Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More on dinosaurs...

I had this one sitting around from a few years ago. His name is Pajamatops, of course.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dino update

I went back in to see if I could improve the dino. It's a little stronger. I think that a different color as the base would have really helped.

More Cavemen

Here's two more caveman sketches. I'm liking them more, but they just seem a bit stiff. And while I don't want to beat up on myself because they are only sketches, the hands are really amatuer hour. Jeez. I like the dino, but the colors are a bit flat. He can be much richer.

On the other hand, I think they are solid enough that I may use them to pitch the idea I have.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"You no eat me..."

I had an idea for a picture book blast into my head the other day and I instantly wanted to see one of the characters. I am not going to say what the book is about, because I have yet to even pitch it to an editor, but it stars a few cavemen. Here's a first shot at one of these brutes. I like the line, but feel he's a bit stiff, and his hand gesture is not reading well. I drew this at the dinner table while my first grade son did his homework, so I was a bit distratcted.

I really want to push the cartoony elements of my drawing with this book, because it has potential to be a very, very funny, and a good read-aloud as well. It was drawn with marker, colored pencil and a sharpie. No computer at all. If this book goes forward, I plan to make it my first non-digital book.

My Dog Jack is Reviewed

Here's a decent little review of my latest illustration project.

From Publishers Weekly---"When Carson takes his dog, Jack, to the vet, she informs them that Jack is too fat: "He needs less food and no snacks!" as well as a lot more exercise. Jack expresses his skepticism via thought bubble ("Fat chance"), though Carson dutifully starts Jack on a diet and exercise regimen. But Carson isn't practicing what he preaches: while Jack plays fetch, runs up stairs, and visits the gym, Carson is wolfing down junk food and lazing around. Throughout, readers are privy to Jack's snarky retorts: "You've got spaghetti sauce all over your face, pal," he tells Carson, who won't share his enormous dinner. A return visit to the vet means kudos for Jack--but not for Carson, who now needs help from Jack in the weight-loss department. Rex has a lot of fun with the details in his cartoon illustrations (Carson sits in the grass eating fried chicken and drinking soda while "playing" fetch with Jack), and the dog's-eye-view perspective (and Jack's evident sense of humor) help make a potentially heavy-handed message about child obesity easier to swallow. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Meeting and Greeting

I recently spent some time at the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association's Annual Conference. I had my own table all weekend and was able to really talk and interact with many fantastic people.

The enthusiasm and energy these educators had was wonderful and very inspiring. I was selling and signing books, but my main goal was talking about my school visits. It was much more fun than simply mailing out a pile of flyers. I will be attending similar shows in NJ and CT in the Fall.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sketchbook boys

Here are two more watercolor sketches that I think are pretty successful. The first one is from a story I’d still like to sell. Without giving away too much, one of the characters has an explosive sneeze during a show-and-tell type moment in front of his whole class. The story is really about how the kids react to this event, and how embarrassed and foolish he feels. The story is not like my other work, and is not “high-concept” at all. It’s just about kids and getting along in school.

The second one is from a book that never quite clicked. It’s about this one mean kid endlessly calling the other boy names until…well, until something happens that I want to hold in my folder of ideas. I kind of like this one, but there are some skin tone issues. Both of these were done a few years ago, and looking back on them I was getting close to something…

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Little Creatures

As an children's illustrator, I've never really set out to draw cute animals. I feel that there are many people out there who do that really well, and seem to enjoy it. However, I just found these sketches from a few years ago and think that they are really... um...cute. They are drawn with india ink/quill and colored with inks.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What Happens in Vegas...

During the week of April 11 I had the wonderful opportunity to visit five excellent schools in Las Vegas. It was Nevada Reading Week, and the theme was “Reading Rocks!” I spoke to over 3,000 children and I had a wonderful time. Each school was friendly and prepared, and the kids were well behaved and very involved.

I have spoken to, and worked with, elementary students for years, and I taught High School for almost 4 years, but I don’t have much experience with Middle Schools. But I must say, my presentations at Sawyer Middle School were some of the best of the week. The kids seemed to enjoy and learn from my talk, and just like the little kids, they were very impressed by the drawing part of the show. And even when the one student asked, “Do you steal all of your ideas from other books?” he had a smile on his face!

I’d just like to thank the teachers, students and organizers at…

Lucille S. Bruner Elementary
Richard Bryan Elementary
J. M. Ullom Elementary
John F. Mendoza Elementary
Grant Sawyer Middle School

for a great week, and I hope to go back next year!