Welcome!

6 Mar

Hi everybody! And welcome!

  • Want to know more about the Sock Monkey Series? Click here.
  • How about some other books? Try here.
  • Are there any new Cece Bell books coming out soon? Yes! And you can check them out here.
  • Need to feel better about your housecleaning skills by comparing them with mine? Check this out.

You can also check out the links on the right for more good times! Thanks so much for dropping by.

El Deafo honors David Lasky, colorist extraordinaire!

6 Jun

ClairolAdIt’s true. David Lasky did an amazing job coloring El Deafo. Yesterday, I received a couple of final copies of the book, in full color, and they are gorgeous. The book would not have been gorgeous (at all) had I attempted this myself. And it’s important to note that not only did David do all the coloring, he also did all the shadow work as well. Shadows and me? We do not hold hands. I’m pretty sure that any time the word “chiaroscuro” was mentioned in any art class I ever took, I must’ve fallen into a trance and entered a shadow-free world of rainbows and flatly colored unicorns.

David and Tom and I all went to college together (Willam & Mary in Virginia). David was a couple of years ahead of us. He was our graphics editor at the Flat Hat, W & M’s college newspaper (now on the Internets, holy moly times have changed). David was—and still is—one of the most talented artists I had ever met—but he never acted like it. At all. He downplayed his own awesomeness and encouraged our weirdness and our even weirder art every Thursday night in the basement of whatever that hall was called. He also encouraged us to eat a lot of Doritos.

Flash forward a thousand years or more. When the first colorist hired to do this book realized that he was overcommitted and had to drop out of the project, I was bummed. And a little bit terrified. So, I wrote to David and asked him for advice. Did he know any colorists? Could he spread the word that I was looking? Because I was exhausted and overwhelmed and I knew that if I tried to color the book, my ridiculous notions of what is acceptable would have taken over and the book would never ever ever get done. And guess what David said?

I’ll color it.”

Holy moly, I just about wept. I probably did weep. Because this is the guy who JUST WON AN EISNER for his book with Frank M. Young, THE CARTER FAMILY: DON’T FORGET THIS SONG. It is a masterpiece. And David’s other stuff is, too.

I figured out what I wanted the final cover of El Deafo to look like after David signed on to color it:

ElDeafoCoverDave

 

Thank goodness for David Lasky! David, thanks for making the book so beautiful. And for making me look good, too. You can barely even see the gray!

 

El Deafo featured in Number 5 Bus and Robot6! Will numbers 7 and 8 be far behind?

2 Jun

What’s hot for summer and fall? Wearing too many layers, for one thing. The blog Robot6 (for Comic Book Resources) has deemed EL DEAFO pretty hot, too! And that’s kinda cool. Read what they have to say about the book here. What a treat to be on the same page as Lucy Knisley, who is unbelievably talented.

Also, if you have a little extra time, check out my conversation with Phil and Erin Stead on their new blog, Number 5 Bus Presents: Conversations with Book People. We talked about our favorite kids’ book authors and illustrators, about what it’s like to write and illustrate Early Readers, about spousal jealousy (!), and a little bit about EL DEAFO, too. We even compared stacks of books by our favorite authors/illustrators, and I think the Steads won. I had a great time typing with them!

More sneak peeks of EL DEAFO courtesy of 7 Imp!

1 Jun

Hey Kids!

Want more sneak peeks of EL DEAFO, plus a few other sneak peeks of my upcoming picture book I YAM A DONKEY? Check it out here at Julie Danielson’s amazing blog, 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast!

She posted this in part to promote Phil & Erin Stead‘s new blog, Number Five Bus Presents: Conversations with Book People. I’ll be the featured guest starting tomorrow, and you can also read the Steads’ first interview here, with the amazing Eric Rohmann.

You’ll get some sneak peeks of Rohmann’s stuff, too—as well as from Phil Stead’s latest book, Sebastian and the Balloon. Plus cool stuff by Jody Hewgill, too!

Other folks that the Steads will be interviewing include: Rebecca Stead, KT Horning, Mac Barnett, Sean Qualls, Sergio Ruzzier, Julie Danielson herself, Matthew Cordell, and Tao Nyeu.

Enjoy!

It’s finally time to talk about EL DEAFO!

27 May

Coming in September: EL DEAFO! I’m very excited.

It’s my first graphic novel. It’s published by Amulet Books. It looks like this:

ElDeafoCover

The stuff in the book is just about exciting enough to merit bullet points! You’ll read about:

  • Hearing Loss!
  • Lip-reading!
  • Super-powerful Hearing Aids!
  • Romance!
  • Glasses!
  • A Busted Pencil!
  • The Quest for a True Friend!

Advance Reader Copies will be available at Book Expo America. Here’s the cover of the ARC:

ARC Cover

Did you see the very generous blurbs? Be sure to check out the amazing things that the lovely folks who wrote the blurbs produce and do. I am in awe of all of them, and they are exciting enough to merit bullet points also:

The inside art looks like this, in sturdy black-and-white:

RevisedChapter4Panels

 

The final art looks like this, in Glorious Technicolor, thanks to Eisner-winning Superfriend David Lasky:

RevisedChapter4Panels

Don’t forget to check out David’s work here and here. You’ll be glad you did!

I’ll be signing copies at BEA in NYC on Thursday, May 29th at 11:00 (Abrams Booth #2727!). Be sure to get in line for Tom Angleberger‘s signing at 10:00 on the same day. He’ll have copies of The QwikPick Papers: Poop Fountain, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a sneak peek of the latest Origami Yoda book, Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus!

I’ll be posting a lot more stuff about El Deafo this summer in anticipation of its debut. Check back in and check it out!

Rabbit & Robot plot suggestions from some groovy-cool kids!

22 Apr

Mr. Donahue is an awesome first-grade teacher who recently shared his groovy cool students’ suggestions for what Rabbit and Robot should do next. Check ‘em out:

ChipSuggestions

These are super suggestions and I really think that lightning bugs belong in the new book. And a dinosaur, why not? Rabbit and Robot going to the beach and playing in the snow were popular, too, which makes me think a Rabbit & Robot All Year (huge hat tips to Arnold Lobel, of course) could work as well. Hmmm. All this to say that there will indeed be a second Rabbit & Robot. Huzzah!

Mr. Donahue’s students also made their own little books inspired by Rabbit & Robot. Here are some of their covers and spreads. Thanks, Mr. Donahue!

ChipCovers

ChipSpreads

And oh yeah…I’ll be back soon to talk up my new graphic novel, El Deafo, out from Abrams in September of this year. In the meantime, stay groovy cool!

Sock Monkey as the Nutcracker: bits and pieces from the Vault of the Unpublished Stuff

24 Dec

So…I’ve been waiting to hear from the lovely folks at Candlewick Press about what might happen to the Sock Monkey books that we did together, starting an entire decade ago. The books are no longer in print, so if you’re not familiar with them, that’s ok. The books are called SOCK MONKEY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, SOCK MONKEY BOOGIE WOOGIE, and SOCK MONKEY RIDES AGAIN, and there are two possibilities: I’ll either get the rights back to them, or Candlewick will decide to republish them. I wait with baited breath about the decision Candlewick will make!

Meanwhile, several years ago I tried out a Sock Monkey Christmas book, which Candlewick felt wasn’t quite up to snuff, and while I might not have thought so then, upon re-reading it, I’d have to agree. But there are some parts I like, and so I’ll share a little bit here with you, without giving the whole thing away. Because you never know. Maybe I’ll rework it and get it right!

Here are a few pages:

SMXMasA

Sock Monkey finds his friends doing various holiday things, and asks them for some help and advice with his dancing. Here’s how Froggie (who apparently is Jewish and therefore celebrating Hannukah) helps him out:

SMXMasE

Sock Monkey gets help from Miss Bunn and Blue Pig, too. But look what happens when he asks Sock Buddy for some help with his costume:

SMXMasB

SMXMasC

Of course, after this, Sock Monkey is furious, and treats Sock Buddy like garbage. Which is not the way one should treat one’s friends, should one?

SMXMasD

What happens next? Well, hopefully someday you will find out!

Sock Monkey and I wish you a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends!

Happy holidays! Sock Monkey’s 2013 holiday card featured here!

23 Dec

Hey kids! Here it is: Sock Monkey’s 2013 card for the holidays!

Look! S.M. gives gifts to the bathing monkeys featured in SOCK MONKEY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD. I am right fond of the bathing monkeys.

Look! S.M. gives gifts to the bathing monkeys featured in SOCK MONKEY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD. I am right fond of the bathing monkeys.

This year’s was not so elaborate. I like to make ‘em elaborate. But the reason it wasn’t very elaborate is that I was trying to meet a deadline for a book that I’m very excited about: a graphic novel/memoir about my early experiences with hearing loss called EL DEAFO. It’s supposed to come out in 2014. I’ll hopefully be able to reveal a few things about it in the coming months. But I can say that it has easily been the most difficult project I’ve ever worked on. And it’s the one I’m most worried about releasing to the world. Ai yi yi.

Check back for an extra holiday treat soon! In the meantime, here’s hoping you are all well and happy.

Crankee Doodle named one of People’s 100 Most Beautiful People

3 Aug

Well, not really. But close!

CRANKEE DOODLE is on page 67 of this week’s People magazine! Holy smokes. We are listed under the heading Best New Kids’ Books, along with THE DARK, by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by my current favorite illustrator, Jon Klassen; OL’ MAMA SQUIRREL, by David Ezra Stein; JOURNEY, by Aaron Becker; RUMP, by Liesl Shurtliff; DOLL BONES by Holly Black; and ELEANOR & PARK, by Rainbow Rowell. Some really fine company.

So, Crankee and Pony heard the news, and assumed that they would get a cover like this:

people

 

But it wasn’t to be. Crankee was quite jealous to see the lovely Duchess Kate holding her new baby on the cover instead; everyone in the aisle (where we were buying a copy of the magazine) heard him shout, “WE WON THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION FOR THIS?” Pony, on the other hand, exclaimed “I absolutely adore babies!” and promptly purchased a powder blue satin riding saddle for England’s future king.

There you have it. The actual page looks like this:

peoplemag

As Tom pointed out, brought to you by DulcoEase stool softener. A good reminder to stay humble, if ever I saw one.

All in all, a very nice surprise!

 

 

 

 

Birth of a Crankee cover

11 Jul

I’m gonna pause from practicing “Yankee Doodle” on my tenor saxophone (really and truly) to write this post. (Believe it or not, I can still play. Still play poorly, that is.)

I recently posted about the creation of Crankee, and got lots of positive responses. So, I thought I’d share with you all the different covers that I came up with before selecting this beauty:

000b2.crankeecover copy

Here are some original sketches:

CrankeeCoverRuff

 

CrankeeCoverRuff2

And here are different color comps (colored digitally):

COVERE

COVERD

 

COVERB

 

COVERA

 

COVERG

 

COVERF

 

 

COVERH

That’s a lot of covers! It was hard to choose.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer thus far! Be sure to come and see us at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC on the 20th, and Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC on the 21st. That is, if you live in NC!

 

 

 

Birth of a Crankee

5 Jul

Amazing writer and friend Kirby Larson (Hattie Big Sky, The Friendship Doll) features us on her blog today. Tom talks about how we basically wrote Crankee Doodle in the car, and here are the notes (and rough layout) to prove it:

CrankeeOriginalNotes1

CrankeeOriginalNotes2

"Handy with the ladies?" Ruh-roh!

“Handy with the ladies?” Ruh-roh!

Figuring out the layout is my favorite part of the whole process.

Figuring out the layout is my favorite part of the whole process.

Be sure to check out Kirby’s books. They are magnificent. Especially The Friendship Doll. It’s my personal favorite of all her great books.

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