Quarter page art for a book I illustrated called "Because I Couldn't Stop My Bike", written by Karen Jo Shapiro & publ.d by Charlesbridge. Water color, gouache, 2004.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Character sketch page for Adeline, the mom-hero of the graphic novel I'm working on "Gaijin-American Prisoner of War", written & illus.d by me and publ.d by Disney, April, 2014. The story follows Irish American Adeline and her Japanese/Irish American son Koji as they navigate the bigotry and hate that led to the illegal imprisonment of all Japanese Americans on the U.S. west coast (excluding Japanese Americans on Hawaii. The "powers-that-be" deemed them too many and too valua
ble to the economy to imprison enmass). The story is based upon the real-life story of my great aunt Adeline Conlan Asai and her daughter Mary, both illegally interned at the Manzanar Concentration Camp in California. Mary was the mother at the time of three very young children who were also imprisoned. Big hugs and thanks to my lovely wife Kris for modeling as Adeline. I think she had fun, though, and she sure looks very fine in her 'forties 'do. Pencil, 2012.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Double page final art illustration for "Monster Who Ate My Peas", written by Danny Schnitzlein, illus.d by me and publ.d by Peachtree. What I wanted to achieve in this one is the experience most kid's have had where their parents, or any grown-up for that matter, simply can't see what is so very obvious to a child. Whether it's something very serious like abuse or something very surreal like a pea-eating monster in the living room. What we can see here is that the grown-ups are busy eating and the only person not oblivious to the drooling mountainous behemoth, (besides Ralph the dog who's just turned his back on the ridiculousness of the whole thing), is the hero's sister. She's too busy offering her veggies to the beastie to care much about how nasty he looks. Most kids will tell you that the coolest stuff always happens out of the corner of your eye. They also know that the world is just a far more complex and weird place than most grown-ups can acknowledge. We're just too busy focusing on the "important" stuff, such as having careers, paying bills or watching "Dancing With the Stars" to notice what's really going on. That's why we spend so much time on Facebook. Give's us a nice, false sense of boundaries and proportion. Silly us! Water color, gouache, 2000.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
This is a preliminary double-page sketch for "Gaijin-American Prisoner of War", a graphic novel written and illus.d by me, to be publ.d by Disney/Hyperion- April, 2014. The book covers the story of Japanese/Irish American Koji and his Irish American mother, Adeline, as they are sent to a prison camp outside of San Francisco during World War 2. This art was part of the package put together back in 2008 and 2009 to sell the idea to a publisher. At that time I was shooting for a 92 page book and sketched about 40 pages of the book. I went through three different re-draws of this same level prior to Disney winning the bidding war on the project. Woot Disney! Since signing the contract for the book in 2009 I've re-written/re-drawn the book in varying levels of detail 3 more times. In the process, "Gaijin" has become a 148 page book. I am now working toward finishing the final art for a January 2013 deadline. Wish me luck! Pencil, 2009.
Monday, November 26, 2012
A sketch of Granuaile O'Malley, Irish Cheiftainess, and Elizabeth the 1st, Queen of Britain, for "The Pirate Meets the Queen", written and illus.d by me, publ.d by Phylomel/Penguin&Putnam. I did these sketches on two separate sheets of a small sketch book while sitting in on a lecture for instructors at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Being of Irish descent and having inherited a fond
ness for the heroic struggle of the "under dog" from my Dad, I tend to favor Granuaile's part in the story of the struggle between their cultures and the meeting of these two great women. Even so, I fully recognize and honor the tremendous energy and genius of both figures. I envisioned Granuaile dressing in a sailor's (or pirate's as the British preferred to call her) garb. She was the daughter of a chieftain, Dubh Dair (Gaelic for Black Oak). In her early teens she took up the family's trades- fishing, shipping and raiding British merchant ships, which they called "maintenance by sea". This all to her mother's disgrace. When her father died and the British over ran the O'Malley coastal holdings, Granuaile took her people to island havens, one in particular called Clare Island and from there continued her efforts to take back what was hers. Eventually, upon the arrest of her son and the need to find protection from other Anglo/Irish sea lords, Granuaile sailed all the way to London to ask the favor of Elizabeth. What a fantastic moment that must've been- the meeting of these two great women. Upon acquiescing to the Crown and making a promise to refrain from further attacks on British shipping (a promise she didn't keep) Granuaile was granted a British title and her son set free. Some take this action by Granuaile grounds to label her a traitor to the cause of Irish nationalism. Perhaps so. But, being an ocean away and hundreds of years apart, I just find her to be one of the most extraordinary historical figures I've ever encountered. Pencil, 1999.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Sketch and final art for the cover of "The Monster Who Ate My Peas", written by Danny Schnitzlein, illus.d by me & publ.d by Peachtree. I recall sketching a less scary monster but the publisher wanted this guy. I followed their direction and kids still dig the big, green, tentacled behemoth. The proof's in the pudding because the book is still on the shelves after 11 years and has won multiple awards including the children's choice picture book award from the kid's of both Indiana and Virginia. Pencil, water color, gouache, 2000.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Did anyone have peas for Thanksgiving meal? Final illustration for page 8 of "The Monster Who Ate My Peas", written by Danny Schnitzlein, illus.d by me, publ.d by Peachtree Publ.. This is the story's hero contemplating various magical incantations for making peas go away- hence the arrival of the veggie eating monster. Water color, gouache, 2000.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Sarah Hale, Super Hero. Title page illustration for "Thank You Sarah, The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving" by Laurie Halse Anderson illustrated by me, publ.d by Simon&Schuster, 2003. Sarah Hale, born 1788, a widower who raised 5 children, a published author and publisher of America's first magazine for women- petitioned for abolishing slavery, equal education for girls and boys, ending corporal punishment for children and saved Thanksgiving for us all! Water color, pen&ink, 2001.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
This was an advertising piece created for one of the big banks. I think Citibank. The idea wasn't all that complex- simply show a visual that gets across the concept that the bank is capable of guarding your money and helping it to grow regardless if times are bullish or bearish. What I really liked about this image was that it showed my take on things clearly and with humor. This was one of the first big jobs in which I felt I'd achieved the development of my own style. And got paid pretty well, which is always nice.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Illustration for "Thank You Sarah, The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving" by Laurie Halse Anderson illustrated by me, publ.d by Simon&Schuster, 2003. Sarah Hale, born 1788, a widower who raised 5 children, a published author and publisher of America's first magazine for women- petitioned for abolishing slavery, equal education for girls and boys, ending corporal punishment for children and saved Thanksgiving for us all! Funny story on this one. The art on the back cover showed the same balloon dinosaur from the Macy's parade on the left with it's little parade handlers. Because the art director, in placing the art, trimmed the little handlers off the bottom, all you can see is the dinosaur. To this day I get emails from kids and grown-ups asking me what a green dinosaur has to do with Thanksgiving. Watercolor, pen&ink, 2002.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Final double page spread illustration for pages 28/29 of "Thank You Sarah-The Woman Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving", written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illus.d by me, publ.d by Simon&Schuster. Funny story: I remember visiting Simon&Schuster in NYC in the spring of 2002. The art had been delivered and I'd come to the city to have lunch with Kevin Lewis, my editor and Alyssa Eisner Henkin, then his assistant editor now a great literary agent. I remember standing next to Kevin as we reviewed the work. He was saying some nice things about the illustrations and his eye fell upon this piece. He was very much impressed with the design and the fact that I'd placed the soldiers from the north standing upon the word "United" and the soldiers from the south upon the word "States". He went on to talk about my wit and keen eye for symbolism and visual metaphor in the illustration, noting that the north fought originally for union and the south fought for states rights. When he was finished he looked at me with, I guessed, some hope of affirmation from me that this had been my plan. I think I replied "Yup." and smiled, knowing that I'd just put the blue guys on the left and the grey guys on the right cause I thought it looked cool. So much for the genius of me! ;) We had a nice lunch too. Watercolor, pen&ink, 2001.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
For about 6 or 7 years I did a weekly editorial cartoon for "ComputerWorld" magazine. They'd send me an article which, quite often, contained issues which I wasn't all that versed in or products about which they seemed very excited but left me somewhat dazed. I'd receive the article in the morning on Tuesday and was asked to send a finished piece back by Wednesday in the a.m.. As often as not I'd spend Tuesday morning trying to figure out some sort of correlation between the
content of the article and a visual metaphor that would express the content in a clever fashion, then I'd render the piece that afternoon and into the evening. I had fun and it was a nice gig. Unfortunately the publication went entirely digital back in 2010 and they've decided to not continue to publish editorial illustrations in this format. Pen&Ink, watercolor, 2007.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Spread illustration for "Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln" by Judith St. George, illus.d by me, publ.d by Phylomel/Penguin&Putnam. It is said that one experience in his childhood, illustrated above, influenced President Lincoln as his attitudes toward the abolishment of slavery evolved. Abe was playing at the crossroads with his older sister Sarah when a large group of children, women and men, chained at the waist, were driven past by men on horses brandishing whips. This was our America. Watercolor, gouache, 2004.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Color sketch for the title page of "Gaijin-American Prisoner of War", written and Illus.d by me, to be publ.d by Disney/Hyperion 2014. The story follows the imprisonment in an American concentration camp of a Japanese/Irish American young man named Koji and his Irish American mother Adeline during World War II. The government deemed Koji a threat to national security and ordered him and 120,000 other Japanese Americans (3/4s US citizens) to prison. His mother, being white, did not receive the same treatment. She fought bravely to keep Koji free but to no avail. In the end she chose to accompany her son to the prison camp in the American desert. Gouache, 2009.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Thumbnail for editorial illustration for ComputerWorld magazine. I think the article covered efforts to create legislation allowing for more intrusive investigation of business practices online. Business attempted to halt the effort with exclamations that their own IT departments could self-govern in a trustworthy manner. Or something like that. Pen&Ink, 2004.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
A pencil sketch for "The Return of Fletcher Leadbelly", a sequel to a book I wrote and Illus.d called "The Amazing Voyage of Jackie Grace" (publ.d by Scholastic, 1985). I scanned the pencil sketch and then simply used the Hue/Saturation in the program to colorize the grey tones through waaaay too many layers. Was tedious but I liked the result. Luckily I also like the result of applying water color to paper. And my fingers don't ache as much when I'm using a brush instead of
typing. Oh, and, "The Return of Fletcher Leadbelly" is a manuscript that has yet to find a home. So, if you're a publisher who needs a wild, funny, quirky graphic for 10 year olds- this one's for you! Otherwise, "Leadbelly" is going to be digitally self published and distributed through Amazon (scary, I know) as soon as I finish my graphic novel in January. Oh, andin these panels, Leadbelly has changed out of his substitute teacher disguise and taken control, with the help of Mrs. Duffy's 4th grade class, (to whom he'd made lot's of promises which he didn't mean to keep) of Parmenter Elementary school. Leadbelly and the kids have rigged the school as a schooner and are now sailing it down Main st. toward the harbor and freedom. Jackie Grace and Principal Dorfmann, having attempted to stop the madness, are now tied to the mast/flag pole on the roof with an orange extension cord. Things aren't looking very hopeful for the good guys. If only Mrs. Duffy were here. She'd know how to handle that dastardly pirate/substitute teacher. Pencil, photoshop, 2004.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Thumbnail sketch for a series of sofa ads for Angotti, Thomas and Hedge, an ad agency in New York, NY. A,T&H are no longer in business but I worked with them doing lots of sketching (lucrative but draining) from the mid 80's through about 2006. Funny, all the time I was doing all that advertising work I couldn't wait to get free. And now, I kinda miss those guys. Understandable, I guess. I miss the people... not the work so much. Oh, and I got the sticker today, 11/6/12, from the nice lady at the polling station. Pencil, 1998.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Illustration for "Thank You Sarah, The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving" by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by me, publ.d by Simon&Schuster, 2003. Sarah Hale, born 1788, a widower who raised 5 children, a published author and publisher of America's first magazine for women- petitioned for abolishing slavery, equal education for girls and boys, ending corporal punishment for children and saved Thanksgiving for us all! Watercolor, pen&ink, 2002.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Saturday, November 3, 2012
The sketch and final art for pg.s 20/21 of "Thank You Sarah, The Woman Who Saved Thankgiving!", written by Laurie Halse Anderson, illus.d by me and publ.d by Simon&Schuster. Working with Laurie's text was so much fun. The voice she created for the narration is smart and sassy- perfect for your third or forth grader. And I had the best time working with the editor, Kevin Lewis, on this project. He allowed me lots of flexibility and space to play, as per my inclusion of "It's Thanksgiving! Do you know where your turkey is?". There was a t.v. ad being shown at the time that said- "It's 10 o'clock- do you know where your kid is?" It was funny to me to use that popular line- slightly altered- in the illustration. Not every editor would've gone along with that because historical fiction tends to need illustration that stays very close to it's historic source. Kevin thought is was funny too. Since the book is still in print, I'm guessing some other folks enjoyed it as well! Pencil, pen&ink, water color, 2001.