Sunday, April 29, 2012


I'm always thinking of contests I could host so that I could potentially get really cool videos in return. Well... an author beat me to it. This doesn't mean that I won't still come up with a brilliant contest but... I don't know... this one is pretty cool:

I would kind of like to try making one myself. The project looks rather fun!

Does anyone remember this?

I showed this to my sister and she wasn't that interested. She said something like,"I liked the literary stuff on Sesame Street. You're an artist. You liked the visual stuff." Hmmm.


Aaaa! I haven't posted in a long time. I've been busy. No excuse. There's an old book I want to post but that will take a while to upload the pages. In the meantime, this is a cool stopmotion video:


 And here's the making of:


Friday, April 20, 2012


I was doing a school visit today and then was signing books afterward and I noticed that one of my books (the whole pile) smelled. Nicely of course! You know, this one pile had that BOOK SMELL. I love that book smell! Now I'm not talking about that old antique musty book smell, but rather that new library book paper smell.

Another thing that I like that I was thinking about the other day is that sound that new picture books make when you turn their pages: the one when your finger drags over the page as you are turning it. It's that friction type noise that is so bookish. I love it! Little kids who have trouble turning the pages make that noise a lot.

Those are sound and smell observations for the day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


My new book is about Betty Skelton. The illustration I wanted to work on showed Betty in her older years next to her Corvette. My editor and designer suggested that she be in the car, driving it. Fair enough. ONLY this is when the problem developed. When I began the painting I hit a snag. Illustrating Betty driving in the car from left to right, driving off of the page means that you can't see her face because the windshield obscures it. Some of you may not know this but in publishing action is generally illustrated from left to right, so that the action is moved forward--the drama of the page turn. I asked if the car could be flipped in this instance so that the car is driving from right to left but the answer was "no."

It's hard being an illustrator! So now I have to find a new illustration idea - what else did Betty do in her 80s that was action-packed? I'm not sure. My editor suggested sky diving, which I guess she did into her later years but I'm not sure that she did all the way into her 80s. The thing with sky diving is that your whole face is obscured with goggles and a helmet so it's kind of just as bad as the Corvette situation. This last spread is my opportunity to show that she's much OLDER but still doing things. If her face is completely obscured then what's the point?

Illustrations constantly pose problems like this. I don't think people realize that this goes on. But now I'm telling you! It's a constant battle.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


When I was little I used to make a haunted house in the basement every year. I took it VERY seriously. There was fake blood... and rubber bats tied up with string from the ceiling... and baby doll parts in the oven... and a spooky soundtrack.... and actors that I made practice over and over again (my sisters and two kids from the neighborhood). Sometimes a few people would show up (this is after plastering the neighborhood with flyers) and sometimes no one would show up. I REALLY identify with the boy in this film! This is what being a child is all about. I also love the fact that he's being so inventive and is not at home watching TV.


I discovered a great children's illustrator from the past (1950s?)

I ordered one of her book's (The Red Riding Hood Golden Book) from ebay so I'll do some more investigating and will report back soon!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I watched this one and I can't stop watching (yes, there are more videos). This has nothing to do with children's books but it does take place in NY (with real people and real reactions!) and it is full of creativity so I'm posting it. It's this stuff that makes me want to create and gets the juices flowing. Go to the website for the rest of them (it's a series). They're great!

(please excuse the profanity in the music of the film)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


This is a really funny book trailer! And it has giant puppet heads...

Adam Rex put a great puppet in this trailer too:

I love puppets.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Apparently racism has made its way to the Hunger Games. Some "readers" were shocked to find that some of the characters in the movie were black. Here are a few of their tweets:

"Why does rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie"
"Why did the producer make all the good characters black?"

Are they serious???

See, if they really READ the book, they would have noticed the line that describes Rue like this: “She has bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin.”

A few weeks ago my little sister told me that she read The Hunger Games on the plane in one shot. So I decided to give it a go. I'm getting really into the it. And judging by the looks of the characters, the casting seems perfect. I pictured Rue as being really cute and how could you not think this actress is cute?

I also am interested to see how Lenny Kravitz is in his role. I think I could see it working.

I'm never suckered into watching the movie version of books but I may actually be this time. I wonder if the movie version will do what the book is doing (from what I've read thus far) and not really getting all that into the gory details of death... and thus far much into anything sexual... or are they going to spice things up for adults?

But back on topic here: I hope these racist individuals learn that there are other people in the world besides themselves. Life sure would be boring if everyone looked and acted the same. And if everyone acted like them I'd want to move far, far away.

One more thing: I don't like to stoop to name-calling here on the blog because it's immature but the tweeters deserved it.