Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Busy Octopus


Here's a picture of an octopus for the last day of May.

I'm still figuring out Summer Hours. Trying to figure out how much blogging I can do in the next three months. I'm flirting with the idea of taking the whole summer off. I could finish my books and be back when school started. That plan is sounding better and better. Actually, I may have no choice. This summer has become a perfect storm of deadlines. I'll know soon, hang in there.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

I think I'll take the Memorial Day weekend to sort this Summer Schedule thing out. Have yourself a terrific long weekend. We'll kick off the summer with a new post on Tuesday!

In case you were wondering, I just finished today's two pages. It is 1:27 AM. They were extra-detailed pages.

Memorial Weekend ON!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Hours

Well, that was the opening eight pages of Mermaid Fire Brigade. Not quite chapter one--more like the prologue. I'm setting the table. Three mermaid friends, thinking about finding jobs. I think it was a fun opener.

I told you yesterday I was thinking of breaking it up into pieces, well that was Part 1.

I have to level with you all, I'm swamped. You probably guessed it from my missing week earlier this month. This summer is very, VERY tight, time-wise. I have three books due out in 2012. One I finished last month. The next one is due July 5th and the third is due in September. These are fun books that I'm very excited about. But I'm going to be working very hard to meet those deadlines.

I need to do two final pages a day, every day from now until September (two full graphic novels' worth--over 250.) Here are a couple of pages from the book I'm working on now. It's a historical graphic novel. Non-fiction--although you can see there are some silly touches, talking animals, people disappearing into smoke--it'll make sense when you see the final book in 2012. This one is about the Civil War navy--I don't want to be more specific (but history buffs can probably guess what story I'm telling from these panels.)

These are the grayscale versions--the finals have a layer of color (blue in this book) that adds extra depth. For some reason, Blogger isn't letting me show the extra color layer. Anyway--I need to log two of these a day. Plus the handful of book covers, chapter openers and other jobs I have lined up this summer. And, of course, the kids are now out of school. Which, when you work from home like I do, is a real productivity killer. (note to self: research summer schools.)

So you can imagine how hard it can be to finish all that stuff, then start on a fresh page of a blog comic around midnight. Like I said, I'm swamped.

I'm not sure what the solution is yet. My priority is the contracted books (of course.) At the same time, these books were born on the blog (the one above sold because of my Lewis and Clark comic.) So I don't want to neglect the blog. I think I need to post simpler stories. Mermaid Fire Brigade was WAAAAAAAAAY too complex for my current work schedule. It was almost like doing a THIRD page after finishing the two for the book. It'll be back, but not until this current graphic novel project is finished.

Bear with me. I'm figuring things out as I go. I don't know if a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule would work (just for the summer!) or even a Tuesday-Thursday...or maybe just a simpler drawing style (PINNIPED PARTY style!) I don't know. But I will continue to post stories and fun stuff--even if the schedule is a little different for the next three months. Who wants to check their computer every day in the summertime, anyway? It could be like a nice vacation for all of us.

Sorry again for the rocky patch. First the missing week, then Mermaid Fire Brigade cutting off eight pages in. I'm not sure what my summer hours will be. But I'll keep you posted.

Now I've got to get some sleep--I've got more pages to finish tomorrow. Enjoy the Civil War Navy sneak preview. I'll start something totally new tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mermaid Fire Brigade 8


I knew when I started that Mermaid Fire Brigade was going to be a lengthy project--more a graphic novel than a picture book. I've got a long adventure planned for the girls (and Carlos.) I may have to break it into chapters if it starts running too long. How do you like it so far?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mermaid Fire Brigade 7


Extra post.

I watched the latest Narnia movie last night with the kids. Dawn Treader was my favorite book in the series as a kid. The movie was okay (they had the pond that turned things gold--for some reason I remember that scene vividly from the book--I really wanted to see it in the movie.) I thought the ship design was a little overwrought. I mean, I know the ship is supposed to have a dragon head--but that ship was ALL dragon head. Here's a diagram:


Also, in the movie, they would use three or four longboats to go ashore--where were they storing those? They weren't on deck, and they weren't towing them. Where were they? That's right, I'm nit-picking a children's fantasy movie.

The project I'm working on right now is very ship-heavy, I'm drawing a lot of boats and ships and that Dawn Treader was driving me nuts. Maybe some day I'll post my own take on the Dawn Treader.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mermaid Fire Brigade 5


Have a good weekend! By the way, I've been seeing some paperback CALAMITY JACKS at a bargain price ($5-6 bucks) on Amazon. Somebody will get them at the cheap price--I figured it might as well be you all! CALAMITY JACK on sale! Pick up a copy (and be the 20th reviewer! That book has had 19 reviews forever.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mermaid Prep Week

Sorry for the delay--the blame is on BLOGGER, not me. If you are on BLOGGER, you know that it's been down since last night around 10 pm. Yesterday's comments disappeared too.

Anyway, here are some more mermaid concepts. Have a good weekend, the story will start next week.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mermaid Prep Week

A second take on yesterday's Mermaid sketches. This story will feature a trio. So I'm working on three mermaids with different personalities. I like the fat pencil line too (not the shading, they all look a little pasty.)

This is fun, laying out all the prep work before starting into the story. This is the type of thing most illustrator blogs have--concept and prep work. I always enjoy looking at process images. None of the stories on the blog have ever had any thing like this--I usually just dive right in. We'll see if this adds anything to the story

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mermaid Fire Brigade, title pass 2

This book is starting with a little more processy-behind-the-scenes stuff than usual. Here's another take on the title. And a few quick character sketches.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mermaid Fire Brigade

First things first. That typeface on the old cover was a mess. Here's a reboot of the title text.

Hmmmm. This one's kind of a mess too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Post

Now that the Great Missing Week of May '11 is behind us. Let us move on to a new post.

I'm excited about the new story, it has been percolating for some time now, I think it is ready.
It's a little something from the Picture Book Marathon, and it isn't The Fort That Got Me Grounded. It isn't even from this year's marathon.

It's....


MERMAID FIRE BRIGADE from the '10 PBM!

Sorry if you were hoping for The Fort That Got Me Grounded. I'll get to that one some day--right about the time you all forget that I was going to do it. It sounds cheesy, but I've found with this blog, for me to really enjoy it, I have to be free to follow my muse. Right now my muse is that big silly whale cruising down the street.

I've noticed that when I schedule and plan stories on the blog--especially when I announce the schedule and plan, I lose all interest in posting the things I scheduled and planned. After all, delivering agreed-upon drawings is my day job. The blog operates on surprise--it's gotta be free, man, free like that whale. He doesn't know what he'll do next! One day he's swimming in the ocean, the next day he's riding around the city streets with a buncha mermaids on his back.

Here we go, Mermaids, here we go!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Provo Childrens' Book Festival

I almost forgot--tomorrow is the Provo Library's Children's Book Festival! I'll be there!

Have a Good Weekend

Here is a drawing of a waterskiing isopod.


Last week I got an email from an Italian isopod research scientist. He wanted to know if he could put Chuck the Lazy Isopod in the international Isopod Newsletter. I said, "Absolutely."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Missing Week

Wow. This really has become the missing week. The Great Lost Week of May 2011. I apologize, everyone, for missing so many days. I'm now officially back on track.

Two of the projects that kept me so busy were blog-related. The graphic novel I was sketching (and now inking) was born on this blog. It is a U.S. history graphic novel--true stories told in funny cartoons. The project was pitched with my "Lewis and Clark and the Bottle of Thunder" comic, which was created here on the blog in September '09. A publisher liked it so much, they've given me a whole U.S. History series! The first two books in the series come out next year (Fall.) I can't give out many details yet. But I can give a few sneak peeks. Here are some character sketches:


The other blog-related project is still TOP SECRET. I can only tell you it is a picture book based on a blog story from the last year. That book also comes out next year (Spring,) and I can't give any sneak peeks just yet.

The blog has given me the chance to work out so many fun stories and ideas, and here I am neglecting it. Poor blog.

We are starting fresh with a new story tomorrow. The "I Will Drawing That For You" game is now over. But what about our GAME-themed ideas? You ask. Don't worry, those suggestions will be the starting comments for the next time we play the GAME--get it? Thanks again for all your great comments, and for sticking with the blog through the Great Lost Week of May 2011.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Almost Back on Track

Hi gang, sorry for the week of mystery posts. As many of you guessed, I was slammed with deadlines. Slammed and buried. Slammed, buried, dug up and slammed again--this was one of the worst--if not THE worst set of deadlines I've ever been under. I thought I would be out from under everything by now, but it turns out I'm still not quite out of the woods.

I had several things due on or around this weekend, check this out:

  • a long-term project due (128 sketch pages of a new graphic novel)
  • a medium-term project due (40 pages + cover final artwork for a picture book)
  • a short-term project due (40 pages + poster finals for a school pamphlet/education job)
  • an audition packet for a big book repackaging job (three drawings and a cover)

Also, this happened to be a week when my wife was out of town, so I was pulling full-time Mr. Mom duty. On Friday I had an adventure with a flat tire (and a flat spare tire, and a long walk, carrying said flat tire.)

In any case, I've been getting by on very little sleep, and pushing myself very, very hard. I hate to miss days like this, but we'll be back on track soon. I will keep you posted.

Over and out.