Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dr. Seuss via Stephen Gammel

Quick interruption! I know I said I wouldn't, but I think you'll like this one.

One of my favorite blogs, the School Library Journal children's book blog Fuse #8 was asking artists to Re-Seussiffy Dr. Seuss. Meaning illustrating a Dr. Seuss in the style of another well-known children's artist. I went with one of my absolute favorite children's illustrators, the terrifying Stephen Gammel (of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark fame.)

Oh man, did I love those Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books. They came out right when I was in grade school. MORE Scary Stories, the second book, came out when I was in fifth grade. I got into a fight in the school library--an actual physical fight--over the library's only copy.

You will not find scarier illustrations in ANY book. Those pictures are AMAZING. Profoundly gruesome, nightmarish images. And they were in books meant for little kids.

If you don't know these images (and you should--the books were HUGELY popular) do a google image search for "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark." You will get an eyeful.

Anyway, here is my Re-Seussifaction via Stephen Gammel:



Link over to the Fuse #8 blog to see the other entries. There's some great stuff.

Taco Hell Drive Thru Part 2-19

Friday, February 24, 2012

Taco Hell Drive Thru Part 2-18


Have a good weekend! Also, I discovered a sad truth about myself and this blog. If I post a non-story post that says a story post will come later that day, 9 times out of 10, that later story post ain't coming.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Movie News Alert!

I'll have the next installment of Taco Hell out later tonight. I've been slow with the posting-by-five schedule. Let's make it easy and just say the posts will go up at SOME point each day.

Anyway, a little news alert popped up for me today about THE DEVIL YOU KNOW movie. Long (very long) time blog readers may remember back in 2007 when my first picture book, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW was optioned by Shawn Levy, the director of the Night at the Museums and Real Steel.

The first screenplay was written by the guys who wrote Chicken Little for Disney. I met one of the writers, Steve Bencich, he was very cool. It was then passed on to Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant (writers of Night at the Museums, also from Reno 911, also also from The State) I met Ben Garant at ComicCon in 2008 and he was very cool too.

I haven't heard much since. Any news I hear comes from me scouring the internet for news--nobody calls me to give me an update. That's fine with me. They renew the option every other year, and each time I get a nice check. It's been six years (and three checks!) So my hope is that they keep renewing it for another six years, then finally make the movie!

Anyway, this is all backstory. Today I came across this news via Collider. Here's the snippet if you don't want to link over:

Levy also spoke a bit about The Devil You Know, which is an adaptation of a children’s book:

“It was a [Thomas] Lennon and [Ben] Garant script, they wrote Night at the Museum, [then] Mike Schur who runs and created Parks and Recreation rewrote it for us. We now have a new draft and I suppose it’s kind of a VFX comedy of theNight at the Museum ilk, I don’t think that would be one for me to direct just because as you can now see, I’m way over-extended. So that’s one where I think I’ll start by trying to cast the female lead because I think it’s a really juicy moment for comedic female stars.”

The book by Nathan Hale tells the story of a family who trade in a pesky devil living in their home for a mysterious tiny lady that offers to take his place. The mysterious woman soon proves to be an even bigger problem than the previous pest, as she unpacks numerous boxes filled with demons of all shapes and sizes and begins to redecorate the house with alternate necessities, like a lake of fire and brimstone in the kitchen.

The female lead that Levy is talking about is presumably the mysterious Ms. Phisto, and the story sounds like it’d translate well into an entertaining family film. I’m encouraged by Schur’s involvement as I think Parks and Rec is one of the best shows currently on TV, so I’m anxious to hear more about the project. Given that Levy is taking himself out of the running as director due to over-extension, it sounds like the film might be fairly close to moving forward sometime soon.

Pretty interesting, huh?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Taco Hell Drive Thru Part 2-17


I sure like drawing these monster Hondas.

Hey, guess who just finished illustrating the complete Old Testament. It was me! 324 full-color illustrations spread over 108 pages. Aye carumba!

In retrospect, I wish we'd done the Old Testament second. Now all the fun-to-draw stories are behind me. No more lion's dens, fiery furnaces, boats full of animals etc.

So long, you wacky Old Testament.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents Day!

Just when the secrets of Taco Hell were about to be revealed--here comes a Presidents Day post!

Fear not, the end is near on Taco Hell, I won't make you wait any longer. After today, it'll be a race to the finish. And, unlike the horrible LOST finale, all questions will be answered! The story will tie up in a neat, taco-flavored bow (crispy, with a packet of Mild Sauce.)

Anyway, here is a Presidents Day sneak preview of one of this Fall's historical graphic novels.


Flex those memory muscles and see if you can guess which famous American President is featured here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Taco Hell Drive Thru Part 2-15


Phew! That was close. I totally forgot to do today's post. Friday's post has always been finished Thursday night. I'm still getting used to this schedule. But I got the Friday post out just under the clock--with ten minutes to spare!

I'm heading out to see the Secret World of Arrietty (aka The Borrowers) this weekend. I have medium expectations. Yes, it's a Studio Ghibli--but it's not directed by Miyazaki. This is the first non-Miyazaki Studio Ghibli movie to get wide theatrical release in the states. I've seen every Miyazaki American theatrical release on opening weekend. All the way back to Princess Mononoke. It's fun to go opening weekend, because the crowd cheers when the Totoro logo pops up. Plus, Miyazaki has said that if this one does poorly in the states, he'll end his deal with Disney distribution. So go see it this weekend! (Even if it isn't a true Miyazaki.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Taco Hell Drive Thru Part 2-13



So today's post is a few hours late. Sorry about that. There was a thing with a school letter about my son's hair-length (charter school with a dress/hair code) and a long wait at a barber shop, and a delicious pizza place next to the barber shop--also with a long wait. But here it is.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Taco Hell Drive Thru Part 2-11


Have a good weekend! Remember, with the new afternoon posting schedule, the next post will arrive Monday afternoon around 5. I think I like this new schedule.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Taco Hell Drive Thru Part 2-10


A little something popped up for pre-order on Amazon today. Take a look.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Taco Hell Drive Thru Part 2-9


I'm proud of the books I've published, sure. But I think "I had seen teeth like that before, in the Taco Bell sack." might be the best sentence I've ever written.

Day 2 of the Afternoon Posting Schedule. So far, so good.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Taco Hell Drive Thru Part 2-8


If this were a movie, this part would be the jump-scare.

Announcement:

I'm going to try changing my posting time. Traditionally, it's the last thing I do each night. That hasn't been working so well lately. I tried doing the first-thing-in-the-morning post. If you remember, that didn't work at all.

So I'm going to try the afternoon post. Between noon and 5pm (mountain) is when I'll update. It could work. It could flop. The way to stay sane as a work-from-home-freelancer is to constantly try to trick yourself into thinking there is variety in your work life. The horrible truth, there really isn't. Same basement, every day. But you can try to switch things up (working all night for example.)

See you tomorrow afternoon!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Second Great Missing Week!

Holy mackerel!

Good news, though--I should be pulling out of this funk and climbing back on track by Monday.

What a way to start the year!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Perfect Thicket

Ugh.

Hey everyone. Sorry for the HUGE gap in...well, everything. I've used the phrase "perfect storm" before when describing deadlines. Storm doesn't work this time. Storm would imply motion and movement--no, I am in the perfect thicket of deadlines. These deadlines have long roots, it's going to be months of hacking and slashing before I get out of this tangle. I've been buried in it for a good eight or nine months now. There's no end in sight.

The famous story in my house is that I had forty minutes of rest between the end of the graphic novel interiors and the phone call for the bible job. Not a full hour--forty minutes. I'm now through the Psalms in the bible job, by the way. During the holidays I juggled both the bible pages and the extra graphic novel stuff (remember that?)

We went absolutely bonkers with the extra goodies on these graphic novels. Wait until you see them. Each book has custom endpaper maps, spine, cover details--it's really nuts. I turned the bibliography into a comic. They are jam-packed with information, there is barely a blank spot in them. They'll be out this year, I'll let you know more as we get closer to release (this summer.)

I'm happy to say that both graphic novels are now in China and printing. We tightened up every possible loose end last week. We are now in talks for book 3 and 4.

Oh, and I'm still sick. The stomach bug everybody had last week morphed into a head cold for everybody this week. Weirdest bug ever.

I'm trying to get back to a place where I can post daily. I rarely missed a day for the past two years, so you can imagine how frustrating it is for me to look back on the past few months. Especially last week. Yuck.

I'm not doing the Picture Book Marathon this year. Not this February anyway. We're sticking with Taco Hell to the end! And it does have an ending--in case you were worried. I know exactly how it all wraps up. I just haven't had the time (or energy) to keep the posts coming.

We're going to get through Taco Hell, then the posts are going to be much simpler. Nothing but Naming Games and Pinniped Parties until July.

July is when the bible job ends. I'm hoping for a fifty minute break between the end of that job and the start of graphic novels 3 and 4.