I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

UP: My name is Dug

The advance copy. I brought it with me everywhere last week. Yup, even N.Y.

My very first one! I've always wanted to make one and I didn't really pursue it like I have many other career goals. Maybe because it appeared to be rather arcane. Who knows how one gets that gig?

Last year the opportunity to illustrate this book for our movie came around and I asked maybe I could submit samples. A long shot at best, I thought, and I have to draw it in as spare a manner as I can so I could--in the unlikely event I get the job--whip through it. I could only do it away from my day job, which was of course just getting into the frenzied third act. Every reason not to do it.

But got it I did. And the editors also wanted (with good reason) for me to put more muscle into it--way more than my scratchy samples. Oh, boy. But I was blessed that the author is the divine Kiki Thorpe (who now works here). She's an old hand at this and she gently guided my newbie carcass through all this. We did a rough pass and tweaked here and there (images, words, placement of the text) to make the reading experience better. Then Winnie Ho designed the graphics of the book took care of the fonts and all the other details not related to illustrating it. I have them to thank for my first effort into children's book illustration.

Oddly enough, though it took forever to do those leaves I enjoyed making them. All done in Photoshop CS3 with two customized brushes.

I hope this leads to more because I am hooked! I need to do more. I learned a lot about the way I work after making this.

I never get tired of looking at that. Not the drawing--the credits!

Now then, on to the commerce. The book is slated to release on April 14, 2009 but you can pre-order it at Amazon right now. See that sidebar image of this book on the right?

Special thanks to Kathleen Chanover, Leigh Anna McFadden, Kelly Bonbright and Nancy Intelli. They made all the publishing dreams we had regarding UP come true. They rock.

The back cover. The entire dust jacket was designed to wrap all the way into the interior flaps. They eventually decided to keep those white with some spot illustrations from the inside pages. Very professional job, I must say.

My Name is Dug on Amazon

Kiki Thorpe

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Paris Gallery Images

Images link to larger version.

Different approach. I was very happy to have a past inspiration grab hold of me again for the Paris gallery show. I remember walking into the L.A. County Museum back in the early nineties to the abstract expressionist rooms and come face to face with my first Robert Motherwell painting. I walked past it actually, there was so much to gawk at: Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler...but I found myself coming back around and standing in front of one of the "Elegies for the Spanish Republic" series.

I kept coming back to it years later, bought some books I would leaf through occasionally. Like skimming. Or not wanting to be completely pulled in. I know nothing about abstract expressionism nor am I able to even attempt anything close to it. But it did make me want something about it.

The "Verses" series was an aspect of the Nina story and she stands in one universe and seem to converge on another. Thus the contraction from multiverses to "Verses" which also had the welcome correlation to children's book verses. I had just completed a children's story book then and still had that mode operating. So, there it goes.

I like watercolor when viewed up close so here's a link to a detail.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Disney/Pixar's UP trailer

Carl Fredriksen is having a relaxing time at home. Gives new meaning to the phrase "mobile home."

OH,MAN! I just watched the trailer in the main theater and I gotta say that even though I've been part of this movie from the beginning I don't mind saying that it made me want to watch this movie NOW! It's been a long road to get here and Pete's still working on the finishing touches to the movie, I am very proud of the work everybody's put in to making this movie.

Check out the trailer I saw on Yahoo.com here.

While you're there check out the Pixar retrospective that looks at Disney•Pixar's previous nine films.

Official Disney/Pixar site

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Kerascoët: Jolies Ténèbres

Dust jacket for the book. Links to a Youtube simple ad for it.

Compelling and terrifying. Not for the faint of heart or for kids. "Don't be fooled by the cuteness," Sebastien warns me over dinner when we were in Paris for our show. I wondered about that for while until I got back to my hotel. I leafed through it. I can't read french, mind you, but the images are enough to get a sense of what's going on. This book found the edge where it becomes dangerous and runs past it full speed. I am humbled by what Kerascoet--Marie Pommepuy and Sébastien Cosset--along with writer Fabien Vehlmann have unleashed on an unsuspecting public.

Myself and Sébastien Cosset at the Arludik show for Three Trees in Paris. He hands me his only advance copy of this book the publishers sent him. That was such an honor.

I cannot talk about this book more. I came back to work talking as if I'd gone to a haunted island. I had to see the faces of each one who was intrigued enough to peel pages back one at a time. The look of sheer admiration for the artistry but soon after a wincing at the unexpected. I am having a good time--I must have looked just like that.

We met with Dupuis, the publisher of Jolies Ténèbres, and got to talk to Sergio Honorez (Head of Publishing) about this book which is just about to come out this month. He says that once he saw the book proposal he just knew, "We have to publish this." Kerascoet is also published at Dargaud for Mis Pas Touche, a book I've mention in this blog before. In France artists can have as many different publishers for any one artist. Neat, eh?

If you look at the work it is astoundingly beautiful. I put in a reservation to grab this page at Galerie 9 art. And if you're not careful you'll find even more stuff all over that website.

I love finding stuff to rave about and even more gratifying is to meet these wonderful creators (Marie was not well during our visit but next time). That trip to Paris and Angoulême was so amazing. I'm hoping it won't be too long before we find ourselves back there again. If only to grab more books. Sigh.

Galerie9art.com for Kerascoet

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