children's book

The Next Big Thing: A Global Book Tour

The wonderfully talented Eliza Wheeler asked me the other day if I wanted to participate in a Global Book Tour. She told me it was something being passed around amongst authors and/or illustrators to promote upcoming books.

I figured with 123 versus ABC coming out in a couple months that would be an excellent idea. That and my blog's been painfully patient this year. SO here it goes:


1) What is the working title of your next book?
123 versus ABC is the title of my book which will be out June 25th from HarperCollins.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea came to me after a discussion about adding a "learning how to count" section at the end of an ABC educational book I had just organized for a charity. I didn't think it was a good idea for a number of reasons, one being that there were two themes to the book then and they would compete.

Almost as soon as I thought it, I had the idea for a book where these two main themes argue as to who the book is really about. About 1 hour later I had written my first draft.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a
movie rendition?
Colin Firth would make a pretty good Number 1 - as he can be quite funny while being proper and orderly - as numbers are. Letter A would have to be someone who is very comfortable with who they are and a bit proud of it too - maybe Seth Rogan.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After they both show up on the same page, letters and numbers both argue as to who the book is or should be really about.

6) Who is publishing your book?
The amazing folks at HarperCollins

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Well, it's definitely not the normal way it happens for me. But as I said in #2, the first draft probably took me less than an hour. It happened so fast I had to google the idea to make sure I wasn't just remembering it from somewhere else.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I suppose you could compare to other books such as Melanie Watt's Chester book series for story style, as the characters interact directly with the readers and viewers in a funny sort of way.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Besides what I've already said before in 2), I suppose the Bills, as I call them, are a constant inspiration. Bill Watterson and Bill Peet have had a huge impression on me wanting to tell stories (and funny/strange ones at that) as long as I can remember.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
 Learning numbers and letters is the obvious, but perhaps THIS will do some pique'ing for readers:


I would like to thank Eliza Wheeler again for inviting me to participate on this global blog book tour. If you have half a sec, go check out her work and especially her newest book: Miss. Maple's Seeds.


Now I will tag the talented Renée Kurilla who has illustrated a new graphic novel called SPF 40 that will soon be coming out here:


And of course I have to also tag my good friend James Burks who illustrated the upcoming MONSTORE which looks amazing.

Look to both of these blogs NEXT WEEK as this Global Blog Tour continues!


New Website

So as you may have noticed things are a bit different looking around here. My old Word Press site was suffering. Countless updates and glitches along with what I now recognize as a very poorly chosen domain name (didn't really roll off the tongue) had me not only not wanting to post on it, but I was avoiding it all together.

Enough was enough. will still guide all my regular users here, but my new domain is simple me: . I signed up with SquareSpace and that was that.

Over the past number of months I've been fairly busy traveling to a few different conventions and working on projects that I'm not allowed to talk about yet. My summery of SDCC and the Toronto Fan Expo was this: FUN. I'm not posting any pics up, because this post is already longer than I wanted, BUT I can tell you I will be posting more regularly again.

On that note, I'll leave you with this piece I did today. It's a concept I'm developing right now for a picture book.

Take care!


UPDATE: Below is the process for the above image from sketch to final. Enjoy!

Illustration Friday: Swamp

It's been far to long since I've done anything for myself (or had the time) and even longer since I've participated in the wonderful practice of Illustration Friday! So very quickly, here is my piece for this weeks "Swamp"

AAAAAAAAnnnd, here is a video of the process of me creating it from start to finish!

Thanks for sticking around. I'll be updating what I've been working on for the last 4 months soon. I can't say much yet, but it's 2 picture books!!!

Take care,


Alberta Winter Games

Hey everyone!  I was at a fantastic launch party over the weekend for the 2012 Alberta Winter Games!  We were treated to a music by the talented The Bird Sang Song, as well as Juno nominated John Wort Hannam, who was not only hilarious and a great performer, but also wrote the theme song to the games!  I was invited to this VIP party/concert because I've been asked to write and illustrate a limited edition comic for it!  It will highlight each of the events of the games as well as give a little info and history where I can fit it in.  It's going to feature three characters, one of which is Kona, the official mascot of the games. I'll admit it was harder to write than I thought it was going to be, but I'm happy with the result and now I am busy finishing all the artwork.  I'm going to be sharing a number of the pages over the next few months before the games launch in February, as well as some process stuff.  So stay tuned for more!

Here is page 1:

Take care everyone!


The Way Back

I'm back after what feels like a very long time that has passed all too quickly (and it has!). Where has the summer gone? Well, my summer has gone in this order. Deadlines. Convention. Deadlines. Convention. To little time to finish any project. Conference. And as I just finished a deadline for a project, of course a new Convention anyways here is a brief summary:


San Diego Comic Con took place in July and for the 3rd year in a row, I went. It was of course, a visual onslaught of the entertainment monster, and a lot of fun. It may be my last year attending unless I can get a booth though. Hanging out with great friends was actually my highlight. I picked up a number of really great books too. Cory Godbey has become a really great friend and he set me up with his "Hidden People" book. A MUST, if you like to enjoy what your eyes see.  Go buy it NOW.

I was also able to briefly hang out with the my pal, Jake Parker, who gave me an advanced "viewing" of his new picture book that he illustrated AWESOME MAN!  It was awesome.  My picture book pals James Burks, Kyle Neswald and Dan Santat were also there in fine form as well as the Houghton Bros Shane and Chris of REED GUNTHER fame.  Also was able to hang out with DJ Welch, Mike Henry and his wife Laura (and a number other friends and groupies of Zatransis).

The next thing on my visit list was the SCBWI LA conference.  In case you don't know, SCBWI stands for The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  It was the the 40th anniversary and my first time!  It was spectacular.  The keynotes were amazing and I learned so much from the sessions.  More than all of that I came to truly appreciate the opportunities that have been placed before me.  I really love what I do.  One of the real bonus's was meeting all the other great people in the children's lit world.  Dan Santat and James Burks were there again, as was Bob Boyle, another member of what I am calling the LA Picture Book Brotherhood AKA the LAPBB.  I also made some really great new friends, like Barry Wolverton, Lauren Strasnick, Shannon Messenger, Kelly Sonnack, Mary Peterson, Catherine Meyer, Jen and Ryan Bosworth, Richard Watson, Jonathan Schkade, Martha Rago, Angela and Caz of Australia, and so many others.  Also what was really great was that I finally got to meet my amazing agent Jen Rofé in person for the first time!  The final night was a highlight and perfect ending as Jen set up a small BBQ with a number of her agency's clients overlooking the Topanga Canyon.  Eric Elfman and his wife Jan were spectacular hosts (and chefs!).  I cannot wait for the next SCBWI convention!


This final image is almost necessary as I DO do art for a living - most days.  Actually, it's a sneak peek from a story I wrote and illustrated for Chirp Magazine coming out this November.  Was a lot of fun and I'll share the rest with you in a few months.

I at this point I feel I must throw out how incredible my wife is.  While I've been all over and working like crazy this summer, she's held down the fort with all three children (including a 6 month old!!!).  She is my inspiration.  Love you babe!

Well, that's all the time I can afford now as I have to prepare for the Toronto Fan Expo where I will be spending much of next week with my friend Keith Grachow!  If you're in the area come seek us out!

Oh, and I do TWITTER now.


Take care!