Monday, September 19, 2016

Creative Galaxy Art Consultant

It's not every day that you get to appear on your kids' favorite TV show!
Season 2 of Creative Galaxy has been released, and I am in it! I make an on-camera appearance in two episodes, but I also served as Art Consultant for the entire season. I'm excited to share some art concepts with such a large audience.
My kids LOVED season 1. After every episode, they wanted to turn off the television and make whichever art project that was introduced in that story. 
Creative Galaxy is created by the amazingly talented folks behind Blue's Clues and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. It was an honor to work with this talented crew!
Creative Galaxy is streaming now on Amazon Prime. I'm in episodes 7 and 8, but check out the entire season with your young artists. 
Also—Jason Priestly voices a talking pencil. What more could you ask for?


Forbes Library Mural


This is a composite of photos of the stairwell leading to the children's department at the Forbes Library, the main branch here in the city of Northampton. I'm so honored that Jude, the head librarian, asked me if I'd be interested in transforming this space. 
Imagine that? Coming up with something that could inspire generations of young readers as they enter the library.



I posted a slew of work-in-progress photos over on the Instagrams. 

Grace Lin and the National Book Awards Longlist

I'm excited for all of the nominees, but I am especially excited to see Grace Lin on the National Book Awards Longlist!
When the Sea Turned to Silver is a beautiful book and while it won't hit bookshelves until next month, I can tell you it will be worth the wait! 


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Observational sketches by the shore and family draw time.

When I was a kid, my grandfather had me convinced that there were two seagulls named Stanley and Leroy. We'd visit them every time we went to the beach. And we spotted good ol' Stanley and Leroy this afternoon!






Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Weekly Sketch Roundup

Every day I post a sketch to social media, this is my favorite this week!

Saturday night #DadLife

To see more visit http://www.studiojjk.com/dailysketch.html

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Weekly Sketch Roundup

Every day I post a sketch to social media, this is my favorite this week!



The dude at the airport who is sporting a hat that reads "old fart" is setting new life goals for me.

To see more visit http://www.studiojjk.com/dailysketch.html

NAPTASTROPHE!

I can't wait for you to meet Lucy in NAPTASTROPHE!, my next picture book. On bookshelves May 2, 2017.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Weekly Sketch Roundup

Every day I post a sketch to social media, this is my favorite this week!


When your friends visit, you hand their kid a book, and this happens...

To see more visit http://www.studiojjk.com/dailysketch.html

A New Class

What a thrill to chat with James Floyd on the official Star Wars site! Check out our discussion on A New Class here: 


Friday, July 29, 2016

Giveaway! Copy of Jedi Academy: A New Class with endpapers filled with doodles.





Thank you to everybody who entered the giveaway! Rafflecopter selected five winners at random, and they have been notified via emailed. The winning entries were from the people listed below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A NEW CLASS

Imagine my surprise when, two years back, I received a message from an editor at Scholastic. Jeffrey Brown, a graphic novelist who I admire immensely, was stepping away from Jedi Academy, and would I like to write new books for the series? It was actually rather intimidating. It’s Star Wars, a world that is so rich with history that is so very iconic. It’s Jedi Academy, a hugely popular book series. But it was the very daunting nature of the proposition that motivated me to step up and grab hold of the lightsaber. I was being invited for what I do, so I knew early on that the only way this would work would be for me to create something that was very much me. 
I hope that you enjoy A NEW CLASS as much as I enjoyed writing and illustrating the book. I listened to the John Williams Star Wars score to pump me up throughout the entire creative process. I got to write lines for and draw Yoda! It’s like being handed the keys of a vintage, mint-condition swamp-green sports car. I also got to create my own droid, P-10! And of course, I created an entire cast of young characters for that galaxy far, far away. What an honor and a privilege.
May the Force be with you and please look for A NEW CLASS at your local bookshop.


XJK

Our little man is here! XJK arrived safely last Tuesday. Both baby and Mom are both doing great! As are the big sisters. We are all just floating. 
I'll largely be off social media, but will likely keep posting daily sketches over at Instagram.com/StudioJJK.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ghostbusters

Last summer, I had the great pleasure of getting a tour of Lucasfilm. Because they also house Industrial Light & Magic, I saw many pop-culture artifacts from my childhood up close and personal. Here are two of my favorites. 
We are hoping to make it to the movies this weekend, barring any trips to the delivery room...


Dedication

Imagine being a kid who loves to read and make comics, and you're a big Star Wars fan. Then imagine your family is having dinner at your friend's house and you're handed a Star Wars graphic novel—that has your name in the dedication!
I handed these guys an ARC of Jedi Academy: A New Class, and their faces lit up when I pointed to their names! Two more weeks until the finished version of the book is here!


We are ready for this baby boy.




Color palette, art direction and 9 months of pregnancy misery by Gina.

ILA 16 and Jedi Academy

I was supposed to be at ‪#‎ILA16‬ this weekend, but need to stay closer to home for want might be the sooner-than-expected birth of our third child. So I sent in a few hundred signed bookplates. I drew a lot of Yodas. But if you pick up a copy of Jedi Academy: A New Class and you find a drawing of Victor or Christina Starspeeder in your book—I'll Skype into your classroom! Look for copies via Scholastic and Anderson's Bookshop. NO PEEKING!!!


Rich on Tour

I recently got to see my brother play music. He's about to embark on a cross-country trip on his motorcycle. He'll start in Provincetown this week, then he'll play his banjo from town to town until he hits the Pacific Ocean. If you see a busker that looks like a younger, shaggier version of me please throw a few bills into his hat. His name is Rich, tell him I sent you.


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Three Weeks!

Three weeks to go until Jedi Academy: A New Class publishes. My pugs are waiting with bated dog breath.


Weekly Sketch Roundup

Every day I post a sketch to social media, this is my favorite this week!



I hope that everyone is having a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!

To see more visit http://www.studiojjk.com/dailysketch.html

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

THANK YOU, WINCHESTER!

Last week's event at the library in Winchester was unreal.
I arrived to the summer reading kickoff in a limo with lunch ladies (and one lunch dude). We toasted with apple cider. There were magnetic signs on the side of the limo. We had a police escort. Kids put out a red carpet for the lunch ladies (and the one lunch dude). Each lunch lady (and the one lunch dude) was called by name and got huge rounds of applause. Kids choreographed a dance for the lunch ladies (and the one lunch dude). There was a Punk Farm band at the steps of the library! They performed the songs from the books and Blitzkreig Bop by The Ramones. 
When we entered the library, a police officer read aloud from Platypus Police Squad. I gave my talk, albeit dancing around some technical setbacks, and it went very well. A good time was had by all. But it got bigger... and more important.
I signed books and bookmarks for anyone who wanted to wait in line. A family at the end put a well-loved, ragged copy of Good Night, Monkey Boy down in front of me. The dad told me that he needed to tell me a story. His girl used to have cancer when she was two years old. Same robust and beautiful, much bigger kid who stood before me. She had needed a bone marrow transplant. From my time working with this population, I knew what this meant—a perfect match and six months of isolation after the procedure. Luckily, her sister was a perfect match. But now imagine—a two-year-old in six months of isolation. Think about it. Unfathomable. 
But you know what they had? They had books. They read to their little girl while they and she fought for her life. I was lucky enough that they had my book. A book that was published 15 years ago. Wrote it 17 years ago. But about 5 years ago, unbeknownst to me, this family was reading my book in their darkest hours. The dad pulled out his phone and shared with me this video of his little girl reading my book. She'd lost her hair from the chemotherapy, but held on to her spirit.
I will hold this video with me always. A humble reminder of how important our words are. Authors, you may feel down some days. But somewhere out there, there is a kid reading. 
So there was a limo, a red carpet, sunglasses, a band...but there was a small moment between an author and a family that was everything.













A New Class

Star Wars: Jedi Academy: A New Class is within a month of publication. I can't wait for you to see the fun I had with that galaxy far, far away. On bookshelves July 26th!


American Library Association's Annual Conference

I am remiss to be missing the American Library Association's Annual Conference this year. For no greater reason because I'd love to be in that audience when Matt de la Peña delivers his acceptance speech for his Newbery Medal. Last Stop on Market Street is one of the most important picture books published in recent memory. I love reading it to my girls. Matt's books are beautiful and powerful, and I know his speech won't be anything but. 
I'll be able to catch my friend's speech on YouTube later on, but, man, if I was there? I'd be one of the first to give that man a standing ovation. In fact, I might not even wait for the speech to be over, just so I could be one of the first on my feet. 
In the meantime, I shall add a tilde to de la Peña whenever I see it missing on a poster.