October 3, 2008
From the Book Talk website: Stephen Usery talks to children’s book author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi (that’s me) about his chapter book Kenny & the Dragon. Good times, good times…
October 2, 2008
Due to personal reasons, I’ve had to cut the California leg of my tour short and reschedule my San Francisco/Bay Area events. No one is more disappointed in this than me, and I promise I’ll get new dates set up as soon as possible.
Thanks for your support,
September 27, 2008
Leigh has been a fan here on the blog for some time now, and it was great to get a chance to meet her and her sis, Ysabel, in person last month at the Decatur Book Festival.
Leigh sent us these awesome first fan-art drawings of Kenny and Grahame from my new book, Kenny and the Dragon!
…and Ysabel sent us her rendition of on of my favorite dragons, Smaug.
Thanks for these sketches ladies, keep on drawin!
September 19, 2008
This week we received quite a treat: this amazing Spiderwick manga by our old friend Annie!
We try to feature young artists only once, (so that everyone gets a chance), but this was just so cool, such a labor of love, that we couldn’t keep it to ourselves!
It would be great to post all 70 pages, but I’d never get time to respond to all the fantastic fan mail that’s been arriving, so here’s just a sample from chapter four:
Keep drawing Annie! Keep your eyes peeled, we are going to send you something VERY special for this fabulous piece of fan work!
September 17, 2008
Storyopolis has added an event to the second leg of my Kenny and the Dragon tour in Los Angeles on Saturday, October 4th at the Geffen playhouse. This will be a morning event, part of their “Saturday Scene” program, and will feature a live band as well as yours truly.
Tickets are available at Storyopolis, or you can call 310-208-5454. I hope I see you there!
September 15, 2008
The latest installment of Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles, A Giant Problem, is due out in stores tomorrow. You can find it in a store near you, or you can try Amazon (where you can buy this AND Kenny and the Dragon at a reduced price) or Barnes & Noble.
For our New York and New Jersey friends, Holly and I will be doing an event tomorrow night (Sept. 16th) at 6PM:
Essex Mall, 895 Bloomfield Avenue
West Caldwell, NJ 07006
Bring your books, we’ll sign them all! Seeya there!
September 12, 2008
My dive into my grade school years concludes with some bits-n-pieces of stuff from high school…
Exhibit H: I really did have a business card in high school. And I really did want to be an illustrator. But I wasn’t one. Hey, a kid can dream…you never know what might happen.
Exhibit I: my senior school ID. I went without glasses for a couple of years so I could “blend in”. I also practiced a crooked smile in the mirror ala Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis. It didn’t make me any cooler.
Exhibit J: By my senior year, I was entering all sorts of art competitions. Sometimes I’d place, sometimes I’d get overlooked and get nothing. This portrait of Pat Benatar won me some scholarship money. I loved drawing portraits of the rock-n-rollers back then as music was an integral part of my teenage life…and still is today.
Exhibit K: Speaking of Rock-n-Roll, I’ve spoken about the impact of beautifully designed and packaged albums before. And, though this was over 10 years old by the time I graduated in high school, this tri-fold presentation of Elton John’s 1974 classic, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, was just awesome. You had typeset lyrics matched with hand-rendered imagery.
With my record player and headphones, I was lost in Elt’s falsetto harmonies and Ian Beck’s and David Larkham’s cool illustrations. Both of artists, of course, went on to illustrate popular children’s books.
Exhibit L: This time period in my life would not be complete without showing this – the liner card to a mixed-tape from my high school girlfriend. Though I haven’t talked her in years and years, people like her that came in and out of my life certainly help mold and prepare me for the next chapter in my story.
Like the art contests that I didn’t win, my failed relationships (I feel) toughened my skin and strengthened my resolve on that winding journey to success and happiness.
September 12, 2008
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!
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.
September 9, 2008
My excavation of my past continues in this virtual display culled from a box full of artifacts collected during my middle school years.
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.
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.
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!
September 9, 2008
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!
September 7, 2008
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
September 1, 2008
My artistic summer diversions continue with a nod towards the classics, Puffin Classics to be exact.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
…and here’s the final jacket from the publisher.
August 30, 2008
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!
August 23, 2008
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!
August 15, 2008
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
WHALE OF A TALE
4199 Campus Drive, Suite A
Irvine, CA 92612
Saturday, October 4
BARNES & NOBLE
7881 Edinger Avenue
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Sunday, October 5
MRS. NELSON’S BOOKS
1030 Bonita Ave.
La Verne, CA 91750
Sunday, October 5
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
Monday, October 6
23 Lafayette Street
Lafayette, CA 94549
Monday, October 5
140 Kentucky Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
Tuesday, October 7
3515 California Street
Wednesday, October 9
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
BARNES & NOBLE
2774 N. Germantown Parkway
Memphis, TN 38133
Monday, August 25
387 Perkins Rd. Extended
Memphis, TN 38117
Tuesday, August 26
160 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655
Wednesday, August 27
202 Banner Hall
4465 I55 North
Jackson, MS 39206
Thursday, August 28
503 Octavia St
New Orleans, LA 70115
DECATUR BOOK FESTIVAL
Sunday, August 31
BARNES & NOBLE
7660 North Point Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30022
August 15, 2008
Our friend Margaret is working on a nifty field guide to Hobgoblins, which not only describes the various subspecies, but also details their living habits and even emotions- here are just a few of our favorite images. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me!
Keep on drawin’!
August 11, 2008
I’ve had a little time off of my book schedule this past month to enjoy the summer weather. This has been great for several reasons:
1. I get to spend some fun time with Ang and Sophia.
2. I get the time to properly upgrade from my old ’03 G5 Mac to the latest PowerPC.
3. I get to recharge my creative energy for the coming projects.
Part of that creative recharging (for me) involves taking on small, one-off, odd jobs to act as diversions where I can explore ideas I may not otherwise do in the books that I create. Of course, I am a firm believer that everything we act upon and experience effects our lives and what we do, and so I feel these exercises are good for me creatively as I continue forward on my artistic journey.
“Diversion #1” was an interview and article for PrivatAir magazine. This mag is for (you guessed it) pilots and owners of private aircraft, but they have a great little section, called “Sketchpad”, where they ask an artist to render their idea of a dream jet – Growing up with a dad who works for Pratt & Whitney aircraft (which involved going to air shows and making all sorts of model jets and fighter planes as a kid), well…how could I refuse?
So, I thought of a couple of things: If I were a person in the income bracket who could afford a private plane, well I would probably have a few fancy cars as well. In particular, antique, hard-to-get, beautifully crafted cars – you know, the kind you see on television where the gazillionaire has a fleet of these automobiles in his/her giant garage.
So, I looked at old Rolls-Royces from the 1920’s and 30’s – in particular the “New Phantom” series. The lines and the dual-color paintjob got me all giddy, so off I went to design my dream jet with all sorts of Rolls-Royce fanciness. Heck, it even has a skylight!
BTW, the latest issue of PrivateAir (Aug/Sept. ‘08), with my jet design, “The Sophia Marie”, is available now in newsstands…more summer diversions to follow…
August 8, 2008
This week we thought we’d share these three great Spiderwick inspired creatures, a “Rain Forest Sprite” by Cassidy, a “Sea Nymph” (with beta fish) by Mark, and a great yellow Goblin by Kendall! Keep on drawin’ everybody!
August 6, 2008
My chapter book debut as an author and illustrator, Kenny and the Dragon, is now available in stores. You can use the Booksense/Indiebound site to find a store near you, or try Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I hope you enjoy it!
August 1, 2008
Wow! All I can say to you all is WOW! Everyone really did a phenomenal job for this contest!
All of us here at DiTerlizzi studio tonight were BLOWN AWAY by the menagerie of dragons that danced upon my computer screen and on the flat files and floor. We received entries from all over the world, in all age groups, and in all sorts of mediums.
Judging was tough. We discussed all of the entrant’s work at length – looking for that great combination of story, character and design. I even invited John Lind, a designer buddy of mine (and his loverly wife), to come and help Angela, Will and I with the decision-making – it was that tough for us.
Everyone agreed there should be more than three winners – so we doubled it and chose six.
But, before you read on, check out Joe Sutphin’s amazing entry. Joe sent me a note saying he just enjoyed being a part of the contest, and wanted someone else to take the prize. Nonetheless, I thought you all would enjoy his “Stilted Atlantic Wyvern” or “Crab Hawk”.
Thanks for being a part of this Joe, I just know you’ll go on to influence others with your imaginative art… Now, onto our WINNERS!
8-year old Ben from Bishop, California sent us this fun drawing of “The Western Dook Dragon”.
“…Who loves flying everywhere. It eats mushrooms, potatoes and other things. It swims in duck ponds and plays with ducks.”
Next, the judges couldn’t agree whose piece they liked more from brother and sister artistic duo, Gracie and Isaac – so we decided to award a prize signed to both of them.
Gracie’s (age 7) dragon is named “Tutu the Dancing Dragon”.
“She likes to dance. She likes to boogie. She wears this outfit all the time. She dances for the king of TwinkleLand. Tutu dazzles with her dancing tricks.”
While Isaac’s dragon is called “Pistachio”.
“He throws the parties at home in his castle, and everyone is invited. He likes cotton candy, and he enjoys both giving and getting presents.”
Meanwhile, we were all blown away by 15-year old Nancy’s depiction of “Xarpho”.
“…who has been known to snack on trolls and stray vagabonds every now and then. Nowadays she lives a solitary life in high mountains, collecting four-leaf clovers, maple keys, and things alike.”
From Wilton, New Hampshire came “Horace”, a Greater Mangrove Drake, colorfully rendered by Sara.
“He’s a semi-aquatic dragon with a fondness for terrapin soup and mint tea. He loves poetry but unfortunately prefers to have it read to him, as the pages get soggy underwater.”
Next, from HangZhou, near ShangHai China, comes “Big Cyan” a self-portrait by Qing.
“He loves watching movies and playing basketball. He is a pacifist. He hates environment pollution, especially automobiles polluting the air over the street. So he likes to wear a mask when he riding a bike on the street.”
..and last (but certainly not least) is our GRAND PRIZE WINNER Adam! Everyone just loved the originality and magic in this illustration and description:
“This is my dragon Furwyrm. In this picture you can find him on his usual early evening activity, hunting Glowdoves. A tasty morsel indeed, providing not only nurishment, but the special life essence called Esporia. The Furwyrm’s huge eyes allow them to spot these mystic creatures from miles away. Usually keeping to the misty rocky cliffs near the Outer Lakes, Furwyrms have been also known to have an affection for waterfalls. They will use it as a giant shower and an easy way to keep their long bodies clean.”
For your extra cool image Adam, I will send you the signed/drawn book AND a copy of the Kenny and the Dragon audio book read by Alan Cumming!
Dear readers, I hope you were as inspired by these majestic drawings as much as we were. Thank you all so much for participating (especially those who had also entered the Spiderwick drawing contest), I was truly touched by the amount and quality of work that came in – you all have inspired me.
July 31, 2008
Today is the last day that we’ll accept entries for our latest contest to “Design Your Dragon”, so if you work well under pressure, you have until midnight tonight. We have received some phenomenal entries so far – you really rocked it out this time – wow!
My loverly wife Angela, my assistant Will, and yours truly, will judge and announce the winners tomorrow for a special edition of “Friday Fan Art”. Stay tuned!
July 25, 2008
Our friend Christopher sent us these great creatures called Skullers, they remind me of something from one of the classic monster movies like Dracula or The Creature from The Black Lagoon…or even a Sleestak. Either way, its very cool.
Thanks for this Christopher! Keep on drawin’ everyone!
July 24, 2008
We’ve received some AMAZING entires to the “Design Your Dragon” contest so far…so keep them coming! With only a week left to go, if you have not yet entered then you better get scribbling.
You can enter from any part of the world, any age, and any medium. And of course, you can enter as many times as you’d like.
Here are the contest details once again:
I am terribly excited to share with you all my upcoming chapter book, Kenny and the Dragon. Though it is not due in stores until August 5th, I will be giving away three signed (first edition) copies here on the site…each, with a very special drawing in them.
All you have to do is design your very own dragon!
Like Grahame, the dragon who dubs himself a “Renaissance guy” in my book, I want you to come up with a drake of your own, who has its own personality. Here is what I am looking for:
1. A full color image of your dragon (any medium), along with his/her/its name.
2. A quick (4-5 lines) description of his/her/its personality. What does it like to eat? Does it play an instrument? Is it moody? Enjoy long walks in the park? Etc…
…you tell me what makes your dragon so darn special.
I will be judging on originality, creativity, and pure imagination. It doesn’t matter if you are a good drawer or not. It doesn’t matter if you are a two-year old kid, or an eighty two-year old kid…all entries will be accepted.
And those entries have to be in front of my bespectacled eyes by July 31, 2008.
You can send ‘em to me at:
“Design Your Dragon” Contest
P.O. Box #442
Amherst, MA 01004
Or email’em to Angela at: email@example.com
*Please title your email “Design Your Dragon”.
Winners will be chosen by myself, my loverly wife Angela, and my trusty assistant Will. We will announce the winners here on the site August 1, 2008, and I will then award winners with a signed copy of Kenny and the Dragon, along with a drawing in the book of Grahame (my dragon) shaking claws and congratulating YOUR DRAGON!
…sound cool? Then get drawin’ – and good luck!
July 21, 2008
Holly and I will be doing a special event on September 16th, for the release of the next Beyond the Spiderwick book, A Giant Problem. Below are the details, I hope we see you there!
Special SPIDERWICK EVENT with Holly Black!
Tuesday, September 16th
895 Bloomfield Avenue
West Caldwell, NJ 07006
July 18, 2008
Jesse Lopez did a take on my rabbit wizard which was part of the inspiration involved with Kenny and the Dragon. Nice mood in the cave piece Jesse!