2006 - man. What a year! It was a year where my mind was constantly spinning. It was unbelievable. And I want to thank all of my readers and supporters for making it such an incredible one. There were lots of changes all around. For starters, I obtained representation. Up until then, I had been going it on my own and while I learned a lot in those years, I'm very fortunate to have found an agent in Rebecca Sherman over at Writers House. And further fortunate for Rebecca and I to have teamed up with Eddie Gammara over at the Gotham Group for TV and Film stuff. Because this year - I had my first film option! It was such a nutty time. DreamWorks Animation optioned the film rights to Punk Farm and then when it was announced, it was on the cover of Variety! I couldn't believe it! I still can't! It truly was a validation for all the work that I had done over the years. Thinking back to being a boy growing up in Worcester, MA I never could have dreamed something so huge would happen to me. And while there is still so much work to be done before it would be in theaters, I am anxious and excited for the road that lays ahead for that project.
I saw the release of two books this year, Giddy Up, Cowgirl and My Buddy, Slug. While touring for Slug, I was constantly pinching myself. This is a book that I had been passionate about for so many years and there it was - a full-out published book. It only got to that point after I had re-imagined the story, pushed various aspects and then pitched it again to my publisher. It's weird to think that Slug is in some ways behind me now.
I spent another great portion of the year working with my editor Michelle on what will be my 2007 release - Punk Farm on Tour. I actually pitched this book to my publisher just before the first Punk Farm was released, so it's been in the works for a while. I spent many hours in nature labs drawing and redrawing various animals to prepare for this book and I am really proud of how all of the finished paintings came out. Revisiting these characters was like dropping by on old friends. I can't wait to post more images from that book this year. The book itself will be released in October 2007!
Just before 2006 closed, I began work on a project that was about 5 years in the making for me - my first graphic novel series! I'm jumping right into it in the new year. Comic books and comic strips really sparked my interest in art and picture books in the first place and I'm excited to get back to working in that medium!
Fitting all of that into one year would be enough, but even BIGGER than any of that news..... now I try not to get my personal life involved with this blog, but......
I am an engaged man! Yes, it's true- 2006 will be remembered as the year that I fell in love with a girl named Gina and at year's end got down on one knee and proposed marriage. You may have heard me sheepishly mentioning a friend named Gina over the year or even saw her picture all over my Flickr pages of the Slug book tour. She is an amazing, wonderful, outstanding, funny, beautiful person and when I met her I knew that I had met my match! We do nothing but laugh and I couldn't be more excited to have found someone who can join me on my crazy adventures.
As one friend recently said to me, "You went and had yourself a 2006, didn't you?!"
I sure did and I'm thankful for it all!