Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Some Soup Eaters

Here are a couple of unused figures for Duck Island. They're eating fish soup. Still trying to get the poses and expressions right. The girls is a little bland--I like the boy, but he doesn't really fit in the composition the way I want him to. More work ahead, and more sketches to come.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Duck Island: Third Revision of This One, Duckier Than Ever!

In the process of revising Duck Island with more suggestions from my agent. Principal among them was showing some activity by the ducks that went beyond the usual, showing that the kids are seeing something the ducks are DOING rather than just funky architecture. So in this one, I'm having them do a lot:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Duck Haberdasher, Big Four-Oh!

So, today I turn 40! I feel like such a grown-up. I've been married to an amazing person closing on 9 years, I'm building a career in children's books, my dream job, and I make a lot fewer stupid mistakes. Can't complain, really.

Or at least, I'm a lot better at pretending to be a grown-up, anyway (shhh, don't tell).

Today I will eat cake, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz (thank you Ben and Jerry's for bringing back my favorite flavor for my birthday!)  and playing with my new (or new to me) Corgi Jr. Supermobile (don't ask) one of my favorite early birthday presents from my wife Regina.

And for you, I offer a denizen of Duck Island, my work in progress, The Duck Haberdasher!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Francois Boucq

I was about 16 when I discovered Boucq's Pioneers of the Human Experience (or Les Pionniers De L'Adventure Humaine) on the Graphic Novel rack at Barnes and Noble's. At the time you didn't see many European imports, particularly one so bizarre. Though I was a fan of Moebius and there were some similarities in style,  I found the book both really compelling and really off-putting, and though I couldn't help revisiting the book every time I went to the store, I never bought it. The images in that book have continued to stick with me all these years, and I very much regretted not picking it up at the time. Unfortunately I couldn't remember the name of the book or its author, and was unable to track it down until now.

By accident I came across the familiar cover on Amazon, the original English language translation from Catalan, and my wife got it for me as an early birthday present.

It was every bit as amazing as I remember.

I realize a few of these images are a little grotesque, and aren't for everybody.  The definition of grotesque I like the best is:

Fantastic in the shaping and combination of forms, as decorative work combining incongruous human and animal elements .
So for people who aren't into this sort of thing, try to see it in this light, as whimsy, as beautiful in its own way.

Here are a few pages from the book:

And from some other books by Boucq done around the same time (I think most of these are from The Magician's Wife):

And black and white image from his collaboration with western, Bouncer, a collaboration with the famous surrealist film maker Alexandro Jodorowsky:

You can also check out his Wikipedia entry, here, and his Lambiek entry, here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Duck Barbecuing

So I'm doing yet another reworking of Duck Island with some suggestions from my agent, Abigail Samoun. Lots more to do on this one, but it will be a better book for it! Here's a Duck barbecuing fish, that may or may not end up in the book:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Duck Island Park Rough

Here's the latest rough from my Duck Island book in progress:

This was inspired in part by some crowd scenes with this sort of overhead forced perspective in them by Johnny Gruelle in the recent Mr. Twee Deedle collection. Gruelle created Raggedy Ann and Andy. Also Frank King used to do this sort of thing in Gasoline Alley

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Kickstarter Preview! Or: Yes, Yet Another Kickstarter Project, But Awesomer!

Sick Again...

Sorry I haven't posted in a while--I haven't been sick in years, so I guess this year I'm making up for lost time. The week before last I had a stomach flu that lasted for 6 days. Not fun. But I'm better now!

Where are all these books you're supposed to be making? 

That's a good question. The answer is: in various stages of completion. One is in the submission process, and another is almost ready to enter the fray, and others are written,  laid out, or otherwise soon to go into the queue. but the process is slow, rejections are many, and even when one of my books does get accepted, the publishing and editorial process is slow as molasses. Which means: it's going to be a while, at least a couple of years before my first book sees print.

But I Don't Want to Wait! I Want a Book Right Now! (Or Soonish)

So I have a Kickstarter project in the works. For those not "in the know" Kickstarter is a crowdfunding resource designed to raise money for projects by artists, filmmakers and self-publishers. I hope to be one of those self-publishers. In my case I see Kickstarter as a platform for people to pre-order a book by me that has yet to be printed.

Ella And the Pirates And More

A while back I did a handmade wordless book called "Ella and the Pirates" that I used a self-promotional piece to send to editors and art directors. And when I say, "hand made" I mean made by hand, as in hand sewn, hand trimmed, hand bound in every sense of the word. I got a few favorable responses from the folks I sent them to, and many friends and Facebook followers also showed interest in owning a copy. But since it would be too time consuming to make books for everyone by hand, I've decided to self-publish "Ella" with a handful of other short pieces in a book called "Mostly Wordless."

It will be a 48 page 8x8 hardbound and will look something like this:

But that's not all! (See, I'm already sounding like a used car salesman) I'll also be putting together an 80 page 6x9 softcover that will be jam packed with my best dry brush work, both studies from nature and bits and pieces from many of the illustrations I've done over the years. It will appropriately be called, "The Dry Brush Book" and will look something like this:

  I guarantee that if you like my work, you'll love these books! 

And I'm going to make sure that the print quality is excellent and the price is reasonable. I've already gotten some good quotes from digital printers--these will be short run and digitally printed unless I raise enough money to go off-set. If we go digital, I can have these printed and mailed out just weeks after I've raised my goal. If off-set, it will take a little longer, but they will be better quality books.

These projects are already completed

Both books are already laid out, typeset, ( in some cases, hand lettered) and ready to go, so the only thing left is to print them.  I've also got some cool t-shirts already color separated and ready to be made, a new poster ready to be printed, and lots of other cool stuff already in the can.

You Still Might Have to Wait a Little While

I've a lot of work ahead of me before I throw my hat in, which means: it might be a while before I start making a nuisance of myself. But not too long. Not two years, for sure. More like a month or two.  I don't want to start doing this until I have an absolutely solid foolproof plan, and know my goal is achievable.

But this is all still in the future. I just wanted to give everyone a heads up for what's to come.

So stay tuned!