Thursday, August 30, 2007

Inking Practice

I'm working on a coat of arms for the (amazing imho!) Portland-based band Floater and had some time to kill while waiting for the "Green Light" to begin working on the final design. I love to do warm-up pieces in general especially if I'm about to start a final piece of art. And working on what my mind perceives to be a "real" piece in between waiting to hear back from a client is tough (for crazy ol' me at least, unless it's going to be more than a few hours, in which case I'm fine) because I'm too distracted wanting to know if they're going to want another rough or will give the go ahead. I've got to get over this, like, right NOW, and be able to shift from one project to the other while waiting for approval because I've got plenty to keep me busy! But at the same time, a little warming-up is never a bad thing! (right? anybody...?)

So anyhow, here's a piece I worked on to warm up for the "House of Floater" coat of arms (just so you know, this is NOT a reflection of any of the subject-matter in the coat of arms :) On this one I pretty much just started drawing with the pen nib and didn't stop to correct anything until I was done. It's always very satisfactory when it flows out without any real screw-ups and also is a great confidence-booster before starting a more methodical finished piece.

By the way, Floater will be playing at Bumbershoot this weekend & if you're lucky enough to be there, make sure you do NOT miss them as they are simply AMAZING live!

Once the finished piece is done and the band has given me the A-OK I'll post it here.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A HUGE announcement, SCBWI, Comic-Con Int’l, and a website update (sheesh!)

First off, after you finish reading this post, please go to my website at to check out my re-designed site and updated artwork sections. There’re still a couple things that go to the old site for now, but I’ll be updating those soon too. Here’s what the homepage looks like now:

Now onto the HUGE announcement. Both Laini and I have dropped a couple of hints here and there over the past few months or so regarding a project that we’re working on, or calling it top secret or some such. It’s also the item I have listed in my Blogger profile where I say I’m “creating art for another collaborative book effort.” Well, that book was a collection of short stories Laini had written about a year ago (initially they were entries for the site she and our friend Meg had created called Sunday Scribblings, but Laini expanded and revised them into longer stories. After I read the new versions of them months ago we started talking about the longtime dream we had of creating illustrated novels like those that used to exist decades and decades ago. So with these amazing stories fresh in my mind, I took some time developing a slightly more stylized look to the art that I thought would best accompany the worlds Laini had created. After creating about 5 pages of samples that we both felt really liked, we handed them over to the agent we share and she took them out into the world.

Anyhow, the FANTASTIC news is that we can finally announce that the book WILL be published by Arthur Levine’s Scholastic Books imprint!! I won’t go into details about who Arthur Levine is other than to say that he oversees some AMAZING (and amazingly famous) books and we are THRILLED to have the opportunity to be working with him and the rest of the folks at his imprint and Scholastic Books! THRILLED I say! Since some of the concepts for the book will be nailed out soon as well as the art style and such, I'll update more as it develops.

We also had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with Arthur at the recent Summer SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Conference a couple weeks ago and had a fantastic time getting to know him. To add to the great time, we were able to meet (and pester!) Rachel Griffiths, his former Associate Editor, but now an editor herself at Scholastic Press, and the always friendly and warm Elizabeth Parisi (the Executive Art Director for Scholastic and Arthur’s imprint). Geez (!) what a bunch of great people! Here are an assortment of pix of us with Arthur and Rachel at lunch (with our agent) as well as some including Elizabeth and Rachel. As Laini pointed out on her blog, don’t the two of us look like a couple of toothy goombahs?!

And speaking of great people, Laini and I also had the always fun opportunity to spend time with her Dreamdark editor at Penguin/Putnam, Tim Travaglini when we were at the San Diego Comic-Con. Tim and his marketing staff (and Laini) had helped organize a panel that Laini and 9 other fantasy authors were on to discuss creating, writing about, and the importance of: villains! What a fun panel, and I was SO proud of my wife! What a pro in front of 400+ folks! After the panel, she signed copies of her book. The next day, we both had the honor of signing in the shared Penguin/Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore booth. We had a pretty solid turnout, they raffled off my artwork (one print and one original (see previous post)) and I sketched a bit in some people’s books (the pressure to not screw up almost paralyzes me every time! :) Here’re some pics of us with the SO generous and SO fun Tim Travaglini, a pic from Laini on the "villains" panel, the signing on Saturday, and dinner with Tim on Friday night after the con closed for the day (our agent and the Penguin marketing ladies were also there, check out Laini's blog for more dinner pics). (P.S. - thanks for the bow-tie tutorial Tim! :)

I’ll post more pics from the conventions soon (I hope!).

Thanks for stopping by!

Be well,