Thursday, October 23, 2008

sugar plums in the news

They have a clip of Whoopi's interview, and the first chapter of the book posted at Good Morning America's website.

She didn't mention the book on The View on Tuesday like I'd been told, but have since heard that will happen today, plus audience giveaway!

Sugar Plum mention on The View:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

more sugar plums

So I thought I'd have my own little media blitz here at the ol' blog, and post some more about the Sugar Plum books.

I'm often asked how I got hooked up with these books, and how Whoopi Goldberg became my BFF. First of all, I'm sure she's a lovely woman, but alas, as we have never met, no friendship bracelets have been exchanged. All of my interaction is with the fine folks at Jump at the Sun Publishing, an imprint of Hyperion Books, owned by Disney, who also owns ABC, on which airs Ms. Goldberg's show The View. Not sure any of that was important, but it's interesting, isn't it?

Over the years, I've done a lot of work for Jump at the Sun. One of my bigger projects with them has been a middle reader series called Willimena Rules! by Valerie Wilson Wesley. When the Sugar Plum books came along, the Jump at the Sun folks liked what I had done on the Willimena books and asked me to do some sample sketches of the main character Alexandrea (see above). Everyone approved the sketches (including Ms. Goldberg), and thus I was on the project. Pretty straightforward.

A little about the cover. The final cover, which can be seen in the previous post, started out a bit different. This sketch above was actually to be the spot on the back cover. It got moved to the front and the center girl (old version of the character Brenda) was replaced with Al.

From there is was just a matter of doing the final illustration in Photoshop using all my standard brushes, textures, etc.

Monday, October 20, 2008

sugar plum ballerinas #1

Tomorrow (Oct 21) is the official release of the first of a series of books by Whoopi Goldberg, which happen to be illustrated by me. Plum Fantastic is a really cute book, Ms. Goldberg came up with some pretty fun quirky characters, and I had a great time doing the illustrations. It's one those chapter books with the occasional b/w interior illustration (about 18 I think). There will be six books total; I'm in the midst of the second one at the moment, so watch for them over the next year or so.

Whoopi will be plugging the book this week on tv. As far as I know (these things change), she'll be talking about it Tuesday Oct 21 on The View. And on Thursday Oct 23, she'll be on Good Morning America and Regis and Kelly.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bens and Cans

Chris, our Communications Director, graphic designer, all around makes things look good guy, just put the titles on my book covers, so thought I'd post them.

Months and months ago, I weaseled my way into writing some of the online books for our Imagine Learning paired readers activity. The way paired readers work is both relate to each other, in the sense the first prepares you with background knowledge for the second. Usually one is non-fiction and the other fiction. I was given the topics of community service and cause and effect. My first book idea was something more along the lines of that Connections show that used to be on PBS. Fantastic show. I traced the cause and effect from a plague-ridden flea 650 years ago to today's blockbuster pirate movie. Would have been fun to illustrate, unfortunately, it was way too complex for a 4th to 5th grade level book. So I started looking into the first volunteer fire company.

Once I started researching Ben Franklin's fire brigade, I found all sorts of things he did, so changed the topic to Ben's community building ideas. He created the first public library, first hospital, first fire brigade, reformed the postal service, and lots of other stuff. Good ol' Ben.

The second book - The Can Dance - is a little story about a girl who decides to have a can drive, and ultimately ends up on tv singing with her favorite pop star and her clever dancing pet duck (cause and effect!). When telling Chris about the plot, he said: "So, it's a Brady Bunch episode." And that pretty much sums it up.