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Never Abandon Imagination

Welcome to the fantastical world of the award-winning, bestselling author and illustrator, Tony DiTerlizzi.
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STAR WARS

Tony retells the original trilogy with artwork by concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie. In bookstores this October.
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The Battle for WondLa

Eva Nine's finale in the WondLa trilogy is now available in bookstores!
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REALMS

This long-awaited collection of Tony's roleplaying game art will be in bookstores next June.
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The Spiderwick Chronicles

Celebrate a decade of Spiderwick stories. Available in paperback for the first time!
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The Spider & The Fly

The Caldecott-winning picture book celebrates an anniversary with a new jacket and poster.
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Kenny & the dragon

Tony's award-winning chapter book is now available in paperback.
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Search for WondLa

Part fairy tale, part sci-fi, this lavishly illustrated bestseller is now available in paperback.
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Spiderwick Special Edition

The feature film based on the book series is now available in a Special Edition Blu-ray.
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Tony’s BlogLatest Posts

3

Friday Fan Art!

“Huper-Snout Boggart” by Christopher

It’s one thing to draw things we know, and quite another to draw things no one has ever seen before. This is especially true in the world of fantastical art: some artists stick to the standard fare of dragons and willow-limbed elves, and others venture far afield, creating entirely new creatures for unusual worlds.

“Stray Stump” by Christopher

I’ve always seen myself as having a foot in either camp. I draw on a lot of traditional mythological imagery, but I always look at it with a fresh eye for invention. If I’m not drawing a newly invented creature I try to add something exciting to the design. Sometimes I am inspired by the natural world, and sometimes by pure fancy. This is a skill that has taken me years to begin to understand, yet it is one that I’ve seen in abundance from these two inspiring fans!

“Common Butterfly Boggart” by Christopher

Christopher, age 10, has created some wonderful faerie/insect-inspired creatures. I really love his sense of imagination, this is definitely the sort of thing I was drawing when I was his age…except I wasn’t as technically adept with the pencil as he is.

“The Thestequitrix” by Valkyrie, 11

Valkyrie (yes her real name – so cool!), age 11(!), has created another amazing creature, the Thestequitrix, and her drawings are so nicely done! She has a great sense of anatomy and gesture, and she’s even developed a great storyline and world to back up it all up.

“The Snovaglot” by Valkyrie, 11

These two have really inspired me a lot, and I’m so glad that my work is perhaps helping inspire the next generation of great creators.

4

Home again, home again…

Partaying S’WICK Style

We just returned home from Florida where I was recuperating from a whirlwind publicity tour in the United Kingdom. Hol and I crammed the week-plus trip with book signings and other Spiderwick media events in England and Ireland.

I have to say, the UK is truly like a second home to me. The food is great, the folks I met were jovial and warm, and of course the literary and artistic heritage is the fiber that I am woven from.

Outside the BBC offices, Leeds

Highlights from the tour included spending an afternoon at antique bookstores and at the Chris Beetles gallery pouring over the original Arthur Rackham, Ernest Shepard, and Sir John Tenniel art.

Speaking of the great Alice illustrator, we taped a show for the BBC called Blue Peter in the London cemetery, and I happened upon the tomb of the family Dalziel. The Dalziel brothers, Edward and George, were famous Victorian engravers who created the woodcuts for Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was really neat to be so close to these people whose work had influenced me so much.

Hol & I at the London cemetary

Later on, in the town of Leeds, we did a presentation for a group of kids at the Leeds Art Gallery where they pulled out of storage, JUST FOR US, one of Atkinson Grimshaw’s “Iris” paintings! This famous Victorian fairy painter has always entranced me with his moody lighting and simple composition. To see the original in person was just awesome.

Posing with “Iris”

…sorry the picture blows. Between the lacquer on his painting and the layers of glass over it, I just couldn’t get a decent shot. Here’s a detail of the head though:

Detail of “Iris”

I had a blast drawing and cracking jokes for the kids, and it seems like the film is being well received as well (it was being released while we were there). I really am looking forward to going back, and bringing Sophia along to learn about the wonder and beauty of my favorite part of the world.

9

Friday Fan Art!

Wow! Obviously with the onslaught of Spiderwick-edness that has been barraging everybody over the past month, I have received buckets of fan-mail with all sorts of well-wishes and amazing stories of how my work has affected others. I am so touched – what a validation.

I’ve been so busy cranking out the final edits on my upcoming chapter book, Kenny and the Dragon, that I have been holding onto a few stars in the “Friday Fan Art” category – but this one needed to be shared with you all immediately as the timing is perfect.

Hoggy & Thimbletack by Joe

I’ve been chatting with Joe for years now, encouraging his imagination and obvious talent…which, honestly, he already has plenty of. I do this, because folks like William Stout, Jim Gurney and Brian Froud encouraged me along my way – and I never forgot how much a simple “follow your dreams” note from someone you look up to really keeps you going.

Along with his neato “Thank You” painting came this REALLY cool book on gadgets.

Cool Book o’Gadgets!

THANK YOU Joe, for the awesome image! Now finish your dream book, and get a website up, with all the cool art that you’ve been sending me, so everyone else can see it.

PS – Send fan art/money/babysitters/toys/books to:
Tony DiTerlizzi
PO Box #442
Amherst, MA 01004

UPDATE: With a tip-off from his wife, here is Joe’s other work!

4

Friday fan art

We got some more excellent Spiderwick an art this week, check it out! Thanks to Annie, Anna, Andrew and Marisa!

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13

I'm Lovin' It!

I see McDonald’s has The Spiderwick Chronicles Happy-Meals now available. If I didn’t think the film, toys, cereal, and video game were surreal enough, this definitely sent me to dreamland.

Spiderwick Happy Meal Box

My parents took us kids to get fast food every once and awhile. I grew up on Burger Chef and their equivalent to a Happy Meal, called the Fun Meal – which I loved. So I know the kid-version of me would so be into getting a “Common Ground Goblin” with my cheeseburger…or feeding Hogsqueal some fries.

Spiderwick Happy Meals Toys

17

Spiderwick Action Figs

I see that Ty’s Toy Box now has the Spiderwick Action figures available. Choose from Jared, Hogsqueal, Redcap or Mulgarath. Here’s hoping we get a Mallory, Simon and Thimbletack as well.

Spiderwick Action Figs

I am not sure if these are final toys pictured here or early prototypes. If anyone finds them, please drop a comment as to where so others can hunt them down:)

22

Whoa, they made a film? Outta my books!?

Angela and I just returned from the Los Angeles and New York premieres of The Spiderwick Chronicles movie. We watched the film in both venues (this makes it my 6th time seeing it) and celebrated its completion with Holly and the cast and crew. It was a whirlwind of interviews, photographs and fancy clothes…and in the blink of an eye it was over (that is, until we head out to promote it in the United Kingdom next month).

Tony D, David Strathairn, and Holly Black

So, as many have asked, what has this been like? How does it feel to have a film adapted from your books, stories, characters and art? Many words come to mind:

Surreal
Mind-blowing
Incredible
Fantastic
Awe-inspiring

..but I don’t think they quite convey the mixture of emotions that myself, Angela (and Holly) have gone through. So I’ll tell this little tidbit of a tale in hopes that it illustrates how I truly feel about all of this.

“Quaatale” Ice Dragon from GONDWANALAND

Back in the summer of 1982, I made a little book called Gondwanaland. In it, a group of scientists discover an island full of fantasy creatures and record their habits, habitats and images. It was written and illustrated by a 12 year-old incarnation of me, and it came from a naturalist’s perspective. I was greatly inspired from the game Dungeons & Dragons, books like Brian Froud & Alan Lee’s Faeries, and films like Star Wars and The Dark Crystal – all things I’ve rambled on about in this blog before.

“Blue Finned Mermaid” by Tony D, 1995

I forgot about the book for some time, but returned to it in the 90′s while I was contributing regularly as an artist for D&D and the Planescape role-playing game. I began redoing some of the illustrations and approached TSR about publishing a field guide to faeries, trolls and goblins. They declined, and I moved on to achieving my dream of creating books for children.

Early cover idea for ARTHUR SPIDERWICK’S FIELD GUIDE, 1998

I did some picture books, won a couple of awards, and (at last) had the opportunity to create my field guide with the help of my good friend, Holly. On top of the Arthur Spiderwick myth, we told the story of Jared, Simon and Mallory Grace – and how dangerous the real world of faeries can be. We had no idea if children would like it, but we sure enjoyed crafting the tales.

First final character drawings of the Grace kids, 2001-2002

To our delight, the books were well received: teachers, librarians and critics loved them, kids and parents loved them, and Nickelodeon & Paramount Pictures loved them – I figured I was dreaming: I was still 12 years-old, and my mom would wake me up for school any minute.

Mark Waters signed on as a director (fresh off of his hit Mean Girls). John Sayles wrote a draft of the script. Phil Tippett and Industrial Light & Magic came on to create the special effects for the film. Celebrated actors like Nick Nolte, Martin Short, David Strathairn, Mary Louise-Parker, Sarah Bolger and Freddie Highmore signed on to play the roles of characters Hol and I created – and all the while, all I could think was “My mom is going to wake me up any minute now.”

The Grace kids from the film THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES

In short, the final film is fantastic. It breathes the same air the books do. It’s dirty, organic, richly visualized, and fast paced. There are no glittery tinkly faeries here, just celluloid spirits re-forged from the old folklore that had inspired me all these years. It’s a thrilling, raucous ride with a little heart and soul, and I feel like…like…a 12 year-old when I watch it.

Maybe I am dreaming – or simply, this is what it feels like when a boyhood dream comes true.

I hope you enjoy the faeries (and the film).

7

BOOKS: Magnetic Storm

My earlier talk of records and album cover artwork has inspired me crack open an old book that I’ve not looked at in some time. Upon opening it, I immediately saw that it was more influential than I realized.

Magnetic Storm by Roger & Martyn Dean

I purchased Roger and Martyn Dean’s Magnetic Storm back in 1984 when I was 15 years old. I was blown away the dynamic, colorful dragons that adorned the book jacket (and the then-popular band, Asia’s album cover).

Asia Dragon

Now that I look at it, their designs most definitely influenced my creature designs in Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide, especially the colorful patterning.

Morning Dragon

More importantly though, I remember copying their totally cool hand-drawn-lettering. This element has become an integral part of my book-making philosophy to this day.

Roger Dean’s logo

In our digital world of “Anything can become a font”, I have relished the fact that most of my books have hand-drawn titling – something I seriously first took notice of while copying images out of my copy of Magnetic Storm. Seriously, why wouldn’t the titling to a piece of art not come from the same mind-space, the same vision, the same hand, as the image it is meant to compliment?

Yes (the band’s) logo

Roger and Martyn have done many tomes on their various contributions to books, albums, conceptual art, and architecture. Give their site a look-see, and by all means check out one of their titles – I guarantee it will inspire you.

Tony’s Dean-inspired Roi logo