Archive for the 'appearances' Category

Jan 30 2017

Samurai Rising at ALA Midwinter ’17

Published by under appearances,samurai

Last weekend in Atlanta some wonderful things happened to me.

YALSA Nonfiction Award finalist Samurai Rising!

Samurai Rising won a fancy silver seal as a finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award, and Pam Turner and I each got a lovely plaque. It’s really her award, but I was super happy to be part of it. Unlike most of the awards announced at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, the YALSA finalists are announced ahead of time, and the only mystery is who will get the gold seal. The answer (unsurprisingly, at least to Alison and me), was March Book 3, the wonderful graphic novel by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, published by Top Shelf Comics.

March proceeded to win 3 more ALA awards, bringing the total medals on its cover to an unprecedented six! — National Book Award, Printz, Corretta Scott King, Walter Dean Myers, YALSA Nonfiction, Sibert Nonfiction. I think (as, it seems, did the award committees) that this is the book of our time. We’re in a moment reminiscent of the events of the civil rights movement, and may need the lessons of March and the leadership of men like John Lewis to move civil rights forward.

The real high point of the weekend was the award ceremony for the YALSA and Morris Awards. Since the finalists for these two awards are announced ahead of time, they have their acceptance ceremony right after the award announcements (as opposed to the Newbery and Caldecott, which have their ceremony at ALA Annual in the summer). The Morris is the award for the best debut YA novel. Each finalist for the two awards was invited to speak briefly.

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I guess it should come as no surprise that good writers can write really good speeches; that debut novelists can express heartfelt and earnest passion for their work and gratitude for being recognized; and that nonfiction authors can paint a vivid picture of how history relates to the present. But wow, did they ever! I wish the whole video was online, because I’d like everyone I know to be able to watch it. It was such an amazing expression of the passion authors and librarians have for the power of books. Sadly, at the moment, all I can find are handheld recordings of John Lewis’ and Sonia Patel’s speeches on YouTube.

I also did some sketches of the speakers at both award ceremonies:

ALAYMA17 Morris awards1

Morris awards2 YALSA awards

Afterward we had a group photo in which I sat next to Congressman Lewis, and lastly the photographer had us make a human chain — which seemed rather silly at first, but when I realized (a) that I was locking arms with John Lewis, a man who has done the same thing so many times for real in the service of civil rights, and (b) the symbolism of all these nonfiction authors “holding the line” for facts and advancing truth in this time of “alternative facts,” I was very moved. Indeed I think it was one of my life’s peak moments.

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So, yeah. Incredibly grateful to the YALSA Nonfiction committee, to ALA, to Pam, to Charlesbridge, and to the other authors for an amazing weekend.

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Feb 09 2016

NY, Samurai, Dinosaurs

Published by under appearances,sketchbook

Just got back from a short but sweet trip to NYC, where I did Samurai Rising events at Bank Street Books and Book Court. Saw a lot of great friends and fans at those events, caught up with a few of my super-creative NY artist pals, and made a little time to stop by the American Museum of Natural History and see the new Titanosaur. I actually didn’t do a drawing of the Titanosaur because I was crunched for time, but I did a quick sketch of the lobby that came out reasonably well.

AMNH2016-2

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Jan 19 2016

Samurai Rising is here! (Almost.) Plus, school visits!

Published by under appearances,travel

I just returned from a 2-week trip, part of which was attending ALA’s Midwinter conference, where, for the first time, I got my hands on a finished copy of Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner, illustrated by me. It doesn’t officially hit store shelves until Feb 2, but I wanted to give you a preview of how beautifully the finished book came out. I’m SO pleased with it. Note the wonderful design work by Art Director Susan Sherman, the embossed and red-stamped hardcover under the dust jacket, and the copious author notes that take up almost 1/3 of the page count (they’re really readable and interesting too — quality as well as quantity!). The two symbols are the mon or family crests of the warring Taira and Minamoto clans.

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Here’s me signing it for the fans who dropped by the Charlesbridge booth. (I used a brush pen, and alternated between drawing a sword, helmet, tiny mounted archer, or bow and arrow.) In the background is my editor Alyssa.

ALA signing Boston 369

You can pre-order Samurai from most retailers now. I’ll start taking pre-orders for signed books about a week before the on-sale date.

Also on this trip I did a bunch of great school visits (two of which were beautifully documented as per the following links). The first three were in my home town: Montpelier High School, Main Street Middle School, and my own high school, U-32. Then I did three in the Boston area: Manchester Essex Middle High School, Worcester Academy, and Duxbury Middle High School. You can see more photos on my Twitter stream. Duxbury has a gorgeous beach, by the way, and I’ll leave you with that view.  😉

Duxbury beach

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Jul 06 2015

ALA 2015 recap

ALM San Francisco 444

At ALA with Ashley Bryan

Although I’ve been to the American Library Association‘s (smaller) Midwinter show, I’d never been to the main ALA Annual show until last week. It was a really wonderful experience. Alison and I flew out a week early to explore and visit friends in the area. Here are a few highlights of our travels and of the show (below the cut):

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Feb 27 2015

Launch event recap

Published by under appearances,Macbeth

Presenting Macbeth at the TKPL, photo by Bruce Guthrie

I’ve had three Macbeth launch events so far, and all have gone swimmingly. First I was in Boston, dealing with snowbanks up to my chinny-chin-chin, but lots of folks came out to join me, for which I’m very thankful! Wellesley Books and Porter Square Books have been super-supportive of my work for years, so I was very happy to have the first launch events there.

The first event was at Wellesley Books, Alison’ former employer and a fabulous group of folks who are really family to us at this point. Lots of teachers came to this one, as well as friends and fans old and new.

Next up was Porter Square Books, with a great turnout including lots of good friends, and two fabulous actors from ASP doing a scene from Macbeth as part of the presentation. Mara and Jesse were great. If you’re in the Boston are you should really check out ASP, they stage wonderful productions.

The second round of events is here in the DC area. Monday night I was at the Takoma Park Library. Great turnout, including some of my fellow aikido students. The talented Dave Burbank turned the tables on me by doing this great drawing while I was presenting — and pulled in some imagery from my Macbeth reference photos as well!

Portrait of me presenting at TKPL, by Dave Burbank

Portrait of me presenting at TKPL, by Dave Burbank

Also Bruce Guthrie took all these great photos. This is the best-documented event I’ve done by far!

Me with Dave Burbank and Karen McPherson (two of my favorite librarians!)

 

Presenting at TKPL, photo by Bruce Guthrie

Tonight I’ll be at Hooray For Books in Alexandria, VA. No projector, so I’ll be drawing oldschool, on an easel. Next week I’m doing an event for local schools at Politics & Prose, and then my local events are done for a while. (To keep up with all my events and major news, sign up for my e-newsletter here.)

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Sep 30 2013

Book launch recap, Romeo & Juliet on stage everywhere

My book launch events this weekend went really well, I think. Of special note was the event at Porter Square Books, where I did a slideshow illustrating the development of the concepts and designs for my R&J, and showed pages from the book, highlighting a few of my favorite passages. When I got the balcony scene, two teenagers who were “planted” among the audience popped up and surprised everyone (else) with a really beautiful live performance of the scene. They were Frank and Natasha, two talented young actors who recently starred in Actor’s Shakespeare Project’s Youth Program production of R&J. I want to thank them again for doing such a fantastic job — and also ASP resident actor Mara Sidmore, for working with them, helping to figure out the cuing and blocking, playing Mercutio and the Nurse, and generally helping make it all work really smoothly. Thanks also to David and Carol at Porter Square Books, and Adele and Allyn at ASP, who all helped to arrange the whole thing.

 

Readers of this blog will already be familiar with ASP from the sketches I’ve been doing at their dress rehearsals for several years. I love this group! I am thrilled to report that, by happy coincidence, they are staging Romeo & Juliet starting this week at the Strand theater in Dorchester, and besides participating in my launch party they are also going to be selling my book at their concession stand. I got to sit on the end of a tech rehearsal Sunday night, and it looks excellent. (I’ll be posting a couple of sketches from that in the next day or two.)

 

Like I said, it’s a wonderful coincidence that they’re doing the show now. But they aren’t the only ones! For those who may not be aware, there are several other high-profile stagings of R&J this month on the East Coast. Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad star in a Broadway production that has tons of buzz. Competing with them off-Broadway is this production with Elizabeth Olsen. And here in my new hometown, The Folger Shakespeare Library has a production starting in two weeks.

 

Then there’s this new R&J film, which may be good or truly terrible, and which may or may not be in theaters near you next week.

 

(Or perhaps you’d prefer this lesbian Romeo & Juliet starting next week in Philly?)

 

I mean, come on, it’s a Romeo & Juliet bonanza! If you live in one of those cities, grab some tickets!

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Sep 10 2013

Romeo & Juliet launch events

Published by under appearances,romeo and juliet

It’s not exactly a full-on tour, but I have to say, this is the closest I’ve ever come to an actual tour for a book launch. I hope you can make it to one of these events!

 

– Sept. 28 (Saturday) 7pm Porter Square Books event and signing, Cambridge MA.

– Sept. 29th (Sunday) 2:30pm panel, w/signing 30 min before and after, at MICE (Massachusetts Independent Comic Expo), Cambridge MA.

– Sept. 29th (Sunday) 5:30pm Signing at The Million Year Picnic (+other authors TBD), Cambridge MA.

– Nov. 7th 7:30pm Event and signing at Takoma Park Library, Takoma Park MD.

– Nov 16th 2:30pm Event and signing at Bank Street Books, New York NY.

– Nov. 22-24 Multiple appearances at National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention in Boston MA. Email for details if you are attending NCTE.

 

I’m also looking into the possibility of an online launch event for those who can’t make any of the events above. Stay tuned.

 

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Sep 14 2012

Literary Lights Video

Published by under appearances,tools & tech,video

This video is edited way down, so a lot of great stuff is on the cutting room floor, but what remains still gives a glimpse of a very fun event.

Pam Munoz Ryan, MT Anderson and Kate DiCamillo all gave wonderful speeches which are barely hinted at, and Annabell’s intro was also particularly good. Oh well. At least you get to see me draw.

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May 01 2012

MoCCA Postscript

Published by under appearances,reviews

In my attempt to keep my write-up short and quick yesterday, I forgot to mention the amazing Alec Longstreth. I met this dude when we did a talk at CCS a few years ago, and I have to say that among the many super-nice people in the comics world, this guy might just be the nicest. And I don’t just say that because every time I see him he gives me comics and refuses to take my money (though that is certainly a concrete example).

Alec had a mega-beard last time I saw him, because way back in 2008 he pledged not to shave until his book Basewood was done. Well, it is now done, and he’s clean-shaven once more. Check out the story —  it’s quite good (though I always find the covers confusing, since he has this “Basewood is just a story in my ongoing magazine I call Phase 7” thing going on). But anyway, it’s a very humanistic, meticulously drawn story. With dragons.

Also, check out this cool poster by my friend Casey.

Coloring due today. Back to work!

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Apr 30 2012

MoCCA 2012

Published by under appearances

Had a great time at MoCCA comics festival this past weekend. Tabled with my friend Tim Decker, author/illustrator of excellent historical picture books which are not really for kids.

The Decker/Hinds table (pictured: the two artists, plus Tim's wife Mandy doing the actual work)

I didn’t sell a huge amount of books, but that’s okay, as I feel these shows are more for marketing and networking. Highlights were meeting Tom Gauld, one of my favorite cartoonists, and P. Craig Russell, who was the guest of honor this year, and whose work in many ways parallels (and predates) my own. Also in the “always delightful” category were such folks as Colleen Venable, Mo Willems, Lucy Knisley, and many more. I also saw one of my favorite teachers from Parsons, Warren Linn — he moved on years ago to be full-time at MICA, so it was great to see him again. Actually we were sitting next to a bunch of his current MICA students on one side, and on the other side were a bunch of current Parsons seniors, some of whom I had met before when visiting drawing classes there. So that was good for some nice conversations (most notably with Yasmin Liang), even though it did make me feel old 😉

I also met the lovely folks at Seven Stories Press who are publishing The Graphic Canon, a super-cool and ambitious mega-volume in which excerpts from several of my books appear. It goes on sale in just a few weeks, and can be pre-ordered now.

I didn’t bring home a lot of other books, but some things that especially caught my eye were Spera, Kiki of Montparnasse, and Baby’s in Black. I really look forward to those, just as soon as I finish up the coloring on Romeo & juliet, which is due (gulp) tomorrow!

Boba Fett on the accordion

a fan trying out one of Tim's dad's way-cool cigar box guitars.


(Photos by Alison Morris!)

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