Saturday, January 18, 2014

Calling All Dummies!

No, no, I mean BOOK dummies, the kind you submit to publishers. I'm teaching another round of Introduction to Children's Book Illustration at Pratt Fine Arts Center and Kirkland Arts Center, starting next week. This is a 4 and 6-week boot camp for finally completing that book dummy you've been putting off. We have fun doodling, story boarding and even painting with some of the finest sticks Vick's garden has to offer. This class is not just for illustrators, but also for writers who want to look at their story from a whole different angle. Check it out! Tell your friends! Come draw!

Digger and Daisy About To Launch!

Digger and Daisy Go On A Picnic, by Judy Young and illustrated by ME is about to come out next month! Can't wait to see that crazy Digger's shenanigans again. Kirkus Review, who can usually be kind of cranky, had this to say:
In Digger and Daisy’s second outing, Digger learns that—all appearances to the contrary—sometimes it is best to have a nose full of dirt… It’s almost Shakespearean, until the skunk arrives on the scene, its dashing black-and-white look a fine counterpart to the waxy crayon sheen of the rest of Sullivan’s artwork.

Even the best of brothers can cause a stink from time to time, but rarely are they so sweet. (Early reader. 4-8)
Here's a little inside story on how the art comes about: the publisher, Sleeping Bear Press, sends me the manuscript by Judy Young, with the pages broken out for me. I draw pencil sketches of the scenes and they savagely tear them apart review them to give me helpful advice on how they can be improved.
Here are two sample spreads:

sketch



final color
sketch
final color

Odds and Ends

Those author events are lots of fun, but they can be kind of brutal

You ever wonder how dogs stay warm in such cold weather?

Our neighbor wants us to train Bennie to quit leaving presents on his lawn. First things first, I say.


Some days are harder than others. Some of you would say "most" days are harder for me than others.

Signing books at Costco can be quite fun

We went dancing at a local martini bar, where Vicki briefly gave some thought to a career change 

Vicki had a little dental work done for the holidays

Just yesterday Vicki had THREE interviews. Go Vicki! (this is a reference from one of our favorite movies, "Raising Arizona," from which we learned everything we know about parenting.  Sorry Kyle.

We've been working on our wills, which has Bennie quite excited. If you've been putting off this cheery little chore, this site might help you.

At the Movies

Don't you think Vicki could be the next "Girl on Fire?" Her mortal enemies, the Moles, sent me a screenplay, but it ends badly. Bennie gave it two paws down, but liked her costume.



Vicki and Monica walked out on "Her." Glad I didn't go. It reminded me of that show I watched as a kid. I don't think I liked the whole "relationship with a machine" thing then either. Now "Blade Runner"...

Based on a true story. There was much rejoicing.

We've been re-watching "Firefly." Those Reivers are really tough. Sorry, my sticky notes don't have spell check.

I highly recommend the "True Facts" video series. It's very funny and you learn real stuff about real animals. This one's about the Land Snail. Warning: mostly PG-13. Still educational.


The Holidays

We had a very nice and peaceful holiday season. We even got a tree and put lights on the mailbox!
Bennie had his own way of wishing the tree a fond farewell

I have no idea how Bennie knew there was salami, sausage and cheese in that box from Dad

Man, cards are a lot of work! Kudos to all of you who sent us one. Yours is in the mail.

My all-time favorite Christmas carol video is a  "White Christmas" cartoon with singing by the  Drifters. After 30 years, Vicki finally told me that she's never liked it. What other secrets is she keeping from me?

Elves Are In The House!

Sometimes we're too tired to clean up the kitchen and hope the elves show up by morning.
Sometimes they do

Sometimes they get the day off

and every now and then, we have competing teams. We try not to take sides.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bennie, Bennie, Bennie!

When I read "Ozzie" at the local elementary school last month, I learned one thing for sure: kids wanna see dogs. Since adults are grownup kids, I'm putting my new knowledge to good use by starting off with Bennie.
I won't watch "Walking Dead" anymore because it scares the heck out  of me. I think Vicki and Bennie are getting there too.

But Bennie does a GREAT zombie impersonation.

His Elmo is pretty good, too.

His catching is improving.

Love him, but he's got no work ethic.

Three neighbor dogs think he's gotten a little TOO protective of the house.
(sorry, Kooper, Milo and Freckles!)

He learned a new trick on Halloween.

Hazelwood Elementary School Reading!

Man, what a blast! I read "Ozzie" in an all-school assembly last month. This is Hazelwood, the same school Kyle went to about 18 years ago. I was pretty nervous until the kindergartners tumbled in and sat right in front of me. My peeps! I learned a lot about what kids laugh at and obviously need more goats! (Maybe goats in underpants?)
check out the reading here

Breath By Breath

I've been getting back to yoga on Fridays, especially since my yogi Sanjyot says I can let my mind wander all I want, as long as I'm thinking up book ideas. Nothing very worthwhile yet, but I do tend to crack myself up when we're doing nappy time.

On Linden Square Launch

My Unrelated Cuzzin Kate Sullivan launched her first picture book, "On Linden Square" in September and has been rocking libraries and bookstores and her musical saw! This sweet and delightful book is all about how that spunky Stella Mae and a snowy day bring her neighborhood together. Go buy this book! And read more about Kate and Stella Mae here at reading.org. Go, Kate!

Back to Costco!

No, not to work, to sign and sell more books! Someone please come keep an eye on Ozzie.
Ozzie and I will be at the
Issaquah Costco Nov 29 from 12:30 - 2:30
Kirkland Costco Dec 7 from 1 - 3
Aurora Village Costco Dec 14 from 1-3


Kay Kay Color Studies

I've sent in revised sketches for "Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari," including new color ideas for what Kay Kay will be wearing. What do you like? 


Blue?




Purple?




or Green?


Scooby Illustrator Show!

The Western WA chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (Scooby, for short) has an illustrator show up at the WA State Convention Center! It's full of wonderful art from our incredibly talented local children's book illustrators. You can see it on the 2nd Floor Galleria until January 8. Go! We had a very fun "make art and meet the illustrators" show Oct 27 with a bunch of the illustrators and a whole bunch of kids. What a messy blast!
Big thanks to Tina Hoggatt for organizing this thing and to Jessixa Bagley who let us use her illustration for the poster.