In an effort to maintain some of the momentum from the painting workshop, I went out to paint the George Washington Bridge last week. I rather like these. The reason I did two was because the first one seemed a bit too close in value, especially between the sky and the bridge.
It’s been a while since I posted. I delivered Romeo & Juliet back in June, but apparently scanning art and updating the blog is pretty low on my list of priorities when I have my choice of what to work on. Mostly I have been chipping away at some of my original scripts, which I hope will turn into full-on projects one of these days.
But anyway, here I am, and I though I’d scan and share the contents of one of my current sketchbooks. It’s a cool little book with very nice paper and an elastic band to keep it closed. I like to carry it around in the cargo pocket of my convertible pants (does anyone besides me actually convert them from pants to shorts and vice versa?) so I always have it with me. I present the contents (thus far) in full, with a few comments on the drawings. The ones which are in the wrong orientation link to larger, rotated versions.
I usually do a little title page, for fun and in case the first page gets smudged against the cover:
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Wow, I’ve been so busy, I think I forget to advertise that I was the featured artist for YALSA’s Teen Read Week materials this year. I did a painting for them which is on the official Teen Read Week poster (pictured), bookmarks, and other swag (available in their store). They also interviewed me here.
My new book, Gifts From the Gods: Ancient Words & Wisdom From Greek & Roman Mythology, is now available at bookstores everywhere.
Initial reactions have been extremely positive, and my understanding is that it has already been reprinted to meet demand.
If it is reasonably convenient, I encourage — nay, urge — you to buy from an independent retailer. They are the lifeblood of the industry, and your patronage is their lifeblood. I’m well aware of the convenience and price advantage Amazon offers, and that many people don’t live anywhere near an indy, but buying indy is seriously an investment in your local community and, in a more abstract way, in the future of books — or more specifically , a future in which there continue to be professional “book people” who help bring attention to wonderful and quirky books that might not otherwise find their audience. I have a lot more to say on this topic, but I’ll save it for another day. In the meantime, I hope you’ll find a bookstore and get a copy of Gifts From the Gods for each of the mythology fans in your life.
New interview on YALSA in connection with Teen Read Week.
I’m currently enamored with this book, which I picked up at the Million Year Picnic the other day (when I was in Boston for fun author visits and un-fun dental work).
Love the linework, love the colors, love the lettering. The story is… perhaps not really a story by some standards, but holds up well enough to keep me loving the book. I think I will read it again tomorrow.
The first four rounds have gone up, and tomorrow The Odyssey will be pitted against One Crazy Summer. I have no reason to expect my book to win, but it will be interesting to read the analysis and the comments!
Check it out here: http://sljbattleofthebooks.com/
One warning regarding the formatting — in order to read each contest you click a link on the right side of the page. That link shows one of the titles struck-through, so the outcome is revealed before you read the judge’s decision. I’m hoping they’ll fix that.
When I do author visits, I talk a bit about my experiences working on video games. Kids often ask me the following questions:
1. What is your favorite game that you worked on? This (cutscene directed by Dan Thron)
2. What is your favorite game of all time? This (grandfather of Rock Band and all music games)
3. Why did you stop working on video games? The short answer is that I never really wanted to make video games, but kids these days do not believe this answer. So I have to explain about the endless unpaid “crunch” overtime, the lack of creative control, the amount of work that gets wasted and thrown away, and the fact that I get really sick of working at a computer all day. Then they ask me if I will ever go back.
Did I mention I’m in the middle of working on a new book? For a while I wasn’t sure if I should be talking about it on the internet, but it turns out it’s not a secret at all, and in fact maybe you can help come up with a good title for it! No royalties will be involved for the winning title, but you will be “in the acks” as they say in the book world (the acknowledgments, that is).
So what is this book? It’s a bit of a departure for me, being neither an adaptation, nor truly a graphic novel. It’s also my first time working with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (the fabulous Ann Rider is my editor), and working from a text by another (living) writer (Lise Lunge-Larsen — http://www.liselungelarsen.com/books.php)
Basically it’s a 96-page picture book with some paneled sequences (sort of in-between a graphic novel and a children’s book), on the subject of Greek and Roman mythological characters whose names have become everyday words — Fate, Fortune, Echo, etc. It should be done in October (right around the same time the Odyssey comes out) and released in late 2011. I’m pretty excited with the way it’s shaping up so far.
However, there is one small problem. We aren’t completely happy with any of our title ideas. Please comment or email me if you have any suggestions! It should be punchy and have 11-14 year-old appeal.
(Edit: The title has now been finalized. Gifts From the Gods: Ancient Words & Wisdom From Greek & Roman Mythology)
My wife and I have relocated to the big apple. We found a nice apartment way up in Washington Heights, and so far we are loving it. The move itself was a ridiculous marathon, so here’s hoping we don’t have to do that again anytime soon!
I’m back to work, trying to catch up on my schedule, but will try to post some NY drawings soon.