Wednesday, December 28, 2005

looking back

2005 is just about done! Looking back at the year, I realize that I toured more extensively that I have ever so far. I had about 45 book events, which means that I read Punk Farm approximately 125 times (that's roughly 500 “EEE-I-EEE-I-OH's”) to 7,000 or so kids (plus that one kid from the San Francisco Borders). And after all of that, I am still left wanting to do more with those animals from Punk Farm. I finished art for two books - Giddy Up, Cowgirl (which will be in stores before I will even realize) and My Buddy, Slug (which still seems surreal, as it is the book I had always wanted to make).

So before I get all ambitious and tell you what I want to do in 2006, I’m going to wax nostalgic and make a list of all things ’05 in studio jjk land...

Funniest thing a kid said to me this year –
Kid: Do you know when the author is coming?
Me: Hmmm…I’m not sure….
Kid: Oh, because I’m pretty sure I just saw her….
(Houston, TX)

Most Humbling Book Tour Moment-

Having one kid turn up at the San Francisco Borders

Most Rock Star Book Tour Moment-
When I overheard any kid exclaiming, “I love Punk Farm,” when I pulled the book out to read it.

Scariest Book Tour Moment-

Evacuating from Hurricane Rita. (I wrote about this here - )

Coolest Picture Sent in by a Reader (potentially ever)-

Top 5 Favorite Books (with pictures)-

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
Flight of the Dodo by Peter Brown
Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Jen Corace

Top 5 Favorite Books (without so many pictures)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Superstud by Paul Feig
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (OK, it doesn’t come out until 2006, but I had an advanced copy and it ROCKS!)
Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom by Leonard S. Marcus (OK, this came out a while ago, but I just now read it and loved it.)

Favorite Compilation Book –
Guys Write for Guys Read

Favorite New Inovation of’05-

Favorite New Podcasts –

NPR’s Most E-mailed Stories of the Day
The Sound of Young America
Book Voyages

Most Surreal Moment –

Leaving the Random House building and realizing that I just handed in art for Slug.

Top 5 Albums of 2005
Death Cab for Cutie – Plans
Gorillaz – Feel Good, Inc
Aqualung – Strange & Beautiful
Sujfan Stevens - Illinois
Bloc Party – Silent Alarm

Top 5 Concerts –
Green Day
Bloc Party
Mates of State
Hot Hot Heat

Friday, December 09, 2005


Drawn. ca is this great source for current illustration and I check into the site on an almost daily basis. Jared Chapman just interviewd me for the site. (Thanks Jared!) You can read it at -

back at the RISD

A few weeks ago at the Robert's Snow opening I ran into an old college professor, Oren Sherman. Oren was by far one of the greatest teachers I had while a student at RISD. There was no way you could get away with doing marginal work in his class and in crits - no matter how good something was, he'd let you know what needed to be fixed and no matter how bad something was, he'd point out something that was working. So when he asked me to come in and talk to his illustration I sophomores, it was pretty easy to 'yes'.

I went in to talk to his students yesterday. I've returned to the school on a number of occasions to talk, but mostly it's in a bigger lecture setting. But this was cool because I stuck around for the day, participated in crits and got to know some of the students. And I didn't show slides, just talked about how I got to where I am while they thumbed through my books. It totally reminded me of that time in my life where I was a sophomore, eager to get into the game of illustration.

And man, these kids have skills. Their projects were great and I can't wait to see where some of them are in just a few years as seniors.

Friday, December 02, 2005

kid quote - what happens when you graduate from college?

So I was visiting a school here in the Boston area yesterday and I was doing my presentation for 5th graders. I talk about my life as an artist and part of my shtick is that (when I get to the part of graduating college) I ask them, "What happens when you graduate from college?"

Of course I always get at least one kid who says, "You get married." I get the occasional "You can do whatever you want!" But yesterday I received quite an array of responses. The last one by far being the most surprising of any of my presentations.....

ME: So what happens when you graduate from college?
KID#1: You're a grown-up.
KID#2: You need to get a job.
KID #3: You need to pay your own taxes.
KID#4: You need to pay off your college loans.
KID#5: You get a car.
KID#6: You need to pay your child support.