Monday, December 31, 2007

Let's read!

Here is the best thing that happened to me over the Christmas Break. In my home town paper
The New Milford Spectrum) I saw this picture; Two boys holding two different books ( Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch ) both designed by me.

For the most part my family really doesn't get what I do so to have this as a piece of evidence of my profession is deeply satisfying even if they still think I drew the pictures. Oh me.

I have begun to collect all my files from the development of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid cover.
I hope to explain the development of the cover design, process and concept that it went through. To explain the process in full from the author's point of view I am enlisting Jeff Kinney to give his take. ( As soon as he finishes book 3) It should be interesting and I am excited to get started on it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

12.20.07 Playlist

Currently Listening To:

Marquee Moon—Television,
Black Country Rock—David Bowie,
Let's Get Funky—Hound Dog Taylor and the
Gentle on my Mind—Johnny Cash,
Girl Of My Dreams—Charles Mingus
Samskeyti—Sigur Ros,
Cloud Cult—Chemicals Collide,
House of Cards—Radiohead,
Come As You Are—Nirvana,
Glass, Concrete and Stone—David Bryne,
Big Rock Candy Mountain—Tom Waits,
In Transit—Albert Hammond, Jr.,
One Thought Is Flickering—Die Romanik,
Friends—Chris Holmes,
I Don't Really Love You Anymore—The Magnetic Fields,
A Prayer For England—Massive Attack,
These Days—Mates of State,
Things To Try—Terry Reid,
The Great Escape— We Are Scientists,
Daisy—Chuck Coleman,
Rise—Eddie Veder,
Plans—Grizzly Bear,
In the City—The Jam,
Radio, Radio—Elvis Costello,
So It Goes—Nick Lowe,
The Blues Are Still Blue—Belle & Sebastian,
Jesus, etc.—Wilco,
Where To Begin—My Morning Jacket
Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken— Camera Obscura,
New York, New York— Ryan Adams,
Prelude To A Kiss—Phineas Newborn Jr.,
M.I.A.— Foo Fighters,
Good Vibrations—Brian Wilson,
Cars and Telephones—The Arcade Fire,
Thank You For Sending Me An Angel—Talking Heads
Postcards from Italy—Beirut,
London Calling— The Clash
No More Heroes—The Stranglers

Al Roker’s next Today Show book club pick

Book 1: The Fairy Tale Detectives

will be Al Roker’s next Today Show book club pick
this Friday December 21 at 9:30am est. This is an amazing media hit and a terrific follow-up to the reappearance of the series on the New York Times bestseller list in October.

You can see previous club picks and the types of online resources that will be made available by visiting this link:
http://today.msnbc.msn.coPublish Postm/id/18179145/

Book 1 will be the focus of the club pick, the just-released book 5 will get a plug, and all of the other books in the series will be shown on the set.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A New Way of Seeing—Samuel Palmer

There are some artist who give us a new way of seeing: Samuel Palmer is one of them. He painted familiar scenes—trees, sheep, villages, the night sky, fields, —but in a way that had never been done before, before Palmer. Subsequently, his rich forms and vivid colors have inspired many artist including myself.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Seurat at the MoMa

Though Seurat is most often remembered as a Neo-Impressionist, the inventor of pointillism, and the creator of the painting,
A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, his incomparable drawings are among his–and modernism’s–greatest achievements. Working primarily with conté crayon on paper, Seurat explored the Parisian metropolis and its environs, abstracted figures, spaces, and structures, and dramatized the relationship between light and shadow, creating a distinct body
of work that is a touchstone for the art of the twentieth century and today.

Even though Seurat saw his drawings as only a means to an end, research for his painting. I find them even more poetic than his actual paintings. Transient. His figures dissolve into the landscapes becoming part of there surroundings.
So quiet yet charged with the vibrations of there presence.

The drawing, most of them made in his studio, focus on light and its shaping and modeling of the figures. The resulting tones informed color relationships in the final work.
If you haven't gotten yourself down to the MOMA you need to. I am planning to go back for seconds. And if your're there say hi to Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World she is lonely.

A Evening with the De Brunhoff's

I am currently working on Laurent de Brunhoff's next installment of Babar and family's adventures, BABAR'S USA.
Babar and his family travel to the U.S. in this new Babar adventure. Among
the places they visit: NYC, Key West, Los Angeles (Hollywood), San
Francisco, Grand Canyon, and Vermont (skiing).

Laurent has created a new medium for the images: he places the drawn
characters of Babar and his family into photographs of the actual places. A
very humorous and appealing approach!

Phyllis Rose de Brunhoff used her keen wit to spin an incredible text to accompany the images.
She also gave me some great recipes. ( That I actually used)

We sat down over a glass of scotch and went over layout in his Upper East side apartment. It was a surreal moment to be working on a Babar book. When not too long ago I was being read one and not over a glass of scotch. Who was I too be telling him what I thought, right! Well I guess that's what I do now. Kinda amazing.

Phyllis Rose de Brunhoff used her keen eye to look over the text and gave me some great recipes. ( That I actually used)

I 'll post pics of the art when the book gets closer to being done.

Advisement: Babar reminds his readers that this a work of fantasy, and only elephants should try to place their young on the backs of buffalo.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

instinct and intuition

"After reading half of this book sometime ago and then getting side track, I finally picked it up again. Mainly to get reacquainted with Dylan before seeing I'M NOT HERE.

I am currently reading the chapter where Dylan is lost with in himself. No longer enjoying is creativity or understanding it. "The problem was that after relying so long on instinct and intuition, both these ladies had turned into vultures and were sucking me dry" Dylan said. He was stuck unable to change and didn't know why or how to get back. But you can't resist change it will only pull you under. Feeling this pull he leaves a rehearsal with the Dead intending not to go back because he felt he had nothing to give. Until he goes for a walk in the rain, passing a small forgotten jazz club. He describes being "called" into the bar. After listening to an old jazz singer belt out lyrics with his natural force and relaxed attitude. Inspire or reminded of himself he begins to find his old confidence. To create from your instinct to let yourself flow with out your mind getting in the way. Almost and automatic reaction. Not resisting your natural forces. I think Dylan saw this was aware this simple notion that is easily forgotten.
His awareness of the moment struck me the most. To be opened to listen to the signs or callings around him. To not resist the pull. To be aware that signs or feelings might help or figure into helping him along. When we resist these we resist learning. Learning about what's next. Resisting change. And if we do we are forever stuck.

Okay on to the next chapter

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Drawings

I am in the process of moving this blog to a new name and link

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Portfolios and Promo Cards

At a recent event I was asked two questions:

1."When is your portfolio drop-off day"

2."Do you like getting 'portfolio' cards in the mail.

I had the same answer for both "No".

Now this is by no means a universal opinion but rather my own. My answer got me to thinking of the why? Why do I feel this way. I see a ton of cards pass my desk everyday which I scan through so fast that it seriously isn't worth the time that is but into them or the money. Some are really amazing. But I think they might be a waste, at least for me. What I would rather see is work on a website or Blog or some sort of online posting. Save your sell some stamps and some trees and get your work online.

Second I like most art directors these days don't have much time left in there day to see new portfolios on drop-off days. We will call artist in when we need to see there work. ( which we find on sites, from reps, and artist recommendations) Why is this? It was not long ago that an Art Director would have illustrators in to look over there work together. The Art Director had more time in a way to see new work. Before computers publishers worked on fewer books and thus had more time to look and cultivate new talent. When you work on over 70 books, plus 26 calendars a year, unfortunately you have little time to see new work. This doesn't mean I don't want to, I do. But working on more books means that there is more work out there than there was 20 or even 10 years ago.

So how do you get me to see your work?

As I suggested before, get your work online. I love looking at new sites. We all waste time in the morning on the Internet. So why not have me looking at your site over a tasty sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. But again, how do you get me to look at you site. I have created a email address for you to send your site address too. This way you are not clogging up my work email which can be quiet troublesome.

Let's see how this little experiment works out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Process and Refinement

It's been awhile since I posted anything about the BLOG novel I had been
working on. Since the last post I hired the amazing Christine Norrie who really brought this project to life. Here is the various incarnations of her work from start to finish.

Title page art


Monday, August 13, 2007

Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibition

Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibition

Four of our titles were selected for this exhibition!

The Giant of Seville
Sawdust and Spangles
Water Boy
The Golden Rule

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Rodrick Rules!

I have been away for a while now. Where have I been you ask? Well adventuring on the high seas looking for exotic species of rare night fish of course. But when I got back I got right to work on the next installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Here is a sneak peak at what the cover of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES! Book two in the series. Releasing sometime in early January 08.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Something to Blog About

A little while ago I mentioned that I was designing a novel based on a Blog. The title of this book is now "Something to Blog About." This has not been an easy one to work on. Mainly because as a designer it is very easy to go down the road that has been travel so much—cut off faces, bad stock images to make it look literary or like some sort of angsty character on the cover, but not this book we won't let it happen. I have always wanted to keep it graphic. So of course I took suggestions and checked out other blog designs. Only for a jacket it wasn't enough. I needed an image to hold it together. Two scenes played over and over in discussions of the jacket; one in which Libby burns her hair in chemistry class in front of a boy she is crushing on and the other where she trips in front of the boy crush Seth Jacobs. I was thinking of showing this in some graphic silhouettes with other graphic elements to fancy it up a bit. And then I realized I had a chance to use some artist that I have always wanted to work with.

Stay tuned to see what happens next.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Upcoming Interview idea

I have decided to take lead from other Blogs and begin an interview section to Mishaps and Adventures. The idea would be to interview other designers, Art Directors, Publishers and Artist. My hope is to start with delving into the processes of making a book and what publishers are looking for in hopes of making it a teaching tool for others ...ambitious I know.

So class now is the time if you have any questions you might like to ask about anything publishing related. I will take them very seriously an use them as possible questions in these interviews. I figure this will help me ask questions that you want answers to.

Possible interviews include Howard Reeves ( Publisher of Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books), David McPhail (Illustrator), Jeff Kinney (Author and Illustrator of Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Kelly Murphy (Illustrator), and Neil Swaab ( Designer and author of Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles) to name a few..

And since I like to include an image everytime I post, here is a drawing I did of a couple of birds.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How to make a Picture Book Jacket, that works.

I would like to start delving into what makes a good jacket for a picture book. (This is by all means open for discussion) Far to often I will receive postcards and dummy books in the mail from Illustrators which give little or no thought to a jacket image. This is a mistake. In my opinion if you can illustrate a good image for the jacket summarizing the story you might have an easier time with the interior illustrations as well. Since you are able to visualize the entire story into one picture successfully. But my all means this is not always the case.
A good portion of the time Illustrators tend to try and use an image from the interior of there book. And I don't blame them after 32 to 40 pages of illustrations, I am sure they are tired of the book and the thought of one more illustration seems daunting. But I think it helps to make the book unique as possible to create an image that stands on it's own.

The first thing I suggest, and this goes for novels as well, is to think of one image or character that summarizes the story simply. I find when there is a scene of action it some times makes the jacket very busy. All of the examples below show single character composition. Basically to introduce the character and tell a little bit about the mood of the story with out giving to much away. They are what some call ICONIC covers. Iconic = simple and brand