Jun 24 2014


Published by under sketchbook,travel

Just got back from a great week in Colorado. I was a guest of the Denver Comic Con, which has grown HUGE in just a few years. I was on a couple of excellent panels, met cool people, spent some time tabling and sketching, and then took off for the mountains of Estes Park, where I hung out with ground squirrels and elk :-)

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Jun 19 2014

e-Books are here! Also Macbeth and MailChimp

Published by under e-books

First, I have delivered Macbeth, and it is scheduled for release in May 2015 from Candlewick Press. I really think you’ll like it. It’s as dark, atmospheric, claustrophobic, bloody and eery as I could make it. I’ll let you know when the release date approaches and the book is available for pre-order.

Second, I’m excited to announce that all of my titles are now available as e-books. They are currently available via Apple iBooksGoogle PlayKobo, and within a week or so, B&N Nook. By Summer’s end they will also be on the school/library subscription services Hoopla and Tumblebooks, and probably on Comixology and several other platforms as well. (If there’s a particular platform on which you want to see my books, please let me know so I can [a] pursue it, and [b] let you know when/if it happens.)

Kobo, Nook, and Google Play Books are cross-platform apps, so they’re available on pretty much all e-readers, including Apple and Kindle devices. (I won’t be working with Amazon directly, for several reasons including the current Hachette dust-up — though Amazon now owns Comixology). If you’re wondering which method nets me the most money per sale, that would be either iBooks or Kobo. Kobo also lets you set up your account such that you can support your independent bookstore of choice with each purchase, which is awesome.

If assistive technology is important to you, I’m happy to say that most of my titles have “live” text so they should support whatever features the reader software provides. The only exceptions are The Collected Beowulf (because it’s hand-lettered), and King Lear on iBooks/Kobo (the ePub format can’t handle some of the fancy text formatting so I had to flatten it).

Personally, I love a physical book, and that is pretty much always my format of choice. But I think the current generation of tablets offers quite a good reading experience, and perhaps you or someone you know would like to save money, trees, weight, bookshelf space, or replacement costs by getting my books electronically. Now you can! Or, if you want to buy my physical books, check out my store page.

There are two other things you could do if you want to help me out: first, writing a quick online review (on any of these e-book services or on Amazon) will help others find my books. Second, if you know teachers or students who are transitioning to using tablets for schoolwork, you might pass the word along to them.

Lastly, I’m creating a new mailing list via MailChimp. You can sign up below (and for smaller, more frequent updates, please follow me on Twitter.)

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May 22 2014

Mariko and Jillian Tamaki at Politics & Prose

Published by under sketchbook

The fabulous Mariko and Jillian Tamaki gave a nice talk at Politics and Prose last Saturday to close out their book tour for This One Summer. It’s a gorgeous book, and I have huge respect for these two ladies as writer and illustrator.

I had left my sketchbook in the car (doh!) so I drew these one the back of some official P&P stationery. Click to enlarge.

Mariko and Jillian Tamaki at PnP

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May 05 2014

Brookside Gardens + nonfiction children’s authors

Published by under sketchbook

Had a very nice weekend. Saturday we went to Brookside Gardens, a lovely spot just outside the beltway. They have a water garden that reminds me of Mt. Auburn, right down to the great blue heron who was hunting there.

2014-05-04 Brookside tulips   2014-05-04 Brookside heron

Sunday we went to the Takoma Park House and Garden Tour, and then raced over to Politics & Prose for their nonfiction children’s books panel. I think I managed to capture at least a halfway decent likeness of all eight panelists. Top row: Duncan Tonatiuh, Jen Bryant, R. Gregory Christie. Bottom row: Brian Floca, Richard Jackson, Susan Roth, and Leonard Marcus.

PnP nonfic panel

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Apr 22 2014

Quiet Life Motel sketches

Published by under sketchbook

My neighbor happens to be a very talented composer and violinist, and last night we went to see his group Quiet Life Motel play at a charming little French wine bar called Bistrot Lepic. It was a lovely evening of good food, good wine and good music, and I did a few sketches of the group playing. Check out their new album, it’s very cool and atmospheric.

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Apr 11 2014

Cherry Blossoms!

Published by under Uncategorized

Cherry Blossoms 2014-01      Cherry Blossoms 2014-02

I spent part of the morning down at the tidal basin painting the cherry blossoms. Not quite as gorgeous as seeing them at dawn yesterday, but this time I brought the right supplies. It was a little crowded, but really not bad.

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Mar 09 2014

Henry IV part 2

Published by under reviews,shakespeare,sketchbook

On Sunday I went back for the second day of Shakespeare Theatre Co’s Henry IV rehearsals. Like Saturday, it was a lot of fun. I met more of the cast, I introduced myself to director Michael Kahn, and I had a seat right in the front with plenty of light to draw. I also found that they have Merchant in their store (along with my competitors Manga Shakespeare and No Fear Shakespeare — I’ll see if I can get them to carry Lear and R&J).

I concentrated on faces in a lot of these sketches because apparently nobody but Falstaff is in their real costume yet. Surprising how well a sword belt over a hoodie works, though.


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Mar 08 2014

Henry IV and other developments

Published by under reviews,shakespeare,sketchbook

First, I finished coloring Macbeth last week. This was cause for much rejoicing, and a brief vacation to the True/False Film Festival, which was awesome. I may write at more length about the films I saw, but the highlights were probably Tim’s Vermeer and Happy Valley.

So, what now? For a few weeks I’ll be drawing final speech balloons and making art edits, and then the book should be DONE before the end of the month. I’m excited to enjoy the spring weather without being chained to my drawing table 70 hours a week! Speaking of which, we had some beautiful spring weather today, and I went downtown to enjoy it for a bit, and to catch an open rehearsal of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Henry IV part 1.

Have I mentioned DC is a great town for Shakespeare? Not one but two dedicated Shakespeare theaters, and usually other assorted  groups doing Shakespeare at any given time throughout the area. I’m especially thrilled that Shakespeare Theatre Company is doing free open rehearsals for their upcoming Henry IV parts 1 & 2 (starring Stacy Keach as Falstaff)! I love to see these things in progress, and it’s often a good way to meet some of the cast & crew.

They had the house lights down, and I didn’t get there early enough to sit right in front, so as usual I was trying to draw in the dark. With that caveat, here are a few sketches I managed to get.




The rehearsal was a lot of fun. It really looks like an excellent show. Henry IV isn’t the easiest story to make compelling, but they’re doing a great job with it. In an era of stripped-down productions, STC has WAY above average production values, so it’s quite a feast for the eyes too. I definitely want to see the full show, and I may go back for the second rehearsal tomorrow.

They had a little mingling time afterward, and I got to meet Mr. Keach. He was extremely gracious, and complimented my sketches. (I also sat right behind director Michael Kahn during the rehearsal, but after the show he was having important scheduling/tech discussions, and I didn’t think it was appropriate to interrupt him, so I didn’t get to show him my work. Maybe another time.)

By the way, apropo of meeting celebrities, I just found this in an old sketchbook. It’s from a music-store appearance, I believe from the “9 Objects of Desire” tour, so that would have been…1996?


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Feb 04 2014

Richard III at the Folger

Published by under reviews,shakespeare,sketchbook

I’m afraid I’ve been hiding under a rock for a while now, due to my Macbeth schedule being well and truly off the rails. I don’t like to brag/complain about how hard I’m working, because I know a lot of folks have to work two jobs, are on call all the time, have kids, etc, etc — but I will say that I have been working such long hours coloring Macbeth that (a) I got through the audiobook of Neal Stephenson’s 1000-page Anathem in less than a week, and (b) my Photoshop windows started to burn in to my monitor.

I did, however, escape the studio for half a day last Sunday to spend a few hours at the National Gallery, enjoy an unhealthy dinner at Shake Shack, and then watch the Folger Shakespeare Theater’s excellent production of Richard III, directed by Robert Richmond, which runs through March 9th.

The show features very good, consistent performances, with superb clarity and a nice “dynamic range” from disturbing to funny — plus nice use of trap doors, and the space has been totally transformed from the theater’s usual configuration. The cast, many of whom are depicted in these sketches: Drew Cortese, Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan, Howard Overshown, Michael Sharon, Julia Motyka, Richard Sheridan Willis, Sean Fri, Michael Gabriel Goodfriend, Nanna Ingvarsson, Naomi Jacobson, Daniel Flint, Andrew Criss, Remy Brettell, Holden Brettell, and Jenna Berk. Very cool costumes designed by Mariah Hale and sewn by Ananda Keator.

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Oct 28 2013

Plein-Air painting in Maine

Published by under landscape,sketchbook,travel

I enjoyed the Islesford Painting Workshop so much last year that I decided to go again. It was a rather different experience this time, partly due to completely different weather, but still excellent.

The first day we had heavy rain and fog —  all day :-(  We painted from inside the Dock Restaurant / Gallery, and attempted to capture the solidity of the fog. Day two was still foggy but at least we could change locations a bit. Day 3 was glorious, for which Henry apologized several times (the man has a New England sense of humor and a deadpan delivery).

Here’s a gallery of all the pieces I did in two and a half days. Many of these I am thinking of as sketches for later paintings (which I’ll probably never get around to), or as somewhat unfinished works. The thing about goauche, though, is you can’t really work back into it very easily; so more than likely they will just stay as they are, sacrificing “doneness” in favor of (hopefully) a bit of that nice plein-air freshness.

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