January 24, 2014

Peter Panda's Birthday!

Peter Panda was born at ALA mid-winter... so I guess this is like his first birthday!

January 22, 2014

From Flintstone to Flynn...

I thought this progression of the protagonist was an interesting journey.  It started out looking a bit like Fred Flintstone (who I slavishly drew all through 5th grade)... and ended up a bit like Errol Flynn. 

Originally I had a comic character in mind. But editorial decisions changed it to a less comic and more heroic version. On the way I stumbled across a new line style I liked - strong, bold lines - drawn with pencil.

January 16, 2014

Sketching away... lost in a book

I signed the contract for a new PB this morning... so that should keep me out of mischief for a while. I must be doing something right. Fun story, just right. As always, I'm trying for something slightly different from before.
So I'm busy, sketching away... lost in a book.

January 7, 2014

Peter Panda Melts Down!

A new book I did arrived from Blue Apple Books.  That's a great way to start off the new year.

Peter Panda Melts Down! is fun book about a day in the life of Peter Panda.  The words are nimbly written by Artie Bennett, who has several best selling books to his resume. I would think a lot of kids and parents will relate to this story about getting through a day in the life with one difficult little panda.

The origin of this book happened 100% by chance - like everything important in life.  It happened because I decided to take the bus downtown for the second day of ALA last winter.  While everyone was away at the Caldecotts I had a chance to chat with the publisher and designer at Blue Apple Books. I'd known the designer from projects years ago in NYC. It is so great to be able to actually get some face time with publishers!

Once I started, the pictures to the book were created in a flurry of 10 weeks. As a bookmaker, I especially liked how every time I saw the manuscript the text had changed.  I admire that kind of improvisational book making, since that's how I make  books too.  I'm never quite sure when they're finally complete.

'Peter Panda Melts Down!' will be in stores this February... so the world can make his acquaintance at that point. I hope that readers take a shine to him, since he is clearly a big handful of a cute little panda.

All in all I love how a bit of serendipity in life can change everything.  It's too bad it's so rare to actually meet the people behind the books.