Catching up with the Zeppelins

For the past week I’ve been hunkered down working on a children’s book pitch to hopefully make to some publishers. Here’s a peek at the cover that I’ve been working on. I had to choose between two stories that came to me one night. I arrived at these primarily based on the principle of catchy titles. I reckoned the stories would flow from there.

The two stories were Mr. Frog’s Backyard Rollercoaster and the Great Zeppelin Race. You can see which one I went with.

Screen shot 2013-02-22 at 2.45.34 AM

tumblr_minlapzV561rc4waeo1_1280Over the ocean, fog replaces the frost,
and then our two racers are suddenly lost!


For those interested in the process of the creation of picture books, the following Quinton Blake video will be particularly useful. The amount of process work that accumulates during the initial phases and that ends up not being used is helpful to see. It’s important to not be too precious and let the ideas make marks on the page.

I came across this video thanks to Alec Longstreth’s watercolor process posts. If anything, the useful take away there would be that to when doing multiple drafts of illustrations, if you wish to have rich and lively final black inks, light boxing using media that doesn’t reveal too much is important. Doing so allows novel image making across the process. Gestures are fresh, folds in cloth are organic and expressions are lively.

In watercolor news, I’ve been watercoloring my dailies this past week. I’ve been arriving at some streamlined processes and am really happy with the results. The process has been such a pleasure. It’s really nice to have work that can be done around other people who aren’t cartooning or aren’t in front of computers. It keeps my spirits up.

For now, though, I’ve had to work in isolation on the Ramona book, given that it’s done digitally. To keep me chugging along through the illustrations, I’ve been listening to the ever funky and brash Pinker Tones. I heard about them a while back when talking to Bill Boiche, but I could never remember the name of the group. This past weekend, I was doing my rounds across youtube, watching amateur skate videos and some kids from Miami had put Sonido Total as the completely inappropriate soundtrack to their video during a slow-mo sequence.

Now I’m on the Pinker Tones trail. May you be blessed should you join on it to travel into the funky forest.

2 thoughts on “Catching up with the Zeppelins”

  1. Great post. I’ve always wanted to make a childrens book but you are going for it. Good job! And thx for the how to video.

    1. You got it! Besides Blake’s videos, I’ve been studying middle aged women do water color demos. They do some really magical things.

      Attempting to tackle this project was really rewarding. I’m not yet where I’d like to be with Ramona and the Great Zeppelin race, soI’m hoping to revise this project over the next year to have a solid book pitch to bring to some publishers. At the moment it’s in verse and a little clunky. I’m thinking of slimming down the narration and adding the occasional word balloon.

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