Brownie & Pearl
North Texas Daily
North Texas State University
Philadelphia Book Festival
ten trick or treaters
The Boy who cried Alien
University of North Texas
August 21st, 2012
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:
Brownie & Pearl Make Good on Indiebound
August 9th, 2011
I just got the news that I got two book into the annual Society of Illustrators' Original Art children's book show for 2011. Brownie & Pearl Take a Dip is one, and Everything Goes is the other. This is my first time in the SI so I'm sort of ridiculously pleased. Thanks to my editors at Beach Lane and Balzer+Bray, as well as the Society and the judges. Now time to partay.
Here's some more information about this competition.
June 19th, 2011
More than a year ago, I recorded the inking of the first page from Brownie & Pearl Take a Dip, the fourth book in that series. I set the camera up to take a picture every few seconds while I worked on the drawing. It's been sitting on my hard drive ever since, waiting for me to add a soundtrack and make a real movie of it.
Friday evening I was at a local Salvation Army thrift store where they had quite a collection of old polka records. Someone must have given up their collection. I grabbed the best two, based on cover designs. One was a 33 LP and the other was a collection of five old 78s by "Whoopee John" Wilfahrt, a great polka name if there ever was one. The first one I put on was the "Unitas Polka" and I realized immediately that it was perfect.
The tune got recorded and twenty minutes later I had it done. There's something about these old records that remind me of cartoon soundtracks, like Bugs Bunny and so on.
I'm working on a longer more involved version that shows how an illustration, this one specifically, is created from sketch to final. At the time I made this time-lapse I also did the same for the digital coloring part of the process. I'll post that when I get it ready. Some day.
April 13th, 2011
After completing the first book of Everything Goes in mid-February, I went on a tear and illustrated the sixth Brownie & Pearl book by the first week of March, and then immediately completed a book for Hyperion called The Boy Who Cried Alien which I'd been working on since sometime in 2007. As you might imagine, this schedule has left little time for stuff like eating, going to the bathroom, and cleaning up one's mess. Over the weekend I took care of the eating and bathroom issues, and this week I focused on cleaning the studio. Over the winter, with the windows closed and the garage door shut, the place got musty and dank. Piles of papers and bills and sketches and books were stacked in looming piles on one of my worktables. Cables and hard drives were scattered around my computer area, coffee cups were discovered still holding coffee (and milk) from days of yore (disgusting), my filing cabinet was disorganized, and a layer of dust and grime covered nearly everything.
Monday was a lovely day with temps in the high 70s and 80s, so I was happy to open the garage door up, let the place air out, and get to work. My storage closet is still needing help, but the main part of my studio is nice and clean. The papers were filed, surfaces wiped, and I have two boxes of papers and catalogs and ephemera that will go to recycling later this week. The place is now a good place to work, and it was such a pleasure to walk in this morning and see the results.
And not a moment to soon. Sketches for book seven of Brownie & Pearl are due toute suite, and UPS delivered a big pile of research materials I ordered from Amazon, all about airplanes and airports and aircraft, for Everything Goes: Air, which I'll begin the hard work on later this week. No rest for the weary.
I wish I'd taken 'before' pictures. But here are the after.
May 27th, 2010
April 29th, 2010
My friend from high school Jennifer posted this picture on Facebook today. Her kids have some good taste in books….