Archive for November, 2009

Green Bean Books is a book store  at 1600 NE Alberta Street in Portland. It offers a wonderful selection of picture books and lots more. My daughter and I stopped by this week and we weren’t able to make it out without a purchase. A sure sign of a dangerous book store. And what better for a dangerous bookstore than a dangerous book!? I will be reading The Book That Eats People on Saturday, December 12th at 3:00.

So stop by, say hi and see to any kids book gift giving needs you need to see to.

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This is a page from a story book that I work on to keep myself busy when I am stuck on something else. It’s a chance to try out some styles and have fun experimenting without a deadline being attached to it. The story is currently called, The Kingdom of Birds, but I think that will change, at some point. When I think of a better name.

It’s more a story book than a picture book. A retro-fairytale really. It was developed from a pencil sketch and drawn/painted in Photoshop.

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A few times here at the illustration blog I have linked to materials outside the focus of illustration, art, literature and entertainment. In other words material about real life. This Bill Moyers show is worth watching no matter what the political feelings you carry. It is a fascinating look behind the scenes of how this country works politically, how decisions are made and how wars are entered into. So many ideas are represented as facts, so many timelines presented with no questions asked, it’s scary. If you watch the entire episode I think you will find yourself hoping to hear someone have the bravery to come out and say, “This is a no win situation. Let’s save the lives of all these kids and get the heck out.”  Maybe someone will this time.

From his site –
Bill Moyers considers a President’s decision to escalate troop levels in a military conflict. Through LBJ’s taped phone conversations and his own remembrances, Bill Moyers looks at Johnson’s deliberations as he stepped up America’s role in Vietnam.

Bill Moyers Journal, November 20th 2009.

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If, by chance, you are giving a copy of The Book That Eats People as a Holiday gift, here’s the perfect add-on! A Book That Eats People gift tag. Download, print and carefully cut out to make the perfect package a little less perfect. Of course it looks great on any book you decide to give.

Download a high resolution JPG here.

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Small World Tees are finally available for sale online! There are 6 or 7 designs in sizes and shirt colors galore. They offer two types of shirts and can be easily ordered online from the Infinite Inks store site. Or if you are a retailer drop them a line.

I will probably shamelessly flog these shirts for a time. The store is located here. So stop in and buy hundreds. Or not.

As the old saying goes: Buy a small world tee. Monkeys like cheese. Shirts to wear. Bears beware.


Of course these shirts feature my artwork. So if nothing else stop in and look at the pretty pictures. They feature aliens, lions, chickens, birds and ungulates. Just like a high school reunion.

Something like that anyway.

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I’m not sure how other writers work but I tend to have 5 or 6 projects going at once. Some are similar and only one of the group will fully develop. For instance, I have 3 picture books I am actively working on. But I suspect only one has the legs to move on. If I was a corporation I would have to wonder about all that wasted time on ‘bad’ projects. Of course, how else do you get to the good ones? I suppose, maybe, perhaps…someone as amazingly prolific as Stephen King has the ability to make bigger jumps. Perhaps one of his innate abilities that was refined in his career, was to know a little faster than others that “This idea just isn’t going to work.”

I have to spend quite a bit of time on something before I can say that.

I enjoy working in a couple of different genres at once. I have a high fantasy/detective/film noir graphic novel I am editing. A middle grade, horror novel that is slowly turning into a graphic novel (once I hit upon what made the story intriguing, I realized it works better as a graphic novel). I have the sci-fi graphic novel I am working on for Chronicle Books, an animated short that will take me 10 years to finish and a few other projects that dare not speak their names.

Projects I like to call ‘cellar’ projects. These projects are probably too much of a mash-up to ever find a home at a publisher. But I am driven to complete them. Get them out of my head, so to speak. They take up a lot of time, but I enjoy the creative adventure and the opportunity to just make something that hits the beats I want to, with little concern about what demographic they are for.

What amazes me is how much time goes into projects that never quite make it. The creative process is pretty bizarre. You don’t know exactly what you are going to get. That’s why Hollywood is such a non-traditional business to try and manage. Millions of dollars on the line and still it’s filled with fickle starts-and-stops. Good ideas that never quite develop. Films that are labored over and fine tuned only to die quickly and painfully once released.

At least I get to go through the process of creation and destruction in the private on my third floor studio. Only my dogs see the fits I go through as I try and find an idea with legs. An idea that works through beginning, middle and end. It’s become obvious to me that every project I do, no matter if it finds a published home or even gets finished, is simply practice for the next idea that takes up residence in my mind at 2 in the morning and gets in the way of my life until I have no choice but to jump in with both feet and let it start eating up time.

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I’m trying to catch up with posts. But in catching up I just get further behind. Maybe it’s my artistic temperament. Remember, go back to my desk, settle down, focus, and catch-up!

I was a guest at the SCBWI of Western Washington’s wonderful event Inside Story on October 28th. I was up there to discuss, what else, The Book That Eats People. It was held at a great independent book store called Third Place Books in their Lake Forest Park location. We had an enthusiastic audience and a bunch of wonderful writers and illustrators who gave the Inside Story on their projects. I got to meet old and new fans of the book (amazing considering it’s only been out since August I think, but one person already had two copies for me to sign and bought another). And of course I got to look at a mountain of beautiful books and hear from an array of writers working in different genres.

Mike Cressy even showed up just to let me know I couldn’t get into Washington without the Oregon Alarm sounding.

Below are some rather bad iPhone pics from the event. Thanks to Meg Lippert and crew for putting together such a cool event.

inside_story _TBTEP


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