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Archive for the ‘illustration’ Category

The ebooks I’m working on have final covers. Now I’m just proofing the interiors again. I’m sure you will be sick of hearing about them by the time they come out in October. But It’s been fun to write, design and illustrate some books that are driven by something I’d like to see, but they may not have a broad audience. That’s one issue that I think about a lot. I am often taken by ideas and projects that are not going to resonate with a large audience (see Robot Boys!). Sometimes they can be altered and revised to work in a new way that opens them up. But sometimes they just are what they are.  I have learned a great deal seeing this through so I am excited to use these little ‘hobbies’  to try things that are a little more edgy.

 

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Summer’s coming to an end. All the flowers in my garden are dying. And the school buses are about to roll again.  I just got the proofs for Tommy Can’t Stop, the picture book I illustrated for Hyperion written by Tim Federle (He of Better Nate Than Never fame!). They look great. The designers at Hyperion did an awesome job with it.

I am also finishing the scripts for the animated shorts I’m working on (more on that when I have art to show). And I’m continueing to work on a new picture book that I will deliver by the end of the year.

But…I’m planning some macabre ebook fun for Halloween this year!  I will be releasing two eBooks on the iBooks Store (Well, that’s the plan anyway. Just technical issues left so I should make that deadline).

You will be able to buy and read them on a Mac or an iPad. Why release them on Halloween? Well, other than it being one of my favorite holidays, both books are a little – creepy, scary, unsettling…but all in a good, kid friendly way! Below are the covers. Striking, no?

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And two sample pages.

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The Thing with No Head is based on the animated short I made that ran on Nicktoons (On Halloween) but this is an expanded story. It’s in verse which is why I have been editing it for 5 years. I’m not kidding. And I know…verse is a no-no. But this story, it just doesn’t work any other way.

The Boy Who Was Swallowed by A Tiger is a short story that I have been playing with for a year or two.

I write a lot of material that is not the right page count for a traditional picture book and is perhaps not the kind of content a major publisher would want to take a chance on. Or they suck and I’m the only one who likes them…it’s a possibility. They also give me a chance to draw in different styles, using more of a pen-and-ink look which I love. Anyway, I expect to release an additional ebook each quarter in 2015.

The first two books will be available for $1.99 on the iBooks Store around Halloween. If you want to write about them on your blog, or talk about them to your friends drop me an email. I believe I can send out codes for a free download once they are posted. By posting this I really do have to get them ready now. On to beta testing!

 

 

 

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angrychicken

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A few more rescue scans of stuff headed to the recycle bins.

I often really like a small, quick sketches on a page of a sketch book. Sometimes it wasn’t even the focus of what I was doing on that page.

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I like ‘rough’ art. The mistakes, the signs of struggle. The coincidence. I’ve always like the improvisational aspects of work in a sketchbook.

 

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Below are rough page layouts and character designs for a counting book I did. This never sold, but I created a dummy from it that I showed in my portfolio until I had published work.

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I’ve been cleaning out my studio. And filling the recycle bin. Filling and refilling the recycle bin. Wow.

Animation timing sheets and countless reams of old drawings have been collecting dust for too long. I saved a few things and scanned a few others. I spent hours going through character designs from old animation projects, odds and ends from sketchbooks (I was keeping way too many old sketchbooks for some reason), life drawings and random pieces that were no doubt the start of something great, 18 years ago…. I pulled out a book dummy or two. But I must have thrown out at least 80 pounds of paper. It will take two or three weeks to get it all in the recycle bin.3

You can’t keep it all. You just can’t. As I finish all my work digitally now the only physically tangible aspects of a project in progress I have are sketches and roughs. These past 10 years I have held onto way too much.

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I’ll post a few scans of stuff along the way.

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cvr

I’ve backed a few Kickstarters in my time (Can one use it as a verb?). Not a lot. But a few. I’ve never been directly involved or even tangentially involved as a Kickstartee. I don’t think I have the energy to oversee all the aspects of it.

Well, I’m NOT directly involved in this one either, but Noah Hall  & Whiskey Priest’s new album has a Kickstarter and you can get some cool shirts and art in addition to the CD.

I’ve been listening to it for a few weeks now and the songs have dug deep into my mind. Great stuff in the tradition of Elliott Smith or Nick Drake (at least I think so).

And yes, the artwork on the CD is by me. It was a great opportunity to do something different. Some drawing, some painting some collage. Yeah, that’s what I do.  The designer worked wonders with it and I am very pleased.

Head over to the page and give the samples a listen. And if you have been looking for a Kickstarter to get involved with – make it this one. And get a great CD and some cool extras.

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I was recently asked about my ‘career’ by someone interested in writing and illustrating books.

I still have a difficult time saying this is my ‘career’. I have worked as an art director, character designer, UI designer, graphic designer, producer, product manager, creative director…the list is long. I’m not sure how good I was at any of those jobs. And I’m not sure my career path can even be called a career path. It was more off-roadin’ until I got somewhere I wanted to stay awhile. But, I  believe all these professional experiences have helped shape who I am as a writer and artist and created good work habits in me.

But about writing and/or drawing books -

It is not a job where you get promotions and yearly reviews or daily meetings.

It is not a job where you can get ahead by (saying this nicely) becoming involved in someone else’s project.

Response to your work can be fickle. No one knows what will resonate with the public at large. Though some have slightly better luck in guessing.

Working from home takes a lot of focus and I hate to say it, discipline. You must have the ability to push chores aside – or you spend your whole day cleaning and walking the dogs (and posting to your blog) and get no work done.

It is a job for those who like to spend time alone. If you need social contact you will have to cultivate that.

For me it is a job where one day I am happy with my work, the next I want to repaint everything I did.

It’s not for people who can’t take rejection. Maybe it’s just me but I spend more of my time with rejections that acceptance letters.

There is no one path to ‘get there’. And there is no cleared path to where it will take you.

Everyone who manages to be involved in it seems to have come to the work by different means. I know some people who were offered work the first time (yes, the first time!) they showed their portfolio. I know people who were rejected repeadtedly by agents and worked  years to get offered a book.

Writing a a good picture book is as much work as writing any other book. Picture books aren’t ‘easy’ because they have fewer words. The people who make it look easy are just really, really, really good at writing picture books.

It’s the best job in the world when it’s not being the worst job in the world.

But it’s not what most people think it is. And I love it.

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