I've been cleaning up my studio this week in the burst of "grown-up-edness" that always follows me doing my taxes. Usually, I have about a week's window in which I attempt to tidy up, get grades in, and otherwise get my life in order before my previous slovenly ways take hold again. So, I found these early- and I mean, some of the EARLIEST- sketches I did for ROLLER GIRL! Behold!
Most of my early sketches look like this- a combination of drawings and random words and phrases.
Here's an early watercolor sketch:
And some of the drawings haven't changed much from sketch to finished book!
Several months ago, I had the pleasure of creating a jacket illustration for the middle-grade novel AVA AND PIP, by Carol Weston. It's an endearing story of two very different sisters- it's sweet, funny, and touching all at once. It gets a gold medal from me!* (*I have Olympics fever.)
I thought maybe you'd like to see the jacket sketches. Well, here they are!
Typically I try to send in 3-5 jacket ideas, and the publisher then chooses the one they like. Any guesses as to which one they chose?
... They chose this one!
Here's a closer look at the whole jacket. We flipped it around so it could be a wraparound image.
Many thanks to everyone at Sourcebooks Jabberwocky- I had such a fun time illustrating this cover (and reading the book). And thanks of course to Carol Weston for writing such an inspiring book! I could not wait to draw these two girls. You can visit Carol's website here, and buy the book here!
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the sequel! I just handed in the cover art last week, and let's just say... there is a cat involved.
... and I'm just going to pick up where I left off, and pretend I HAVEN'T been absent for four months!
Here's a piece from a few months ago that I found while cleaning off my desktop:
I have the time to clean off my desktop because... my derby graphic novel is now DONE! (Well, except for revisions and the like.) Files are off to my publisher!! I can't wait for this book to come out, and in the coming months I will share more about my process, now that I actually have the time to do so! Yay!!
Only a few months left to get EVERYthing done for my graphic novel! Almost all of the pages are inked, and almost all have preliminary color. I'm inking some of the few spreads (or, "splash pages", as my husband tells me they're called in comic books!) today. Here's the title page, mid-inking:
And here are the stacks of inked pages, piled on top of my good-for-nothing, piece of junk printer. I have so many arguments with this lazy pile of parts. Sign that I spend too much time working alone? Maybe!
Looking over my past few posts, I realized I haven't talked too much about my graphic novel... which is strange, because I'm working on it ALL. THE. TIME. I am SUPER excited about this project- it really is a dream come true. It's a middle-grade graphic novel about roller derby. Right now I'm at the inking stage, which means (in my working habits), I'm going from my rough page layouts:
to finished black and white art.
Color, text, and word balloons will come in at a later stage.
I promise to do a more complete breakdown of my process at some point. But right now I'm in "the zone", and days when I can't sit and draw all day, I feel like this:
In the meantime, if you're interested in process, check out this fantastic free ebook on the making of the graphic novel Templar by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham, and Alex Puvilland. I've been a big big fan of LeUyen's picture books for a while, and I can't wait to see her work in graphic novel format!
Two weeks ago, I had my first book signing for my newest picture book, PEST IN SHOW!
It was held at Green Bean Books, one of my very favorite bookstores in Portland. I mean, look at this little fairy hidey-hole in the backyard!
Can I admit something to you, internet? I was actually TERRIFIED of this book event. I love reading. I love being the center of attention (ha ha). So why was I terrified??
Because at this event, I had to...
That's right, PEST IN SHOW is a MUSICAL, so I had to belt a few tunes in front of an audience. Yikes.
To help take the edge off (and to take some of the spotlight off of my singing), I decided to bring along some musical instruments and some dress-up clothes for the kids to play around with during the reading.
(This is me pre-show. The sunglasses are hiding the terror in my eyes.)
But you know what? Once people started arriving and the reading actually started... it was totally fun! And the singing that I had worried about for an entire week- I was kind of sad when it was over. Maybe I am a diva in disguise.
Toe-tapping fun on the patio.
So, thank you, Green Bean Books, for hosting me once again! And thanks to all who made it out that day!
I really struggled with putting something so personal up on the internet. But I've been listening to a lot of TED talks recently about the need for connectivity and the power of vulnerability, so I figured, why not. I was also really blown away by Hyperbole and a Half's latest post, and really admire her honesty. After all, why create art if not to bare your soul from time to time?
People often ask me if I "am" any of my characters. The answer is no- but I do find little bits of myself in each of the characters I've written about. My current heroine is somewhat like me... but feistier and with a quicker temper. However, there is one subject on which we agree entirely, namely: Clothes Shopping and Why I Hate It.
I'm leading a few panels next week at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference here in Portland (you can find more information here- still time to sign up!). I realized that I have holes in my favorite jeggings* (*not a good sign to begin with), so I hit some stores to find some pants, and this is exactly how I felt:
One of my favorite "Rich & Famous Author"* daydreams (*also not a good sign) involves a personal shopper with a knack for finding me comfortable, sporty-yet-chic clothes that always fit me perfectly.