my blog 2008

January 16, 2008

New Year

A belated Happy New Year to all of you. Sorry for the long silence on this blog. I can’t even say I’ve been busy for a change. I went to Calgary to visit my family and friends for a couple of weeks. The vacation was more relaxing than I’d expected, not that I expected otherwise mind you, as we made few plans while there. We lazed about, slept, walked my parents dog and drank copious amounts of hot tea. Lovely!

Now I’m home and getting slowly back into the swing of things. There are about a million things to do. Boo Hoo Bird is almost finished (awaiting revisions from Scholastic); Me Hungry will be in stores in about three months; and I’m beginning work on future projects and reorganizing my studio.

And I’ll start this new year with a link to another great blog review for Grumpy Bird courtesy of Storytime Kids.

I’ll be back with a new sketch very soon. I promise. It’s been too long.

Welcome back.

January 17, 2008

Panda in the garden

At last! A new image on the blog. Sorry for the long wait folks. I’d planned on doing a clever drawing that summed up all the hopes and possibilities for the new year. It was going to be very clever and witty and would have bedazzled all of you. Then I drew a Panda standing in a garden and surveying its surroundings. Uh, here it is.

January 22, 2008

Upcoming appearances

This first is a very last-minute event notice: I’m doing two readings/signings/presentations tomorrow (January 23rd) in Hamilton, Ontario. The first is at Niwasa Head Start Preschool at 10:00 a.m. The second will be at Stoney Creek Ontario Early Years Centre (33 Cromwell Crescent). That will be at 1:30 in the afternoon.

The second event is a lecture in London, Ontario on Saturday January 26th. The lecture is part of Family Literacy Day in London and will be held at the Public Library (it’s very close to the VIA station — sorry, I don’t have an address). I believe I’m on at 11:00 a.m. So, if you’re in the London, Ontario part of Canada, please drop by and say hello (and buy a book or two — hint, hint).

January 28, 2008

Monday January 28th

I don’t have too much to report at the moment. The appearances last week went very, very well though, and both in cities I’d not been to before which made it even more fun. The kids in Hamilton were great — all excellent listeners. Thanks for having me there!

And London was terrific. The event was well organized and the attendance seemed good. I gave my presentation in a new lecture theatre and did much of it from my computer (something I’ve never done before). I still did lots of drawing though.

Otherwise I got my first advance copy of ME HUNGRY! last week. The book looks amazing and I’m really excited about seeing it “out there”. Only three more months to go.

If you’re a librarian in Ontario I’ll be signing at the big OLA conference on Thursday, January 31st. I’ll be signing Grumpy Bird in the Scholastic area at 11:00 and ME HUNGRY! posters at the Penguin Canada booth at 2:30. Please drop by and say “hello” if you get a chance.

January 30, 2008

interview

Cheryl Rainfield asked me for an interview ages ago. Due to scheduling issues (mine) we didn’t get around to it until very recently. But it turned out pretty well so please go and take a look if you get a chance. Among other things she asked about my process and has included some images of work in progress from Grumpy Bird. In my original story there was a squirrel, but we replaced him with Raccoon in the final book. Really, it was for the better.

February 5, 2008

Wet!

This is how I imagined today would look. We’ve had mountains of snow and then today it was suddenly warm and we had tonnes of rain. Luckily it doesn’t exactly look like this today. Whew! We’re supposed to get another big winter storm tonight and tomorrow bringing more snow and ice. Weird. This is a drawing of me by the way. I look exactly like this!

February 14, 2008

Ottawa Signing

I meant to post this news a few days ago but for a flurry of reasons I didn’t (can one use flurry that way? not sure, but I like it). I’ll be in Ottawa this weekend visiting friends and while there will do a Grumpy Bird signing at Kaleidescope Kids Books on Monday, February 18th at 10:00 in the morning. They are located Upstairs at 99 Fifth Avenue. It should be a fun event in a really great store. So if you’re in the Ottawa area and want something to do please drop by. I’ll be signing books and posters and drawing pictures for people. What better way to celebrate a new family holiday than with a book signing?

February 28, 2008

First ME HUNGRY! review

This is very exciting: the first review of ME HUNGRY! is in. And it’s very kind. Go take a look. Courtesy of Elizabeth Bird at Fuse #8 and School Library Journal. Thanks Betsy! You rock.

Also, if you’re interested, you can see a photo of Betsy on this blog holding a copy of Grumpy Bird.

Sorry for the lack of recent updates. I’ve been swamped! But life is good, work is progressing well and I’m going to Maui in a couple weeks. How sweet is that? Very. I’ll try and post a new sketch soon. I’ve also got some other goodies to share soon.

March 4, 2008

Grumpy Bird on YouTube

A grade two teacher recently posted this “review” of Grumpy Bird on youtube. She had her class tell their favourite parts of the book. My favourite is the girl who liked Fox because he’s part of the dog family and is cute.

March 6, 2008

Illustrator's Award Nomination

This is nice: I’ve been nominated for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for outstanding children’s book illustration for Grumpy Bird! The award is presented by the Canadian Association of Children’s Librarians. The winner will be announced on May 22nd in Vancouver. It’s a great list and includes Melanie Watt, Robert Bateman (I never thought my name would ever, not in a million years, appear in the same sentence as Robert Bateman — but there you go!), and the uber amazing Wallace Edwards. I’m going to chuckle over the Bateman thing for hours, his animal drawings could not possibly be more opposite from mine. Ha! He’s mighty good though.

March 10, 2008

Kirkus Review of ME HUNGRY!

I’m not sure if this one is on-line or not. Here it is, just in case. I hope Kirkus doesn’t mind!:

ME HUNGRY! Author: Tankard, Jeremy

Review Date: MARCH 01, 2008 Publisher:Candlewick Pages: 40 Price (hardback): $15.99 Publication Date: 4/1/2008 0:00:00 ISBN: 978-0-7636-3360-8 ISBN (hardback): 978-0-7636-3360-8 Category: CHILDREN’S

“Me hungry!” whines a Stone Age lad. “Me busy!” answer both of his annoyed parents. “Me hunt!” he proclaims. But that doesn’t work out either, as all the animals he meets are uncooperative or downright scary. Finally he (literally) runs into a mammoth who’s willing to lift him into an apple tree. “You just right!” the boy declares. “We friends!” Tankard illustrates this pithy text with similarly simple views of a tousled, jug-eared child clad in skins and sneakers, posing amid piles of rocks with a placid, curly-tusked behemoth. There’s a Chris Raschka feel to both the art and the episode, and younger children will also enjoy the boy’s smart two-word (no, not those two) response when his club-wielding Dad at last calls him home for dinner. You buy! (Picture book. 4-6)

March 10, 2008

falling panda

I think this one is pretty self explanatory. It’s a falling panda bear.

March 27, 2008

Back from Maui

Just a quick note to say that I’m back. I was away for a little while there — in San Francisco and Maui of all places!!!! How nice is that? It was lovely.

While I was away my info@jeremytankard.com address seemed to have an “issue” and, as a result, I did not receive any emails for the time that I was away. So… if you’re reading this and if you tried emailing me and I never responded PLEASE TRY AGAIN because I probably never received it. More soon.

April 2, 2008

7 Impossible Things Interview

There’s a new interview over at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Jules is starting a regular (hopefully) series of interviews with illustrators whose work she enjoys and this is the first one! I think it turned out really well and she asked some really great questions. Go and take a look for yourself. She’s even posted a couple photos of my studio — in case you were ever curious.

April 3, 2008

Another Me Hungry review

I can’t believe I forgot to post this when it first appeared. Actually I can, I was super-duper busy finishing Boo Hoo Bird and getting ready for a vacation. Anyway, let me correct my earlier omission by posting it now. Go and read it. I remembered it because of the 7 Impossible Things interview yesterday.

April 3, 2008

Me Hungry launch in New York

I just got final confirmation on this so can share it with you: I’ll be at Books of Wonder in New York City on Saturday April 26th from noon ‘til two in the afternoon. I’ll be reading Me Hungry!, answering questions and signing books. If you’re in the New York area please drop by and join in the fun. I believe there will be another author or two doing the same event.

There will also be a launch in Toronto but I haven’t got final information yet. Keep your eyes on this blog in the next couple of weeks for more information.

April 3, 2008

a fox

A fox walking in his forest. I like the photo of the tree in the background combined with the drawing of the branch and the digitally painted leaves.

April 4, 2008

Libris Award Nomination

Another award nomination for Grumpy Bird! I’ve been nominated in the Children’s Illustrator of the Year category of Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Awards. I’m up against Melanie Watt and Wallace Edwards again. Do I stand a chance? I doubt it. But we’ll see. We’ll see. The winner will be announced at Book Expo Canada on June 15th.

April 20, 2008

Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award

Another award nomination! Is this crazy or what? I’m up for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award. Two awards will be given, one for picture books and one for young adult or middle reader books. The award recognizes both writing and illustration in Canadian children’s literature. Guess who I’m up against this time? That’s right, Wallace Edwards and Melanie Watt again. And the other books look amazing too. The winner will apparently be announced on May 6th. The picture book nominees are:

The Aunts Come Marching by Bill Richardson, illustrated by Cynthia Nugent (Raincoast Books)

The Boy From the Sun, written and illustrated by Duncan Weller (Simply Read Books)

Grumpy Bird, written and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard (Scholastic Canada)

The Painted Circus: P.T. Vermin Presents a Mesmerizing Menagerie of Trickery and Illusion Guaranteed to Beguile and Bamboozle the Beholder, written and illustrated by Wallace Edwards (Kids Can Press)

Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend, written and illustrated by Melanie Watt (Kids Can Press)

April 22, 2008

Me Hungry in stores today

Today is the official release day for ME HUNGRY! So… I strongly encourage all of you, dear blog readers, to head to your favourite book shop and purchase a copy. And if they don’t have a copy tell them it’s a great book and they should carry it. It’s also Earth Day so you could walk or ride your bike to the book store.

Happy ME HUNGRY day!!!

And Happy EARTH DAY!!!

April 22, 2008

pencil profile

This is an ultra rare (for me anyway) pencil sketch of one of my characters. I don’t know why I don’t draw with pencil more often, this one turned out just right. I’ve struggled for years with drawing my characters in profile. My drawing “style” favours frontal views of characters, or sometimes even three quarter views, but never profiles. Now I’m finding that I have to draw then in profile sometimes. This is one of them.

April 24, 2008

Upcoming Events

I would like to take a quick second to remind you of a couple upcoming events. They are:

  1. Signing and reading at Books of Wonder in New York City. Saturday, April 26th from noon until 2 p.m. Books of Wonder is located at 18 West 18th Street.

  2. Signing and book launch at ten feet tall here in Toronto. Tuesday, April 29th from 5:30 to 9:30 (or later perhaps). 1381 Danforth Ave.

  3. Signing, sketching and presentations on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!!!! Saturday, May 3rd from noon to 5 p.m. There’s more info here, but you’ll have to scroll down a little way to read it. The Beguiling throws a great Free Comic Book Day event every year. This year they’re doing two events: one at the store and one at Palmerston Library (560 Palmerston Ave). The latter is where I’ll be, along with Michael Cho and Steven Manale.

May 2, 2008

Me Hungry launch party

I held a launch party for Me Hungry! on Tuesday night (April 29th). The event was a lot of fun and, as far as I can tell, everyone had a great time. There were a lot more kids this year than last. But that’s okay, we get along with kids. I signed lots of books, ate a good dinner and drank some ginger ale. The event was held at ten feet tall, my favourite local watering hole. And feeding hole (is that a real expression? not sure — I guess it is now!). These two photos were taken by my friend Drazen Kozjan. He took them while I drew a woolly mammoth in his copy of Me Hungry! He’s a fine illustrator and you should definitely check out his work. He has a new book hitting stores very soon (Julia Gillian by Alison McGhee). I drew very large pictures in peoples books this year. Perhaps after having so little space in Grumpy Bird to sign and doodle it’s hard to hold back and do little pictures. So why hold back at all?

May 9, 2008

Fox in the City

I just returned from a Literacy Conference in Saskatoon (on the Canadian prairies). I spoke with about 2000 kids over two days and did a few digital drawing demonstrations. Over the next few weeks I think I might upload some of them to this blog. This first one is one of my favourites. To save time I did my drawings on the computer instead of drawing on paper and scanning them. This allowed for very quick pictures that could be moved straight from Painter to Photoshop very easily. I hope you enjoy them. More about the conference soon.

May 15, 2008

BookPage Interview

Oh, man! It’s been too long since I last wrote an entry here. I’ve been busy though. Since the Toronto launch of ME HUNGRY! I’ve been working hard on my next book (actually I’ve been working on it for half a year, but only occasionally), and spent some time in Saskatoon at the Literacy for Life Conference.

I recently did an interview for BookPage magazine. Each month they interview an author/illustrator and have them hand-write/illustrate their interview. It’s a really cool way of doing an interview and the end result is lots of fun. The hardest part was figuring out what to leave out — I wanted to write and draw a lot more than they gave room for! It’s in the May issue of BookPage if you’re interested. They also just uploaded the interview to their website so I can now share it with you! Go take a look.

May 23, 2008

Babble pick of the week

Here’s a nice acknowledgment: ME HUNGRY is the featured book of the week at Babble.com this week. How nice is that? They’ve also posted one of the animated book trailers on the site.

ME HUNGRY also got a little nod from the delightful Patricia Storms (whom I just about typed as Sue Storm — how nerdy am I?).

Also a very brief review in the Liverpool Echo in the UK. Nice to get an overseas review!

May 23, 2008

Grumpy Bird top five pick

Grumpy Bird made the top five list of baby and children’s books over at the Baby Buy Products website. Go take a look, he’s in excellent company.

I’ll also be doing a little write-up, hopefully, of the recent Blue Spruce Awards ceremony. I didn’t win, but got an honourable mention.

May 25, 2008

Me Hungry videos

Seeing as Betsy over at School Library Journal just did a post about book trailers I think this might be the perfect time to upload the two ME HUNGRY! trailers to this website for your viewing pleasure. However, my initial attempts to upload them did not work. So for now go and check out Betsy’s blog and enjoy them there. I’ll get them uploaded here as soon as I can figure out how.

May 30, 2008

Me Hungry videos here

Okay, looks like I’ve figured out the video posting thing (actually I didn’t figure it out at all, my friend Jos figured it out for me — he’s amazing). So, here are the ME HUNGRY! videos for your enjoyment. And no, I didn’t do any of the animation myself. But they’re really cute!

June 2, 2008

Me Hungry -- Horn Book review

Me Hungry! got this terrific review from the Horn Book Magazine. Pretty nice, yes?

Jeremy Tankard Me Hungry!; illus. by the author 40 pp. Candlewick 4/08 ISBN 978-0-7636-3360-8 $15.99 g (Preschool, Primary)

It would take a heart of stone not to be charmed by the cartoonish Stone Age characters and dialogue in this picture book. “Me hungry,” a cave-boy complains to his father. ‘Me busy,” Dad gruffly replies as he focuses on cracking open a peanut with his club. Mom, weighed down with a bunch of cave-babies, has the same response. So what’s a peckish and resourceful cave-boy to do? “Me hunt!” His prehistoric prey doesn’t cooperate, however, and as the young hunter beats a hasty retreat from a mean saber-tooth tiger, he runs smack into a huge, imposing woolly mammoth. This might signal the end for less-fortunate cave-boys, but in a happy turn of events, it’s the beginning of a great partnership; “You just right!” says the boy, as his new pal helps him pick an out-of-reach apple. Also just right are Tankard’s uncluttered, brightly colored illustrations for the simple story, which is told entirely in cave-speak. The bold ink-and-digital compositions feature the same deft use of line and surprising background hues as in the author-illustrator’s first book, Grumpy Bird (rev. 7/07); here, however, there’s a lot less detail, befitting the blunt text and broad humor. Me like — and so will hunter-gatherers of all ages (and epochs). K.F.

June 4, 2008

Girl Profile

This is another image from my lectures at the Literacy for Life Conference in Saskatoon. Since drawing my figures in profile is my new party trick I did a few of them at the conference during my demonstrations. This one turned out particularly well. The background is a photo of some graffiti I saw in Vancouver a few years ago. If you saw Princess Mononoke (the Miyazaki film) you might remember those little tree spirits with the strangely rotating heads. Someone spray painted one of them on this wall. It was a pretty cool piece of graffiti and I’ve been dying to use it ever since — not that you can see much of it in this picture I suppose. Oh well. The green around the bottom was painted in Photoshop.

June 8, 2008

Grumpy Bird plug from NBA

This is awesome: Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was seen reading Grumpy Bird to a group of kids the other day at the Blackstone Community Center in the South End of Boston. The article, in the Boston Herald, says a star-studded cast was on-hand to open a new computer lab and reading room. Check out the photo of Rondo with my book!

June 8, 2008

Star Review

Toronto Star reviewer Deirdre Baker gave ME HUNGRY! a very nice review today. It can be found online here. Thanks very much Deirdre!

June 16, 2008

Me Hungry at Parenting dot com

Me Hungry! is the daily fave over at Parenting.com. I’m very lucky to have my book singled out like this. What an honour!

And speaking of honours: I was not honoured with a Libris Award last night. Oh well. Melanie Watt took home the prize for best illustrator of the year (and best author — lucky her!). Well deserved I say. Go Melanie Go!!!!

June 16, 2008

Married

Heather and I just got married.

June 30, 2008

Me Hungry at PlanetEsme

There’s a nice little review of Me Hungry! over at PlanetEsme.com. She mentions some other caveman related things of interest including Stig of the Dump, illustrated by the great Edward Ardizzone. But perhaps most entertainingly has a caveman clip from the 1949 film, “On the Town”. Hilarious.

July 10, 2008

Rabbit Goes to Town

This is another drawing from the Saskatoon Literacy for Life Conference that I attended in early May. I really like how this one turned out. I salvaged a very old drawing from a trip to New York almost ten years ago for the cityscape in the background.

July 27, 2008

Newsday Review of ME HUNGRY!

A nice review of ME HUNGRY! from Sonja Bolle at Newsday. I’m especially touched that she mentioned the similarity to Jez Alborough’s HUG — one of my all time favourite books. Thanks Sonja!

ME HUNGRY! by Jeremy Tankard.

Candlewick Press, $15.99. Ages 3-6.

Considering the young child’s slowness to grasp the use of pronouns combined with the eternal appeal of the ape man, it’s amazing that more children’s books don’t play around with the “me Tarzan, you Jane” construction.

Jeremy Tankard uses the Tarzan grammar to great effect here. “Me hungry!” announces the small caveboy with the tousled hair. “Me busy!” his father responds dismissively. “Hey, me hungry!” he repeats, but his mother, surrounded by other, smaller children, also rejects him with a “Me busy!” But then, caveboy gets a clever idea: “Me hunt!” The animals, however, have other ideas: “Me hide” (rabbit), “Me sharp” (porcupine) and “Me mean” (saber-tooth tiger). Finally caveboy finds a friendly mammoth, who helps him discover not only a tasty snack, but also a greater awareness through friendship: a “you” and, in the end, a “we.”

Tankard represents the richness of the child’s world - the needs, the frustrations, the comforts, all deep experiences - in simple terms, which makes his books splendid for young kids as well as fun for grown-ups to read - over and over. (For another operatically rich use of an extremely limited vocabulary, see Jez Alborough’s book, “Hug.”)

August 19, 2008

Town Crier Interview

I recently got interviewed by a local newspaper and that interview is now online. Go take a look! I think the newspaper version also had a photograph.

August 19, 2008

Upcoming Events

I’ve got a number of events coming up this fall that I’d like to mention, just in case any of you are able to attend. I don’t have final info for all of them yet, so stay tuned in the comings weeks and months for more. First up is the Eden Mills Writers Festival on Sunday, September 7th. Check out their website for a list of authors attending this year. It’s quite a list! I’m honoured to be included.

Next is Toronto’s Word on the Street festival. I’ll be taking part in two events there: first a reading and drawing thingy in the Children’s Activity Tent at 11:30; then a panel discussion about the relationship between picture books and comic books, hosted by Chris Butcher of the Beguiling.

Next up is an event called TINARS for Tots on November 15th. It’s in Toronto again, this time at the Gladstone Hotel. There’s a little write-up about the series on the Quill and Quire website.

I’ll be out on the West Coast at the end of October for a couple of events. I’m actually going there to give a lecture to the Victoria Teacher Librarians conference but will likely do a couple of public events as well. I’m hoping to organize something for Vancouver while I’m out there. More soon!

November 24th I’ll be in San Antonio, Texas for the National Council of Teachers of English conference. The conference dates are November 22nd to 24th. I’m not sure when I’ll be there. I believe I’ll be sitting on a panel discussion. Should be fun! And I’ve never been to Texas before which is an added bonus. I hear it’s beautiful.

August 19, 2008

Recent reviews

I just got home from vacation to a whole slew of recent mentions online! It’s always reassuring to know that folks are talking about your books. The first is from the Franklin County Library with a short review of Grumpy Bird amongst books about feelings.

The next is a very kind review of ME HUNGRY! from the Help Readers Love Reading site. Thanks Brian Wilhorn!

Next up is a review you’ve already seen but I’ll post another link anyway. That nice Newsday review of ME HUNGRY! showed up on am New York.

Next up is Jenny the Librarian (a.k.a. the Book Worm) with a nice little review of ME HUNGRY! on her blog. Thanks Jenny!

August 20, 2008

Raccoon in the Rain

Another drawing with an almost-dry marker. I’ve tinkered with this one on and off for months and never got it quite right. But suddenly it came right today! It was worth getting up this morning (it always is!). The background was painted using Painter X’s nice oil brushes. The raccoon was coloured in Photoshop. I applied a gradient map over most of the image to get that nice monotone.

September 2, 2008

Eden Mills Writers Festival

This coming Sunday, September the 7th, I’ll be speaking at the Eden Mills Writers Festival. I’ll take to the stage at 2:45 and read some books and talk and stuff. I’ll be signing books and posters afterwards and generally hanging around. So, if you’re in the Eden Mills area please drop by and show me some support! It’s going to be a fun day and there are some amazing authors on the list, including Kenneth Oppel and Dennis Lee! For more information on the festival click here.

September 19, 2008

Waiter, there's poo on my head!

I didn’t spend very much time outdoors today, but when I did step out this morning someone pooed on my head! How rude. It must have happened while walking Hermione to school. I only noticed the offending material this evening though and promptly jumped into the shower and washed my hair vigorously. I suspect a bird is at the bottom of this incident. It’s a good thing cows don’t fly.

September 19, 2008

Girl With Dark Sky

I drew this a couple of weeks ago. I tried painting a nice, bright orange and yellow background but the whole image just looked kind of sloppy and garish. So I applied a simple gradient map to the background and voila! It worked! Suddenly the girl “popped” against the dark background and there was real tension in the image. Funny how that can happen sometimes.

September 27, 2008

The Word on the Street

This is kind of last minute, sort of, although I did mention The Word on the Street in an earlier blog. I’ll be doing a couple of events at Toronto’s Word on the Street Festival tomorrow at Queen’s Park. You’ll be able to find me doing a reading and some drawing at 11:30 in the Kid’s Activity Tent. Then I’ll be sitting on a Graphic Novel panel at 12:30. I think there will be a short signing after these events as well. Should be a good time, so come on out!

October 9, 2008

First Boo Hoo Bird review

Actually, this isn’t so much a review as it is a recommendation for the book. Still, it’s the first mention I’ve seen online. That’s good! I guess it means there’s some anticipation for the new book.

And on Tuesday night I was at a Scholastic event and saw Ken Setterington (he being the Children and Youth Advocate for the Toronto Public Library and an authority on contemporary children’s literature), who gave the book a glowing review as well (verbal, not written, review so you’ll have to just take my word for it). He thinks the book is better than Grumpy Bird! It’s good to hear. I’m tremendously proud of Boo Hoo Bird and can’t wait to see it in stores.

October 28, 2008

recent and upcoming

I don’t really have too much to report right now, but it’s been ages since I last posted, so I’m feeling guilty! I’ve not been idle though. I just returned from a trip to Victoria BC where I attended the BC Teacher Librarians Association conference. The conference was good and I enjoyed meeting the other writers, including Alex Flinn, Susan Juby (who I’ve met briefly before) and Sarah Ellis. I love meeting other children’s writers — they’re some of the nicest people I know. I managed to attend an excellent workshop given by Barbara Greenwood that made me want to sit down and write RIGHT NOW! Unfortunately I couldn’t sit and write as there were lots of conference things to do.

I also spent an afternoon in Vancouver at Vancouver Kidsbooks. If you’re ever in Vancouver you should definitely check them out — beautiful space, lots of books and a lovely staff who really know their products. They also had a mountain of Me Hungry! ’s to sign, which makes me love them all the more.

Upcoming, and there will hopefully be more about this soon, I’ll be doing some signings in Montreal on November 19th and 20th at the annual Salon du Livre de Montreal. Then off to San Antonio for some events at NCTE on the 22nd. Also, on November 15th I’ll be doing something at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto for TINARS for Tots. Phew!

I’ll try and post again soon.

November 4, 2008

In School Today

I spent today in Coledale Public School in Markham Ontario. It was one of the nicest school visits I’ve had in ages (not that I’ve had any bad ones — this one was just particularly good). I’ve been reading my F and G’s of Boo Hoo Bird recently. Overwhelming consensus is that it’s the best of the three books. I can’t wait to share it with the world!

Often the best part of any school visit are the questions from the kids at the end of my presentation. There were some truly excellent questions today. My favourites:

“Why do you look like a rock star?”

“Why didn’t you show us any pictures of your mom and dad?”

“Why aren’t there any trucks in your books?”

And, this one made me laugh out loud, “Can I have a haircut?” (this was from a child in kindergarten). Too funny!

November 6, 2008

Truck

This is one of a handful of pieces that I created for an illustration pitch. I didn’t get the job in the end, which is too bad, really, since it would have been very cool. Oh well, you win some you lose some. Since I’m not sure what the etiquette is in these kinds of situations I’ll keep quiet about what the job was. I own the illustrations though so I guess I can share them. And, since a child recently asked why there weren’t any trucks in any of my books, here’s a drawing of one! Never say never. I hope he’s looking at my website right now. Pencil and Corel Painter were used. Then cleaned up with Photoshop.

November 6, 2008

Another good question

I forgot to mention the last hilarious question from a Coledale student. This came from a grade two boy, “How do you stay so thin?” HA! I told him exercise and a good diet was the key to staying thin. Kids say the darndest things.

November 17, 2008

Sea Monster

From my sketchbook, and for a change I didn’t do anything to it before uploading. I was planning to colour it, but I think it looks kinda nice just the way it is. I love sea monsters.

November 17, 2008

TINARS for TOTS

Well, my TINARS for TOTS event was apparently a raging success. For the most part the festivities went without a hitch, but there were a few moments of almost complete pandemonium. Toddlers stormed the stage at one point so as to be closer to the huge screen my images were being projected upon; a few of them tried to play with the end of the screen that was within reach; and small people interrupted my presentation to talk with me. But for the most part it all ran smoothly. And really, disruptions from toddlers are kinda fun. One young man bought a copy of ME HUNGRY but wouldn’t let me sign it or draw any pictures in the front. I guess his mama taught him to respect books. Anyway, it was great. You should have been there.

November 28, 2008

Home again

I’m home again after my little jaunt “on the road”. The Salon du Livre de Montreal was fantastic as always. Overall I think the crowds weren’t as huge as last year, but I had good turn outs for my signings. I drew hundreds of pictures on little autograph sheets for kids (one each, not hundreds on each sheet — that would be crazy!). My French continues to improve little by little. I speak like a French kindergarten kid and some of them speak English about the same so we made ourselves understood by each using what little we knew. I actually had some time to explore a little further this year and enjoyed seeing a bit more of old Montreal. If you’re reading this blog and you’ve never been to Montreal you should definitely make the trip sometime.

Two days in Montreal then home for twelve hours before setting off for a couple of days in San Antonio, Texas for NCTE. Also a great experience. I was there as Scholastic’s guest and did a very successful signing with them — sold out!!!! Nice!!!! I was signing Grumpy Bird and F and G’s of Boo Hoo Bird. I think Boo Hoo Bird will be very well received. There certainly seemed to be a lot of excitement around it. And Scholastic printed some very beautiful posters. There were a couple of dinners and a big luncheon (where Tomie dePaola gave a keynote speech!!!). I met lots of amazing and talented authors, all more experienced than me so nice to learn a little from them. Included here were: Rodman Philbrick, Suzanne Collins, Cynthia Lord, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Tamora Pierce and Rick Riordan.

On top of meeting these amazing authors I met plenty of fans and enjoyed spending some dedicated time with my publicist and Scholastic marketing folks. They’re kind of the forgotten part of publishing. Everyone thinks about the creative process and the joys of making a book. But once the book is finished the marketing and publicity people have the huge job of trying to make people aware of the book (and interested in buying it). I actually LOVE the marketing part of publishing and have the pleasure of working with some of the best, nicest, most dedicated people in the industry. And, to a large extent, I owe this career to their hard work.

It’s nice to be home again. Now I’m chained to my desk writing and drawing an exciting new project. More on that later. Much later, it’s too early to talk about it.

December 9, 2008

Me Hungry Reviews

I recently got this lovely review of Me Hungry. And another one here. Nice! I approve.

December 9, 2008

L.A. Times best of the Year

Me Hungry! made the LA Times best of the year list. Me happy. Me also in good company. You go see. The Quill and Quire blog also mentions the list on their blog.

December 11, 2008

On the Streetcar

I drew this while riding the streetcar. Ballpoint pen and Bienfang watercolor brush.

December 19, 2008

Rudolph

Self explanatory. A doodle of Rudolph. Cute! I think he might be related to the sea monster I uploaded the other day — kinda similar.

Merry Christmas, oh faithful blog readers!