNINGHAM. Genius, genius, genius. How have I gone this long without knowing about the children's books of John Burningham? All I can say is this guy has got GUTS.

5. GOOGLE IMAGES. Just finished drawings for a pic book, and Google Images was with me all the way (apologies for two Google endorsements in one Ten). Whenever I need an image ref, Google Images is the place to go.

6. FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES BY OLD CALIFORNIO. A Facebook friend posted this video. I had never heard of Old Californio, but it seems that they are an up-and-coming CA band. This song--I like it.

7. MAP OF MY HEART. John Porcellino's King Cat is the king of the zine and mini-comic. When I first moved to Chicago in '99, I discovered his books at Quimby's. His drawings are so elegant, and his observations just sweet, simple, and often heartbreaking. Drawn and Quarterly has been so good as to reprint King Cat in book form. This is the second collection of such.

8. STONEWALL'S JERQUEE. Who'd a thunk it? Vegetarian "beef" jerky that actually tastes like beef jerky. I was a fool for some jerky growing up. But once I hit 18, I went vegetarian and never touched the stuff. When I turned a ripe 34, I started eating the occasional bit of bird. No beef, no pork, no fish. As weird as it sounds, this stuff is good (and frighteningly addictive).

9. WHALE TALK. Julie gave me a stack of YA novels to read recently-- one of which was this one from Chris Crutcher. My first Chris Crutcher. Very intense story about swimming, bullying, racism, and tearing stereotype to shreds. Really good. Hurts to read something like this, but it's good to hurt sometimes.

10. ROMY'S EVER-EXPANDING VOCAB. Hi, light, bottle, night-night, Mama, Dada, girl, good girl, num-num, bye-bye, more, more please, purse, wow, cat. And she's a heck of a mimicker. Babies are cool, man.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Let's ring in 2010, here on the blog, with a little bit of "whatchu know good?". Down south, where I'm from, that roughly translates to "what's the good word?". Here's some latest and greatest in word.

1. Just finished finals (all but jacket) on my latest illustrated picture book. Titled LEAP FROG. Written by Lauren Thompson, illo'd by yours true. I'm quite happy with the end drawings. A very sweet book, this one, and thrilled to have been invited.

2. Julie's new one, INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER, just got short-listed for the CYBILS (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards) best YA fiction. Only a handful left in the running, in this category, and I think my babe should win. Git er done, CYBs?

3. One of my previous collaborative pic books, RIGHTY AND LEFTY, (written by my pal, Rachel Vail--we also recently teamed up on her ├╝ber-cool forthcoming middle-grade novel, JUSTIN CASE) just got picked up by a Korean publisher. Which means it'll be getting some fancy Korean type-treatment for this foreign release. Can't wait to get a look at this!

4. Currently kicked into high gear for my next author/illustrator picture book. The text is mainly wrapped. Just a few tweaks left to tweak. Which means now I'm off and into sketches. Super-psyched here. Pumped.

These are the highlights of the moment. Shall we start this new year? We shall, and right. Onward, folks!