Thursday, December 16, 2010

PETA U.K. Furious George Contest

The great people over at PETA U.K. are giving away two signed copies of "Furious George Goes Bananas" to anyone who can "take an existing book title and rename it with an animal twist." Go check it out.

PETA UK---Furious George Contest

I've also talked with the PETA U.S. people and they will hopefully be doing something similar soon. It's a good time of year to give to groups like this. Some people might enjoy having a donation made in their name, rather than getting another DVD or hoodie for the holidays.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Zombie Cat!


Here's two dudes. A rocker dude, and a pirate dude. I like these dudes. I just may make my next book all about dudes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Astronaut #10

Here's a colored pencil drawing that I couldn't call anything other than "Bird Rogers."

Friday, November 19, 2010

International Primate Protection League

The International Primate Protection League is a “grassroots wildlife protection organization” that promotes “the conservation and protection of all nonhuman primates, great and small, around the world.” In other words, they’re good people.
Please, take a few moments to stop by their site and find out more about the IPPL and the great work that they do.

Their September 2010 issue of "IPPL News" features an entire page dedicated to “Furious George Goes Bananas!” There’s even a contest for children to draw George, and they can win a book signed by me! When it's announced, I'll make sure to post the winning entry.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Markers and Colored Pencils

For the first time in six years, I no longer have Grad school two nights a week, and I have been having a good time just drawing. I'm trying new materials and new approaches. Here's a few faces done with marker and colored pencils. I consider these sketches, because they are not really "done."

While these don't really fall into my watercolor attempts, they provide the same, non-digital, process, and satisfy my need to have a physical piece of artwork that I can show off without looking at a computer screen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More Digital Work...

This is a "sketch" that I made for some friends for an App. that they are creating. 100% digital. This is one of the first non-children's pieces I've done in a while.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Goon Sketches #6

Early on, I knew that Frankenstien's monster would appear in "Goodnight Goon." I did mess around with the idea of using watercolors for this book, but I didn't, and still don't, feel that I'm a very good painter. Above is the the watercolor test and the same image drawn with pen and ink, and rendered with pencil. One looks amatuer, and one looks professional. Easy decision on my part.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Park Luncheonette

Here’s one last (I promise) pass at a black and white drawing colored using watercolor samples. The “Park Luncheonette” is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on the corner of Union and Driggs, if I remember it right. I lived on the south side McCarren Park from 1988 to 1999, and we used to eat hot dogs there in the summer. This drawing is very old. According to my sketchbook, I drew this in the summer of 1990. I like the color in this one, but the lack of a character makes it a bit flat.
It's also a bit too grubby looking for picture book art.

In the Martin Scorcese film, “The Departed,” there's a long scene where Leonardo DiCaprio beats the spit out of a bunch of guys and hurls them through some glass cases. That was shot at the luncheonette.

He Has a Fish In His Pocket!

One more digital/hand drawn piece before I knuckle down and get to rewrites and fixes on my graphic novel. Man, I like this one.

Digital Dionsaur

I liked that little sketchbook piece so much that I dedcided to try the same technique with a more traditional picture book style drawing. I'm very happy with this...As with all of my images, you can click it to get a closer look.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Digital Sketchbook

Here's a little sketch I did this afternoon while killing a few minutes before seeing "Monsters" at the Sunshine Cinema in Manhattan. I added all of the color with scans of ink smears and patterned paper. 50% hand drawn, 50% digital. I like this one.

Goon Sketches #5

Once I was working on the dummy for the book, I also spent some time working out the style I wanted to use for the final art in this book. I knew that I wanted to use a hard black line, but I wasn't sure how it would look with the pencil rendering. I was very happy with this first test piece.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Goon Sketches #4

Two more goon sketches. The one on the bottom was the one that I used for the dummy. It was just about there.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Career on hold...

Hello. Sorry that I haven’t posted in a bit, but I’ve been very busy, and, at the same time very frustrated. First off, a very big, 3 book project that I have been working on all year, and most of next year, got pushed back to 2012. The first of the three books was set to come out this spring, but the publishers want to launch in 2012 with all three books ready to go.

It’s not bad news, but I’m very excited about this project, and I wanted to start talking about it. Now I have to wait another 12 months before I start hyping it. Oh well...

The second thing that has made me a bit frustrated, is that on Thursday, Oct 21, I spent the day taping an episode of a show for a major network. But, I can’t talk about it until it airs in late January! All I can say is that I was on camera for most of the day, and that I was drawing most of the time. It was really quite fun, and I look forward to announcing the details.

In the meantime, to cheer me up, I’m posting a picture of a kid with a watermelon on his head.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Jersey Book Signings

Hi. I'll be doing two signings this weekend in New Jersey---

Saturday, October 16, 11:00 to 1:00
Hooray For Toys
396 Springfield Ave, Berkeley Heights NJ, 07922

Sunday, October 17, 12:00 to 2:00
171 Main Street, Manasquan NJ, 08736

Hope to see you there!---Mike

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Goon Sketches #3

Here's a page full of small goon sketches. The shape that I eventually used for my final design appeared here for the first time. He's on the top right, marked by the yellow arrow.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Goon Sketches #2

Here's another take on the older, skinny, weirdo type goon. I kinda like the shape of his head and the big scar up there.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Goon Sketches #1

What exactly is a goon? I really wasn’t sure a few years ago when I pitched “Goodnight Goon” to Putnam. They loved the idea, and thought that the manuscript was very funny. However, no one was sure about this goon and what it was going to look like, not even me. Over the next few days I’m going to post some of the sketches that lead up to his design.

I think that this was one of the first attempts. Originally I pictured him as an older, skinnier, lurking human-like character, almost a zombie, but not quite. Maybe he’s a bit dopey, and slow, but creepy as well. I think this drawing nailed the small, sunken eyes, and large ears idea, but the rest was jettisoned.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Scholastic, Oct. 2010

Heads up! "The Runaway Mummy" is front and center on this month's Scholastic SeeSaw Flyer. You can also get it with "Goodnight Goon" in the "Petrifying Parody Pack." Both are paperback.

Time to Draw!

One of my promises to myself once grad school was over, was that I was going to take more time to draw. This morning I sat outside for two hours and worked on this drawing of the burnt out Kimball Theater in Yonkers.

When I first went there, it was no longer a theater, and had become a huge used furniture store. A few years later the junk stuffed store caught fire and now, as if it were on a movie set, it's just a facade.

I'm happy with the drawing, but I see lots of room for changes...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Astronaut #9.5

Here's a new version of the caveman. Better, but I like the face on the first one. I think I should move on.

Astronaut #9

"Now me just have to invent fire!"

Finally, another astronaut. I like the idea of a caveman going into space, but I didn't push this far enough. I'm going to do this one again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ninja Peanuts!

Ho! Ha! Ya! That's all I've got today!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Interview and Pirates!

Last October I was still teaching full-time and some things slipped through the cracks. Author Michael P. Spradlin interviewed me for his blog, and I never linked to it. Today I shall make amends!


Michael’s most recent book is the very salty Pirate Haiku

And, here's a drawing of a pirate I did. He's stealing a pickle. Because that's what pirates do. They steal.

I'm Back

Wow! Has it really been so long since I last posted? Where did the summer go?

Honestly, I know exactly where the summer went. I drew an entire 112 page graphic novel that I hope to show soon. I was either at the draft board drawing or with my family doing fun things like going to Ocean City (NJ), visiting the USS Intrepid and every nature center within an hour’s drive.

In the meantime, the Goon is still saying goodnight…

The Mummy is still running away…

And George is still furious…

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Furious George Goes Bananas!" Live! Behind The Scenes!

As promised, today we wander deep into the black-box jungle for a behind the scenes peek at the talent swinging onto stage in this season’s simian smash, “Furious George Goes Bananas!” Live!

Produced by The Chatham Community Players, it featured the primal playacting of performer Chris Furlong. His hair-raising rendition of the hirsute hero moved the audience to laughter, tears, and eventually further from the stage. His chest-beating bravura brought the house down in a furry and ferocious tour–de-furiousness!

As writer/director/illustrator/producer/stage technician, Michael Rex, said of his star “He monkeyed around real good! He’s a top-shelf trooper!” On the flip side, Rex denies having said, “He got the part because he had the suit!” while stepping out for an early morning donut break.

More on the fur suited Furlong! He’s been swinging around on stage for many, many years and is now goes bananas as a Teaching Assistant at the NJ FILM SCHOOL!

This pic shows the massive sets that Rex and co. slaved over for their two show run of “Furious George Goes Bananas!” Live! In the inset, is thesp Furlong having a rare, out-of-mask experience.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Furious George Goes Bananas" Live! The Opposite of Avatar!

On Saturday, June 12th, I had a dream come true. With some fantastic help, I put on a play of one of my books at The Chatham Playhouse, home of the Chatham Community Players, in New Jersey. I had done many shows there as a child, and cut my acting teeth on that very stage!

We performed an awesome, amazing, and exhilarating version of my latest book, “Furious George Goes Bananas!” It was as if the illustrations walked right off the page and onto center stage!

We went all out on the production! No prop was too intricate! No costume was too outlandish! No spectacle was too elaborate! The following shots are from the first of two packed performances.

Which is the book?

Which is the stage show?

I dare you to tell the difference!

Here, in an early pivotal scene, the Man in the Funny Hat lures George with a pile of bananas! Such authenticity!

Midway through the story, the drama heats up, and George gets furious at a construction site! Such vision!

In the penultimate scene, George is taken advantage of by a scientist! Such pathos!

Laughs! Heartache! Whimsy! Histrionics! It had it all!

Stay tuned for more!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Live Action Preview...

Here's a shot from the past weekend. The "Live Action Furious George Goes Bananas" went over very well, and was lots of fun. I'll more pics in a few days, as I have to get them sorted. We had a full gorilla costume, and made a few additions to it to make it look more like George in the book.

Today I'm banging out a cover for my next book, which I hope to announce soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Furious George Live!

Heads up! I am doing a "live" version of "Furious George Goes Bananas" this Saturday at the Chatham Community Players in my home town, Chatham NJ. The show is coming together very quickly and will be a little rough around the edges, but I do know that we've got a guy in a gorilla suit! What could be better? Shows are at 11:30 and 1:30. I'll also be doing a "live" reading my first book, 1997's "The Painting Gorilla." (Sadly, it went out of print about two years ago.)

Please stop by for the show and to say hello. I'll also be siging copies of "Furious George."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Furious George Review #4

Betsy Bird, who Forbes Magazine called “the most powerful blogger in kids’ books,” wrote an incredible review of “Furious George Goes Bananas” back in January. I was waiting for the book to come out to post the review, however, Betsy’s gigantic Blog is migrating, and the review is not currently available. However, she kindly put up a copy at Amazon.

“There is no feeling in the world quite like returning to a picture book you loved as a kid, only to discover how weird or disturbing that book was all along. A lot of adults experience this when they first have kids of their own and want to read them the books they used to love. The green elephant in Babar. The unapologetic nudist in In the Night Kitchen. And then there's Curious George. That happy little monkey has long since had his adventures adapted into movies, television shows, spin-offs, and even iPod apps. But when you go back and reread the original stories you may find yourself more than a little perturbed by what he experiences. Michael Rex sure was…”

Read the rest here…

Thanks Betsy!


Betsy’s Blog

Saturday, June 5, 2010

This old man...

More watercolor work. I'm getting there...

More Peaches...

Here's another drawing of my caveman character, Peaches. He just got some new sneakers and he loves them! Just a goofy watercolor/ink with brush test.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

BookPage Interview

I was recently interviewed by BookPage, which is a free review journal with a circulation of 400,000. As you can see, they inteview the author/illustrators in a really fun way. It was great to be asked to do this, as it shows strong support for Furious George. This is a scan from the actual paper, you can click it to see it larger. I think the link will be up soon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Astronaut #8

Here's another mixed-media/digital creation. The thing I don't really like about working on the computer is that work never seems to be "done." One can keep tweaking and changing things forever.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Astronaut #7

A little change of pace here. This is a brush drawing, pencil overlay, scan of finger-painted construction paper, and topped off with digital color.