Archive for November, 2010

Sketchbook Project 2011 ~ Finished!

November 29, 2010

My Nighttime Stories Sketchbook is finished… Off to the post office it goes!  But you can view it as it tours the country starting in  February! Here are the cities and dates:

The Doodle Diner wishes you…

November 25, 2010

Featured Character: SIMON!!!

November 24, 2010

I am so excited that this video is on youtube. What better guest could there possibly be at the Doodle Diner?

Seriously, this theme song has been in my head since about 1975. The best episodes of Captain Kangaroo were hands down the ones that had SIMON in them. I loved watching this before school, and then being able to daydream all day of a world where the things I draw come true.

So….doodling minds need to know: what character or characters from your past have stayed with you into your adulthood? And if you really want some brownie points, tell us why!

p.s. And for you youngsters who have never heard Simon before, I dare you to listen to this theme song and just TRY to get it out of your head. I will check back with you in about 2045.

Dummies~and Inspiration in All Shapes and Sizes

November 22, 2010

SIMMS TABACK interview link
This interview and the following videos are packed with inspiration. What part or parts speak to you? Let us know in the comment section.

Here is Brian Selznick explaining his inspiration for Hugo Cabret:

And for Maira Kalman, it’s all about DISconnect! Love this:

More from Maira, in case you would like to see more about just daydreaming and letting go of your fears:

The Postman was here, and “Boys can’t Draw.”

November 19, 2010

Happy Friday! The weekend is almost here, and I just received copies of a book  I was hired to illustrate a couple pages in earlier this year (Yaaaay). It’s a book of poetry for Kindergardeners titled All Together Now by Scholastic Canada. I was assigned to illustrate two poems, the first about thunderstorms, and the second about a frog that wasn’t so pleased about the weather. The book is part of the Literacy Place for the Early Years Extension Pack for Kindergarden (available now btw.)

It is always exciting seeing your work in the final printed copy. It’s like Christmas every time. For me it also reminds me of some of the things that inspired me to become an illustrator as a kid. It’s probably not a surprise that my favourite stories were often the ones with bright illustrations. The drawings captured my imagination and brought the stories to life for me, but they also made me interested in learning how the pictures in the book were made.

Now as an illustrator I have been lucky enough to hear about my own work inspiring others. This is really my wife’s story, she is a primary school teacher and for the story we’ll call her Mrs. Pickledog. One year the boys in Mrs. Pickledog’s class believed that drawing was something only girls were good at, and boys just can’t draw. Like all great teachers Mrs. Pickledog subscribed to children’s magazines for her classroom, and coincidentally I had illustrated a short story in one of the magazines this particular month. The boys were also huge hockey fans and the story happened to be about a missing hockey stick.

One day Mrs. Pickledog heard the boys discussing all their reasons why “boys can’t draw” so she showed them the story about the missing hockey stick and said, “Mr. Pickledog drew the pictures in this story, he is a boy* and he can draw.” The boys discussion quickly switched to questions about how does Mr. Pickledog draw the pictures, and if they could borrow the magazine to read.

The boys in her class didn’t all decide to be illustrators when they grow up, but they did reconsider what they had excepted as fact before, and maybe boys can draw after all. Even better, all of the boys read the story of the missing hockey stick, which is what it’s really all about.

Have a great weekend everyone  🙂

* It’s true I am very much a boy at heart.

No!SPEC has a new look

November 16, 2010

The No!SPEC website has new design, and a new post with a list of 28 talking points on working spec. I have heard some of the items on the list before, and a couple that aren’t on the list too.


Let Me Saturday-up Your Monday

November 15, 2010

It’s Monday and another week is blasting-off! Hitting some turbulence? Just close your eyes and pretend it’s Saturday morning.. if only for a minute. Jet packs improve everything.

SCBWI L.A. Illustrator’s Day 2010

November 15, 2010

SCBWI L.A. Illustrator’s Day was yesterday and what an amazing and inspirational day it was… and, huh,  wouldn’t you know it, the them was “Be Inspired!”

So wow, the speakers were fantastic!

Author/illustrator Brian Floca spoke about making picture books from concept to finish and all the trials, inspirations and triumphs in between.

Literary agent, Jennifer Rofé, talked all about how to promote your book, and for those of us who don’t quite have a book yet, how to promote yourself and your art.

Sr. Creative Director at MacMillan Rich Deas gave us a glimpse into the agony and the ecstasy of designing the cover of  Y.A. novels.

Tricycle Press Editor, Abigail Samoun gave us 6 easy, (or not so easy) steps to becoming a Children’s Book expert. Many things are involved but two books she suggested were Uri Shulevitz’s “Writing with Pictures” and Molly Bang’s “Picture This: How Pictures Work”. She even gave us a few lessons from Ms. Bang’s book which blew me away. I have Uri’s book already, but I’m running to get “Picture This”.

Then last, but certainly not least, Dan Santat gave a hilarious and inspirational speech about how he got into the biz. What a crazy-talented, yet humble guy he is.

There was also the illustration contest in which we were to interpret and illustrate the sentence (taken from Edgar Allen Poe):

“It was night, and the rain fell; and falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was…”

The winners (pictured and numbered above) were:

Joan Charles – 1st place

Carolyn Le – 2nd place

Cliff Cramp – 3rd place

There was also a portfolio contest with a people’s choice winner and 3 winners judged by the speakers… now if only I could remember who they were. Soooo sorry! I can’t find them listed anywhere, but they will, no doubt be listed on the SCBWI site at some point. They were all fantastic. It was a tough choice. Oh the one I voted for won first prize! I know a good thing when I see it, eh?

Oh yes, there were also raffles and books for sale. Not to mention all the schmoozing. It was like a mini-conference!

Anyway, all that, a box lunch and catching a terrible cold is what I got from Illustrator’s Day, and I have to say, the cold was worth it. It was a wonderful, wonderful day! Sniff! Achooooo!


November 13, 2010

Mama always said that “The way to a man’s heart was through his stomach.”   So when Charity invited Oscar over for Thanksgiving dinner, she found out pretty quickly that she was in trouble!

P.E.A.C.H. – Party for Educators’ Appreciation at Changing Hands

November 13, 2010

Join me at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe this Sunday in celebrating teachers, librarians, and educators and their committment to teaching!

P. E. A. C. H.

(Party for Educators’ Appreciation at Changing Hands)2-6pm Sunday, November 14

Teachers, librarians and educators — we want to thank you for your dedication to education and for making a difference in our community. Join us for two free workshops, an author reception, complimentary appetizers and beverages, a 20% storewide discount, our recommended Fall 2010 booklist, and raffle prizes.



Author Chris Taylor helps teachers, administrators, librarians, parents and school volunteers discover new non-traditional means to fund classroom projects using the step-by-step processes detailed in her book, Granted! A Teacher’s Guide to Writing & Winning Classroom Grants. To reserve a space, please email



Raimie Manch shows educators how children can be taught to write using picture books as mentor texts. When reading picture books, children interpret and use pictures to develop a story’s characters, plot, tension, climax, and conclusion. Through encouraging their imaginations, teachers can inspire children — even those in ELL classes — to develop stories from pictures. Workshop is ideal for teachers of grades 1-6. To reserve a space, please email


Meet some of your favorite local authors and get some books signed. Confirmed authors include: Tom Leveen (Party), Laurie Brooks (Selkie Girl), Kaleb Nation (Bran Hambric: The Specter Key), Angela Morrison (Sing Me to Sleep), Conrad Storad (Rattlesnake Rules), Jake Bell (Red Alert), illustrator Tanja Bauerle (The Adventures of Salt and Soap), and author-illustrators Chris Gall (Dinotrux) and Molly Idle (Nighty Night Baby Jesus). Afterwards, enjoy appetizers, wine, tea and sweets, check out our recommended Fall 2010 booklist, and win raffle prizes.

PLEASE RSVP – To reserve your space in either or both workshops, please contact Stephanie Kilgore at 480.730.0205.

Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 S McClintock Dr., Tempe, Arizona, 85283