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5

Friday Fan Art!

I’ve been traveling for the past few weeks hence the lack of FFA, but now that I am back in the studio, there is much to share!

Thimbletack by Andrea

Angela received this cool note from our new favorite felt-master, Andrea Graham:

I enjoyed reading the Spiderwick Chronicles aloud to my three boys and looked forward to the illustrations as we turned each page. I am an artist as well, a feltmaker. While all my work is original, I was moved to create a likeness of Thimbletack. I have attached 2 images of the piece. He is entirely sculpted from wool, no sewing, no painting. I hope you enjoy seeing him.

We totally do Andrea! He is really neat! Thanks for sending him along (remember, he likes just a bit of milk at night – otherwise he gets…moody). Keep up the fantastic fiber art.

Thimbletack and Lemondrop by Andrea

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Detritus (part 2)

Middle School glasses

My excavation of my past continues in this virtual display culled from a box full of artifacts collected during my middle school years.

Merit badge sash

Exhibit E: Merit badges from my years as a Boy Scout. I think I was more interested in collecting the badges based on how cool they looked moreso that what they represented. Hence, the awesome snake head for my first, the “Rattlesnake Milking” merit badge. I also see a variety of other favorites such as: “FBI Skills”, “Lyre-playing” and “Electrical Tower Ascension”…oh yeah, and “Art”.

PS – I came close to becoming an Eagle Scout, but lost interest and moved onto other hobbies. Nonetheless, I’ll always have the fondest of memories from my years as a scout.

Picasso in Miami!

Exhibit F: I really did see Picasso in Miami. My middle-school art teacher, Tom Prestopnik (aka Mr. P), took a busload of kids. I don’t remember much of the exhibit except someone in our class grabbing one of Picasso’s original sculptures on display so that he could examine it closer. Mr. P had to talk very calmly to him as he instructed him to put it back. You know, its like the way someone speaks to their indoor cat when it runs out the front door and freezes, just seconds from bolting, in the front yard.

Muppets by Tony D., circa 1981ish

Exhibit G: One of my favorite Christmas prezzies from this time was a View-Master projector that Santa had gotten for us DiTerlizzi kids. The reels that came with it were all of The Muppet Show, the best variety show in the universe. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I could trace the projected images onto a piece of paper taped to the wall, where I would then meticulously color each one in watercolors…and I wonder where my stamina for my book projects comes from…

Next time: High School Junk!

3

Article in Latest Issue of HOME COMPANION

Mary Engelbreit’s HOME COMPANION Oct/Nov ‘08

The latest issue (Oct/Nov. 08) of Mary Engelbreit’s HOME COMPANION magazine has a really nice 3-page article on yours truly. There is even a excerpt of it on their site. WOW!

5

Detritus (part 1)

“My Book About Me” by Dr. Seuss

We’ve been staying in Florida for a spell so I can catch my breath from the first leg of the tour – which was AWESOME btw, thanks to all who came out!

While here, I promised myself I would begin a project that has sat in the back of my mind for years – and that was to empty out a storage unit that I have had for over 20 years(!)

You read that right. You see, I created so much art in high school and college that I just couldn’t take it around with me as I moved from place to place. What I should have done was weed it and throw most of it out along the way. But, being the pack-rat that I am, I simply put it in my parent’s storage space…which then became my own storage space, which then became a holding bin for my old art and also A LOT of toys (I binged out on collecting Star Wars toys when they re-launched them in the late 90′s).

So I started clearing out some of my stuff, and found two gems: boxes full of my past life in grade school. You know the box – it has report cards in it, embarrassing school photos, perhaps a ribbon you won in some contest. What was interesting is what I’d chosen to hold onto all these years…and how perhaps these bits of detritus have set me on the course that I now travel on.

“Doodum Bird” by Dr. S and Tony D

Exhibit A: Dr. S’s My Book about Me. According to the entries, I’ve surmised I was in 2nd grade when I filled this out (about 7 years old). On page 23, I wrote I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up, however my favorite subject in school was “art”, as you can see by this rendition of the “Doodum Bird”. Where did my inspiration for G is for One Gzonk come from?

“Rabbit” by (a young) Tony D

Exhibit B: Speaking of art, I am often asked about books I loved as a kid. If this drawing in the front of my dilapidated copy of Winnie-the-Pooh doesn’t show the love, I don’t know what will. Interesting that I drew Rabbit of all the characters – I wonder if I associated with him the most? Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE Pooh, but as a kid, I always thought he was a little lazy.

Old books

Exhibit C: Here is that copy of Winnie-the-Pooh, along with The Great Brain, and a couple of other long-forgotten favorites. I’d like to think that How to Master the Video Games has done me good in life. If you can stay cool enough to zap the head of a fast-speeding centipede as it descends towards your shooter, you can handle any ridiculous deadline as it barrels closer.

“Godzilla” by (a young) Tony D

Exhibit D: The final bit of artifact from my elementary school years would be this poem, Godzilla, done in Mrs. Folsom’s 3rd grade class. Thank God she had the foresight to laminate it, keeping it perfectly preserved in groovy 1976 goodness. I am not sure why the mastodont’s face is pink – I think it was embarrassed.

Next time: Middle school junk!

8

Diversion #2 (A Darker Diversion)

My artistic summer diversions continue with a nod towards the classics, Puffin Classics to be exact.

Peter Pan

I was very familiar with these books, having read many of these stories as a kid. The publisher has re-launched the series with a whole new look, and I was absolutely thrilled when I was asked if I could write a forward to Peter Pan (with a cover by one of my favorite living British illustrators, Chris Riddell!)

My old Spiderwick cohort, Holly, was also asked to write an introduction. She will be adding her thoughts to the Bram Stoker classic, Dracula. I was then doubly thrilled when asked if I could render the cover image for this rendition. All those years of illustrating for White Wolf Games is paying off – Woo!

I really like the strong design of the series relaunch, and couldn’t wait to explore within the boundaries they set for the line. Most seemed to be iconic, simple, images rendered in 2 or 3 colors…so what do I draw for the fiendish Count Dracula?

Immediately, I thought of artists I would have loved to have seen illustrate this story: Aubrey Beardsley, Kay Nielsen, and Harry Clarke – those wonderful, wistful, (and oft-times) wicked draftsmen of old. So I began looking at some of their work for inspiration.

Vlad the Impaler

I also did a little research into the physical look of Dracula as well. Though Stoker never confirmed it, many believe his inspiration came from a real person, a Romanian prince named Vlad Dracula, or “Vlad the Impaler” for his notoriously cruel punishments during his reign.

I took the image of Vlad and started playing around with it. If I were to be illustrating the entire book, I would have spent a lot time designing the character, but given its limited use, I instead focused on variations of a theme – which were (hopefully) enticing portraits of Count D.

“Dracula” sketch 1

This first sketch is literally mimicking what the publisher had done thus far. It certainly got the point across, and (as the art director indicated) would be the safest route to go. You’ll note the large pointed front teeth as well as the elongated canines. As I researched vampire bats, I realized their biting teeth are in the front as well as the fangs we often imagine when thinking of Dracula…man, if only Arthur Spiderwick had recorded a vampire in his guide…

“Dracula” sketch 2

Sketch 2 shows Count D with a victim. I wanted to indicate the tell-tale signs of the vampire bite, and have Dracula slipping off into the shadows. I was jazzed about the contrast of his dark lines with the woman’s thin outline. In fact, this sketch is actually the result of several incarnations where the placement of the victim was explored and the heaviness of the shadow tweaked.

“Dracula” sketch 3

The third sketch was a narrative showing the connection between Count D and Mina. I didn’t think the publisher would go for it, but I was intrigued by the idea of a romantic image (however dark) nonetheless.

“Dracula” sketch 4

For the instantly recognizable reaction we wanted for this cover. I returned to the first sketch and pulled out a but showing more formal profile of Dracula. I think I was just so inspired by the old portrait of Vlad…so I gently played with some Art Noveau-ish lines and really tried to use the second color of red in an interesting way.

“Dracula” sketch 4 variation

In fact, I even tried a red sky, just to see how it would look – but it was a little too much red for my taste.

Below is the final inked image. All the sketches were simply done in pencil, then scanned into Photoshop, where the solid colors were added. Here, for the final, I inked it in my usual tools (black FW ink, Hunts 102 nib on Strathmore plate bristol) and completed the final in the computer.

“Dracula” final ink

…and here’s the final jacket from the publisher.

Puffin Classics: “Dracula”

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Carle Honors Butterfly Auction

“Morning Flight”

In conjunction with The Carle Honors, a fundraising effort to benefit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, I (along with 20-plus amazing illustrators) have done an original butterfly-themed image, which will be sold at auction. You can view this auction, and see all the amazing one-of-a-kind pieces, here. Happy bidding!

5

Decatur Book Festival Schedule

DBF logo

For my Georgia fans attending the Decatur Book Festival next weekend, I’ll be doing my presentation on Saturday (8/30) at the Target Children’s stage at 5:00pm. The day should be quite exciting with many wonderful children’s book creators also presenting like Chris Rashka, Robert Sabuda, Doreen Cronin and Adam Rex to name a few. You can check out the full schedule here.

Bring your books to get signed and I’ll seeya there!

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September KENNY Tour Dates added

More events for the Kenny and the Dragon tour. I was originally going to travel all the way up the west coast to Vancouver, but we just could not get all the dates in there, so I’ll be touring through California. Of course, all tour dates have been added ABOUT section of my site, so be sure to check them out. I hope to see you there!

Friday, October 3
4:00 PM
WHALE OF A TALE
4199 Campus Drive, Suite A
Irvine, CA 92612

Saturday, October 4
2:00 pm
BARNES & NOBLE
7881 Edinger Avenue
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Sunday, October 5
12:30 pm
MRS. NELSON’S BOOKS
1030 Bonita Ave.
La Verne, CA 91750

Sunday, October 5
4:00 pm
VROMAN’S
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101

Monday, October 6
12:30 pm
STORYTELLER
23 Lafayette Street
Lafayette, CA 94549

Monday, October 5
7:00 pm
COPPERFIELD’S BOOKS
140 Kentucky Street
Petaluma, CA 94952

Tuesday, October 7
6:30 pm
BOOKS INC.
Laurel Village
3515 California Street

Wednesday, October 9
6:00 pm
KEPLERS BOOKS
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025

…and, in case you missed it, here is a reminder for the first leg of the tour (starting next week!):

Sunday, August 24
2:00 PM
BARNES & NOBLE
2774 N. Germantown Parkway
Memphis, TN 38133

Monday, August 25
4:00 PM
DAVIS-KIDD BOOKSELLERS
387 Perkins Rd. Extended
Memphis, TN 38117

Tuesday, August 26
5:00 PM
SQUARE BOOKS
160 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655

Wednesday, August 27
3:00PM
LEMURIA BOOKS
202 Banner Hall
4465 I55 North
Jackson, MS 39206

Thursday, August 28
4:30PM
OCTAVIA BOOKS
503 Octavia St
New Orleans, LA 70115

August 29-31
DECATUR BOOK FESTIVAL
Decatur, Georgia

Sunday, August 31
2:00 PM
BARNES & NOBLE
7660 North Point Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30022