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Feliz Díos de los Muertos

October 29th, 2014

Muertos

(Click the images to see them bigger. In some cases, much bigger.)
I was recently asked by Steven Malk, my literary agent at Writers House, to create a promotional card for the upcoming holiday. No, not Halloween. Rather, the Day of the Dead, or Díos de los Muertos. I actually volunteered for this — he is putting together a series of these promotional images for the lesser-known holidays. Arbor Day, Grandparent’s Day, and so on. When I saw Muertos on the list I jumped at the chance. I’ve long admired the work of J.G. Posada, whose wood-cut skeletons and other imagery I associate with the holiday.

8097112_orig

cyclists---Posada

diadetrans

Originally I thought I might even play with some printmaking techniques to pay a little homage to Posada as I make this image, but I quickly realized that with the looming deadline for the second Frank Einstein book, this would not be possible. I had to do what I do the way I know how to do it, and go from there.

I pretty much knew what I wanted to do from the start. The festive atmosphere of a Day of the Dead celebration is one that everyone should at some point experience. I don’t love the goofy goth-horror side that Americans have sort of adapted over the years, and I wanted the story told here to be less about the costumes and more about the idea of this old guy moving from this life to the next. I went through a few phases with the sketches but it came together pretty quickly.
Below I post various steps in the process, in order that I made them, and some details from the final art.

The first sketch -- just two guys.

The first sketch — just two guys.

I thought a background would be involved at first.

I thought a background would be involved at first.

Working out color stuff.

Working out color stuff.

The big tight sketch that becomes the basis for the inked art.

The big tight sketch that becomes the basis for the inked art.

Inked and scanned, ready for color in Photoshop.

Inked and scanned, ready for color in Photoshop.

trio_detail1

trio_detail3

trio_detail2

The printed card.

The printed card.

The reverse side with the necessary information.

The reverse side with the necessary information.

The printed card is only 4.25″ x 6″, so I’m sad that a lot of the detail of the line-work is difficult to make out. I’d love to print this thing bigger at some point. Maybe when I get the mythical screen-printing gear in my closet here set up and running…

making faces for halloween

October 28th, 2009

Last weekend we carved a couple of pumpkins for Halloween and, as per the usual, I documented it thoroughly. Each of the kids made up a face and drew it onto a pumpkin, and then I carved them. The movie was made by shooting 662 still images with a timer set to take a picture every five seconds. When this was done it was edited together using Quicktime and Adobe Premiere. The music is The Vanguards’ 1963 version of “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg.
Happy Halloween all y’all.

Ten Trick or Treaters: drum roll please…

October 31st, 2008

And we have our winners!
Thanks to all of you geniuses whom entered. These were really amazing! The judges labored over the entries for eons, disagreeing and reagreeing and finally with secret tie-breaker rules, narrowing the selection down to ten first-place winners and one grand prize.

The Grand Prize was unanimously given to Sarah R, for her poem about the witch which was also the first place prize for that witch trick-or-treater.

The other nine prizes go to Viv Rae, Mitchell (who got two), Nathan, Brad, Sarah (no R), two more for Sarah R, and Abi (Mitchell’s sister!).

You can read all of the winners here.
My personal favorite was Sarah R’s Otis Owens but I wasn’t one of the judges. It just made me LAUGH and every time I read it, it creeps me out.

Thanks again to everyone. One of the Sarahs mentioned that I should do a Christmas contest as well, and I think I’ll consider it!
All you winners can you send me your postal addresses via email, so I might mail out the awards next week? Thank you! Happy Halloween.

Ten Trick or Treaters: done

October 31st, 2008

Okay kids and the like,
Entries are closed and the judges will be working on the deciding. I hope to post the results here today so stay tuned. I’ve read all the entries and they are wonderful, so thanks.

Ten Trick or Treaters: ten

October 30th, 2008


Is that a knock? Do you hear it? It sounds timid. It must be a fairy.
This is Trick-or-Treater number 10 of 10 for the contest to name and describe the character. Have at it! Winners announced on Halloween.

Ten Trick or Treaters: nine

October 30th, 2008


Bzzt. Beep. There’s someone at the door. Aww a cute trick or treater! You give it some candy and close the door and then you wonder: Was that? What the?
This is Trick-or-Treater number 9 of 10 for the contest to name and describe the character. Go, get started! Winners announced on Halloween.

Ten Trick or Treaters: the Prizes

October 29th, 2008

Hi, I have some information regarding the rewards for the hard work many of you are putting in to the Ten Trick or Treaters contest.
First, a disclaimer: This contest is not related in any way to the book of the same name by my wonderful editor, Janet Schulman. I had no idea about that book until Judy Sierra, one of the judges, told me about it. The irony is that this was going to be TWENTY Trick or Treaters but time did not allow. It’s a lovely book, so check it out.
Ok, here’s how we’re doing this. There will be a total of ten prizes. Each of the ten characters will have a 1st prize for the favorite name/description of the character. Then one of these, the best one, will be designated the “Grand Prize Winner.” Each of the first prizes will get a signed, very nice print of the character with the name and description in question. The grand prize is the first place prize with a copy of the book that judge Judy Sierra wrote and I illustrated, with autographs.
So if that’s not worth an entry, I don’t know what is. There are eight characters up currently and two more will be up on Thursday. Thanks and have fun!

Ten Trick or Treaters: eight

October 29th, 2008


Hello? Is someone there?
This is Trick-or-Treater number 8 of 10 for the contest to name and describe the character. Get started! Winners announced on Halloween.

Ten Trick or Treaters: seven

October 29th, 2008


Whoosh! You hear an unusual noise at your door. It’s Halloween, so it’s probably some kid in a costume. Imagine your surprise when you find this guy, all six feet of him, awaiting his treats. Who the heck is THAT?
This is Trick-or-Treater number 7 of 10 for the contest to name and describe the character. Get started! Winners announced on Halloween.

Ten Trick or Treaters: six

October 29th, 2008


Tap tap tap… You hear something rapping on the door. Who is this fellow hanging around? Is it just candy that he wants?
This is Trick-or-Treater number 6 of 10 for the contest to name and describe the character. Get started! Winners announced on Halloween.