HeroCon!

HeroCon!

2nd Annual HeroCon at the Dalton School in New York, NY. So excited to be invited to be a panel speaker and rock a workshop with the insanely cool Raakhee Mirchandani. This year's theme was "Everyday Heroism" and intersectionality. The day started off amazingly with a discussion with some crazy talented authors, illustrators and publishers for an audience of some of the coolest kids (and their parents). I was fortunate enough to share the stage with Raakhee Mirchandani ("Super Satya Saves the Day"), Tom Angleberger ("The Strange Case of Origami Yoda"), Victoria Jamieson ("Roller Girl"), Adam Gidwitz ("So You Want To Be a Jedi"), and Cheryl & Wade Hudson ("We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices"). Then it was off to our individual workshops. Raakhee and I tag-teamed "Super Stories and Storyboarding", teaching kids the ins and outs of concerting and organizing your own story. To my surprise and delight, these kids kinda got into storyboarding! What?! In fact, my new pal Ishan was on to a seriously sweet story about an "above average photographer" starting a nature photography club. The story arc was an emotional journey centered around club recruitment and belonging to a group of peers. On the way out the door later that day, he told me he was going home to finish his storyboard. Not gonna lie, it was more than I can handle. I love my job. LOVE MY JOB.

A Fun Thing!

Excited to see the new DuoPress catalog…with my “Wonder Woman” art on the cover!

What's up, Buttercup?

What's up, Buttercup?

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This year, Gakken launched the new Buttercup Babies series of baby books. And I got to be the guy to do it! I had the pleasure of developing the series look and designing these books, picking up the AMAZING art from insanely talented Japanese illustrator Shizue Arakawa. This was a joy! Gakken created sweetest text to accompany the art. We redesigned the books as wrapped hardcover board books with the originally intended cutouts and textures…and added new art, design, colors and special effects! Hooray! Say ‘Hi’ to Mimi and Bunny!

Get SMARTS!

Hey!!! I'm crazy excited to make this book announcement. I'll be drawing "Smarts!", published later this year by Free Spirit Publishing. Here's a peep at a few of the kids who'll show us all the millions of ways EVERYBODY's got smarts!

SUPER!!!

You guys! Stay calm, but I have some fun news! I can officially announce my next book project! I'm illustrating the "Superhero Playbook" written by the irritatingly cool Randall Lotowycz, and Published by duopress. Here's a sneaky peek at the art...more fun to come in the next few months. The book will pub in October 2019.

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Diwali Weekend at The Carle

Diwali Weekend at The Carle

A few weeks ago brought some incredible moments for the Bharat Babies team. So much to be excited about! First of all Raakhee Mirchandani Singh was in town. Not enough for ya? (That's crazy.) Oh, also, Bharat Babies spent the day at The Carle celebrating Diwali and our favorite superhero! (Ooops, this post is a couple weeks late!)

Happy Diwali at the MFA!

Happy Diwali at the MFA!

This week brought a really special night. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts Celebrated Diwali in the most fantastic ways! Dance, art, exhibits, storytelling.

Bharat Babies hosted a couple of storytelling/drawing sessions of the guests. I’m not gonna lie. It was kind of amazing to be drawing for a small audience in one of the countries most amazing art spaces. The MFA is gorgeous and historic and a place I’ve loved since I was a kid! (And I’m not gonna lie. seeing my name and bio on very official MFA signage…I giggle. So exciting!!!

Bharat Babies CEO and Founder, Sailaja Joshi most beautifully read out book “Let’s Celebrate Diwali” for audiences of children and their families on such a special day. When it was my turn, I drew our original hero and star, Harini enjoying the Festival of Lights.

Full disclosure…it had been a really stressful week. I had no idea how I was going to fit this commitment into my schedule. But when it came time, and I settled in…there as no place in the world I’d rather have been. It was incredible to be celebrating with such a beautiful community of people and sharing stories and art with kids. I guess this is why we do it. ugh a magical night.

Curious!

Curious!

Last weekend, the Super Satya love reached all the way to Cambridge, MA...all the way to The World's Only Curious George Store. Seriously, have you guys been there? Nostalgia overload. And for you young people, cuteness for DAYS!!!!

Asia Society!

Asia Society!


Another beautiful day in Satyaland! Raakhee Mirchandani SinghRosena Sammi and I had a wonderful afternoon at the coolest young ones for a special story time at the GORGEOUS Asia Society New York! It's hard to imagine that Raakhee and I collborated on this book remotely for so many months and just this week met for the first time...in person, that is. But, today, I FINALLY got to meet the real star! Satya! 

Thanks to the museum and to Rosena! We had a lovely afternoon!

When Lightening Strikes

When Lightening Strikes

So, in the past couple of weeks since Satya touched down, be cause author Raakhee Mirchandani is a lightening bolt, the book has bee receiving the most WONDERFUL attention!

Here are rundown of some amazing highlights!


Today! (that day)

Today! (that day)

After a wonderfully busy couple of weeks, I’m finally catching up with the blogspace! It was, gosh, about 2 weeks ago that Super Satya Saves the Day officially landed!

As a book illustrator and art director, there are times when work is about more than emails, deadlines, manuscripts and schedules. I’m so touched and honored to be part of this special project with these amazing people. Satya, RaakheeAgan, and Bharat Babies…Thanks for making me part of this. I loved drawing this story! Woo hoo!!!!
You guys! Click on the image below to catch Satya's story on the Today show!

Satya! Landing soon!

Satya! Landing soon!

Ok, so Super Satya Saves the Day has already landed. Catching up with some posts after a Busy September. After illustrating and designing the book, it was time for me to help get the word out! Our Author, Raakhee Mirchandani is a publicity MACHINE! But we still needed a book trailer. I created the trailer last month…a few weeks ahead of the launch! Here it is!

Written by Raakhee Mirchandani and Illustrated by Tim Palin. Super Satya is ready to have a super day, including finally conquering the tallest slide in Hoboken. But her day takes a not-so-super turn when she realizes her superhero cape is stuck at the dry cleaner.


Goddess

Goddess

Today, Aretha Franklin passed...and it sucks. I'm sad. I'm a lifelong fan feeling what a lot of people are feeling today. Aretha was always there. We didn't think about it, she just was. We took it for granted because she was just so familiar. 

We know all the music. We've seen the performances. We know the Kennedy Center You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman moment for Carole King. We know Amazing Grace before President Obama. We love her Precious Lord at Martin Luther King Jr's funeral. We love those grainy black and white performances that we Youtube now, where we strain our eyes to make out her face . . . but we watch the whole thing and are better music lovers for it. We ALL know the words to Respect. We know the hairstyles and the fur coats. We know the gowns and the strong elegance with which she wore them. We know the Gyvenchy purse on the piano.

By the way, I'd never heard the reason for the purse on the piano (which she did even recently). Back when she started in the business, black singers in the south would often get stiffed on their payment for a performance. So she started demanding the cash up front, stuffed it in her purse, and kept it in her eyeline throughout the whole show. It was her money, she was gonna leave with it. For the rest of her career, if you look carefully, you can see that purse on stage...on the piano, under the piano. It's there.

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In 1986, I might have been the only high school freshman on my bus listening to Sam Cooke and The Supremes and SUPER obscure Ike & Tina Turner music. Sidenote: it was my parents that turned me on to Ike & Tina. And my Dad handed me my first Supremes collection . . . the bluest blue cover with three records and collectible portraits of each of the ladies.). Thank you, guys!  Hopefully, I wasn't the only one listening to Aretha. She showed up on my radar with a new, contemporary song "Freeway of Love", which was part of a resurgence of her radio-play career. It didn't take long for me to make the connection, "ooohhh, she's the Respect lady". And that was it, I went in head first in to the deep, deep archives . . . starting with the "30 Greatest Hits" album. That was all I needed for a good long time. Baby, I Love You. I Never Loved a Man. I Say a Little Prayer. I loved it all.  I was certainly into her new, current, pop album. But, the "old stuff" was IT.

It wasn't until my adult years that I realized that she wasn't just a singer that made me feel things. And I felt a lot of things (chief among these was that I didn't care what was popular then, "THIS is GOOOOOOLDEN"). But I realized that she wasn't just a singer, she was a figure . . . a notable figure . . . an important figure. She was a part of some of the most important events of the civil rights movement. She was paying underpaid musicians their worth when no one else was. She created music that no one knew we needed until she gave it to us. She was respected across the globe more than I could have ever imagined. That's when I realized that one of my favorite singers was one of the greatest performers in history. One of the coolest, most elegant, most talented, most badass women that we'll ever know. I never took her for granted after that.

She’s gone today, but she's not . . . really.

Cover Concepts

One of the most fun parts of my A.D. role at Cantata Learning is conceiving the cover image before handing off the briefing to the artists. The process is simple. I devour the manuscript and try to "see" images from the book, that also WON'T appear in the book already. (For few seasons, we using interior art to fashion a cover. Onc ewe expanded the scope of work for the artists to include the cover, we had a real opportunity to create something special for every book.) I share my sketches with myths Editor and we discuss if this image is the right "face of the book". sometimes, I'll go back and resketch a couple times to get it just right. From there, I hand it off tot he artist along with the manuscript handsome production guidelines. We work with such amazing artists that I always encourage them to take me concept and play with it. "My sketch is just a road map."

Here are some examples of the Fall 2018 cover concept sketches with their final covers!

@Cantata Learning

illustrated by Marco Guadalupi

Illustrated by Joanie Stone

Illustrated by Tanja Stevanovic

Illustrated by Flavia Sorrentino

Illustrated by Glenn Thomas

Illustrated by Sara Torretta

 

illustrated by Aviel Basil

Sample Day!

Sample Day!

After 9 seasons making books for Cantata Learning, I STILL get super excited for the day the samples arrive. The Fall 2018 books showed up last week! Art directing (working with insanely talented illustrators) and designing* the books as well is such a labor of love. So cool to have these books in hand!

*This season, Shawn Biner joined in on the fun. While I directed the art and design for the new Cantata bilingual series (illustrated this season by Suzie Mason), Shawn was in the trenches designing these books. Thanks, Shawn!

They're here!   @cantatalearning 

They're here!   @cantatalearning 

Check out this season's titles!