June 9, 2020

Black Schools Matter!

Black lives matter! And so do black schools.

The way to begin healing America begins with sharing in school. As a book maker I try to do my part by making books that make life better.

January 8, 2020

Books that show up out of nowhere... what joy!

Don’t I just love it when a story shows up out of nowhere, and it appears  without hardly trying... and you like it more even after it’s all done. 

That’s the ideal when that happens, because at that point it all rings true and it’s like it was written for me by someone else and was meant to be. 

Happens so rarely... 

And of course then there’s the illustrations - but that’s always the easy part for me compared to finding a story that might work - thousands of pictures might appear too.

February 10, 2019

The tools I use in making a book ...

I have a tendency to zip through picture-book making software the way raccoons go through a picnic table in summertime.

The magic of rewriting a PB story is that for me adding pictures makes me rethink everything. It’s like the first bare words are only a beginning, just there to be rewritten.

My list of all the tools I use in making a book would be:


October 31, 2018

September 26, 2018

Voter Registration Day - Every Vote Counts

This was a scene I remembered from the Women's March - waiting on the light rail train to leave - with a little girl wearing a homemade pink hat, standing with her sign. Out the window there was a huge poster of Martin Luther King. The girl held her own homemade poster message - which all added up to a scene I had to draw.

September 1, 2018

Optimism is the antidote to anxiety...

Optimism is the antidote to anxiety... so why not smile?

I'm afraid most of my social media posting has migrated to Instagram - it's just a lot easier to post things on Instagram than Blogger, which takes about 6 times as much clicking.


So I've fallen a bit behind.

April 15, 2018

David Nez - a new scholarly book - Mysticism and Magic!

Congratulations to my older brother, David Nez for getting his scholarly book into print about Mysticism and Magic! I can't wait to see it - having read lots of the excerpts on the blog.

It's with a UK publisher and has taken years and years of work to finally realize. So good things come to they who wait. It's got lots of original artwork which was a natural for Dave, since he's also been making art for decades, with international shows. He was in the Venice Biennial last year... where he visited as part of the exhibit.

So it's great to be the author of a scholarly tome like that I imagine. Congratulations Dave!


The book is based on the thesis that shamanism forms the deepest stratum of human culture, myths and spiritual practices worldwide. It illustrates how ancient beliefs and practices are still alive, albeit in new forms, in contemporary magic, neopaganism and neoshamanism. It concludes with scientific research into altered states of consciousness experienced by shamans: stages of trance, hypnogogic imagery, out of body experiences, near-death experiences, apparitions, etc. Multiple excerpts and references from authorities in the fields of history, archaeology, ethnology, neuropsychology, psychology, comparative mythology and other fields support this work. The book contains a number of my original illustrations and has an extensive bibliography.

March 3, 2018

Epic new sculpture arrives at the SAM

Yesterday I visited the amazing new John Grade 'Middletree' sculpture hanging in the lobby of the Seattle Art Museum. 

This sculpture is EPIC! It’s historic, scientific, ecological, recyclable, societal and just plain gorgeous and soul redeeming. Bravo Seattle... 

It's made of millions of little bits of cedar glued together by volunteers and community groups, so it's societal. 

This is so much better than those ugly Ford cars with lights that used to hang there. The only thing I don’t like is it will be recycled back to the woods in 3 years to decay... NO!  Those ugly cars were hanging in the lobby for decades... I say keep it longer! 

There are some amazing videos on youtube that show how it was built - John Grade - Middlefork Tree Sculpture.


December 27, 2017

Libraries & Cathedrals

I’ve been thinking a lot about how a library and a church fill so many of the same roles. Both are places people go for refuge and silence. A quiet place in a noisy world. They both offer consolations and hope for a better life. A library and a church both have people whose work is to offer guidance and help in finding a way to accomplish that.

Both a library and a church offer deep meanings to be discovered. They both offer the prospect of uncovering great rewards of knowledge and redemption after a bit of effort through learning. They both offer lasting joys that might change one's life and mind.

And they’re both run as community resources, usually hard pressed for every dollar spent.

I’m lucky that my library actually looks like a beautiful church - so needless to say it’s my favorite building to visit on a bike ride. Sometimes I go past on Sundays when unlike the church, it is totally closed. But I still like sitting beside it’s gothic arches to soak in the sense of peace and stability it offers. And when it’s open, even a simple walk up it’s curving granite staircase can feel like an edifying experience. 

I think libraries ought to deserve the same tax exempt status that churches enjoy… especially in this day and age when it’s the library and librarian who have to offer the final safety net to homeless populations who have slipped through every other safety net. 

So that’s that’s how I feel about my library. And beyond all that, sometimes I just like being around lots and lots of books. It is a heady, reassuring experience. In this age of vanishing books, it is wonderful to just have a lot of books that exist on the shelves, just being there. Real books... not virtual books. 

December 24, 2017

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! My favorite holiday things are the tree, snow, twinkly lights in the dark and the day after Christmas, once all the pressure is off! Time to curl up with a good book.

The spirit of the season starts with a tree for me - along with giving away a bag full of books to Seattle Children’s Hospital felt just right. I saw so many people in despair at the hospital - understandably - and any little bit of joy a bookmaker might bring is work well done.

November 22, 2017

The magic of bookmaking...

First I hatch the plot... and that happens without any drawing. I don't rush. Many, many plots are turned away and recast until finally the right one arrives... usually half by accident.

The ideas are shy and hard to catch sometimes. But finally they peek out and get placed where they belong.

Next step is to have a casting call... and audition for all the character types that will belong to the story. I might invite 20 characters to try out... but on a select few will win.

And now the plot is decided - the characters are cast - the setting is decided and it's time to fill those 32 blank pages with a real book.

That's when the mumbo-jumbo-mixup-magic of putting it all together begins.

That's always fun - a big puzzle that keeps one occupied through an entire snowy season. So that's how I manage to spend my days all alone, pulling rabbits out of thin air.