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 www.jimdibartolo.com  

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!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bridget Zinn and her novel POISON

To begin with, forgive the long dormant blog and thank you for reading it through its dust covered and cob webbed state. While I have been busy working away on several ambitious projects (and I promise news about them will follow as I'm allowed to discuss them), in the meantime, the reason I am here now is to discuss something so very important: the release of a wonderful novel by a dear, sweet lady that is no longer with us. The novel is called POISON, and the sweet lady was my friend Bridget Zinn. 

Not ever having done anything like this before, I first want to say that leading up to this book's release has been a long time in coming and Laini and I -- and those who were lucky enough to have known her better than us -- are thrilled to see it hit the stores at long last. It goes without saying that we wish she were here to see it, and after losing another writer friend to cancer several months before Bridget, for a while it felt like the kindest, purest, and most thoughtful among us were being pulled away one by one.

But I don't want to focus on anything negative here. Bridget certainly didn't. She was always one of the happiest people I've been around, and her up-beat nature is evident in her fun debut novel. And I'm not alone in my praise for it. The official reviews have all been VERY deservedly praise-filled, and I'm excited for others to have a chance to now read it for themselves. So, please be among those newcomers yourself. If you are local, come to A CHILDREN'S PLACE this Saturday at 6:00pm to hear Laini and other local authors read from the novel and then do a group signing of POISON on Bridget's behalf. If you are NOT local, but would like to have one of the signed novels I mentioned, the store will be taking phone orders to ship.

Furthermore, there are more cool things going on that people are taking part in. Go here for more information.

Lastly, if the fact that almost two years after her death those who knew her are joining forces to spread the word about her book release isn't enough to give you an impression of how lovely she was, here's a quick, small story about what she was like. After approximately two years of fighting a cancer that arose aggressively and out of left field in 2009, Bridget sent me an apology for not getting me a birthday gift in time for my April 25th (2011) birthday. I had had no party, and I'm not someone who normally asks for -- or expects! -- gifts from my friends on holidays. But dammit, Bridget not only remembered my birthday, she actually felt guilty about being a little late wishing me a happy day. She then further remedied that by sending a gift and a card. Perhaps that sounds like a small act, but I am still in awe of her kindness and grace during her trying time, and the fact that she thought of me at that time wrenches me in the chest to this day.  But ... it also gives me a reminder of the sort of person to strive to be. Thank you, Bridget.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Vacation sketches

It may be clear to some, but for those who it's not, the artist Jean Giraud (more widely known, I believe, as "Moebius") was an influence on the cowboy theme and style on a couple of those drawings. More on that in a moment. You see, my wife, daughter, and I were traveling in France for a few weeks recently and it's difficult to not be influenced by the countless ways in which art and design are applied to just about everything there. In short, I was constantly inspired and in awe and we cannot wait to return to France hopefully soon and often. Anyhow, I knew that graphic novels (or "bande dessinee") were not only MUCH more respected and widely accepted as a valid form of literature by the masses in France, but I had NO idea that even just about every location that you can buy a magazine has at least one or more graphic novel for sale. Crazy! (from an American perspective). Even within the Pantheon, at their gift shop, the FIRST thing visible was a poster, display table, and stacks of a recent graphic novel (granted, it was about the Pantheon, but there were OTHER bande dessinee available there too). So for those who know me, it goes without saying that I visited several "comic book" book stores while in France and while I didn't end up buying any Moebius books (out of the, ahem, number of books I did buy), perusing large sections of the shelves that had books by him did have an influence on me. Particularly the "Blueberry" westerns that he illustrated. Simply put, beautiful stuff! There were a number of other sketches, and I'll post some more non-work-related ones another time perhaps. Also, some (GOOD!) news will be coming too, but until then, cheers!