7.11.2017

COMING SOON!

A bunch of books coming out soon! Starting with . . .


I am super happy to report that Rex, Gizmo, Wild, and Sprinkles (the stars of my book REX WRECKS IT!) now have a second book . . . and perhaps also a new friend? 

Boo is new. And even if the other kids are welcoming, it can be scary being new, especially for a shy ghost who can’t play any of their games. ("You tagged me? Oh, sorry. I couldn’t feel it.") Can Boo find a way to fit in and make friends with the rest of the group? From the creator of Rex Wrecks It! comes a funny story about feeling invisible — and finding a way to be seen and appreciated for who you are.

Boo was actually going to be in the first book (REX WRECKS IT!), but didn't have a major role in it so was cut to add more focus to the main four characters. At the time I really didn't want to cut Boo, but now am happy that I did because it set up this new story. 

I imagine this book might get pegged as a Halloween title because of the cast and because of Boo in particular, but I think it is much more a beginning of school story. It is all about how difficult it can be to make new friends and find a sense of belonging. 

BOO WHO? comes out August 1st!

Also coming out soon are the first few titles I had the good fortune to help acquire in my role as editor-at-large for the Little Bigfoot imprint of Sasquatch Books. I joined the Little Bigfoot / Sasquatch team about two years ago and am super excited to see these first projects I helped edit come out

First up is a project I have dreamed about putting together for some time. DRAWN TO COLOR is a 64 page coloring book for the whole family. It features artwork with Pacific Northwest subjects by 22 Pacific Northwest illustrators (including me!). There is a huge variety in the book of both style and detail, so really a bit of something for everyone. 

DRAWN TO COLOR comes out August 22nd! For those in the Seattle area there will be a color / book launch party at the end of August at U Books in U District.


Here is a full list of the illustrators with pieces in DRAWN TO COLOR:
DANA ARNIM, AARON BAGLEY, JESSIXA BAGLEY, ERIK BROOKS, BEN CLANTON, FRIDA CLEMENTS, CAROLYN CONAHAN, BRANDON DORMAN, KATE ENDLE, ALISON FARRELL, STEVEN HENRY, AMY HEVRON, JUSTIN HILLGROVE, DOUG KEITH, JULIE KIM, CLAUDIA McGEHE, ANDY MUSSER, CARRIE O'NEILL, COREY R. TABOR, RICHARD JESSE WATSON, SEAN DAVID WILLIAMS, LIZ WONG

Next up is FRANK THE SEVEN-LEGGED SPIDER by Michaele Razi, which comes out Sept. 12th! Michaele has been a friend and critique pal of mine for somewhere around 6 years now and most of that time she has been steadily working on this book. It has been amazing to watch the evolution of Frank from first manuscript to what I've got to say is one of the funniest and best read-aloud books coming out this year. Here is a bit about the book:

Frank loves being a spider, especially the part that involves having eight glorious legs. But one morning Frank wakes up missing a leg. One of his friends exclaims, "I barely recognize him!" Another friend asks, "Are you still a spider, Frank?" Is he still a spider? Frank doesn't know. A funny and heartfelt quest filled with surprises ensues as Frank searches for his leg and the answer to his identity.



Hooray and congratulations to Michaele on her debut! And for FRANK who will catch you and stick with you in the best possible way.

And coming out October 3rd . . .


WHERE'S HALMOMI? is one of the most brilliant books I have ever encountered. Seriously, it is up there! And if I was on the Caldecott committee I would be pushing this book for the award. It is a 96 page picture book with graphic novel leanings, but I wish it was even longer. 

Beautifully illustrated and told by debut author Julie Kim, this picture book in a graphic-novel style follows a young Korean girl and boy whose search for their missing grandmother leads them into a world inspired by Korean folklore, complete with mischievous goblins (dokkebi), a greedy tiger, a clever rabbit, and a wily fox.
 
Two young children pay a visit to Halmoni (grandmother in Korean), only to discover she's not home. As they search for her, noticing animal tracks covering the floor, they discover a window, slightly ajar, new to their grandmother's home.  Their curiosity gets the best of them, and they crawl through and discover an unfamiliar fantastical world, and their adventure begins.  As they continue to search for their grandmother and solve the mystery of the tracks, they go deeper into a world of Korean folklore, meeting a number of characters who speak in Korean along the way, and learn more about their cultural heritage.  
 
This beautifully illustrated graphic picture book is filled with a number of Easter eggs for readers of all ages to discover, and is inspired by the Korean folktales that author and illustrator Julie Kim heard while growing up. Translations to Korean text in the story and more about the folktale-inspired characters are included at the end.


I actually have one more book that I wrote and illustrated coming out this year (ROT: THE CUTEST IN THE WORLD!), but I will wait to share more about that nearer to December. I will also share more about each of the books in this post when they come out. :)

Thanks for stopping by! 

4.23.2017

UPCOMING EVENTS

April 29th @ 11 AM - Story Time at the University Bookstore in Seattle, WA (326 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105)

May 7th @ 2 PM - SUPER NARWHAL AND JELLY JOLT Book Launch at Secret Garden Books in Ballard (2214 NW Market St, SeattleWA 98107)

"Narwhal and Jelly are back in action for a SUPER adventure! Join Super Narwhal and sidekick Jelly Jolt as they take on three SUPER new stories in this early graphic novel series."


3.21.2017

WE ARE THE DINOSAURS


WE ARE THE DINOSAURS by Laurie Berkner and illustrated by some guy called Ben Clanton is now in stores!

ABOUT THE BOOK:


Not familiar with the song? Or haven't seen the new music video for it? Check it out below!



I had oodles of fun illustrating this book! There are few things I enjoy drawing more than dinosaurs. Here are some of the first character drawings I made when brainstorming how the book would look:


Ernesto I think is my favorite. I like Ted a lot too but unfortunately Ted was cut from the book. I have the tendency despite my minimal style to want to introduce more characters in a book than what can reasonable fit in 32 or 40 pages (typical picture book length).


While I love to draw dinosaurs, illustrating this book proved to be a bit of a challenge (in a good way). I have illustrated other people's words before (the MAX books by Wiley Blevins and the Jasper John Dooley series by Caroline Anderson) but WE ARE THE DINOSAURS is a song that millions of people know and it has been around for 20 years now so there wasn't really a chance I could request changes to the wording to make it easier to illustrate. Also, the song doesn't have a clear story narrative. It involves lots of marching and romping and eating and sleeping and that sort of awesomeness, but the song lyrics are a bit light on plot. so it was up to me (and Laurie with the addition of the speech bubbles) to create one through the illustrations.

I wanted to stay true to the tone of the tune and what ended up coming to me was this group/troop of adventurous young dinos. I ended up pitching a number of different storylines to my editors at S&S and Laurie. We ended up going with one that centers around an expedition our young dino explorers make to check out a big mountain (which might just turn out to actually be a volcano). It was suggested that speech bubbles might help flesh out the story as well, which also meant the names I had made for the characters got to be in the book.

These are some of the first sketches I made for the book:




One of the other challenges I had when making this book was drawing more backgrounds than I typically do. Admittedly they are still very simple backgrounds!




And these are some of the final illustrations:



I think the illustration above of the dinos stomping and making the earth flat is my favorite in the book. I also particularly enjoyed painting the sunset images for the end of the book and also the endpapers (a map which changes at the end).

REVIEWS OF THE BOOK:

"Popular children’s musician Berkner (The Story of My Feelings) brings another of her songs to the picture book crowd with this vibrant adaptation. Berkner’s lyrics provide a rowdy framework for the story—“We are the dinosaurs,/ marching, marching./ We are the dinosaurs—/ whaddaya think of that?”—and Clanton’s (Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea) zippy cartoons create a parallel visual adventure that brings Berkner’s words to life.... Berkner’s fans and newcomers alike should find much to enjoy about in these boisterous, independent-minded dinosaurs’ adventure." (Publishers Weekly, January 2017)

"The lyrics to Berkner's 1997 dinosaur marching song are kitted out with a plotline, dialogue, additional sound effects, and big, very simply drawn prehistoric scenes...young audiences will have no trouble chiming in as they march about and roar in chorus." (Booklist, March 2017)

I will soon be illustrating another Laurie Berkner song! The next song happens to feature something I enjoy drawing even more than dinosaurs (yes, hard to believe) . . . monsters! Any Laurie Berkner fans know which song I'm talking about?

You can get the WE ARE THE DINOSAURS BOOK at your local bookstore or at one of these links:






PLUS, here are some coloring pages from scenes in the book:




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11.21.2016

SEASPLOSION

Been doodling lots of sea life recently for my morning warm-ups. I find they make for an excellent way to start a day. And rainbow pencils are ah-mazng!






10.31.2016

10.18.2016

AHOY!


Introducing . . . narwhalandjelly.com the o-fish-al NARWHAL AND JELLY website!

10.05.2016

NARWHAL IS O-FISH-ALLY OUT!


The first of my new graphic novel / picture book (kind of a hybrid . . . a Clantoon??) series NARWHAL: UNICORN OF THE SEA! is making its debut this week. This book has been a long time in the works and gone through oodles of variations. I'm thrilled that it is at last coming to the surface. I hope you like it!

A bit about the book:

Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.

A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever — even though it doesn't have any words...or pictures!

Ben Clanton showcases the joys of friendship, the benefits of working together and the power of imagination in the delightful Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea.

And here are some reviews of the book:

Kirkus Review
★ 2016-07-26
Undersea adventures have never been so darn cute. One day the unceasingly cheerful Narwhal finds himself “in new waters” and meets his soon-to-be best friend, the slightly apprehensive Jelly the jellyfish. Narwhal has never met a jellyfish, and Jelly has never met a narwhal; the two learn about each other through a lively exchange of facts. Their aquatic adventures are plentiful: they read books together, try to form a not-exclusively-narwhal pod, and daydream about waffles and robots. Jokes abound, giving this a lighthearted animated sensibility. Cool pelagic blues mingle with a merry sunshine yellow over simple, line-based characters, creating a homespun, whimsical feel that works well to evince their buoyant escapades and uncomplicated happiness. Expression lines visually punctuate the illustrations, giving the characters a lively boost. When Narwhal gets a good idea, his tusk lights up to emit jolly, ochre lines; Jelly’s sometimes-dour moods are communicated with scribbly black clouds hovering overhead. Together, Narwhal and Jelly navigate the intricacies of making a friendship work, discovering that friends can share a great time together even when engaged in the most pedestrian activities. The incessant charm and unabashed joy should make this an easy sell. Swimmingly delightful and a guaranteed smile-maker. (Graphic fiction. 6-10)


Publishers Weekly
08/01/2016
Clanton (Something Extraordinary) introduces an imaginative and self-confident narwhal in a bubbly trio of comics. In the first story, Narwhal befriends Jelly, a jellyfish, even though Jelly has never met a narwhal and Narwhal has never met a jellyfish. “What is up with that horn?” asks a frowning Jelly. “It’s actually more of a tusk-tooth,” Narwhal replies good-naturedly. Clanton outlines his heroes in rough pencil and colors them digitally—Narwhal resembles a floating comma, Jelly a semicircle with dangly tentacles—creating a loose, off-the-cuff aquatic environment. The cast grows in the second tale as Narwhal amasses an eclectic pod of sea creatures who grin broadly as they get their honorary narwhal horns (sorry, tusk-teeth). Bantering dialogue entertains throughout, but the book’s best moment might belong to the third story, when Narwhal lends Jelly his “favorite book in the whole wide water,” which is blank (Clanton gives the joke maximum impact by including two blank pages). “It’s an imagination book, Jelly!” Narwhal explains. Readers ready for underwater goofiness of the non-SpongeBob variety will be eager for more adventures from this duo. Ages 6–9. Agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Oct.)


Want to find a copy? Try these links:

INDIEBOUND // B&N // AMAZON