Friday, April 25, 2014

IN THE SHADOWS - story sampler video

Here is the next video I've done for my collaborative novel with masterful wordsmith Kiersten White entitled IN THE SHADOWS, out on April 29th from Scholastic.  In general terms, it's a supernatural mystery that is told part in wordless full-color art chapters (like a silent movie) and part in lush, lyrical text chapters. Each part follows characters through their storylines that later coalesce as revelations occur.  More deeply, it's the story of five teens who meet at major turning points in their lives.  They are all experiencing loss of varying sorts and dealing with it the best they can.  But then, they are all confronted by true evil that has come to town, and have to decide how far they are willing to go to protect themselves and their new friends.  One boy in particular chooses to seek and exact revenge at all costs, but while he confronts and hunts evil, evil, in turn, hunts back!

Hope you enjoy the video here, but if there's trouble viewing it, go to this link:


Thursday, April 24, 2014

More IN THE SHADOWS interior art!

With only FIVE days remaining until my collaborative supernatural mystery YA novel with Kiersten White comes out (!!) we decided to celebrate by showing another grouping of interior art from the book.  Once again though, I should say this book isn't only about the (222 pages of full-color, fully-painted!) art chapters, it also has AMAZING, character-driven, lyrical, gothic, creepy and haunting text chapters by Kiersten. Fans of hers will be blown away as she's flexing different muscles in this book, and newbies to her crazy-awesome writing will be won over. Truly, she blew me away with what she's created!

Also, we'll be at Powell's Books in Cedar Hills this Sunday (April 27th) at 4pm for an early-release event and signing. PLUS, if you attend, you could win this original-art-ified copy of the book!

But even if you don't win that copy, we'll be giving out bookmarks, I'll be doing quick doodles in everyone's copy of the book, and we'll even be giving out small art prints to anyone buying it.  
Hope to see you there!

And, as always, you can buy a copy of IN THE SHADOWS here, here, here, here, OR at your local bookstore.  Thank you!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

TLA, book teaser video, and event-schwag!

In promotion -- and pre-release celebration! -- of our collaborative book IN THE SHADOWS (published by Scholastic), Kiersten White and I will be attending the Texas Library Association conference this Thursday (April 10th) for the "Young Adult Round Table: Other Worlds, Exciting Reads" panel from 10:00 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. followed later by a signing from 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  We're both very excited to be guests at the conference and look forward to the opportunity to talk about our book, meet readers!, bloggers!, other creators and industry folks, and of course, meet all of the awesome librarians (!!!) that will be there.  I truly cannot wait!

For those attending TLA, we'll be bringing along some nifty bookmarks of/for our book.  Here's a look at that (and just to be clear, there aren't two versions, it's two-sided):

You may notice that there are a couple of reviews listed on the bookmark...and you also may notice that one of them is a STARRED review! We are over the moon about that and feel humbled and honored to have a major review site (and a major reviewer!) enjoy our book so much. 
Thank you Booklist! :)
Oh!  Whoops!  What are these?  Huh?!  That's weird! I'll have to find out what those are and get back to you (heh heh)...

Lastly, we're excited to premiere our first (of several!) videos about our book!  Here's the first, which is kind of a "teaser-trailer" of sorts showing a tiny taste of what readers are in for.  If you like it, feel free to share, embed, Tweet, blog, sky-write, etc this video as much as you like!

(no video showing? Click here to see it)

Again, our book is out on April 29th, but Kiersten and I will be doing a pre-release event and book-signing at Powell's Cedar Hills on Sunday, April 27th at 4pm.  Hope to see you there & thanks so much!

Monday, March 17, 2014

IN THE SHADOWS artwork samples and news

A few months ago news was announced through Publishers Weekly that I had a book coming out through Scholastic called IN THE SHADOWS.  It's a collaboration with my AMAZING co-creator (and NY Times bestselling author) Kiersten White told part in an art-story by me and partly in text by Kiersten.  We'd been working on the book since the spring or summer of 2012 and have been dying to reveal more details about it.  While we still want to stay clear of divulging too much of the plot other than to say it's a supernatural mystery (more details if you want them *here*) but we can at last share some of my artwork from the book.

Again, it's a novel told partly in artwork, and we couldn't be happier with how the hardcovers have turned out both in how the interiors printed and in the overall design of the hardcover and the jacket (cover by me, jacket design by Scholastic's designer extraordinaire Chris Stengel -- thanks Chris! :)  Here's a shot of me and also Kiersten receiving a couple of early samples recently:

Those who know me know it goes without saying, but just in case, I'll restate that it has been an absolute constant treat to work with someone as devastatingly talented as Kiersten on this project, and I'm confident I can speak for us both when I say it was a total pleasure to work with David Levithan as our editor from Scholastic.  The book is in stores on April 29th, but we'll be doing an early event shortly before it's official date.  We'll also be attending numerous conferences and conventions in the coming months (details to follow soon!). 

Additionally, I've been re-designing my website and have added the IN THE SHADOWS samples there, as well as some other artwork done over the past couple years that hasn't been collected or shown in it's entirety online (such as the Daughter of Smoke and Bone graphic sampler art for example).  Check it all out at  

Lastly, Kiersten and I will be releasing more samples of the artwork as well as some other news in the coming weeks.  Please stay tuned. 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sketch booking in Mexico, 2014

My family and I just got back from an amazing trip to Mexico with some other creative-folks that we knew to varying degrees to begin with, but now know them not only as wonderful, excessively talented people one-and-all, but also as dear friends.  Thank you Cassie Clare, Josh Lewis, Holly Black, Kelly Link, Gavin Grant, Sarah Rees-Brennan, (and Ursula!) for the invite and the creation of such a battery-charging retreat!

While there, so many story ideas, projects, and plot-lines were being bandied about that it felt like there were dozens of people staying with us!  I did a little bit of brainstorming of my own on various things I want to work on, and also, all the while, I was drawing in my sketchbook for fun.  Here are some of those pieces:

Prior to the trip, I also did these couple of sketchbook pieces based on actors in the show BANSHEE:

Shameless plug time!  
If you like my art and love a good story, please pre-order a copy of my collaborative novel with Kiersten White entitled IN THE SHADOWS from Scholastic. 
Click HERE to order from our local indie store Powell's, 
or click HERE to order from Barnes and Noble.  

Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


Following the announcement of our book together, Kiersten and I were fortunate enough to get covered again in Publisher's Weekly in the "Rights Report" column.

Here's the text, followed by our pics and the link announcing our and other cool sounding books:

David Levithan at Scholastic Press has bought North American rights to Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo's In the Shadows, in a preempt. It was pitched as "Hugo Cabret meets Miss Peregrine," and the story is told "in an alternating narrative of words and pictures." Publication is scheduled for summer 2014. Jane Putch at Eyebait Management represented Di Bartolo; White was represented by Michelle Wolfson at Wolfson Literary. Film and foreign rights are controlled by Eyebait Management.

Monday, November 04, 2013

IN THE SHADOWS gets announced on Publisher's Weekly

Hello! So it’s been a long time in the making and has involved much secret-keeping whenever people have asked me over the last year or more: “What are you working on, Jim?” -- but the project has just been announced on Publisher’s Weekly!  

Here’s the link:  

and the press release lingo:

Levithan Preempts ‘Shadows’
For Scholastic Press, David Levithan preempted North American rights to Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo’s In the Shadows. Scholastic says the novel is “told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures,” and is a “spellbinding [tale] of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy.” White is behind the text and contributed to the story, while Di Bartolo is credited with art, and the story. The book is set for 2014. Agent Jane Putch at Eyebait Management represented Di Bartolo; White was represented by Michelle Wolfson at Wolfson Literary.

Basically, the book’s physical aesthetic concept is a combination of The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but with some differences – most notably, it’s in FULL COLOR (insert the sound of whatever you imagine my voice sounding like saying “WOOHOO!” – now carry on reading, please).

And here’s the cover too (artwork by me and cover design by Scholastic’s Chris Stengel):

One of the most exciting things I have to say about the book is that it’s a collaboration with the sunburst-bright, creative dynamo, Kiersten White! Beyond being a New York Times Best Selling Author, Kiersten is not only a friend, but also a true gem to collaborate with. The poetic phrasings and graceful character moments she creates throughout the book have left me riddled with goose bumps even upon multiple re-reads. And some of the tense mysterious moments are written so lyrically & creepily -- they just leave me in awe.

As the cover states, she handled text and text story of the book while I handled the art story and artwork. And again, it's in FULL COLOR! That last part has been a constant joy for me over the past year or more as I’ve been either drawing or painting every day – both on most days. What else could an illustrator who wants to tell stories hope for?! I’ve long wanted to get back to doing more traditional painting (with some digital finishing touches where needed) so I feel beyond lucky to be able to do so in the pages of a book that I’ve co-created. It is without a doubt, the largest project I have ever been a part of, and needless to say, it’s been a true labor of love and passion project for us both and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of what we’ve created together.

Another one of the most exciting things was when we learned some months ago that David Levithan -- not only one of my music-loving-kindred-spirits, but also a powerhouse of an author and editor – wanted to acquire and publish our creation has been a constant thrill and honor.  Thank you David, and thank you Scholastic!

And of course, a big thank you to my agent and friend, Jane Putch.  You are the best! 

So for now, those of us involved will remain a bit in secret about the book’s specific plot, or how it all works as a book, but as I am able to announce further details, I’ll be doing so here.

(*update*): Lastly, I should clarify, that the book comes out on April 29th, 2014, and you can pre-order it through Powells Books here, through Barnes and Noble here, through Indie Bound here, and through Amazon here.  Thanks for reading!