I came in to work this nice Monday morning and was fairly immediately greeted by the UPS truck outside. He gave me a package that I've been anxiously awaiting for several years now.
Everything Goes is now a book. Bound, with a cover and endpapers and a UPC symbol and an ISBN number and it's got my name on it. I'm pretty glad to see this. Of course my plan today was to work hard on book two, but that got preempted since I had to take pictures…
Publication date is September 13.
Workman just published a new activity kit called Potato Chip Science, for which I drew the cover illustration. If you're looking at the picture thinking "well Brian, your going insane, for that is not a book. It's a bag of potato chips!" I couldn't blame you. The packaging is meant to resemble a bag of chips, and in fact the bag is filled with plastic chips (something like those packing peanuts you get in shipping boxes). There is also a book of fun projects one can make with potatoes, as well as some of the materials you would need to do the projects.
Originally I was up for illustrating the entire book, but in the end they asked me to do the cover. Go out and get yourself this kit and spend the weekend making stuff out of potatoes!
Well it's out, and now I can safely say that when I retire as an illustrator and spend my days on the golf links in Boca Raton, I will have illustrated a Little Golden Book. I've loved Little Golden Books ever since I can remember. My grandmother's house had a stack of them that belonged to my aunts and uncles back in the 50's and 60's, and I liked the goofy stories and wonderful illustrations. At the time, I knew nothing of the legacy of these illustrators like Richard Scarry, Tibor Gergely, Leonard Weisgard, and Alice and Martin Provensen. As I grew up and went to college and became a designer, I forgot about much of the Golden Books.
It was only much later, while I was working on a poster for The Kids in the Hall in 2002, that I rediscovered these works. Mary Blair's I Can Fly, Garth Williams' Mister Dog, the Provenson's Color Kittens, and especially Scarry's Rabbit & His Friends were the inspiration for this poster.
Last year I discovered a book called Golden Legacy by Leonard Marcus. It's a history of Little Golden Books, and I was about halfway through it when I got a call from out of the blue, that the editors of Little Golden Books would like me to illustrate a new book called I'm a T.Rex, written by Dennis Shealy. Needless to say I fell over and was stunned.
I love drawing dinosaurs but I hadn't had a chance to draw dinosaurs for a book before. Sketches commenced. The T. Rex had to be fierce and angry but I wanted him to be kinda cute and funny as well.
The work went smoothly and just this last week, on May 11, it was officially "published" and released into stores. I got my copy on Thursday. And like I wrote, I'm pretty happy to be able to be part of the "story" of Golden Books now. I sure won't put my book up there in the same echelon as the Scarry, Gergely, and Prevensen books. But at least it's now sitting on the same shelf…
Back in February I was in the middle of reading Leonard Marcus' book Golden Legacy, How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became An American Icon Along the Way when I was asked to actually illustrate a Golden Book. I jumped at the chance. This one is to be called I'm a T. Rex and it's written by Dennis Shealy. The book is about a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex and everybody knows that I like to draw baby Tyrannosaurus Rexeses. I was giddy when I read in the contract, surrounded by all kinds of goofy legal language, this:
"The Work shall be about a cute baby dinosaur who talks about himself and his Cretaceous life."
The sketches were completed a couple of weeks ago and I'll be starting on the final art soon, working on it over the summer. Here is the sketch for the cover and a couple of the interior illustrations. Stay tuned for more.