Saturday, September 20, 2008

what makes it all worth it

 i had 3 surprise packages in one week. copies of the "bedtime at the swamp" picture book, greeting cards of my latest pkpress illustration ( rock guitarist theme) & the most surprising of all ... copies of "the 12 hidden days of christmas"

"12 days" is not yet even available in stores (oct 7). i usually get my copies way after the release date. 

normally, i become very critical of my artwork when i finally see it in print. but with "12 days" i found myself enjoying the finished product, which surprised me because the book was easily one of my more difficult projects (painting hidden picture book + suspect math skills = crossed-eyes & a lot of re-dos).

the next day, i read the book to my nephew at his younger brother's birthday party. 

the reason i'm writing about this is because i have never, in my 5 years as a book illustrator, read any of my books to any kid. it dawned onto me, while sitting with him, that i've never witnessed any proof that my target readers actually approve of my work - that my artwork, well, works!

 i've been painting blind & just expecting children to "get" the stories.

well, now i know. the books work splendidly. nathan would not get off my lap, alternating between the 2 books & either looking for santa or making those wonderful monster noises that kids do so well.

Friday, September 19, 2008

going postal

just found out today that the "take me out to the ballgame" book was being sold at the nearby post office (2 blocks away). my wife was in line waiting for her turn & noticed that familiar cover hanging on the store wall. credit goes to her for the discovery. i would not have noticed it.

it's on sale to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the baseball song. USPS is also issuing a 42 cent commemorative stamp designed by artist Richard Sheaff.

I had no idea that this book would have this much staying power when I was working on it 3 years ago. It is also being sold in Cooperstown (Baseball Hall of Fame).

more info here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

north park urban art

some interesting urban art where we live. most of the pix are not mine. i'd credit the photographers but i lost the link sources. unfortunately, most of the artwork have been painted over (i think by new building owners). this is why i had to go find the pics on the net instead. the paint rollers where just too quick for my slow-poke rodriguez camera trigger. most, if not all of them, seem to be business sponsored art. there are more than a few taggers in our neighborhood, but i hate that shit. these ones definitely stood out & made the north park area more appealing to me.

university ave. inbetween 30th & ohio
now painted over. an early favorite.

undisputed gym wall (ohio street)
also painted over. too bad, i enjoyed looking at this while walking the dog.

also on the undisputed gym wall.

linkery restaurant wall (30th street)
solid artwork by acamonchi.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Flat Stanley

I've signed with HarperCollins to do a relaunch/redesign of the Flat Stanley books. This is another long term series that I will be working on for the next 4 years.

As with every start of the new project, there is that "getting to know you" phase that the illustrator & art director/editor gets to do. Right from the start, the FS editors have been a joy to work with.

I always hear about horror stories from other artists about dealing with art directors, but I've been lucky so far to have not experienced any of that.

I've already finished a few book covers & I hope to show some of them soon. There will be different sets of books that would target different reading levels (a first for me).

At the moment, amazon is showing the previous designs but crediting them to me. Hopefully, this will be corrected because I'd like to see the previous illustrator properly recognized for his work.