Wednesday, October 9, 2019

School Visits with Michael Rex

Hello.  Just want to let everyone know that I am always booking school visits.

I love meeting my readers.  The hardest part of my job is working alone day after day.  Being able to spend time in a school with hundreds of laughing students is always a joy, and a great way to remember why I do what I do!

My high-energy presentation focuses on the making of a book.  I start with ideas, sketches and rough drafts then move onto re-writes and finally to the illustration process.  I also do a live drawing demo for the students, and if there’s time, have the students draw along with me.  I always end with a Q and A so the kids get a chance to ask me anything they want.

I stress the importance of writing and re-writing over and over until the work is the best it can be, and let the kids know that even a “pro” gets things wrong.

I have presented in single classrooms and in very large auditoriums, and feel comfortable talking to groups of any size.

I will gladly speak to any age group, but feel that my presentation is best for K-6.  When speaking to older students, I essentially do the same talk, but I add more details, and sometimes discuss the frustrations and difficulties of making books.

I also have a presentation based on parody.  I guide the students through the creation of modern parodies, discuss the “rules” of parody, and then we write and draw our own together.  We also discuss how anyone can make something funny.

If you are interested in a visit, please contact me for rates and availability. I live in NJ, and have travelled to schools all across the country. If fees are a concern, I can offer discounted rates if multiple schools can be booked for visits.

I hope to hear from you!---Mike Rex

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


I'm very excited to announce that Eat Pete comes out today.  I'm very proud of this book, and feel it's the best read-aloud title I've ever created.  It's about a monster that wants to eat a little boy named Pete, but Pete just wants a playmate!  I hope you get a chance to read it, or pick up a copy from your favorite bookseller.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Astronaut #25

Here's another astronaut.  Enjoy!

Happy New Year! Astronauts #22, #23, #24

Wow.  I've never gone this long not posting anything new, but over the summer I started posting on Instagram and kinda forgot about this place.  I've got some good stuff coming up.  A pile of school visits in the coming months, and a new book in September.

I hope you all have a great New Year.

Here's a few recent sketches/ideas for a new book.  They also get to be numbers #22, #23, and #24 in my 50 Astronauts series.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Some more "Saturn Squad"

Here's a few more Saturn Squad test drawings.  The backgrounds on these three were all everyday objects and places that I photographed and manipulated.  The background in the first one is a pile of take-out containers and plastic Solo cups.

The ground on this one is just some patio pavers in my neighbors' yard. The sky is also from a photo of mine.

And the background in this one is a close-up of large lighting fixture in the lobby of a building in Manhattan.

I've been having a really fun time making these, and I'm excited about using this technique for a new book sometime in the future.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Saturn Squad!

I've been toying with the idea of combining photographed backgrounds with drawn images, and these are the first two attempts to see what it could look like.  The background is a little diorama I built for some Star Wars collectables I have, but it never ended up being used that way.  I think it works better as a backdrop for these illustrations. If I were to go forward with this idea, I would make architecture of my own design, and not just lift from a galaxy gar, far away.

So the Saturn Squad is a sort of 80's Buddy/Cop movie type thing, but the Buddies/Cops are aliens.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Eat Pete color thoughts...

As I had said, I am working on a picture book that I am determined to make look very different than my current work.  Here's some simple color ideas that I was pleased with.

More filthy kids...

Another sketch from my "kids living in a dump" story, which is different than my "kids getting out of destroyed city" story.  But there's a lot of dirt in both.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Worm "One-Offs"

I've been doing these one panel drawings of a new character called Worm.  I guess this is a way for me to workshop him, and find his voice.  I want to make him brash, and outspoken, but I don't want him to be a jerk.  I think the last one is the best.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Digital sketches

I have a pile of small digital sketches sitting in my computer, so I'm going to try to get them out here over time.  The first two are of a bear sitting in the sun, and Frankenduck wandering a haunted forrest.  These aren't really for any book projects, just the sort of images I create as I try new techniques out.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

More little war kids...

Here are a few more drawings of "war kids" from my sketchbook.  These were done with Copic markers, and contain no digital elements at all.  The drawing of the bear was done first, and I had a limited selection of colors, which is why the bear is kind of mustard a color.

This idea, of a bunch of children getting left behind in a future/fantasy war zone of some kind, is really starting to take shape.  It allows me to pursue "post-apocolyptic kid" story, with a reasonable explanation of where the adults are.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Little Orange Guys...

Here are a few recent pages from my sketchbook, these drawings go along with the story idea from my last post.  These are ink and markers, and a bit of pencil.  I like all these little guys in their “Ned Kelly” helmets, but also worried that they might end up looking too much like Bender from Futurama.

Little Battlefield Guys...

I was going to make this a “Happy New Year” post, but it’s already January 30, so I guess that boat has sailed.

Here are a few drawings that I did recently.  I was having a hard time of getting back into drawing everyday, so someone suggested that I do one “finished” piece of art each day.  Right now, I’m doing sketches for two picture books, and outlines and notes for new graphic novel projects, but these daily drawings gave me the satisfaction of actually completing something.  Each was done in one sitting that usually lasted about an hour and a half.  They are either pencil and watercolor, or ink and watercolor.  There is nothing digital in them.

The images are from a concept I’ve been thinking about a while…but I often lose enthusiasm for it.  I think it’s an interesting idea, and could make a great story and a good book, but it’s so different from everything that’s out there, I often wonder, “why bother?”

I just can’t go through all of the work of developing it, figuring it out, and writing it, only to have editors look at it and say they don’t know what to do with it.  Or worse---find an editor who loves it, spend a year on it, then have a marketing department look at it and say THEY don’t know what to do with it.  I feel like I’m entering into a lose/lose situation.

So, over the last few months I’ve become paralyzed while developing new concepts.  Believe me, I have plenty of ideas, but they are all being shut down by doubt and second-guessing.

Happy New Year!