Behind the Scenes: Time-Lapsed Process

For the past several months, I've been experimenting on the iPad with the Apple Pencil. While it has sped up my sketch process considerably, I'm still trying to figure out how and if I'll use it for final art. That decision is far down the road, but in the meantime, I'm having a great time exploring applications like Adobe Photoshop Sketch and Procreate as I consider ways to recreate the look of my analog illustration digitally. One of the really fun features I recently discovered was the Timelapse function. The iPad actually "records" your entire drawing session of a document.

This is most entertaining to me—seeing my illustration choices sped up in video form. For instance, in the image called, Flying Machines, you'll see my first thought was to draw an ice cream cone on wheels. I guess I didn't like that, so I switched to helicopter-like contraptions, flown by animals.

Flying Machines Timelapse Drawing

Here's one called Roller Skates where I was trying to make choices about the background. Yes? No? I settle for mostly no.

Roller Skates Timelapse Drawing

I'm also wondering about the story-telling possibilities with Timelapse. While it would be complicated to incorporate, I think with a little planning, there are possibilities. As quick examples, here's a drawing I made called Cat in the Woods. It takes on a short narrative as you see the footprints appear and the cat's eye direction change at the very end. (I know, you have to squint to see it.)

Cat in the Woods Timelapse Drawing

With my Teacher Appreciation Day illustration, I must've I wanted to draw a dog exercising at first, but quickly changed my mind to an image related to the final piece. But because I'm using the same dog character, it seems at the beginning like we've gotten a peek into her personal life—first with an exercise coach, maybe before she goes to her job at school where she is then greeted by the cat student with the fork. It sure did take me a few tries to get that fork right!

Teacher Appreciation Day Timelapse Drawing

At any rate, it's interesting to see the decisions I was making in process: things I test out, then  eliminate, and also elements that I obviously have to draw over and over, until I get the look I want. So there you have it—the ugly underbelly of my current iPad drawing process.

A few of these images are available for purchase as prints in my shop. Just click here to see the whole assortment, and a slew of other products featuring my art. Thanks for reading!

Proofs of Life in the Universe!

I can't show much at this stage, but this week I received a special package in the mail: first proofs for THE DAY THE UNIVERSE EXPLODED MY HEAD. This is that space poetry picture book I've been talking about forever. Written by Allan Wolf, and published by Candlewick Press, it will be out in early March 2019.

At fifty-six pages, it seemed like I was painting it forever too, but I'm really pleased with the results. It's so rewarding to finally see the illustrations on the page.

Here are some very sneaky peeks—stay tuned for more. And if you haven't subscribed to my newsletter, you can find that link here.

What's News with Me…

What's news with me? I guess, a lot, since it's been a while since I updated this page. The late summer and early fall have kept me plenty busy.

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It's that time of year again! As with past Octobers, I'm participating in #Inktober—the month of ink drawings shared on social media—with my own spin in the form of #Oinktober. If you'd like to follow my pigs' progress, check out my Instagram for a new pig drawing each day.

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Fall is book festival season, and a few weekends ago, I was at the Princeton Children's Book Festival along with a stellar roster of kidlit authors and illustrators. Creating children's books is a somewhat solitary art, so festivals are a great way to connect directly with teachers, librarians, parents, and especially kids. If you find yourself near Westchester County, NY on Saturday, October 14th, come visit me at the Chappaqua Children's Book Festival from 10–4PM. I'll be signing books and giving away bookmarks, stickers and more. For further information, click here.

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September 15th was International Dot Day, and I was invited to celebrate with a few author-illustrator colleagues down at the KidLitTV studio in Lower Manhattan. Now a worldwide celebration inspired by Peter Reynolds' book The Dot (about a little girl who is reticent about drawing/making her mark, only to discover the true artist within her), this Dot Day connected classrooms across the globe through a live stream to create a celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration. As you can see, we created our own jumbo dot, deemed, the "collabradot." Thanks to my fellow "celebridotters" Lori Richmond, David Ezra Stein, Joyce Wan, Michael Arndt and the great folks at KidLitTV for a fabulously fun day!

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Last, but not least, Zora's Zucchini is now out in paperback, sporting a newly-earned award—the Growing Good Kids Book Award, from Junior Master Gardeners and The American Horticultural Society. If you'd like to get a copy for the kid gardener you know, click here.

That's all from here—have a great fall, and hope to see you soon!

Teaching at the SVA Summer Residency

This week brought to a close another June of teaching Illustration at the School of Visual Arts Summer Residency. Now in it’s tenth year, the residency gives artists a chance to immerse themselves in the New York illustration world through a rigorous program of coursework, as well as visits with professionals, organizations, and exhibitions.

Focusing on narrative illustration, my class guides students through the creation of a series of images inspired by a text of their choosing. As a teacher, it’s incredibly rewarding to see the development of these projects, from sketches to finished art, culminating with their Open Studios exhibition at the end of course.

Below is just a small sampling of work from this talented group.

  Sayan Mukherjee

Sayan Mukherjee

  Rose Ting-Yi Lui

Rose Ting-Yi Lui

  Leah Horowitz

Leah Horowitz

  Kat Flores

Kat Flores

  Tiffanie Young

Tiffanie Young

  Danica Da Silva Pereira

Danica Da Silva Pereira

  Toko Hosoya

Toko Hosoya

For more information about SVA’s Summer Residency, click here.

The IF I WERE A KANGAROO Book Trailer

It's hard to believe that one month from tomorrow (April 4th) my next picture book, IF I WERE A KANGAROO will be in stores! It seems like yesterday that I was researching sleepy baby animals, such as otters, bats, and wolf spiders.

Earlier this week, generous kidlit ambassador Mr. Schu (Mr. Schu Reads) premiered the trailer I made (also seen above), and shared an interview between author Mylisa Larsen and myself. The two of us have yet to meet in person, but this virtual meeting was a terrific way to start. You can read the interview here. We talk a bit about our creative processes, and I shared my most hilarious bit of art direction, ever.

If you'd like to pre-order a copy of IF I WERE A KANGAROO, click here, or here. It arrives in time for Easter, Passover, and Mothers Day! Nudge, nudge, wink, wink...

Cocktails to Wring Out 2016

To say that 2016 was a difficult year for a lot of us is perhaps the understatement of the year. What better way to ring in the new and wring out the old than with some custom-made cocktails? Here are a few of my suggestions. Click on the images below for all 5 "recipes."

You Are Not a Cat! is an Undies Finalist

UPDATE: YOU ARE NOT A CAT! won an Undies Award in the "Best Cliff's Notes Version". Thanks to everyone who voted! Check out the other winners here.

Several months ago, librarians extraordinaire, Carter Higgins and Travis Jonker, decided that case covers—the oft-hidden jewels of art found underneath book jackets—deserved greater attention. In a stroke of creative brilliance, they created The Undies Case Cover Awards and asked creators and fans of children's books to nominate their favorites. I'm thrilled to share that YOU ARE NOT A CAT! is a finalist in the "Best Cliff's Notes" category, and is listed among some of my favorite picture books of the year. If you're curious for more information, and to cast your vote for your favorites, you can do so until 5pm on Monday, November 28, 2016. Just click here for a ballot.

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