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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,

-Mike

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!

-Mike

I got chased by an AT-ST

Hey-Low everyone!  Well I've just recently returned from what is probably my last con for the year at the Toronto Fan Expo (or Fan Expo Canada).  What an amazing event!  The Fan Expo team really knocked it out of the park, in fact 99% of the people I talked to said it was way better from the year before, and it really was.  I sold all the Gophers in Farmer Burrows' Field Books that I brought, and sold OUT of my new sketchbook, The Good, the Bad and the Sketchbook Vol.2 as well as a number of my prints! This year I split an end table with my super talented friend Keith Grachow!  Keith was selling his classic monster poster prints like hotcakes all weekend long.  I was even fortunate enough to snag a Creature from the Black Lagoon print!  Go check his stuff out!

I will probably do a follow up post showing all the super awesome swag I picked up from awesomely talented artists, but here's the quick shout out to my pals Darren Rawlings, Marc Wolfe, Braden Poirier, Chris and Marv, Graham Moogk-Soulis, Caanan Grall, Justin Currie, Karly Macdonald and Meghan, and the S'up Cuz T-shirt fellas.  Was awesome.  Darren Rawlings "the Little Ninja Fact Book" has not left my side either...

I had such a great time and not only did I meet a pile of new amazing artists and fans, but I was blown away by how many people from last years con came and sought me out.  My fan's are truly incredible.  Thank you to everyone who made it such a great weekend.  Here is a brief summery in photo form:

1.  In this giant's shadow is where I spent most of my days while at the con.  Next year I'll get the dinner at the top methinks!

2.  My pal Keith running from what I can only guess is Vader about to bust through the door.

3.  AT-ST chasing me!

4.  Working on my sales pitch.  I need more grease for my hair, and some chest hair...

5.  Some of the commission sketches I did over the weekend - did my first Totoro, Final Fintasy character, Cloak and Dagger, boy as a samurai and...well pretty much the only one I've ever done before was Spidey.

6.  And of course, the amazing costumes were everywhere.  DJ Trooper, Steam Punk Buzz (with pop-out wings action!!!), and my favorite, Mario riding Yoshi.

 

Take care everyone.

-Mike

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 approaches....so anyways here is a brief summary:

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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!

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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!

-Mike

Jackalope

Hey everyone!  I was scritch scratchin' the other two mornings doing some character dev for a new idea I'm kicking around and decided to do another screen recording of the process.  Forgot to get the drawing part again.  Anyway, here's the sketch and video.  The whole thing took around 40 minutes and was done in Corel Painter 11.

And the next morning I colored it:

Here's the video process (starts off slow as I forgot to speed up the first section)

Take care!

-Mike

Scribbles and Colors

Hey.  Quick post today as I am busily prepin' for the Calgary Comic Expo this weekend!  I'm really excited as last year was just fantastic!  If you're in the area I'm booth R03.  Stop by and say "howdy" after all we will be in Calgary! So I love seeing process videos, other artists and creators at work doing their thing, painting, coloring, and so on.  So while I was re-designing a character for a picturebook I'm working on I all of a sudden decided to record myself coloring it.  Here's that video:

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Or click here

Here is the final of that character:

Finally, I'll toss in this warm up sketch of chuck I did the other day.

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Take care everyone!

-Mike