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Archive for the ‘illustration’ Category

Mark’s Neighborhood. I meet different folks every day of the week. Generally a happy lot. But it’s a bit different ’round here.

my_neighborhood

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subitclb

Yeah, it’s one of those posts – all about me. Anyway, The folks at Sub It Club (a fine blog to follow if you are into publishing or writing or need help getting through those rejection letters and emails we all get from editors and art directors!) called me up (well, emailed me) and asked if I would partake in an interview. Said interview was done and it’s posted now. Apparently I talked too much (no surprise there…my teacher taped my mouth shut in first grade)  so the interview is in two chunks. A double chunk interview. Yum! Served with whip cream and cherries I hope.

examplecard

I talk about the self promotion I have attempted to do and about my current projects and such.

Sub It Club has a ton of useful info and posts about submitting work to publishers and interviews with lots of artists on how they make their way in the world of being freelancers.

 

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inprogress

It’s always exciting when I see the book taking form in full color. This is a capture from my InDesign file where I import the pages of the book as I work on them in order to see them in layout.

This is an early book in progress, but because I work digitally this step helps me see the color pace of the book. How the pages look one after another. I’ve made some guesses as I develop it, but now it’s easy to see what’s working. And what’s not.

I have a  long way to go with this book, but I feel a little better when pages begin to fall into place as I hoped they would. Working on final art is probably my least favorite process when I work on a book – I worry more at this stage – and changes are usually much more difficult to institute. But I also relish the opportunity that working digitally provides: that I can change my mind and react to what I am seeing throughout the process pretty easily and fairly quickly. At least compared to reworking an entire watercolor painting!

It’s all baby steps …

 

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I wanted to start the year off (a little early) by answering a few questions about one of the ebooks I released recently.

The Boy Who Was Swallowed By A Tiger ($1.99 on the Apple iBook store) isn’t your typical fairytale. It’s a book which appeals to no easy to describe demographic. (That’s an issue I’m working on with my stories!) But one reader emailed asking where I got my inspiration for the story. There are plenty of suspects. From Edward Gorey to the great Kafka short stories. I was also intrigued by the end of life platitude that one heads into the light.

TBWWSBAT_smp_1

We literally start our life heading into the light. From birth on we can’t help but be see ‘the light’ as the next step, as safety, as what comes after the storm. Literally and allegorically the sun is universally important in human cultures. And I suspect it has been that way since we were odd little primordial goobers swimming in shallow seas and heading towards light for safety, for food, for energy and heat.

But how do we head into the dark? Is the solitude implicit in the idea of a place with no light appealing or frightening? I try and imagine the existence of a meteor spending a hundred billion lonely years flying through deep space. No sun to rise in the mornings. No sun within 20,000 light years. In The Boy Who Was Swallowed By A Tiger we find a character who accidentally finds his happiness in the solitude of the dark. Of nothingness. And perhaps by the end of the story he is hardly human at all.

And all that in 28 pages of silly cartoon line art!

Whether you want to  journey into light or find comfort in solitude may the new year bring you and yours happiness.

Happy New Year to all!

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Here are some samples from The Boy Who Was Swallowed by a Tiger and The Thing with No Head ebooks which will be out on Apple’s iBookstore in October. They feature a more straight ahead ‘cartoony’ style and give me an opportunity to indulge in drawing crosshatched lines.  One is told in verse, in fact I’m still editing it…the other a simple prose style with a folktale flavor. Click on them to see them larger.


TBWWSBAT_smp_1

ttwnh_smpl_1

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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.

 

ebook_covers_2

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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?

ebook_covers

And two sample pages.

pages

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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