Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fangbone! wins!

I'm very happy to announce that the Fangbone! pilot won the 2015 Kidscreen award for Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie.  We're off and running!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Unit 77 sketches


While I am working away on the art for last Icky Ricky book, I’ve been spending a good amount of time trying to figure out what to do next.  One of the things I’ve been interested in is something that is true sci-fi.  I’ve always loved science fiction, and have gone through phases where I’ve read a ton of it.  But as much as I love something like Star Wars, I’m really interested in “hard” sci-fi.  I don’t want to read about magic, and I don’t think I could tolerate another story where there is a “chosen one.”

I’ve been messing around with a character called "Unit 77" who is a clone.  He’s been created to do one certain job, but he thinks that there has to be more to life…

That’s the short version of it.  I’ve been sussing out other characters, and locations, and how the stories would move.  Right now, I’m thinking about it as a graphic novel series, or possibly illustrated chapter books.  I’m not sure.  It’s still pretty early in the idea stages.

As I have said in other posts, I do believe that when one has an idea, it is good to make it concrete, and to get it out there in some way.  It becomes real.  I also feel that if I post these conceptual stages on my blog, I really force my self to keep thinking about the idea.

Here are just a few “Unit 77” sketchbook pages.  Mad Max made his way into the last one, but I guess I lose some street cred because he’s driving on the wrong side.  I kept that sketch in there because it also shows a bit of my process.  I spend a good deal of time trying to remember what got me excited about drawing and story telling when I was young.  I haven’t lost any interest in these pursuits at all, its just that I like trying to get back to creative ground zero every now and then, and see if there’s something there that I have yet to explore.





Friday, February 6, 2015

Astronaut #19, and more

My "50 Astronauts" continues to roll along with no end in sight. It's really just a place for me to try out new things.  I'm really happy I found this guy who was lurking in one of my sketchbooks.


Below is a drawing of a kid named "Worm" that is the star of something I've been playing with forever.  Here he is, lost many years in the future, trying to explain Rock'n'Roll to a robot, and extolling the virtues of "The Modern Lovers."


Monday, February 2, 2015

Awards...and not winning...

Congrats to the mighty Dan Santat on his Caldecott Medal for "Beekle."

Days like today are hard for most writers and illustrators.  We are happy to see our friends win, but I'm sure that the thought of "Why didn't I win?" goes through everyone's mind.  For me, I know it's no longer a jealous, or angry thought, but more of a clinical, academic thought.

What does the winner do better than me?

What skills does he posses that I don't?

Is it the technique being rewarded, or the content of the image?

Are people impressed with the technical accomplishment of the drawings, or the emotional weight that an image can carry?

Why do some books affect readers more than others?

Is there a style that is currently popular?

Hopefully, one can learn from theses questions, as tough as some of the answers might be.  The other thing that has always made me feel less grumpy on a day like today is numbers.  Thousands of picture books were published this year.  Only a few will win awards.

The truth is, I haven't even released a picture book since 2010's "Furious George Goes Bananas." I wasn't even in the running. I have been working on a few ideas, but haven't been able to find the time to really flesh them out.  Between the Icky Ricky books, and the Fangbone! tv work,  and school visits, I'm plenty busy.

This is a cover sketch/idea for one of my new stories.  Excuse me while I go think...


Saturday, January 31, 2015

2015 News...

Happy New Year!  I feel that I can still say that since it's only January 31. I haven't posted since October, which I think is one of the longest lulls I've ever had.  The truth is, I have been crazy busy, and things are amazing right now.  In a few weeks I'll have a ton of news about Fangbone!  I'm also working on the art for Icky Ricky 6, and the picture book I wrote about in the previous post.

I was going through my phone and deleting pictures that I no longer need, and I came across these 3 shots from a school visit.  I had eaten lunch with some kids, and then we drew on the table cloth.  Truthfully, I can't remember what school it was, but I had a lot of fun, and this kids seem to enjoy it as well.

I'll be posting often in the next few weeks.  Enjoy.




Friday, October 17, 2014

New Book, and Fangbone! update...


Today I started drawing a new picture book written by David Friend.  I haven’t worked on a picture book since 2010, so I’m really excited to get rolling.  It’s a truck book, so that was a terrible joke. 

The first thing that most illustrators do when creating a book, is sketch the whole thing out on one large piece of paper.  This way it’s easier to break up the text, and get a sense of what the whole thing will look like.   I also start looking for good compositions to emerge.  The picture below was just my first pass. There will be many, many more…


People keep asking about the Fangbone! TV show.  I wish I had some answers myself.  The stuff I do know, I can’t share.  Things are looking good though. The waiting at this point is very, very difficult, and it would crush me if the project fell apart this late in the game.  I’m trying to stay positive, which actually is not my default setting and it takes a great deal of effort.  And cake.  Cake helps.



This is a scan from my 2001 picture book, “The Pie is Cherry.”  Sadly, it is no longer in print.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Astronaut #18

Here's the same image as yesterday, this time the lines were drawn with a brush.  I tried a very different color scheme, and I think it works well.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Astronaut #17

Here's a new astronaut piece.  I was trying to see how little line I could get away with and still allow  the image to work.  While I intended it to look very light, as if it was drawn in a few moments, the line looks a bit too stuff.  It's amazing how something as simple as line quality can make, or break a drawing.  This was a good experiment, but I have some ideas on how to improve this, and play more to my strengths.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Where did the summer go?

Wow!  The summer really went by fast.  I've been creating the art for Icky Ricky #5, and have been working with the Fangbone! writers on some new scripts.

I'm putting up a few sketchbook pages just for fun.  There's no theme here, and there's nothing to discuss about their content. Just couches, monsters and knights. Enjoy.

I hope to have some big news on Fangbone! shorty!





Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Icky Ricky 3, and more...


Wow.  Did more than a month pass already?  I’ve been working on a few different things.  Icky Ricky #5 has been written, and I just completed the sketches.  Book #6 has been outlined.  I’m beginning to write that one now, and in a week or so I will begin on the book #5 final drawings.  It sounds a bit complicated, but it all makes sense in the end.



Icky Rick #3: The Dead Disco Raccoon was published in May.  I think it is, by far, the funniest of the bunch.  As always, there are a few different stories in the book.  In book #3 Ricky buys an ice cream cake on the hottest day of the summer, tells the story of how he met Gus, cleans a kitchen with a leaf-blower, buys a taxidermied raccoon, and gets attacked by a demon toilet!  All for $4.99!





The Fangbone TV project is still chugging forward, and this time I think we see the station ahead.  We had a meeting with Disney XD Canada, the folks who ordered the pilot, and they are very happy with our work.  We are hoping that a final decision, good or bad, will happen in the next few weeks.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Astronaut #16

This is from a cardboard print I made in grad school about six or seven years ago.  I used photoshop to duplicate certain parts of the print and add the wood.  Not much to say about it.  

It's done, which I guess is a good thing.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More "Worm" sketches

Here are a few more sketches from my big, sprawling, "rock and roll kid ends up in apocalyptic wasteland" story.  The star of the story is Worm, who I am really getting a kick out of.  I have many ideas and notes for this, but I really don't know what form it will take, and when I will be able to get to it.  I see it as a one long, stand alone, graphic novel.

One of the things I'd like to do is incorporate real lyrics into the story, as Worm has many of his favorites memorized.  I've blurred out some notes that would only make sense to me.


Here's some other characters.  At the bottom of this page are three tribe elders who carry ancient trophies on their heads.  They have named themselves after the text on the trophy that they each wear.  The first one is "MVP," the next is "Champion," and last two are known as "Northeast Champs Division 4"


More supporting characters.  (This image is made up of two scans.)


Worm's best friend is a local warrior-type kid called Cheese Fries.  Worm gives him that name after being unable to pronounce his real name.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Flexi and Trent

Sometimes when you have a new idea turning over in your head, it's good to knock out a simple image to help make your concept concrete.  These are the two main characters from something new that I am working on.  I'm not sure what form the book will take at the moment, but I'd love to do another graphic novel.

The quick version of the story is that Trent is an American kid who gets "stuck" in the small, strange, and strict country of Ploobsburg.  He becomes fast friends with Flexi and the two of them have to figure out a way for him to get home. Oh yeah, that barbed wire on the wall there?  That's a pretty common site in Ploobsburg.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Soldier sketches

Here's a batch of soldier sketches from the same sessions as the astronauts.  Again, I'm really just trying to find more interesting shapes in my characters.  I feel that some of these are falling into the "yes" category, and some into the "no" category.  But we all must make many lousy drawings if we want to get to the good ones.







Friday, March 14, 2014

Lindbergh School, Palisades Park NJ

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."---Milton Berle