The Harts Pass Wolverines are Pleased!

Local News | Feds say wolverines need protection | Seattle Times Newspaper

Studio Views

12 hours and 19 inches of snow + 4 hours shoveling = 2 feet of light in the studio. Obviously, no real connection to the shoveling part of that equation since that took place in the driveway... There will be a tangible shovel # to factor in once that snow drops and I can no longer see out my window! Plus, it never seems like a good idea to have tons of snow sitting right up against the house :)
New photos and relevant shovel hours to follow. I DO love winter!


A Polar Opposites eBook!

Thanks to the marketing folks at Marshall Cavendish, and the Ripple eBook Reader, Polar Opposites has entered the digital age. Not only do you get a digital version of the story for your Mac or PC, but you can record your own reading of the book. While not quite as cozy as sitting down with the ink and paper book in hand, it is a comforting option for the ePicturebook set. An iPad app is on the way soon.

I'd love to hear feedback if anyone goes hi-tech and decides to purchase one of these!

Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears

Lots of penguin news in the studio this week:

On Tuesday I attended an excellent talk on Emperor Penguin diving research by Dr. Torre Stockard. Zina, my character in Polar Opposites, is much more like an Adelie penguin than an Emperor (smaller and a bit less colorful as penguins go) but it's always inspiring to learn more about such the world at large from those that really dig in deep.

And then yesterday afternoon, someone sent me an elementary school-aged science resource in connection to the book as well. The irony, of course, is that Beyond Polar Bears and Penguins wants to get past these two charismatic and appealing creatures and expose students to the many other fascinating things about these extreme polar worlds. For that, I applaud them, and it looks like a terrific site. Still, at least I have my penguins living in the southern hemisphere, and penguins ARE a great springboard into Antarctic studies :)

PS Did you know that penguins have square pupils?


Bookmark Doodles Too

It's going to be fun giving all of these away for the holidays :)


Bookmark Doodles Continued

More Bookmark Doodles

I did a few of these "Bookmark Doodles" in April, and more are on the way :)


A Polar Opposites Halloween

When my daughter requested an "Alex" costume for Halloween this year, I was pretty excited to give it a shot. I have sewn a bit with polar fleece (my wife and I created 85 custom designed winter caps for our wedding place settings), and the challenge of creating a polar bear face was impossible to resist. Since Halloween has come and gone, perhaps these pics will add some extra "light" to end of Daylight Savings!


A "mazing" opposites!

I'm still very excited about the new book and filling out my bag o' tricks for a fall/winter full of school visits and presentations. Click on the image to download and print a maze of your own.



Comics Go Pink: Cartoonists Care

On October 10th, more than 50 of King Features’ cartoonists observed National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the Sunday comics section of newspapers across the country.

Budding activist that she is, Melanie insisted that Harts Pass should also participate. With due apologies to all of King Features' legit cartoonists, but in complete and utter agreement with the spirit of the day, please enjoy our small contribution...


The Winthrop Art Walk, and a HUGE thank you!

On Saturday night, October 9th, a small selection of artwork from Polar Opposites was on display for the semi-annual Winthrop Art Walk. The art will hang for another week or two, but signed books can be purchased (and even personalized and shipped by request) at Trail's End Bookstore all year 'round!

Also, a huge THANK YOU to the very generous donor who purchased my books & bowls collection at the Room One Soup Dinner on Saturday night. The bidding was reportedly "fast and furious" - with the 4 bowl set eventually earning $800 for this worthy non-profit. Really nice to hear!

A fine Saturday evening here in Winthrop, WA if I do say so myself :)


Arctic Circle Comics

With my own recent comic experiments, I've had fun getting back into the groove of reading some daily strips. This was a ritual -- especially on Sundays -- for many years and is certainly one of those foundational interests that led me drawing my own characters, and becoming the artist and author that I am today. Like so many people, I especially LOVED the irreverence and imagination of Calvin & Hobbes, as well as a slightly more obscure outer space comic called Orbit (I think I have that name right?).

Anyway, last week I discovered this great little strip by Australian cartoonist Alex Hallat called Arctic Circle. It's funny and It's smart. Something that I hope to emulate in my own work both comic and otherwise.

Check out Alex's work AND please note the lovely juxtaposition of POLAR BEARS and PEGUINS that also makes this strip a winner in my book ;)



A Minnesota Original!

Minnesota illustrator friend Mike Wohnoutka gets some well deserved face time on a new Twin Citites Public Television feature called "Minnesota Original".

Congrats Mike!


Soup Bowls for the Soul!

Room One is hosting its 4th Annual Soup Dinner on Saturday, October 9th. All summer, artists, citizens, and visitors of the Methow have been painting their hearts out in preparation. 200 bowls are glazed, fired, and ready to go!

With the price of admission, you receive a bowl of your choice (they go fast of course), a wonderful meal, and a beautiful fall evening at the Winthrop Barn. There are also a number of artisan bowls that become part of a silent auction. As a extra treat, my inaugural participation includes a four-bowl set featuring characters from Polar Opposites, Slow Days, Fast Friends, and The Practically Perfect Pajamas. You will also receive signed copies of these books, AND a piece of original art for my new comic strip, Harts Pass.

Non-valley residents can feel free to contact me with maximum bids (Erik's bowl set only). I'd be more than happy to facilitate a long-distance bidding frenzy!

Contact me at: #509-996-4345

- Erik


Library "Lynx" to Literacy

It is my great pleasure to announce a recent collaboration with the North Central Regional Library System. After two wonderful stints on the summer reading tour, I've now put paint to paper and provided them with a series of character drawings for their latest literacy initiative. I'll post the more official and complete materials when the layout and design is complete, but now you've seen two :)


Harts Pass Soccer Club

Brooks Illustration, and the associated Harts Pass Comics enterprise, are proud sponsors of a U-8 soccer club this fall. We had our first game yesterday AND received some spiffy new unis featuring Thor in all of his soccer glory. Go Wolverines!


So Shiny!

Kids LOVE the glossy cover. Enough said!


Beyond Books: Art in Action

Like anyone, I get asked to make donations to various causes around the country. The requests vary, as do the compelling reasons for participation. When Room One, a local non-profit focused on reducing domestic violence, and increasing parent/child health and well being approached me this summer, I jumped at the chance to help.

It's a soup bowl auction for goodness sakes! 200 hand-painted soup bowls by community members and local artisans. Soup bowls and autumn -- it's practically perfect!

True to tradition (this is the 4th annual event) most bowls are simply given away with the price of admission. The bowls that I painted, however, along with a matching book, will be part of the silent auction.

Take a look and see what you think:

Polar Opposites: Alex and Zina get their debut in both literary AND culinary style!

Practically Perfect Pajamas: Percy stands the test of time -- in dashing red with outer space details.

A closer look...

Slow Days, Fast Friends: Howard's grin will welcome you when the Cheerios are gone!

A closer look...

And finally, Harts Pass: Melanie is all smiles at the bottom of your bowl. Honestly, this drawing looks a little odd. If you want to see Melanie is better form, drop in on the high country action sometime :)

PS The images here are pre-fired glazes. I will post again once the pots have been fired!

PPS If anyone outside of Winthrop is interested in bidding, I am happy to take maximum bids. My wife and I will attend the auction and could place bids on your behalf.

Send an email at: brooks dot methownet dot com
or call me at: 509.996.4345


Gaaa! POLAR OPPOSITES is out yesterday!

OMG! Amidst a slough of other activity -- the first week of school, painting soup bowls for the Room One Auction, drawing comics, and putting the finishing touches on Who Has These Feet?, I totally forgot to mention my new book WHICH CAME OUT YESTERDAY!

Polar Opposites (Marshall Cavendish, 9.1.2010) is finally in the mix! Hoorah! Already some kind words from Kirkus Reviews, who call it a "refreshing change from traditional opposites books" but why take their word for it when you can have one of your very own :)

I'll celebrate the "one day late" announcement with this early sketch of Alex and Zina. They've changed a bit in the final art, but not too much. Enjoy!



For 10 years, my cousin Nate and his wife Hallie have been operating a woodfired pottery business from their home in north eastern Iowa. They make excellent pots, and its a great story of two people doing what they love.

Enter Noah! Two years ago they had a baby boy -- who I got to hang out with for several days earlier this summer. He's a fantastic kid with a wickedly powerful high five.

As these things go, he's also inspired Nate and Hallie to start a new branch of their pottery business: Woodfired Kids!

In a nutshell, these new pots are a handmade, non-toxic, thoughtfully designed alternative to the standard plastic kidswear. Smart stuff. Check it out!


Harts Pass Online!

After a nice vacation and busy summer days, I'm back to work on all fronts. Harts Pass is now online and will have a new comic strip posted every week. Cheers!


Polar Opposites: Outakes no. 1

"Alex is nervous. Zina is not."

Polar Opposites
ships out in just a little under 1 month. Reserve your copy today! In the mean time, enjoy this "deleted scene" from the book.

Bon voyage!


Harts Pass!

It's official, I'm a cartoonist :)

You've seen a few experiments posted earlier in May, but the first OFFICAL issue of Harts Pass debuted on June 23rd! With kind consideration for the Methow Valley News -- my new patron saint of "sure, we're ready to go on this" -- I'm still debating when I should post the strip online. I definitely won't pre-empt or even compete with their mid-week release, but I'd like to get this out to a wider audience at some point relatively soon.

In any case, I'm thrilled. As stated in the News, "Harts Pass will chronicle life in the Methow Valley (my home range) from the perspective of two (mostly) fictional wolverines named Thor and Melanie."

Stay tuned!


The Methow Arts Fest 2010: Elevate Your Senses!

A small piece of art that I did 18 months ago was recently re-appropriated for the greater good. As if you needed any further reason to visit the Methow, our July 4th Arts Fest, as hosted by The Methow Arts Alliance, is far and away one my favorite celebrations in the valley. Fair warning -- there are no fireworks -- but I promise you won't miss 'em. Cheers!


Illustration Friday: Ripple No. 2

Hans Brinker 2010: Sadly, the folk hero for Deepwater Horizon has yet to arrive...

Purchase this image for a $10 donation by visiting ripple.


Illustration Friday: Ripple

Its not quite the whale that I should have drawn for the Gulf of Mexico, so I'll do an additional image or two on this theme later in the week...


Heart's Pass

UPDATE: After several days of consideration, it felt like the icons in my first version (below) were a little confusing. What do you think? Does this read a little more clearly now? Melanie and Thor are grumpy, they see each other, say hello, and in passing their outlooks change.

We'll see where this goes, but I'd like to pitch a comic strip to our weekly paper, The Methow Valley News. Heart's Pass, starring a pair of local wolverines, will be a chance to observe and comment on both the local scene and the world at large. It will also be a deadline driven reason for me to "practice" telling stories in a comic strip format. How in the world do cartoonists keep up with those daily strips. Amazing!


Wild Woods

While not right in my backyard, this yawning black bear did spend most of it's Mother's Day weekend camped out near a friend's house in Mazama. We don't see the Ursus americanus of the Methow like this too often, but it is a great reminder of where we live and who we share the trails and tree wells with :)



Three cheers for the fearless super heroines of the world!