Monday, April 14, 2014

A Hazardous Week in Texas

This week I was in San Antonio, Texas. I was there for TLA, the Texas Librarian Association convention--the biggest library convention in the country aside from the national ALA convention. This year has been a great year for the Hazardous Tales books because One Dead Spy is on this year's Bluebonnet Master List--the state book award in Texas.

While I was there, this happened:

This is a copy of Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood. How rare is this? I don't even have one. I have no idea how this librarian was able to talk the people in the Amulet booth into selling it. It's a mystery. My guess, she's a professional hypnotist.

We're just a month away from launch. This book should start popping up everywhere soon.

Spoiler from the photo, this book is dedicated to Snoopy.

If you'd like more of a preview, take a look at the book on Amazon. It has a nearly 20 page preview.

While I was in San Antonio, I was able to slip away from TLA one morning and visit the Alamo.

Why was I visiting the Alamo? Looking in the basement for Pee Wee Herman's bike? Hiding from hypnotist librarians? Or maybe doing on-site research for a future Hazardous Tales book?

Possibly all three!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meet the Hangman!

And the last of our introduction pages. The Hangman:

By the way, we were off the NYT Bestseller list for one week--but we're back ON! At #8! That makes four weeks on the list! Hooray!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Yeti color test 1

Apologies for the missed posts--I was in Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con. I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel with Jeff Smith (Bone), Kazu Kibiushi (Amulet), Jimmy Gownley (Amelia Rules), and Royden Lepp (Rust). With a line-up like that, I couldn't say no.

So, here's a one-hour color test on the Yeti scene. This one featuring everybody in shadow, with the long tree shadows coming forward to the viewer. It's fun--but I'm not in love with the distant mountain--kinda muddy back there. We'll try a few more color passes to see what works best.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Yeti Wash

Okay, so here's step 2 of my Yeti illustration. A slight watercolor wash. Just two colors, brown and blue, to fill out some of the shapes and give it a little texture. The image is now a mid-tone that I can work lighter and darker.

I'm starting to realize painting a Yeti in the snow, among white trees,  is sort of like the old "polar bear in a blizzard" painting.

From here on out, the painting will go digital. I may try a few different lighting scenes, to see what works best.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Building a new portfolio

If you've ever clicked through the PORTFOLIO link on my main page, you've seen my agent's site Shannon Associates. You've probably also noticed that the images in that portfolio have not been updated for...quite a while.

For the past few years, I've been so busy creating graphic novels, that I've neglected my work portfolio. I wish the graphic novels paid all of my bills--they don't. In fact, most years, at least half (sometimes more) of my income comes from illustration only--not projects I've written. Book covers, interior art for chapter books, textbooks, products--you name it.

Unfortunately, my illustration work has been a bit dry lately, due in large part to my non-up-to-date portfolio.

So I'm creating some new pieces--custom pieces--for my portfolio. Here is step one of an illustration of a Yeti chasing a skiing kid.

These are two things I've never done an illustration of: a skier and a Yeti.

This is black Prismacolor pencil. I'm trying some new techniques--the next step will be some watercolor washes. That'll be up tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Guest post from a 4th grader

This drawing was shown to me after a school visit about Napoleon, Jefferson, and the Louisiana Purchase. It is by a 4th grader who enjoyed the assembly.

If you can't read it, it says, "I have bought ze moon! YAAAA!

I like the little pistol pocket. Who am I kidding, I like EVERYTHING about this.