My most trusted news source (Facebook) told me that today is National Pig Day! More specifically, illustrator Lauren Castillo posted the breaking news. Thanks, Lauren, I can always count on you!
After heartily celebrating Leap Day yesterday, I have to admit I was unprepared for National Pig Day. It's like first you have Thanksgiving, and then before you know it... Anyway, according to my second most trusted news source (Wikipedia), National Pig Day "includes events at zoos, schools, nursing homes, and sporting events around the United States. It is also recognized at 'pig parties' where pink pig punch and pork delicacies are served, and pink ribbon pigtails tied around trees in the pigs' honor."
Well, I don't have any pink pig punch on hand (like I said, I partied pretty hard yesterday)- and I don't know how I feel about serving pork delicacies to celebrate Pig Day. Truth be told, I have a hard time eating pork products these days. So I thought I'd celebrate the day in my own way, and talk about the very beginnings of OLYMPIG!
Are you ready to see the first known image of Boomer? Are you?
Voila! I first imagined Boomer while designing a snowflake for the online auction Robert's Snow, created by author Grace Lin. It's based on her beautiful book of the same name. This was back in...
2007?!? What the... really?? Wow, time sure flies- and five years later, OLYMPIG is still 4 months from publication. Anyway, at the time I was heavily into ice skating, especially since there were so many great outdoor rinks around NYC. I remember jogging around Prospect Park one cold winter morning, thinking about what to paint on my snowflake... and the thought of a very serious, not-so-graceful pig skater popped into my head. I liked the idea of this pig thinking he was really, really awesome at something and taking it VERY seriously... while not actually being all that great.
Long after I submitted my snowflake to the auction, the character of Boomer (he was first named Jerry!) lived on. I started drawing him all the time and inventing new events for him to participate in, and the rest... is a history for another blog post!
Oh, and here's the back cover, which I'm kind of in love with! My art director, Nancy, at Dial Books for Young Readers is the best!