Archive for the ‘new work’ Category



Monday, July 28th, 2014

The mail-bot at the postal office done good today. One of the best days is the day where a real live copy of the book you’ve been going crazy working on (a year or six months ago) finally appears, and it’s bound and real and has a bar code and an ISBN and the ink smells funny and the colors look correct and they spelled your name right. That’s what this is all about.*

Frank 1 cover

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* Actually, hilarious notes and messages from readers are really what this is all about, but still…

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Some things take a lot of work, and some things just fall right there into place. This is of the latter. Just had an idea one morning to do some identity work for my ongoing music project, Dance Robot, Dance. This started out years ago consisting of only computer-based electronic music made with software and has expanded into a sprawling thing that covers all the instruments I know how to play as well as interesting recording techniques and editing processes. I chose my main four tools to use here: electric guitar, accordion, modular synthesizer, and sax.
The result here was created digitally, but I’d like to use it with rubber stamps and screen-printing, for starters.

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Thursday, July 17th, 2014

I’m working on a LOT of stuff right now. Illustrating the second Frank Einstein book, drawing a picture book that I can write more about this fall, working on another Little Golden Book, illustrating the eighth Ellray Jakes book, as well as preliminary work on several books that I’m writing. There’s not much to post about any of this, yet, but I like teaser images. So here are some details from one of the covers of one my own books that I’m hoping to begin writing and drawing early next year. Got all that?

cat

dog

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

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Today is publication day of Dog Days of School. This book was written by Kelly DiPucchio and edited by Rotem Moscovich at Disney/Hyperion. Actually, she was the third editor on the book, as I signed on to do this thing way way back in, what, 2007 or 2008 or something like that. Everything Goes came along and took days off the calendar, and then The Boy Who Cried Alien had to get done, and finally last year after completing the third and final Everything Goes book, I took a few months and got this thing done.

And done it is. I love this book. I mean, okay, the illustrations are whatever. I like ’em and I hope you do too. But the book makes me laugh. When I read the script I knew that this was going to be a fun project. Freak Friday, but with a boy and a dog.

Here are some illustrations and sketches from the book. Please enjoy thanks.

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A bunch of thumbnail sketches here. This is the form sketches come in when I first make them, and scan them. It’s the hardest but most important part of the whole process, for me.

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Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Dog Days of School

Dog Days of School

In 2007, I signed on to illustrate two books for Hyperion. One was The Boy Who Cried Alien, by Marilyn Singer, and the other was called Dog Days of School, by Kelly DiPucchio. At the time, I was just getting my legs as a book illustrator and was excited to get these two projects while I start the process of learning to write my own books.

Little did I know that the seed of Everything Goes was planted a few months later, which subsequently took over my life for five years. This and other delays caused Alien and Dog Days to get pushed back a few years (!). Well, The Boy who Cried Alien came out in 2012, and Dog Days is finally coming out this June. I drew this book immediately after finishing Everything Goes and it was a dream to work on these big flat comparatively simply-composed illustrations. I only used six or seven colors for the entire book, and tried a few techniques with the art that I wasn’t able to do in Everything Goes.

I received a prepublication copy of the book yesterday and my lordy it looks beautiful. I mean, okay, the drawings are alright. But Hyperion knocked the production and design out of the park on this thing. Rotem Moscovich edited and Tyler Nevins did the design and I can’t think them enough. Of course, I can’t think Kelly enough for writing it either, and being incredibly patient as her story sat on my shelf for nearly seven years.

Look for more on this book in the next few months, including cover sketches and how it got made. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

A certain book being written by a certain writer that is being illustrated by me is scheduled to be published in September, and things are running behind, and it’s all crazy and I’m under an incredibly tight and difficult deadline.
So here’s a couple of teasers from the cover art. More on this soon, I think.

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frank_robots

Friday, September 6th, 2013

For the last five years, I’ve been pretty busy. I counted, and since 2008 I’ve illustrated around thirty books. So as you might imagine and hopefully understand, it’s been a while since I drew pictures just because it’s something I like doing. But this last week I’ve been kind of at it. There are some projects that are hovering over this process and they make themselves known as I’m scribbling, (robots, astronauts, lettering), but they’re not the sole reason for doing these nor are they the determined destination. Let’s say that for the last couple of years I’ve been sketching on the interstate, in a hurry to get somewhere. It’s nice now taking the windy little roads through towns and through the back woods, not sure where I’ll stop and what I might see.*
In related news, I finally put together an exposure unit for screen-printing, so maybe these will lead to that. Maybe I’ll try taking some life-drawing sessions and see what happens as well.

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sketchbook5astros

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sketchbook4lovelystunning

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*(I mean, really, we all know what I’ll stop and see. Robots, astronauts, monsters, weird-looking dudes, cats, birds, and maybe jet packs. Right?)

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

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I’ve always always loved board books. Big thick cardboard books, ostensibly for little kids who like to chew on things. Since Everything Goes was first conceived back in 2008, I wanted there to be board books with my cars and trucks and stuff. And now, I’m vey happy to tell you, there are. In fact, there will be six before I’m done. Sadly, they’re not “officially” released until the day after Christmas, but I hear that some stores and retailers have them on the shelves already, in time for the holiday.

The first is called 123 Beep Beep Beep: A Counting Book and it is what it says.

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The second book is called STOP! GO!: A Book of Opposites. This one is similarly simply-plotted.

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The next two board books, Blue Bus Red Balloon and Goodnight Trucks get more complicated, story-wise, and will be out next year sometime.

Amazon has Stop! Go! and 123 Beep Beep Beep available for preorder.

Or get it on Indiebound, which is better for the world. 123 Beep Beep Beep and Stop! Go!

Happy Holidays y’all.

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Eight Brownie and Pearls

Back in 1954 2008 I began working on a series of books written by Cynthia Rylant about a little girl and her cat called Brownie & Pearl. After drawing the pictures for Shredderman and Roscoe Riley, doing a project like this seemed like a longshot, a fluke, and a relief, frankly. I was kind of tired of the snarky grade-school boy thing and it was fun to get going on a project that could bring out the cute in me. I have a lot of cute in me by the way.
The eighth and final book in the series, Brownie & Pearl Make Good, was published on August 14 and the series has wrapped itself up. Cynthia sent me a really sweet box of cookies and a nice note, and little girls all over America can go cry in their tea cups. My editor, Andrea Welch, and I had a little commiseration when the illustrations were done. We’d been thinking of patterns and colors and cuteness for four years and with any long project, it was weird to say goodbye.
You can find Brownie & Pearl Make Good and the entire Brownie & Pearl series here:

Amazon

Indiebound

Brownie & Pearl Make Good on Indiebound

Eight Brownie and Pearls

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

I’m not one who is often accused of, nor credited with, planning ahead. But in this case I’ll take it. About a year ago, while I was working on the cover of Everything Goes: In the Air, the 2nd Everything Goes book, I decided to document the process with a time-lapse recording. I set my camera up so that it hovered over the drawing table and had it record a frame every couple of seconds. What resulted was a two-minute rendition of the drawing of an illustration that actually took a few hours.
I’ve had this video sitting around for a year now, and while on vacation up in Maine over the last few weeks I was able to string it together to make a little promo video for the book.

The movie is made up of 1,882 images, each shot six seconds apart. The color images are illustrations from the book, and the music is by my alter-ego, Dance Robot Dance.

Time-lapse videos can be funny to watch. I have a few that I sometimes show at schools events and they always get a good laugh from the students. Inevitably there are some kids who “get it” and know that the video was sped up, and there are other kids who later on will ask me how I did that so fast.

Of course, the bigger news here is that the book will be out in a matter of a few weeks. September 11 September 18 is the release date and you can pre-order it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indie-bound.

It probably goes without saying that for the next few weeks I’ll be posting a lot about Everything Goes: In the Air including a process post about designing and illustrating the cover that won’t be so speedy.

Bonus update 16 August:
Finished a second trailer. It’s this here: