July 17, 2013

Banana Moon

This arrived in the mail from Highlights. I thought it'd be fun to dig out the original pencils and photograph them next to the finished printed art.

I have a scientific system of storing original pencils. When my pile of sketches gets too big, I toss the drawings into a big drawer. It has hundreds of drawings. Then when the drawer gets full, I pack the sketches into a cardboard box and tape it up and put it in the basement. Someday it might be a collector's item.

July 15, 2013

Out in the Wild Woods...

 It's the wild woods for me...  my 2 day getaway - a.k.a. vacation.  Ferryboats, foghorns, lighthouses, victorian houses, log cabins, lavender fields, sailboats and sunshine.  Perfect!

 Sea stacks and beach logs, the rain forest sculpted by the wind.  One of my favorite spots is camping in the woods.  It's not entirely rustic, since Olympic National Park comes with electric outlets and flush toilets.  But the old growth trees haven't changed much - and it's magic camping in them.


I think there's a rule that as soon as you decide to go away on a trip, that's when all the ADs decide to call.  Uncanny how that works.  Next time I'll bring along an iPad to check my mail and see what's up.  That way I won't have to worry.


I like how my clothes still smell like woodsmoke.  I like remembering the stones and the trees.

July 3, 2013

The evolution of a cover...

I found these old versions of my book 'Cromwell Dixon's Sky-Cycle' - so I thought it'd be fun to show the evolution of a cover.

The first version (top left) is the finish sample I sent in to Timothy Travaglini that sold the book originally out of the slush pile.  Next is the finished 2nd dummy version in halftones.

As I recall Timothy wanted a simpler version with more impact... so I did the finish painting which was much simpler.  Finally that version was recast by Cecilia Yung and Katrina Dahmkoeler into a brilliantly designed version.  I added a few tweaks... adding spot art into the top corners and the final cover was done!

July 1, 2013

Worm Diaries sprouting up in the garden!

I see that Worm Diaries are sprouting up all through the garden!  I finally received the copies to the book 'Teacher's Pet' - a Diary of a Worm book that I ghost illustrated for Tom Bliss.

I love doing landscapes and these books were fun.  I got to invent miniature contraptions that figure into the worm's eye view of the world.  For picture scrap I took my camera out and snapped photos of plants in my garden... with the camera on the ground looking up through the ferns.

I've done lots of ghost illustration.  I did dozens of books with Mercer Mayer for Little Critter.  And I did a number of books with Rosemary Wells and her Yoko school characters.  I even had Rosemary Wells come to my house for a 2 hour private art lesson in my studio!   That was exciting!

All in all it's been an invaluable apprentice experience to learn about book making.