Mom-Tested! Leonard Marcus Selected. Fuse #8 Directed.

My almost daily scan of ├╝ber librarian Fuse #8's blog brought a pleasant surprise this morning...
Boo's Dinosaur was selected by Leonard Marcus and the Moms at Parenting Magazine, as one of their Best Books for 2006 !

Granted, the Fuse's tone is characteristically edgy -- and she is, me thinks, not whole heartedly supportive of the Parenting Magazine/Mr. Marcus selections, but from where I stand any national-type exposure for a book that I've worked on is a pretty nice thing :)

5 degrees this morning when I took out the garbage. A fine bit o' news to warm me up.


Illustration Friday: Clear

or "clear" sailing in this case...
Late with this return to Illustration Friday.
I'll try to be on time with the next.


A Teaser for Spring... '007

Final covers are complete for both What Are You Hungry For? written by Emme and Phil Aronson (HarperCollins) and Dog Diaries written by Besty Byars, Betsy Duffy, and Laurie Myers (Henry Holt). Lots of waiting to do between now and then, but seeing the covers completely typeset and in all of their glossy glory is always very nice! Much more about both projects as we get closer to the springtime publishing dates :)


Color these BOO-tifully

A few new coloring pages from Boo's Dinosaur.
Click on the images to print at full-size.



Please excuse the Terminator reference... it seemed like fun,
and I'm still celebrating the rebirth of my first book.
Three Cheers for a 3rd edition!


Happy Halloween!

Some coloring treats!


The Practically Perfect Pajamas Rides Again!


Alright, this bit of HUGE NEWS has been many years in the making... Given that I live near a make believe western town -- wooden boardwalks, hitching posts, and serious ordinances for appropriate signage etc. -- the "Rides Again" is only fitting!

The Practially Perfect Pajamas, my very first authored and illustrated picturebook - a Summer 2000 Booksense Selection, a Southern California Booksellers Association "Best Bet" for the Y2k Holiday Season, and a 2001 CBC/IRA Children's Choices Selection (picked by kids no less!) - is finally BACK IN PRINT!

2500 additional copies have been newly minted and shipped to undisclosed locations on the eastern seaboard. For now, individuals and bookstore owners alike should place orders directly with Winlsow Press: dfk@winslowpress.com or from their website at www.winslowpress.com.

With some amount of luck, Winslow's bankruptcy stigma will eventually wear off, appropriate parties will be justly compensated, and the book will sit comfortably on library shelves -- hard to find only because it is being read!


The Methow Valley Boo Debut

Dear Methow friends and curious readers everywhere:

Just in case you've missed the posters... I will be reading and sharing the artwork from my new book, BOO'S DINOSAUR (written by Besty Byars) tomorrow night. Don’t miss:


Tuesday, October 17th
6:00pm at the Twisp River Pub**

This will be a true ALL AGES multimedia experience, featuring, among other things, a visit from Boo herself. “What?” you say, a visit from one of your drawings in the book! Really? YES. It ‘s TRUE. See for yourself tomorrow at 6:00pm.

For those needing even more: Tomorrow’s program will also feature the debut of Terry Hunt's audio recording of my last book, SLOW DAYS, FAST FRIENDS. Enjoy Terry's versatile musical stylings with vocal performaces by talented Twisp thespians, Damon and Ginny Abdullah. This was a non-commercial venture by all parties, but it turned out really great. Come take a listen and help me thank Terry, Damon and Ginny for their terrific work.

Hope to see you there :)

With a big and welcoming ROAR from the Dinosaur,


*Thanks to Brian and Amy Sweet at Trail’s End Bookstore for coordinating the event. They will be selling and I will be signing books for any and all that are interested.

**Many thanks as well to Aaron and the Pub for use of the space. The snack/bar menu WILL be available for those wanting dinner.


Holy WOW!

I was packing up the artwork for DOG DIARIES last night and my daughter was drawing with the Prismacolor pencil stubs somewhere behind me. She has been recognizing forms and familiar shapes in her drawings lately and will call out "mitten", "mouse", "snake" etc. when she creates something that she knows... Last night, she crew with intent!

When I peeked, she had drawn the green shape with two little circles inside. She then "circled" those circles and called it a mask. I laughed silly. Dumbfounded by witness of this very clear "face" that she was making :)

Amazingly (to me at least) she added little brown legs and arms - both rather symetrically places on the green head. She colored in the eyes, added purple and yellow hair, and then went crazy with some extra decorations... the end result: Person with Rockets all Around. Pretty neat!


Elements of Style

The Blue Rose Girls are an amazingly energetic and insightful group of authors, illustrators, and editors in children's publishing.

They were discussing this ever present question of style just few days ago. After a whirwind weekend of illustrating - a cookbook cover for my daughter's school, a sign for the native plant garden at my wife's work, and just a few chapterbook illustrations -

it is clear to me that a signature style is NOT entirely obvious in my work. I simply run with it.

Three vastly different images in less than 48 hours? I feel like this is a good thing, but suppose as well that it makes me unpreditable... Perhaps, an evolution towards something more consistantly recognizable will be my progression over time.

Monkey Business Mentions

True to the nature of those prehensile tails, Monkey Business keeps hangin' around! Here's a nice new mention from the August 2006 issue of Washington Parent Magazine. My Mei Mei a new book by Caldecott Medalist Ed Young is also mentioned here. His watercolors are fantastic as always and my three year old LOVED the image of a young girl pretending that her daddy is the baby. I know for certain that at least one member of the Brooks family can play that game for hours :)


Illustration Friday: Quiet

I will get back to creating original IF pieces soon enough. However, this week's image did emerge from my project d'jour (and I just finished it last night). A civil war battlefield... all is quiet.


A Concentration of Canines

Another sample from the project that is requiring all of my attention of late... Final art is due at the publisher next Tuesday! I really like the way that these are turning out, but I'm also sorely missing my bed. Soon enough...


Fall 2006 Events

Finding this photo from last fall's Slow Days, Fast Friends publication party reminded me that I should post my current events schedule. Most of these presentations will feature Boo's Dinosaur in one way or another, but several are more open-ended opportunities to simply share the fun that I have in making books!

Stop by and say hello :)

9/9/2006 The Redwing Children's Book Festival. 12:30-5pm. The Anderson Cultural Center, Redwing, MN. - A gallery showing will include some of my illustration work. I’m also giving a gallery talk on recent chapter book artwork and hopefully signing lots of books! Oops... too late for that one.

9/23/06 SCBWI Inland Empire (Eastern WA, Idaho) Regional Conference. 8am-5pm. Coeur d’ Alane Casino. Worley, ID – I am presenting a break-out session on creating a children’s book portfolio. Also a booksigning.

10/5/06 SCBWI Western Washington's "Inside Story" Event - 7-9pm. Santoro's Books. Seattle, WA. A three minute behind the scenes look at Boo’s Dinosaur. 14 authors and illustrators hawk their latest wares to pacific northwest booksellers, librarians, teachers, etc.. A book signing too!

10/12/06 Family Night at the Edmund's Library. Edmunds, WA - an evening presentation/story time for parents, students and teachers. 7:00pm.

10/13/06 Washington Library & Media Association Conference. Tacmoa, WA - Illustrator Pannel Discussion 10:10-11:10am and book signing, 12:30-1:15pm.

10/14/06 Seattle Children's Museum KidFest. Seattle, WA. An author talk and booksigning. Part of a 3-day festival at the Museum. Should be a blast!

10/17/2006 A Boo’s Dinosaur Publication Party. 6:00pm. Twisp River Pub, Twisp, WA. The local debut of my new book illustrations. A slide show/reading complete with artwork from the book. A special surprise guest, and free buttons! Snack menu will be served. The food is great. The setting even better. Come for dinner and a "show"


Holiday booksigning at A Book for All Seasons. 1-4pm Leavenworth, WA. If you're going to go shopping for holiday gifts this weekend... buy them books!

12/6/06 A Holiday shopping (booksigning) extravaganza! at the SCBWI Western Washington monthly meeting. 7-9pm. Follow the link for details on location and a small meeting registration fee.



Boo's Dinosaur, written by Betsy Byars and illustrated by me IS IN STORES TODAY!

I am too busy finishing the artwork for a new book to celebrate properly, but I will be sharing/signing BOO for the very first time at this weekend's SCBWI Inland Empire Regional Conference in Worley, Idaho. I'll be hosting a break-out session on portfolio preparation, and assisting with critiques as well. These are my first SCBWI conferece duties as such and I am really looking forward to it. Cheers!


Admiration Overdrive

I can't help it, everytime I check out a new book at the library, or browse through a bookstore, I get inspired to "investigate" the illustrators. I'll turn to the bio, seek out a website etc.. I guess that's why I'm doing this in the first place: I love the infinite variety of artwork to be found in books, take great pleasure in careful consideration of the many talents, and strive to make some small contribution of my own.

In any case, while exceptions abound, some incredibly high percentage of the children's book work that I admire springs from gradutates of Art Center and/or the Rhode Island School of Design. This is amazingly humbling sometimes, and speaks so highly of both programs and their alumni. Even though my own liberal arts education was impactful and inspiring in its own right, "three cheers" to those graduates of "A.C." and R.I.S.D. for their continued contributions.

P.S In this drawing the "major players" look a tad bit arrogant and stand-offish. This is by no means an accurate depiction of said graduates, but rather a flaw in my drawing :)


A Celebration of Minnesota Children's Authors and Illustrators

Attention Minnesotans (Wisconsonites and perhaps a few Iowans):

On Saturday, September 9th 2006 I am participating in the 7th Annual Celebration of Minnesota Children's Book Authors and Illustrators. Technically speaking, I do live in Washington State these days, but solid midwestern roots trump reality every time!

In any case, I'd love to meet some new folks or to reconnect with old ones. This FREE event, hosted annually by the Anderson Cultural Center in Redwing, MN is chock full of good stuff.

14 different authors and illustrators including John Coy, Debra Frasier, Pete Hautman, Lauren Stringer, Joyce Sidman, and Beckie Prange (just to name a few) will share their work. I'll be talking about my illustrations, and signing books from 1-3:30.

Hope to see you there!



Illustration Friday: Safe

Under mom's watchful eye...


Boo's Dinosaur: An "early chapterbook" by Newbery Award winner Betsy Byars

I know, I know, I just recently posted a scan of the cover, but this is really official...My first bound, hardcover, slick and glossy copy of BOO'S DINOSAUR arrived in the mail early this week.

This is my 7th book, but the thrill of seeing that very first copy is no less wonderful by any means.

Illustrating early readers is a new thing for me, but everything - from the cozy 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 trim size to the rich possibilities of interior B&W drawings - about this book feels so great. The designers and production folks at Holt did a really nice job putting it all together.

Betsy's stories are perfect for the emerging reader and I will cross my fingers that perhaps she has some new BOO stories brewing out there :)

ROAR into your local bookstore and get your copy on the official release date: September 19th, 2006!


Illustration Friday: Run

This sample art for a new chapter book-in-progress suits the topic nicely... Mt. Vesuvius is erupting. For goodness sakes, RUN!


Illustration Friday: Match

Print this out twice, trim into ninths and settle down for a game o' memory. The "matching game" as my daughter deems it!


One month to go... and a busy fall ahead!

Boo's Dinosaur, a "early chapter book" written by Newbery Medal winner Betsy Byars, illustrated by moi, and mentioned at least a few times in these musings, finally roars to life in your local bookstores and libraries in exactly one month!

I really enjoyed this project and can't wait to see it get legs. I'll post any reviews when they arrive as well as bookmarks and a coloring page or two in the next few weeks. For now, you can enjoy the cover, take a step back into these here bloggable archives (for illustrations in progress) and pre-order the books at your favorite online or brick and morter booksellers :)

Check back soon for a full fall events schedule. I'll be out there pounding some pavement, sharing the BOO, and talking about everthing else that I do.



Buttons for sale!

Just another way to add some flair and support your favorite children's book illustrator. Check out these "button badges" at prickie.com, send some to your friends,
and wear the colors proud.


Greek to Me

You never can tell what the research for a book project will uncover -- definitely one of the great things about illustrating!

Dogs in history being the current obsession, I have gathered many images to place certain stories and their canine protagonists etc. in the apporiate historical setting. While the artwork in the book will ultimately emerge in a style very much my own, it's pretty fun to try on era or two as well. The image here depicts how Max and I might have appeared on some Greek pottery 1500 years ago!


Art Exchange No. 12

I can't seem to get these posted on my own site right now, so here is the latest Art Exchange image. There are certain things that please me about the various pen and ink experiments of late. Still miles to go before I actually figure out what I am doing however...




And a smudge of charcoal in my sketchbook becomes... this thing? I suppose that random drawings are a healthy form of procrastination from more purposeful drawing. Perhaps, perhaps, perrr-HAPS.

Illustration Friday: Skyline


Bank Street College of Education Awards

Some nice news late today courtesy of Editorial Assitant Laila Sana Ehtisham at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers:

Monkey Business: Stories From Around the World
(written by Shirley Climo and illustrated by moi) has been selected by the Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education as one of the best children's books of 2005 in the Nine to Twelve "Folk and Fairy Tales" category. There is a review of it in "The Best Children's Books of the Year" 2006 edition pamphlet.

A Totem Tale Bookmark

I created this bookmark for use on the Totem Tales page of my website. It struck me recently that I might as well post such things in here as well and use up someone else's server space :)

I really hope to do some similar (and perhaps even more interesting) things for the next few books that arrive on the scene. Stay tuned for new bookmarks, the occassional coloring book page, and perhaps even a maze or two. Simply click on the image to get a full-sized version, and drag/download to your home sweet home.

Now get busy printing bookmarks and spread the good word about Erik's books - written and otherwise!


Dog Discoveries...

Art Exchange No. 11: Engarde Cat Lovers!

Just catching up on my Art Exchanges. Thought I'd share before posting to my site...



Aloha and mahalo. My family and I just returned from our first two week vacation - ever! We spent the first week on the island of Kauai with Sarah's mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law and the second in Cotati/Olema, CA for a friend's wedding and some very nice exploring in the Point Reyes/north bay area.

Snorkeling, beach sitting, wading and body surfing in Kauai were serious highlights. The fish that we saw were simply amazing and our daughter had a lot more fun than it would appear in this photo :)

I was consantly humbled by the power of the ocean as it would thrash me around while attempting to body surf. With a few valuable pointers from my brother-in-law I avoided serious injury. Despite the abundance of 10 year olds attempting similar activities I still felt like I was rolling the dice with every larger wave... Serious fun however!

In any case, back to work here in Winthrop. I sent a new picturebook manuscript out the door upon return and I have some chapter book illustrations to finish by September.

High hopes that you'll enjoy you're own summer trips and explorations. Cheers!

Illustration Friday: Sticky


Illustration Friday: Jungle

A dip into the archives for this one... This image was created for the Seattle Public Library Summer Reading Program, circa 2001. A great collaborative project for me and one of my very first official freelance illustration assignments :) A reading log and sticker sheet were also created to accompany this piece. While certainly not the first time, it was fantastic that a city library system wanted to generate completely original artwork for it's summer programing - and super fun for me to work on as well.


Illustration Friday: Portrait

And so we have a portrait of self... a new addition to a series of small self portraits that I started a while back. Smile Erik!


Blue Hen Book Award

Slow Days, Fast Friends has been nominated for the 2007 Blue Hen Book Award - as sponsored by the Children's Services Division of the Delaware Library Association. I have no idea how this sort of thing happens, but Traction Man is Here, by Mini Grey, and Zen Shorts, by John J. Muth, are also on the list. I am honored to be in such incredible company.