Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Attention Providence Area Folks!

This will be so much fun!

We are signing at the famous Frog and Toad on Thursday evening. If you are in the area drop by for a glass of wine, check out the amazing stuff in the store and pick up a few signed books. I will try to bring a few original works -probably from my book Knitty Kitty.

One of a kind Redwall Christmas art!

This original artwork was commissioned by my late friend Brian Jacques for an exclusive, members only Redwall Readers Club Christmas Greeting card. This illustration is one of a kind and only a small number of reproductions exist. A rare piece for the avid Redwall collector! The artwork was created with Charcoal pencil on acid free paper and measures approximately 7 inches by 4 1/2 inches.
See a detail here.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Its official! I will be in Burbank again this year for the CTNEXPO conference.
I have been asked to be part of a panel.
Animation Designers Who Illustrate and Vice Versa

Are you an illustrator and have been wondering if you should take your skill set into the world of animation design. Or maybe you are an animator or animation artist and have been wondering if you should take your skill set into the world of Children’s Book Illustration or art. What are the similarities and differences that these top artists who work both in animation and book illustration go through to create and stories visually.

Pretty cool. The panel will be moderated by the incredibly talented Carol Kieffer Police. Sitting on the panel are; Brain Ajar, Chris Appelhans, and myself. These folks are amazing so click on their names to check out their work or read about the discussion by clicking on this link;

Thursday, October 27, 2011

If you are in the area....

Barrington Books’ Annual Children’s Books Authors & Illustrators Event is on Saturday, October 29th!

It’s a great tradition. Right before Halloween each year, Barrington Books gathers regional picture book, middle grade and young adult authors & illustrators for a festive day of book signings, crafts, costumes, treats and stories.

Event Schedule

10 am-12pm

12-2 pm

* Spooky Story Hour will begin at 1 pm – costumes encouraged!

2-4 pm

  • Pamela Lowell Returnable Girl; Spotting for Nellie
  • Liz McGrath The Ghouls Come Haunting One by One
  • Sarah L. Thomson – Mercy: The Last New England Vampire; Dragon’s Egg; The Dragon’s Son; Pirates, Ho! Three Cups of Tea (Young Reader’s Edition)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wildwood (the book) inspired sketch

A quick sketch made this rainy morning while waiting for a phone meeting to start. If you, or your kid (reading level 8 years or older is my guess) has not yet read Wildwood by Colin Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis, you should.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bella and Stella Go (went) to Washington

Clearly a past due update but still good news! I stole the post from my wife's (Anika Denise-author of many fine books for children) news section and may have added a comment or two.

Bella and Stella Come Home was chosen by the Rhode Island Center for the Book as the Rhode Island submission in the Pavilion of the States at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. (that took place) on September 24, 2011.

The book will be (was) on display in the Pavilion and included in the publication that will be (was) distributed by the Library of Congress. Recent Rhode Island authors that have had their books honored include Natalie Babbitt, Chris Van Allsburg, Kelly Eaton, Janet Taylor Lisle, Kim Newton Fusco and Mark Peter Hughes.

Chris and I are honored (still are) to be in such good company and delighted our book was chosen!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A glimpse of the process...

My publisher asked if we could put together some footage of the Tugg and Teeny work in progress. In the end, there just was not enough time but I did grab this quick photo of my workspace on that particular morning.
Thanks to all that have remained followers of the blog even without any updates in so many months. Lots happening, some good, some bad, and through it all the work and the books continue.
Lots of exciting news.
-It looks like I may be back at the CTN EXPO in Burbank this year and I may be more than an audience member. More about that when the details are confirmed.
-Tugg and Teeny #3 " That's What Friends Are For" by J. Patrick Lewis is done and I will post some images when I get the greenlight from the publisher.
-Tugg and Teeny #2 "Jungle Surprises"
published at the end of May and is doing great.
-I can also mention that I will be collaborating with Rosemary Wells on a project.

I will post the followups to earlier posts that were listed as part one as soon as I can!


Monday, May 23, 2011

New posts coming soon.....but first BEA

Part two of the Redwall cover post (and many other updates) will come soon.... but first I need to head down to NY to attend BEA. I will be there signing books on Tuesday, May 24th. If you are the conference, be sure to drop by The Sleeping Bear Press Booth. I will be joined by the author of the Tugg and Teeny series and recently named Children's Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis. Stop in to say Hi, get your copy of Tugg and Teeny signed, and hopefully, grab a sneak preview of the second in the series, Tugg and Teeny, Jungle Surprises. It looks fantastic!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pastels, Redwall, and the pre-digital age, part 1.

I am on the middle of a huge project and crazy deadline right now so I can't share any of the current images but I have received a number of emails in the last few months regarding my pastel technique. As chance would have it, I stumbled across a few process photos taken while I was creating my cover for A Redwall Winters Tale by Brian Jacques. This is all pre-digital so please excuse any blurriness!

The image on the left is the finish line. But where did I start?

In a quiet studio...then in many meetings.

Everything that you read about the value of a strong showing at your point of purchase is true. The cover a picture book is incredibly important in the life and
success of the project. It is also one of the most difficult and sometimes frustrating parts of the process. When the time comes for an illustrator to do his or her job, the publishers, designers, authors, and editors have already invested a great deal of time and money in this thing. Naturally, when it comes time to decide what our first impression of the book will look like, everyone, including the folks from marketing, want a seat at the table. There are allot of people trying to steer this ship. To do your job as an illustrator, you need to understand the book so that you can be flexible in your solution, address as many of the needs expressed by all parties involved (wants are optional) AND stay true to the material.

Step 1. Understanding the material.
I am a strong advocate of designing the entire book and starting the finished art before exploring the cover image. Why?
Picture books become these strange little animals that come to life and run around in your studio. They often start to move in directions that you did not anticipate. It is akin to how many authors describe the phenomenon of their characters taking on a life of their own and telling the author where they need to go and what they should say. Unfortunately, in my experience, picture books don't speak English and you need to be attentive to them to see where these creatures need to go. Redwall picture books are not small creatures either,......more like....., pet sitting for your friend that owns an buffalo.
So I read, sketch, design re-read, sketch and begin painting the images keeping a watchful eye on where this thing is heading.

Next week, less pre-amble and more images. Here is a preview.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Came across this sketch from a recent project and thought I might share it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My mentor and always my friend Brian Jacques.

I have just learned of the passing of my dear old friend Brian Jacques. I will try to put together a post in the coming days with some my memories of Brian so that you might know a bit more of the Brian that I knew.
He will be missed by so many.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Are you a fan of Redwall and collect original art?

Is this the piece you were looking for? If you collect original art and are a fan of my Redwall picturebooks, leave me a comment and let me know which piece you are looking for! If it is still available, I will put it on the list to post at ETSY.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Redwall Abbey Detail

Finally starting to unpack a few boxes. A detail from some Redwall original art featured at ETSY.