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."



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


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).


"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:




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!




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



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
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: