INKtober continues

Here's a couple more #inktober doodles (one is for my pal, Dan Santat's 40th - I'll let you guess which one that is):

Also, it's READING WEEK here! I've got a pile of school visits in the next week and a half and can't wait! Email me if you're ever interested in having me out. I have this year's informational PDF ready and waiting. AND I'm willing to travel too. Next week I'll be in Minneapolis and I'm super excited about that!

Take care!
-Mike
 

LOUD LULA

LOUD LULA, by Katy Duffield, is the next book out that I've illustrated. It'll be released on Oct 27th and it's hilarious. The first time I read it I felt like it was a personal story about my own (blessed with boomin' voice boxes) children, specifically my youngest.

Here's a concept sketch for Lula's design that I couldn't help but be influenced by my own Leesy Lu. We ended up going with the pants and shirt option as we all felt like it was a better fit for LULA's personality.

I already have a book page for LOUD LULA as well. You can visit it HERE!

 

Take care!
-Mike

Bilbo Bacons

I don't know if it's evident, but I'm guilty of neglecting this blog in the worst way. In other news, I've finished a number of new books, including MY NEXT BOOK which will be out next summer (A TIGER TAIL) and am now working on a number of new ones!

In the meantime, here's a quick doodle of a pig in a vest. I call him Bilbo Bacons.

Take care!

-Mike

Checking off goals and setting new ones

2015 (and later this month) marks the 8th year I've now been on my own pursuing a career in books! It also marks that I've now been at this "job" longer than I was with any company or job before and I'm pretty overwhelmed by that. 8 years ago I had no idea what I was doing, and last year made me realize I may never completely lose that feeling - which isn't a bad thing.

In 2014 I set a few goals and even checked off a couple! Two I had for work I told to my agent: 1. I wanted to sell a new picture book idea and 2. try to get an opportunity to illustrate a middle grade (MG) chapter book. I had wrapped up some other book illustration work early in the new year and it became clear I was going to have to get back on the author horse sooner than later if I wanted to continue to do this for a job. The pressure to create when you NEED to can be a double edged sword and I had nothing going - at least not well. I was generating ideas, but couldn't form them into good stories. Only when I had surrendered to the idea that my publishing career run may be over and that I had to be ok with it, did the pressure release. I knew I would be ok, either way. Then one night later that same week in September (about 6 months without any work into the stress zone) a book just poured out. It happened so naturally it reminded me of when my first book, 123 versus ABC, came to me.

A couple weeks later (and with help from my super agent) we sent out the new idea and ended up selling it to Simon & Schuster! I'm very VERY excited about this new story, working with an amazing new editor and publisher and I cannot wait to share more with you.

It once again reminded me of just how happy and grateful I am to be able to do what I love in making books. It's a privilege I aim to never take for granted.

So hello to 2015. I have some new goals for you this year.

 

The Santa Clause explaination

Little late on posting this here (my blog suffers), but here's a process video of this years Santa Claus in a moment inspired by The Santa Clause movie (the chimney explanation I really loved)

And here's the final:

Happy New Year everyone!

-Mike

Happy 1st year to 123 versus ABC!

We're having a mini party this morning while the rest of the family is at work/school because 123 versus ABC turned 1 today!

 What a wonderful year it's been. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us and the book, from my own amazing family and friends, my wonderful agent and publisher (editor, ADs, and designer especially), the awesome bookstores and librarians (many who have become like friends and family!), incredible schools and their students,  to all those who I've never met. Thank you! Thank you! You have all contributed to this dream of mine to make books. Here's to many more great years of 1's and A's arguing (in the most friendly way) over who that book is about.


To celebrate I'm going to give away 3 copies of 123 versus ABC, each with a "special surprise" inside like this one:

I'll be selecting at random two followers on twitter and one Fan on my Facebook Fan site. The details are: On twitter, tweet out a happy birthday with the hash tag #123vsABC to enter.  On Facebook - just "like" or comment on my post about this there. Spread the news! I'll be selecting the winners on Friday at noon. Thank you all again!

Take care!

-Mike
 

*** UPDATE***

Here's the second book prize sketch of a sombrero wearing robot...err I mean robot wearing a sombrero. One more to go. Winners announced tomorrow at noon!

***Update #2***
Third and final prize (with 2x the inside specialness!!!) Only a couple hours left before I make the draw!