Monday, December 2, 2013

Etsy Shop

Holy cow, it's been a crazy long time since I've touched this blog. If anybody's left out there reading this, I've got some news to share for this holiday season.

After much thought (and a good bit of apprehension) I've now dipped my toe into the Etsy pool. I just opened a shop to test the waters of offering up some original artwork. Starting out, here, with some modestly priced (at least I think it's modestly priced...?) studies and outtakes from published books as well as some fun personal work for sale.

Please go forth and have a look! It's been a fun idea, going through the archives and putting up some drawings for sale.

Wishing a very happy holiday season to you and yours!

Here's the link to the shop:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Next Big Thing: A Global Blog Tour

There's this thing going around the blogospheres right now where one illustrator sorta tags another to answer a series of questions about her/his next book. I was just asked by the muy talented Renée Kurilla who'd just been asked by the muy talented Mike Boldt, and so on and so forth. Read on to the end of this blog post to see who I've tapped on the shoulder to take over from here.

Now I shall attempt to answer said questions about my forthcoming picture book, WHAT FLOATS IN A MOAT? with author Lynne Berry. The book comes out July 9 from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. In fact, I just got my first bound copy yesterday and it looks slammin! In fact, I just got wind the other day that it got a starred review in Publishers Weekly! Hoo boy that's good stuff!


What genre does your book fall under? Well, it's a picture book. Other than that, I'd say it has a medieval science-y feel to it. It's about a goat and a chicken who try to cross a moat to deliver to a queen (who happens to be a pig) her several barrels of buttermilk. There's a lesson in here about buoyancy and flotation with a neat little addendum at the back. The goat's name is Archie, and I'll leave it up to you to get the historical pun there.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Since they're animals, I reckon they'd have to be voice actors. I could see them being British since the book has this whole royal vibe to it. So for Archie the goat, I'd go with Ricky Gervais who's one of the best. For Skinny the hen, I'd have to go with Ashley Jensen who was his fine counterpart in EXTRAS. The queen would, for sure, have to be Dame Maggie Smith who kills it in Downton Abbey and anything she does.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Archie the goat and Skinny the hen must solve the puzzle of how to cross a castle moat to deliver several barrels of buttermilk to the queen but it's not as easy as it sounds because Archie has some weird ideas about how to float across the moat that involves skinny the hen having to drink massive quantities of buttermilk to build ships out of the barrels and will any of it ever work and will Skinny stay skinny after drinking a ton of buttermilk and check out the knight's helmet on Archie, wow that's cool!

Who is publishing your book? That'd be Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? It has an old world, old school timeless feel and appeal, not unlike the books of my heroes William Steig and Quentin Blake. But I just looked online and was told that those who viewed WHAT FLOATS also viewed BULLY by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and my bigtime pals Tom Anglegerger's and Cece Bell's new one CRANKEE DOODLE. I have no idea if it's anything like those, because I still need to be seeing those stat!

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? The language is very sharp, clever, and funny, and witty, the characters are standouts, the design of the book is tip-top (cheers, Chloe Foglia!) with nice heavy boards and printed on a bee-yootiful uncoated paper. In fact, thanks much to Chloe, Julia Maguire, and early-on-the-job Kevin Lewis. And of course cheers to Lynne Berry if you're out there reading this. I hope to meet you someplace, someday.

Thanks to Renée for the invite here. I will be handing it off now to the most excellent Mr. Frank Dormer, who will be dishing about his forthcoming book THE ADVENTURES OF JO SCHMO: SHIFTY BUSINESS. Take it away, Frank!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Screen Free Week starts tomorrow!

Hi, all. If you hadn't heard, this very admirable initiative called Screen Free Week is beginning tomorrow.

Let's all try our best to limit our time in front of a screen and spend more face time with the ones we love during this week.

While we're at it, let's all share HELLO! HELLO! with the ones we love too.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


It has been completely quiet here at the blog since way back when, January 22nd. It's not been for lack of stuff to write about. Just been for lack of writing the stuff to write about. And I also blame it on social media joints for luring me away from the blog which has, as you see, fallen by the wayside. But I do love the good ol' blog. I ain't mad at it.

Before I blog about anything else, I must have a moment of (continued) silence. Our beloved Siamese cat of 16 years passed away last week and this has left a big hole in our hearts and in our home. To work out the emotions a bit, I one day drew this in honor of our dearly departed friend. We miss you Tobin. See you in another life, brother.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Romy and Dad made a picture book!

Over the weekend, while watching the Wizard of Oz for the umpteenth time with my 4 year old, she asked, out of the blue, if we could make an Oz book? Can I get a heck yeah?!

We grabbed some paper, some Crayolas and here's what we came up with. I did some drawing. She did some drawing, much art directing, all the writing, the binding, the pagination. I'm so proud of my baby bookmaker! Here's to the first of many!

detail from above spread

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Happy new year, blogosphere!

I have not posted anything here in a while, so I thought a books up-to-speed was in order.

Here are the crazy cool things that have happened with HELLO! HELLO! since my last check-in.

Named a Best Children's Picture Book of 2012 by the New York Times! "Its message is loud, clear and important."

Named a Best Children's Picture Book by BookPage! "Cordell’s hopeful story encourages children to play outside, while also challenging their parents to play with them, a reminder for all of us to take time to disconnect from work and gadgets and reconnect with nature and family."

Named a Top 20 Children's Book by super-librarians John Schumacher and Travis Jonker! "The story is sweet, offbeat, and funny. And hello! hello! has picture book craft in spades, with thoughtful artwork that goes from small grey spot illustrations to vivid two page spreads to match Lydia’s story. It’s a beautiful, relevant, unexpected book."

Named (alongside ANOTHER BROTHER and BAT AND RAT!) a best picture book by Tanya Turek at books4yourkids! "These three books would have made it onto this "best of list" anyway, but I just thought it was so cool that this spectacular author/illustrator had FOUR picture books out this year, three of which I reviewed here and read at story time and love to bits!"

Recommended by the Kansas City Star! "Put down your cellphone and read this with your kids, and when you're done, go outside and chase some leaves."

Recommended by People Magazine!

Very kind review from The Horn Book! "...whimsical cartoon art and a keen sense of humor."

Very kind review and an Editors Choice Award from! "Technology has its perks without a doubt, but let us not forget to teach our kids that it is vital to stay connected- and not through any form of technology. The illustrations are gorgeous, it’s an entertaining read, and it has a good theme to boot."

Beyond all this (whew!), this very sweet piece came out from Publishers Weekly about wonderful author/illustrator, illustrator, super-editor pals, Philip Stead, Erin Stead, and Neal Porter, respectively. Including the bit (and sample art) about how I'll be soon working on a picture book with the Mr. Stead. Very excited about this!

Also, the art giveaway/book promo for HELLO! HELLO! was a smashing success. So incredibly grateful to all those who participated. And so incredibly grateful for all the love that's been shown for this book.

Thanks to all.


Onward and upward!