Illustration Friday: Imagine

Imagine what would happen if an ancient totem pole came to life...This is from a Sasquatch Books publication due out in April 2006 - A Totem Tale by Deb Vanasse.

I've been having lots of fun with the polar bear posts of late and will hopefully get in an "Imagine No. 2" posting over the coming weekend...


From the drawing board: Final Cover Art

At last, the final stage of the Boo's Dinosaur cover that has been stepping along in my postings of late. I suppose that I might bump up the contrasts a bit more to pop the dinosaur out of that sunrise background, but you get a pretty complete picture here. All art for the book will be off in the mail tomorrow, and the waiting game begins again...

Look for further news about the publication of this book in summer 2006!


One of those nights: Final

After slight derailment, the night train rallys! I'd have been better off letting a few more of these plastic dinosaurs get to work, but in any case I have succeeded in finishing off 3 additional images for the book.

The cover made less progress than desired, but this is where I'm at. I will post the final when I get there, and then its all off to Henry Holt!

Thanks for punching your ticket. Stay tuned for a new Illustration Friday image ("surprise") coming soon.


One of those nights: part 4

I will make a few more additions and then post the final art. The "one of those nights" theme has been further enlivened by the fact that our daughter has been inexplicably awake since 1:45AM. Not sick. Not able to hear me working from her bedroom. Not usually prone to this behavior... Nonetheless, she is sitting in my lap right now and has succeeded in clouding that aforementioned "endless potential" of an evening :) I've gotten some work done, even with her company, but far far less than I'd hoped. So it goes...

One of those nights: part 3

Inked. It has been drying for an hour + and soon will be ready for the wash and just a little bit of colored pencil.

One of those nights: part 2

After some time adjusting the sketch, adding just a little "age" to Boo, and refining the foreground/background perspective on her brother Sammy, this is ready to trace onto clean paper and ink.

Also, here is an early digital photo of the cover work-in-progress. Currently grooving to some music from my brother-in-law. Something called Le pas du chat noir by Anouar Brahem. Good drawing music. That's all I know...


One of those nights: part 1

Here it goes, one of those inescapable realities (for me at least) of work as an author & illustrator: the all nighter! Part of me loves it. The family tucked soundly into bed, the dog rumbling and squeeking on the couch, the BBC awaiting at midnight, and 8 blissful hours of uninterrupted time stretching with endless potential... Sensibly enough however, I don't indulge in such practice on too regular a basis. More than most I imagine, but it can't be healthy. Deadlines light the fire however and I always need a few of these wonderful evenings to get a book project finally put to bed. Get cozy. Here we go!

I'll be working on several paintings tonight, including the one that springs from this thumbnail sketch at the right. The real deal for the evening is cover art - which usually means that I am close to finishing the book. I will add some before and after shots of that tomorrow afternoon -- after a nap ;) Have a good night...

Stu stu studio... oh ooh oooh!

With due respect to Phil Collins, here is a current view or two of my studio:

Also, its going to be one of those nights... With the Boo deadline looming and only so many hours left until Dec. 15th, I will be up LATEarly. I'll post a before and after shot of either me or perhaps more interestingly, a painting, for your general amusement!



Art Exchange No. 22

Gone is gone.

Illustration Friday: Small

A small contribution from my current book project. Back to creating IF originals next week!


From the drawing board: Boo's Dinosaur - full page spread

Hope that everyone had a happy turkey day! A pleasant surprise in my neck o' the world as we woke up to 5 inches of snow and cold cold temperatures yesterday AM. Brrr. I love it, but 7 degrees on a November morning is still a little shocking :) As promised, here is a full bleed, double spread piece of artwork from the current book-in-progress, Boo's Dinosaur (Henry Holt & Co.), written by Betsy Byars. This should hit shelves in Fall 2006 and I am very much enjoying the painting process to this point. About half of the book to go. Tally ho!


From the drawing board: Final art

In the midst of artwork for BOO'S DINOSAUR written by Betsy Byars. I posted a sketch for this image earlier and now you can see where it ended up. Black & white, ink & pencil, etc. is a different way of working for me, but I am liking it quite a bit. This particular spot illustration is very small so details are kept to a minimum. I will post a larger double page spread in the next few weeks.


Illustration Friday: Free

Freed at last from his ancient prison, the Monkey King quickly proved himself a demanding, boastful, arrogant beast -- rampaging though the world. Some treat their freedoms with grace and dignity...others wreak havoc. So it has gone. So it goes.


Art Exchange No. 21

A little advanced posting of my newest Art Exchange. Mike doesn't know that this blog even exists, so I won't be ruining any surprises. Will post to erikbrooks.com on Saturday AM. Shhhh!


Its that time of year already... I suppose.

Jumping the gun on Thanksgiving - just like everyone else* - here is a sample of my holiday card offerings at the Practically Perfect Press. I'll add 2-3 additional images in the next week or two. You procrastinators out there, myself included, will therefore have even more choices available for sending holiday cheer and new year's resolve.

*While not at all a supporter of ever excellerating Christmas and New Year's into September, it is at least reasonable to start thinking about stationary... or so I will justify ;)


Illustration Friday: Strength

Strong women x 2: the birth of my daughter (2 plus years ago but still amazing...) as endured by my lovely wife, was the single greatest feat of strength and determination that I have ever witnessed.


Like Quicksand...

I once heard an author reference the period of time just after publishing a new book as " dancing on quicksand". I must say, totally true! On the one hand, I am always very excited to have a new book out there - first, third - whatever, energy and excitement are in great supply. I want to get it into the hands of as many people as possible! For several months leading up to release, I ponder promo ideas (IE this BLOG), schedule book readings, and practice my "talk" about the new book from every possible angle. The book arrives, and all of that kinetic energy pours fourth -- rather quickly... Somehow, the first weeks and months of a book's release never quite measure up to my visions. I'm no "big ticket" by any means, but I do feel good about my work and want to see it soar. Unfortunatley, the "dancing" and elation can so easily turn to slogging about and stagnation -- flinging your newest book towards too distant a limelight. It is so easy to get lost in that - to drown in expectations and bog down completely. Thusly, a reminder to myself: This work -- like so many others -- is about persistance and patience. Develope the ideas, work hard at the craft. Keep focus on the books -- the stories and the telling -- and perhaps, with a little luck your work will find its way into a reader's hands. x

Shades of Grey

My previous post lends credence to the fact that I have finally started the final artwork for a chapter book that has been hanging around for quite some time. BOO'S DINOSAUR, by Betsy Byars, will be my 4th book illustrated for another author, and my first "early reader." I've really enjoyed this story, and can only hope that my illustrations add just a little bit extra. I'm also excited to be working in almost entirely black & white (sans cover art) for the first time. As chapter books go, early readers etc., this is pretty much the norm, but new for me. Its great to be thinking entirely in terms of line and texture, light and shadow. No doubt it will help me in my other work as well. BOO will be followed by another chapter book with Henry Holt, so it also extra nice to be getting in the black & white mindset. Speaking of which, I should get to drawing!



From the drawing board: Dino Days

Winter is well on it's way with our second snow of the season - a solid 3 inches last night! This recumbent Parasaurolophus from my current early reader in-progress, is still languishing in summer's heat. So it goes :)


Illustration Friday: Night

Up most of the night working on a book project... stayed up later to finish this. I've been very taken with a rediscovery of comic art lately (after stumbling onto Flight), and will likely try some more line art like this for future Fridays.

Prints for sale!

A quick post as well to announce my first official "prints" for sale. I've uploaded several images to my online store at zazzle.com: The Practically Perfect Press, and in addition to notecards and a few t-shirts, I can now sell some pretty nice (but not too expensive) reproductions of my illustration work...wonders never cease.

Robert's Snow 2005

The 2005 Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure online auction is off and running...

Check out an amazing variety of children's book illustrator art, and bid on a snowflake or two.

Last year's auction raised over $100,000 for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and this year could be even bigger.
My own snowflake hits the e-bay auction block on November 13th. Bidding on that particular item continues through the 2oth. Ciao!


Illustration Friday: Broken

Somehow I am always too busy and not online enough to follow through with my "every other day" format... Making my first official Illustration Friday post to this site instead. I love the concept, the trading of images, a community of illustrators, but we'll see how well I handle the punctuality...

In time, I will try to dedicate a part of my own portfolio site to these images...


Out the Window

The latest in a series of sketches that I've been working out. Boo, the character depicted here, is checking in on her pet dinosaur, who is sleeping just below her bedroom window.


Illustration Friday: Roots

My first Illustration Friday posting -- the sketch anyhow. I didn't quite join this new venture in time for finishing last week's topic on time. I will post the finished piece on Sunday. The theme: "Roots". Mine scare me. The topic for this coming week is "Depth". Look out below.


Anybody out there?

Working out some new sketches. They are coming slowly. Work, not play, will get me there.


Sad : Lonesome : At a Loss

Alas, that "Every-Other-Day" mantra will be hard to keep up with. So it goes. I am certainly drawing every day, its more a matter of prioritizing time and taking the break to scan things in and make a post. by that admission, I'm not currently very good "blogger" material, but suppose that I will get more in the groove over time. Keep up while you can!


August of the Penguins

I haven't seen "March of the Penguins" yet, but imagine that I will. This sketch will be used for a more complete painting to be found soon in the ART EXCHANGE on my website


Here goes...

A little jittery about this whole affair. Still, the first upload has apparently been achieved!