Thursday, March 31, 2011


I found this book in an antique store. I have no idea what the date is on this. It says "copyright MCMXXXVIII" Um... I don't know. I'm really bad with roman numerals. I didn't pay attention in school that year. Maybe someone can help me out with this!

Anyway, here are some interiors of THE STORY OF THE PIED PIPER (the little color classics).

Illustrated by Jack Perkins
McLoughlin Brothers Inc.

Here are some older images of the Pied Piper:

"The oldest picture of the Pied Piper copied from the glass window of the Market Church in Hameln/Hamelin Germany (c.1300-1633)."

This came from Wikipedia:
"The story may reflect a historical event in which Hamelin lost its children. Theories have been proposed suggesting that the Pied Piper is a symbol of the children's death by plague or catastrophe. Other theories liken him to figures like Nicholas of Cologne, who lured away a great number of children on a disastrous Children's Crusade."

This is another interesting story that became something told to children that would never be published as an original story today! It's strange that many tales from the Middle Ages turned into fables and children's stories that usually involve the children dying at the end or potentially dying at the end.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Since I'm on the legos topic, check these out. I love the sound effects!

This one cracked me up.


Since I'm thinking about my childhood...

It has nothing to do with children's books but it's cool looking so there you have it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I asked my mom if she'd read my memoir in progress yet and she paused. She said something like, "It's hard to read." At first I thought that meant she thought it was awful! Then I understood. She said she didn't realized I was picked on so much in school and she felt really awful about it. She didn't think she could read my story without getting really upset.

This is an interesting way of dealing with bullies:

Saturday, March 26, 2011


After asking my parents to read my Bully manuscript, my dad asked me to watch this video:

(the last attempt didn't work because youtube took it off - let's try this one!)

I guess the bigger boy had been bullied for years. Finally he fought back.

Friday, March 25, 2011


WAIT AND SEE. This was a favorite book I remember from my childhood. It had a lot of text on it and it was only two colors but it was the mechanical drawings and story that pulled me in.

Written and illustrated by Friso Henstra.

"Once upon a time there was a little man –– you could even say a very little man. This little man thought that he was remarkable, more remarkable than the king and more remarkable than the emperor. The townspeople were forever laughing at the little man.

Well, he would show them."

The little man went to the store on the corner of the street. He bought screws, nuts sheet metal, lumber, pliers, a saw and many other things. He locked the door of his workroom and set to work. He built an iron dog.


That dog had an iron mouth, teeth of steel and a tongue of leather...

With a whirring of gears and a rumbling of engines, he roared out the door, one day, on his heavy iron legs. HIs little master ran behind, holding his leash and shouting proudly, "Here comes Mighty Herman and his terrible dog! Keep out of the way!"

It started to rain...
"Then, with a final screech, the terrible dog stopped stock still. HE stood there like a statue in the rain. The little man stared, with tears in his eyes, as patches of rust appeared on the head and body of the dog. Those patches spread until finally the terrible dog was covered with rust -- rust from head to tail.

And the people began to laugh at the little man. They laughed at his rusty dog, too. That wasn't so nice of them."

"Full of anger, the little man went home. He put his shoes near the stove, hung his shirt up to dry and sat down to think things over. The people would live to eat their laughter. Wait and see....

He locked the door of his workroom, and he set to work.

He built a rocket balloon.


Of course his later experiments didn't work either...

"And the people began to laugh at the little man. They laugh at his lost giant, too. That wasn't so nice of them.

Full of sorrow, the little man went home. He sat in his workroom and let the tears run down his cheeks. He couldn't eat, and he couldn't sleep, and he couldn't think of any new plan to prove what a remarkable little man he was.

The little man grew pale and thin -- so thin that his trousers began to droop. He had to hold them up to keep them from slipping right to the floor. Finally he took some steel wire. He bent it, so, and made two small clips to pin his trousers.

"Oh look!" people said. "Aren't those hand? We could use them very well when a button is missing or a baby's diapers need pinning. THOSE pins are SAFE.

So the little man became the inventor of the safety pin. The king gave him a metal...

I just loved this book. I loved imagining making my own ships and metal dogs! And l loved that the little man never gave up. It's sad that books go out of print but they don't disappear if you save them and share them with others!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I just discovered this book in the Bargain section at Barnes & Noble for 15 bucks:

It's called INSECTS OF SURINAM and they're color plates done by a woman called Maria Sabylla Merian. She lived from 1647-1717. I was shocked by these dates! Apparently it wasn't very lady-like to draw insects, which were considered "unclean vermin." But Maria drew them in the name of religion, saying that they were all God's creatures. I can't find the plate where she describes the bumps in a caterpillar like rosary beads. She travelled and was quite adventurous. She was determined to depict the insects and plants with great accuracy, when others did not. This was valuable information. I've only started to delve into this book but I recommend checking it out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


If you find my earlier post on dumb test answers you'll read that I promised I'd post the index card that I created for math class as soon as I found it. Well...I found it.

Enjoy my stupidity:

(It was double sided - yes, two sides of this magic! I couldn't read any of it the day of the test)

I'm going to use this for inspiration for my memoir. Sadly, this was done in later years, not in 7th grade, so I can't include IT.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


There are sketchbooks and then there are sketchbooks. I've never kept one but the project I'm working on right now is kind of sketchbook-like so it's on my mind. I've had this guy's book on my shelf for some time and it's AMAZING.

My book is bigger than this but you get the idea:

It looks like he also did a music video for a group called Big Zis:

Check this guy out!

Friday, March 18, 2011


I bought this book a while ago:

I love looking at the the stuffed guys!

(this is a photo of actually stuffed animals that someone had sewn from the book)

I bought the book because I thought it would be great promotion to turn some of my characters into stuffed toys. I am not so great at the sewing so I made readers an offer: sew me a character and I'll paint you into one of my books. I was surprised that people actually did it! I still owe my pall Liz Dubois a feature in one of my books. I'm waiting for the right opportunity to come along. She sewed me a good one! I'll post photos of what people did in a bit (it involves me getting batteries in my camera or charging my ipod - both annoying tasks).

Some of my favorite artists like Gary Baseman and Tim Biskup, who were illustrators turned fine artists, now make vinyl toys. I'd love to turn some of my characters into vinyl.

Vinyl toys are big right now in the art world:

Anyway, I think author/illustrators should check the book out. I believe there's an updated version available. It comes with patters! It will give you some good ideas of how and what to create.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

FROM THE 90s...

I'm working on a graphic novel about my memories of junior high. 7th grade was 1990. MC Hammer's hit "Can't Touch This" was all the rage that year. The clothing was awful: slouch socks, puffy hair, and long tee-shirts that would be tied in a knot. Eeek. And remember Kriss Kross? They wore their pants backwards!

1) Thank goodness for everything being put on DVD. Now I can easily reference this stuff! Saved By the Bell? On DVD! The old 90210? On DVD! And Fresh Prince plays on TV on and off.

2) This is what I wonder: Will kids think its fun/funny to see this stuff like it is with the 80s? Is it too soon? Has enough time passed? I do know that some of the early 90s sneakers have come back. I've seen them all over the subway. Will snap bracelets make a come-back? Heh.

Now my challenge is to make a funny story about being picked on. Can I do both? I'm not sure. I'll try.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I was looking through my shelves really quickly for an interesting book to talk about and I noticed this one:

Chris Raschka again! I have no idea if you can really translate a jazz song into children's narrative art or if this really works that way. I'd have to think about it a lot more... and as usual, I have to run to work! BUT I bought the book because it grabbed my attention. I think the book is 1) fun and 2) will get kids interested in the song/music. So does it matter if it really works or not? I'm not sure if it does. I think "kitten" is a really cute character and she's really into what she's doing so I think kids will be into what she's doing too. PLUS the cover is see-through. I'm jealous. I want a see-through cover! Raschka takes risks. I like that. I wish more authors would. This means, of course, that not all of the books will be hits. Some will be misses. But what is the point of life and art and work without taking a few risks? Take some... er... dare I say this... Giant Steps?

Below is a fun, abstract animation I found on Coltrane's Giant Steps song:

Monday, March 14, 2011


Below are some interiors from the book.

I don't like the type. It's too bold. It could be done more delicately. Maybe a nice dark redish brown font for the headline letters? Just a little more fancy? I don't know. Something! And I say all of this because I don't want to pick about a children's book but it's the same deal there. Design is very important.

But I love the photographs!

And maybe this is why... (this is my photo - I was not aware that he did a church one until I bought the book)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I went to The Strand last night. For those of you who are not New Yorkers, The Strand is an amazing new and used bookstore with an enormous selection of art books for CHEAP! At least 10 dollars off. It beats my bookseller discount. I can't go in there without walking out with a pile of stuff, which is bad because I'm out of bookshelf space. Anyway, I've been wanting a particular photography book for years but it's been out of print. Well, there it was! IT's called STEAM STEEL & STARS. Photography by O. Winston Link. He photographed old trains from the 50s at night. Amazing stuff.

Here's my problem. The design is awful. The text part at the beginning contains a HUGE bold font that's sort of obnoxious. It takes away from the photographs. Of course, my camera is out of batteries and my ipod has been downloading for the past 2 hours! It's SO annoying. All I did is say "yes" to upload the new program for it and it is now putting up all the contents ALL OVER AGAIN. Frustrating! So I DID take photos of the inside of the book but I can't get them off of the ipod. I will when I get home from work tonight so I can show you all.

In the meantime, this is the cover and an interior. Despite the bad design, the photographs are great. I got it for ten bucks!