Hannah Mueller

For Christmas, my wife and daughter totally surprised me with a Wacom tablet. I'm not (and probably never will be) ready to completely abandon traditional ink and paper, but I AM really impressed with the newfound ability to create line variation in a digital drawing. Many more experiments, and a hopefully a more uplifting New Years posting soon!

PS I do wish we'd get some real snow out here soon though...


McCabe Memorial Fundraiser

The xc ski community is pooling its resources in order to purchase two paintings by my late friend, Sean McCabe. Even better than the obvious financial contribution is the fact that the paintings will be given to Sean's two young daughters - in memory of their dad. The fundraiser continues through January 15th at www.fasterskier.com.


Happy Holidays!

My daughter and I teamed up for our second annual Christmas card print. She drew/designed/printed it. I cut the block and provided assitance/heavy hands-on consultation with the printing. So much fun, and she loves it too :)


Wonder Schools! Part 2

Busy of late, but thanks and recognition to several school/festival visits in October and November is LONG over due! To start, in mid-October I attended my second Humbolt County Authors Festival. In a nutshell...

....I tagged along with a gallery tour at the Morris Graves Museum of Art and did a short illustrator talk about my work from Dog Diaries...

...I visited Washington Elementary and Arcata Christain Academy...

...made guest appearance on the cable access t.v. program "Homework Helpers"...

...and pretty much basked in the joyful glory of the "school visit" part of my job! Check out these great projects by the students at Arcata Christian. Above: construction paper sloths and cheetahs ala Slow Days, Fast Friends.

On the fast/slow theme as well, the teachers crafted this great creative writing excercise. "I want to slow down when... I like to go fast when..." PLUS, they brought in an art component as the kids each painted sunsets!

Kids also wrote and illustrated their very own Dog Diaries...

...and built their own mosters ala Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom.

As usual, I did some drawing to compliment my talking. Here is the Alligator, Bear, Crocodile for the ABC Pre-schoolers. Yup, alligators and crocodiles are pretty similar, but that's what they wanted :)

As a special treat at lunch, we had Slow Days, Fast Friends cake. So cool!

Look at that CAKE!

The final morning is a big booksale at the beautiful Humbolt County Library.

I shared a table with the amazingly talented writer, illustrator, singer Bruce Hale...

...and the entire 3 days with the rest of these incredible folks. Larry Dane Brimner, Shirley Climo, and Mathew Gollub are pictured in the foreground here.

Finally, on Nov. 4-5 I visited 3 different schools and libraries in the Sno-Isle Library System as a part of their annual Children's Book Week. Great, inquisitve kids in all three places...

...plus there was more CAKE! Otis the otter, featured here, is one of the many drawings that I did last spring for the Sno-Isle Kids Library Homepage. Cheers!



So much to be thankful for - especially amidst the recent rending of tears and expostulations into the ether...

Family and friends. A community of others. Those to be held, who in return will hold. Bright eyes, rosy cheeks, and mischevious grins... definitely the top of my list!


Not to be Missed

If you haven't seen it already, Sophie Blackall's Missed Connections blog is too good to miss. I was already a fan of her work - especially her color pallet and sense of style in Ruby's Wish, Meet Wild Boars, and Ivy and Bean - now I'm like that gawky teenager in awe of a girl who pretty much walks on water. Simple. Striking. Delicate and bold. Great stuff!


The Fix!

A quick peak at most of POLAR OPPOSITES -- both on my studio wall and on the front porch getting a final coat of "workable" fixative. Highly recomended that you wear some sort of mask for this part of the job. After several weeks of minimal sleep I pretty much resemble an alien anyway...


On the Drawing Board

In the final throws of my latest picturebook project. Frankly, I'm late on this one, but there's been a lot going on... I'll be sure to send a celebratory post when done is done!


Tremendous loss...

Last Saturday morning, my friend Sean McCabe died after a long stuggle with Thyroid cancer. He was far too young for such a fate, and leaves behind his wife Laura, two beautiful daughters, and far too many other impacted lives to count.

For anyone reading this on my children's book blog, you need only know that Sean was a gifted artist and teacher. His persona - his love for color, dedication to work (in both the classroom and the studio,) sense of humor, athleticism, and his incredible generosity towards family, friends, students, and acquaintances - deserves tribute here.

Shed a tear. Paint. Write. Act. Take solace in the dreams that you have, the people in your life, and the time that you are given.

You can enjoy Sean's paintings and purchase his work at Sean McCabe Studio.

Rest in Peace Sean.

With much Love.

Your Pal,



25 Luftballoons

Happy 25th Anniversary to St. Paul's finest children's bookstore! The Red Balloon Bookshop celebrates 25 years this month.


Arg! Happy Halloween!

The pirate limped, the toddler toddled, and the bunny hopped -- all through the town!

I'm overdue with a post about another fantastic year at the Humbolt County Author Festival. I'll report on that very soon :)


Recommended Reading: Rabitt Hill by Robert Lawson

I don't think I've done a book recommendation before, but reading Rabbit Hill might make this a semi-regular feature. We recently finished this really cool 1944 edition (on lone from my father-in-law) and it was great.

In some recess of my brain, I can recall reading this book as a kid. I know for certain that I would have loved the artwork, but reading it out-loud over the last few weeks of bedtime routine, I am now firmly impressed with the entire package. The cast of characters, the dialog, the emotional swings of the story... It's an excellent read-aloud. Like so many good books, there are real moments of danger, joy, sadness, and elation at play here. When reading aloud, those feelings bubble so naturally into the author's chosen words that you can't help but "act " a bit as you read along.

Plus, the art work is still awesome! Check it out. Hop to it. Etc.!


Wonder Schools! Part 1

My week started off with a 5:30am rousting and just possibly the most gorgeous school visit drive of my life! I sauntered down the Methow under cover of darkness, filled up with gas in the 16 degree chill of Brewster, WA, and rose up out of the Columbia River Valley into early light and long shadows. Some inspiring color in the dryland grain farming NE of Waterville...

... and then a descent into Dry Falls /Sun Lakes -- a canyon carved out by the Ice Age Floods.

The students, teachers, staff, and parents at Grant Elementary School were just simply AWESOME! So friendly, creative and welcoming. Thank you all very much, and keep up the excellent work on your own writing and illustrating!

PS Click the school link above for a few additional photos of the visit -- for as long as they stay on the "News Paws" homepage anyway :)

Illustration Friday: Flying

A return to Illustration Friday! Next week, I promise to create something brand new, but this is from my latest book at least.


Orange County Children's Book Festival

Here's a quick photo from my recent weekend in Orange County, CA. In conjunction with the Orange County Children's Book Festival, and on behalf of Jacketflap.com, I spent the day hanging out with Dan Santat, Ashley Wolff, Joy Allen and several other excellent author types in the chilly Californina sunshine. More to come soon!


A Fall 2009 Methow Arts Interview

Boo and Dinny (from Boo's Surprise) join me on the cover of Methow Arts Magazine.


Some Good News!

About 10 days ago I received word from author Deb Vanasse that Totem Tale had been selected as a Reading is Fundamental (RIF) read-aloud book for "40,000 children in 50 public elementary schools" in Washington, DC. The RIF DC Initiative (“DCI”), is a special program facilitating free book distribution and motivational activities. All children in participating schools get to choose a free book to keep at each of the three book distribution events held during the school year. Totem Tale will be featured in the first book event during November, which is American Indian Heritage Month.

In celebration (and support) of such excellent news, I've just established a separate blogsite for a Totem Tale teacher's guide and other supplemental materials.

And, just because it's REALLY nifty, I'm posting this swanky Totem Tale Music Player right here as well!

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Through the wonders of modern technology and the generous talents of Terry Hunt at Mountain Sound Digital Media LLC, you can listen to a theme song for each of the totem characters in the book. Terry wrote and performed these pieces for a 2006 Totem Tale theatrical production by the Methow Valley Community School. The play was FANTASTIC, and with Terry's permission, I am extremely pleased to share that music with you today!


Fair Enough!

The Okanogan County Fair: A feast of images (and curly fries!)


An experiment with an experiment...

This is old hat for some of you, but on the heels of Summer Reading 2009 I've just uploaded my very first Lulu.com self-publishing experiment. Super Princess Madam Zorony lives!

Each interior page in this serial story was the result of much collaboration and creative input by kids all over north central Washington. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Once I get a few copies of my own, I plan to put them in circulation - back into the libraries from whence they came!


Too Cool!

"Literacy Day" 2009. Octavius Bloom goes to school. Too cool!


Back to Work!

A signed copy of Boo's Surprise to the first person who identifies our photo locale!

My family and I just returned from a 10-day summer trip and we're right back in the thick of things on this fine Thursday afternoon.

I just mailed off several framed Dog Diaries pics for a September/October show at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, in Eureka, CA. These images will be shown in conjunction with the Humbolt County Author Festival, and I couldn't be happier about this return trip to northern California.

To top it off, I just learned that David Diaz is going to be there! I met David briefly at last winters' SCBWI NYC Conference, but was a little too shy (as usual) to really make his acquaintance. I'm totally cool when it comes to meeting kids, teachers, librarians etc., but put me in a room full of incredible authors n' illustrators and I shrink: "The agony!" To wit, since so many other fine folks are attending the Humbolt shindig as well, I promise to get out of my shell and make the most of it.

Signing off, I'll leave you with a proof of the Spring 2010 Cat Diaries cover. I've shown the cat image before, but the design is really coming together...

The drawing table awaits!


Grandpa Tomato

This spring, for the first time ever, my wife, daughter and I planted a garden. For a while now, we have been sampling the fruits of our labor, but this last batch of carrots and tomatoes was particularly satisfying. Lots of lettuce too, and a bunch of swiss chard that I neglected to include in the photo.

I've also discovered an nostalgic association for the smell of a tomato plant. It reminds me of my grandfather!


At last!

Yesterday afternoon, I *posted the final page of my summer reading adventure with the North Central Regional Library system.

Just in case you've missed out thus far, library-by-library, kids and assorted other audience members helped me to build this story page-by-page. We'd read the story in-progress, brainstorm, edit, and ask the all important question "what happens next?" The end result is action-packed and lots of fun. It gets a little silly at the end, but the evil Dr. Dexter definitely lands in the right place... for now!

*For some reason I can't post a picture up here right now. Follow the link and you'll get some artwork to accompany this rambling prose.


Boo's Surprise!

Sunday August 9th, 2009 2:00pm

Join me at Trail's End Bookstore in Winthrop, WA
to celebrate the publication of Boo's Surprise.

This sequel to Boo's Dinosaur (2006) has been praised by Kirkus Reviews for its upbeat voice, convincing family relationships, child-centered dialog, and engaging double-page drawings.
Meet the illustrator (yours truly!) and get your photo taken with Boo and her brand new dinosaur. Plus, I'll bring treats and a "surprise" drawing project.

Please, please, please, please, please, stop on by!