Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another from The Boy Who Was Mistaken For a Potted Plant

Another for my Boy Who Was Mistaken For a Potted Plant book proposal.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Boy Who Was Mistaken For a Potted Plant in Progress

I'm in the process of submitting a book proposal for my book The Boy Who Was Mistaken for a Potted Plant to various publishers. Here's a sample illustration. It was important to me to make sure the old woman didn't have a typical grandmotherly look, so I went for the braids.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Naked, or Not Naked? Is This Still a Thing?

This is for a book proposal  in progress.

You might notice I've strategically covered up his nether regions because I'm honestly not sure where publisher's stand on the naked issue at the moment, so I've gone this route to be safe, at least for the proposal. I thought this battle was won back in the 70s with In The Night Kitchen, but you never know. The market is always changing, and it's definitely become more conservative of late. I don't blame publishers--I understand that they have to be wary about the public's reaction.  People can be weird about this stuff.

Naked, or Not Naked? 

Most illustrations of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens which features a baby Peter Pan go for strategic concealment:

Charle's Kingsley's The Water-Babies omits genitalia entirely:

And then of course, there's In the Night Kitchen:

When I was doing my Kickstarter for (Mostly) Wordless, someone asked if it had "child nudity" since I mentioned In The Night Kitchen as an inspiration. My book does not, but I honestly don't get the objection to drawings of naked 5 year olds in the context of a children's story.

At any rate, the premise of this story involves a boy who lives in the forest, doesn't wear clothes, and does anything he wants.  Later the doesn't wear clothes thing becomes relevant when someone tries to dress him and he won't let them. For this reason, a little diaper or loincloth would defeat the purpose.

So it's either strategically avoid showing his pee pee, which I think only calls more attention to this idea that for some reason this is not OK, or just go with it. 5 year old nudity is not the same as adult nudity, particularly in this context. But are we over it?

I still have no idea.

Monday, October 20, 2014

"Blackbeard's Ghost" for Cricket Magazine!

The  October issue (available at a finer magazine emporium near you) features the first story I've both written and illustrated for Cricket Magazine, "Blackbeard's Ghost." I've illustrated a number of stories for them, but this is the first one I wrote on my own.

This issue features a gorgeous cover by Daniel Krall:

Daniel Krall

As proud as I am of the story, this is a little bittersweet.

The majority of these illustrations were done about three years ago in a style I've since abandoned. While I am proud of the images, I don't feel they're quite me. It's more of an attempt to emulate classic illustrators like Noel Sickles and contemporary illustrators inspired by that tradition like Greg Ruth. There's some me in there, but it's buried in technique.         

The reason these images are a few years old is because I  approached this story in a novel way: the images were done first, with no initial intention of writing a story. They were simply an experiment in doing YA illustration. Then I wrote the story around them. "Blackbeard's ghost" is a kind of Treasure Island pastiche about a boy who stows away on a pirate ship. The story was suggested by the one color image I did at the time of Blackbeard.

The other images were colored for the magazine, and a fourth was added.

 There a bit of a misunderstanding on this one about the lantern. Both the lantern and lantern light were placed on a separate layer, and the lantern was meant to overlap into the text area, which it did, but somehow the light emanating from the lantern was ommitted, so the lantern doesn't have its intended glow in the print version.

I went with a very limited palette on these, evocative of some of the early magazine illustration by Noel Sickles and Robert Fawcett.

The fourth one is the title spread:

Unfotunately they printed a bit dark. To be fair, they were very dark to begin and it's hard to print these kinds of subtle value shifts in CMYK.

Otherwise I'm happy with how it turned out! My first published story in  Cricket. Cricket has had a long tradition of publishing some of the best writers and illustrations in children's lit, and I'm proud to be a part of that.  They've been very good to me, and I'm anxious to do more work for them, and hopefully, more writing as well as illustration.