The Arrival of Tall Tales!!

An early sample of TOTEM TALE arrived today! Yahoo! Its only being printed in paperback, but the PAWS IV imprint of Sasquatch books does a very nice job. Something about the characters, the graphic nature of the Tlingit inspired art, or the great glossy stock used for the cover, makes me feel like I've just illustrated my first professional comic book!!! Not a bad thing if I do say so myself. Perhaps I ought to send a few copies around to the handful of children's publishers that are jumping on the Graphic Novel bandwagon...

In further celebration of all things wild and Alaskan, my family and I woke up to 14 inches of snow on Monday morning and were expecting another 8-10 tonight! The shoveling muscles will get their dues and then I will finally sit down to finish my Illustration Friday Glamour artwork.

Good night and good luck!

PS: See a previous post featuring TOTEM TALE art here.


Illustration Friday: E is For...

E is for... Erik's ennui. Since the IF topic segues so nicely into the title of my blog, a little self portrait (sans glasses) seems only appropriate. A final penguin tribute to the dearly departed Sleep Fairy as well :)


Illustration Friday: Sea

For about a month, my daughter has been having LOTS of trouble sleeping... Improvements of late have been due in large part to visits from "The Sleep Fairy" - who leaves a small treat and a card under your pillow when you stay in bed for the whole night! It just so happens that I have been making the Sleep Fairy's cards for her. I merged worlds last night, for T.S.F's final appearance, by including just the smallest slice of the "sea."

A few additional Sleep Fairy cards are featured below -- sleep well!

Good News, Blah News...

Leading with the good :) I recently confirmed that my first illustrated book of 2005, Monkey Business: Stories from Around the World was named to the New York City Public Library's Annual list: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing. Cool!
On the down side, I also finally received a review of my September 2005 picture book, Slow Days Fast Friends... A rather flat affair from School Library Journal:

PreSchool-Grade 2–This simple story conveys several complex messages about friendship, healing, and perspective. Howard the cheetah lives life fast–until he hurts his leg. He is humbled by his injury and must move slowly, more slowly than the slowest creature, Quince the sloth. Now moving with Quince at his pace, Howard learns the joys of dew on orchids, a splendid sunrise, and of pleasures gained from watching, listening, and thinking. As time passes, his leg heals, and he takes Quince on a whirlwind tour of the joys of being fast, such as wind in their hair and running circles around everything that moves. In the end, they achieve a balance together. The color cartoon illustrations, full of expressive animal faces, prettify the jungle animals and give a sense of the wilds of Africa as neat and clean. This quiet story is an additional purchase.
–JoAnn Jonas, Chula Vista Public Library, San Diego, CA

Cest la vie. They didn't really rip me to shreds, but it could have been better. Howard and Quince deserve much better. I would dare to suggest that this is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED title for any school or libray collection. Slow Days Rock!!!


Happy New Year!

Nothing illustrated today. Rather reeling from many many holiday guests over the past three weeks and thus my decided lack of contribution. Not many real resolutions for the New Year, but in order to keep myself on track with this whole self-employment business, I certainly have goals!

Reflecting briefly, 2005 was pretty great. Certainly my best year ever as an illustrator. Due in large part to my Art Exchange and a late charging entry into the Illustration Friday fray, I've painted more in the past 12 months than at any other time in my life. I intend to keep this going in 2006.

2005 was also marked by the completion of art for three different books and I have contracts for two more that are headed into the brian-storming phase this very week. Excitingly enough, this means that I will have both a spring and a fall book publication to celebrate in the coming year. It's fun to see projects start stacking up a little like this :) Hopefully, this means that at least a few folks will begin to recognize the work...

In any case, I really love what I am doing, and most simply want to keep at it. I can always be a better painter and I learn more about storytelling with every book. In 2006 I'd love to sign contracts for another manuscript or two of my own. I will promise to write more - much more - in order get there. Ideas are stashed like nuts for the winter, I just have to get busy and find them!

I'd also like to publish an illustration or in a children's magazine or garner some greeting card work. I've never gone this way with any commitment, but it seems to be a terrific extension of the work that I'm already trying to do. I promise to log a few entries on the process and we'll see what I can learn.

Simple enough. A short little list. Best to keep it that way amidst all of the other things that will no doubt come up. And then there's my tendancy to go outside and play...17 inches of snow on the ground and 200km of xc ski trails to explore!

Happy New Year!!!!!!