Archive for the ‘Everything Goes’ Category



Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Yesterday I showed the process leading up to the cover of Everything Goes: On Land. Without further ado or brouhaha, here’s the final cover of the book. Click the image to see it quite a bit larger.

The cover design had to be indicative of the work that’s in the book, and I do believe it is. Cars and trucks, bikes and motorcycles, buses, construction vehicles, trains, and whatever else made it in the book and on this cover. Vehicles going this way and that way, all kinds of people riding and driving them, and even a friend’s blue and white striped Mini Cooper.

Once the final sketch was approved, I use that as the basis to create the inked drawing. I usually try to create my illustrations to the exact size that they’ll be printed. Everything Goes is going to be a big book — twelve inches tall and ten inches wide — so this was no problem. I draw the illustration using a big lightbox on nice Strathmore 500 series bristol with watered-down india ink, and use white gouache to carve out areas and add details.

If you take a look at the close-up image below, the wheels of the train, the white outlines of the train windows, the railroad ties, and the wing of the small black bird are examples of where I paint the negative space, or the white areas. When I inked the drawing, the area under the train was solid black. This part of the process is easily my favorite, as it’s a real joy to see these details appear and everything come together.

You may also notice that there is no type on the black-and-white line drawing. This is because when I do work like this I always draw the type and add it digitally.



Once these are all complete, they get scanned into the computer where I use Photoshop to color everything and piece it together. When it’s complete, I save it as a TIF file and send it to the designer at the publishing house (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins in the case of Everything Goes).

Everything Goes: On Land is scheduled to be released on September 13. I’m currently working on book two of the series, which is called “In the Air,” and which will be published a year later. Lastly, “On the Sea” will come out in 2013. I don’t have the covers sketched for either of these two books yet, but they will be similar in idea and business to “On Land.” And of course I’ll post here about them when they’re ready to make their way into the world. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 6th, 2011

The first book of the Everything Goes series, On Land, is scheduled to be published on September 13. It’s high time I start writing a bit more about this book. The fine folk at Balzer+Bray (an imprint of HarperCollins) have given the go ahead to show the cover. So I thought that I’d start with a bit of a tease before I pull cover off the cover, so to say.
The idea for Everything Goes is “lots.” Lots of everything, going. Lots of cars and trucks and trains and bikes and motorcycles, and then in the second and third books, lots of airplanes and helicopters and balloons and rowboats and tugboats and ocean liners and sailboats and you get the idea. I may have written this already, but mixing a little of Where’s Waldo and David Macaulay with a lot of Richard Scarry was generally the idea going into this project.
So to that end, I knew that the cover was going to be busy and jammed with a little bit of everything that is in the book. But beyond that idea, I didn’t have much.

I started out by drawing what I figured would be a decent basis for the illustration. This would be a traffic jam. Just a mass of vehicles with which I could set into a 10 inch by 12 inch frame and start working.

I used this sketch for the basis for the first sketch.

And then used it as a take-off point for a second sketch. These are the two I first sent to HarperCollins.

Generally, it was agreed that this is a good start. I was asked to try and show different kinds of vehicles that were in the book, like trains and bikes. And the type wasn’t working, since Everything was reading as Every Thing. For the second round of sketches, the background illustration was starting to fall into place but the type still wasn’t working. I’d became slightly obsessed with getting the type to work as a sign, like a billboard or on the side of the truck.

My editor believed that the treatment for “Everything Goes” should be something that would work on all three books and not necessarily be tied to the illustration itself. I squirmed at this suggestion, though of course she was correct. I knew it was 5% too clever to actually work. You can see the illustration getting a bit more refined as well.

After some prodding, I worked up some sketches for the “logo” as we started calling it.

Now, we were getting somewhere. Here’s how the sketch looked with the logo in place.

This is the sketch that got approved, though the logo still went through another round of changes. As a technicality, I made one more iteration of the cover sketch, just to nail down the details before I started inking. Below are the final illustration sketch and logo sketch that led to the artwork, which I shall reveal tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Two days ago I flew from Little Rock to Philadelphia with a layover in Chicago. The reason for the trip was to visit my family in Arkansas. But it also worked well for work since I’m in the middle of the sketch and research phase of Everything Goes book 2, entitled “In the Air.” As you can imagine, the book deals with things that fly, and takes place for the most part in an airport. Needless to say, I took a lot of pictures.
This collection here was taken on the 90-minute flight between Chicago and Philadelphia, in seat 17F. I really like the changes in the colors as the flight progressed.

If you like pictures of airplane wings, there are a lot more where these came from.

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Interesting piece in the New York Times today about the new Nissan van that is to replace the Ford Crown Victoria as the “official” New York taxicab over the next several years. The first time I visited New York in 1985, I was lucky enough to take a Checker Cab once or twice in the four weeks I was there. They were big and spacious and held a ton of luggage. By the time I moved there to go to college in 1987, I don’t recall ever seeing a Checker Cab. Rather, the Ford Crown Victoria — the same car the police department used for their cruisers — was pretty ubiquitous. While I was in school (design school mind you) I remember reading an article in a magazine about vehicles designed specifically as cabs. They were boxy and electric, and seemed much more appropriate as a vehicle that could get one around town while having more cargo room and taking up less space. When I loved lived in Paris I was surprised to find a large number of Mercedes taxis along with the Peugeots and Renaults. But it still seemed silly to have these sedans fitted with a meter and a sign on top pretending to be a variation on public transportation.
Over the last several years, as I visit NY often now, I’ve been seeing and riding in more and more Ford Escape hybrid SUV taxis. These made a lot more sense to me as taxis, what with the cargo space and the fuel-efficient engine. Now the Nissan NV200 has been chosen to take over, and by the end of the decade pretty much every cab in NY will be an electric minivan. Albeit one designed specifically for New York’s “peculiar” needs as Mayor Bloomberg put it.

While some seem to be lamenting the idea that a suburban minivan will be the new New York City taxi, I kind of feel that once the Checker Cab was replaced with the Crown Vic, whatever romance or ideal one had about the city cab was gone already. It was like riding around in Grandpa’s car. The Nissan, as goofy-looking as it is, makes more sense as a taxi. I espcially like the huge sun roof that will allow one to stare up at the skyscrapers as one goes from place to place. That’s my kind of taxi.

However, I will say right now that no matter how much sense these taxis make, and no matter how slick is the sunroof and how much gas will be saved, when I draw a taxi, my taxis will always be, more or less, a Checker. Everything Goes: On Land is full of taxis (comes out in September…) and as you can see it’s pretty clear that I derive the look and feel of these things in fact many of my cars taxi or not, from the look of the Checker.

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

It's a Book

It’s been a year since I organized and cleaned the studio. Now that I’ve finished work on the first Everything Goes book I realize how all-encompassing that project has been. As I finished things I just stuck them in a pile next to my desk rather than putting it away. The pile is large.

I’m filing book one away into the filing cabinet now. This stack of stuff pictured here contains every piece of sketch, manuscript, rough idea, note, reference print, and whatever else that made up Everything Goes: Land. It’s almost six inches thick.
Just for comparison’s sake, the folder called “Land” on my hard drive which contains the same thing but in digital form, is 7.6Gb. (The original art is in a flat file and is rather huge as well.) As I get going on book 2 and get a little further away from the last one, and as we get closer to the Sept 13 publication date I’ll post more goodies from this pile, as well as details about the book.

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

This is the endpapers pattern for Everything Goes. I’ll be wrapping up the title page tomorrow and then it’s done. Done done.

endpapers

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

I got done drawing and inking the pages of Everything Goes just in time, as it was really starting to be a tedious chore. Oddly, the inking part of a project is always the most satisfying part of a book. Especially after the ink goes down and I get to use the white gouache to carve out the details. However with the small brushes and the lightbox and the 8 hours a day doing this, my arm was hurting. Like really hurting. So I was greatly relieved when the final touches were put on the trains and I could move on to the color.
Coloring a book like this has its ups and downs. Right now its all ups and I’m really liking the way it’s looking. Here for a little Christmas bonus are cropped sections from two of the big spreads in Everything Goes. You get taxis and other cars “with jobs” and you get trucks.

taxi!

the daily grind

Happy Christmas everyone, and Happy New Year.

Monday, December 6th, 2010

some guys in a band
Coming up for air for a few minutes to post this little piece of the book. These guys will be in Everything Goes somewhere, and if you know who they are, then you can also probably deduce, historically speaking, where they will be located…

Friday, November 5th, 2010

boy and dad

These are the main characters in the Everything Goes books I’m working on. This is part of a cutaway illustration that will show, kinda, how a car works. It’s a multilayered thing and is proving to be really difficult to get it all tidy and informative. You can see the sketch below.

In the manuscript they are listed as “boy” and “dad.” I’m being asked by my editor to name the kid. Ideas, anyone?