Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Ruth and Mike’s Excellent Adventure: Children’s Book Week 2016 Recap

Ruth Chan and I had an awesome mini book tour to celebrate Children’s Book Week 2016! Check out Ruth’s debut book, Where’s the Party? Here are some photos of us with Little Elliot and Georgie as we visited Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle! A big thank you to Macmillan for sending us on our adventure!

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First stop: Portland! Little Elliot went started working before we did…

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Greenbean Books wins the cutest bookstore award!! (photo credit: Greenbean Books)

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WE know where the party is!

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Greenbean Books has a magical reading room–UNDER A TREE!

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Georgie and Little Elliot love Powell’s Books!

Little Elliot and Georgie earned an afternoon treat at Papa Hayden.

Little Elliot and Georgie earned an afternoon treat at Papa Hayden.

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Next stop: Oakland! Little Elliot and Georgie visited Havens Elementary!

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Check out this awesome ceiling at Havens Elementary!

While we were in Oakland, we stopped by to visit out friends at Merrymakers. They make the Little Elliot plush doll!

While we were in Oakland, we stopped by to visit out friends at Merrymakers. They make the Little Elliot plush doll!

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Ruth’s little cousins met us for our book reading at Books Inc in San Fransisco! (photo credit Sachi Chen)

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The folks at Books Inc are super nice (and they baked cookies!).

Last stop: my old stopping grounds, Seattle! Lots of familiar faces stopped by at University Bookstore! photo credit: Elizabeth Rose Stanton

Last stop: my old stopping grounds, Seattle! Lots of familiar faces stopped by at University Bookstore! (photo credit: Elizabeth Rose Stanton)

Look at this: Little Elliot, CUTE FAMILY!

Look at this: Little Elliot, CUTE FAMILY!

We had breakfast at my friend's house, where I painted this tree for this little guy when he was still in his mom's belly.

We had breakfast at my friend’s house, where I painted this tree for this little guy when he was still in his mom’s belly.

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The students at Bryant Elementary were the best audience!

Party at Bryant Elementary!

Party at Bryant Elementary! They surprised us with Cupcake Royale, MY FAVORITE CUPCAKES IN THE WORLD!

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Finally, we had a few extra days to enjoy Seattle friends, food, and views!

If you’re interested in having Ruth and me visit YOUR school, drop us a note!

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Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Children’s Book Week 2016

Little Elliot and I are hitting the road with our Macmillan friends, Ruth Chan and Georgie, for Children’s Book Week (May 1st to 7th)!

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I will be sharing Little Elliot, Big Family, while Ruth will be sharing her debut picture book, Where’s the Party?

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Here’s a list of all of our public events. We’ll be reading our books, doing drawing demonstrations, and signing. If you’re in the area, please join us! We encourage folks to purchase books from these awesome indie bookstores who are supporting us, rather than bringing in copies purchased elsewhere.

5/1 Portland, OR: Green Bean Books, 11AM-12PM
5/1 Beaverton, OR: Powell’s Cedar Hills Crossing, 2PM-3PM
5/2 San Fransisco, CA: Books Inc Laurel Village, 6PM-7PM
5/3 Seattle, WA: University Bookstore, 4PM-5PM

If you’re in the area, but still can’t make the event and would like a signed book, please get in touch with the store to pre-purchase. We’d be happy to personalize a copy for you that you can pick up later!

 

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Illustration Station

How to Kill Your Babies

I’ve got bad news for you. The beautiful baby that you gave birth to, loved, and nurtured, has grown into a monster. It must be stopped, and only YOU can stop it. I am of course speaking about the picture book that you’re working on, specifically the beautiful chrome car bumper you just drew, or the building facade that took you 5 hours to ink, or the cherry blossom tree that you spent 2 days painting (how can you mess up a tree, right?). Well, you’ve been missing the big picture. Literally. Take a nice step back and look at your entire composition. You see it now, don’t you? That bumper is actually not supposed to be shaped that way. The turret that you painstakingly drew each shingle on is out of perspective! And that cherry blossom tree is somehow crooked (but it’s a TREE!). I can see you mouthing that involuntary expletive. Go ahead, let it out, because this is going to suck. You are going to have to kill your baby.

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Geez man, let it GO!

I know what you’re thinking, “SCREW YOU, MAN! This is the best bumper I’ve ever drawn!” I hear you, because I just drew the best bumper I’ve ever drawn, and it was not shaped the way it is in real life (let’s blame the tricky chrome reflections in my reference!). But guess what? That crazed automobile collector who is going to buy my book because they know every minute detail about ’54 Chevys IS going to see that the bumper is inaccurate, and she WILL email me to complain about it (and maybe even give it a menacing review). AND, that’s on ME. If I’m making a book about cars, and I blatantly disregard the details that are going to make car enthusiasts swoon, then I’m not doing my job, and I’ve lost my credibility.

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the bumper in question–I also forgot the keyhole!!!

It’s not just about being technically accurate. You could be working in a completely abstract style that excuses you from lots of formal “art rules.” The fact remains: if there is something in your composition that is calling too much attention to itself in a way that has nothing to do with the plot, you’ve just pulled your reader out of the story! This is the LAST thing you want to happen. No bumper is that precious.

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This can be applied to writing, illustrating, and all other creative endeavors.

Don’t cry yet. Do the job first, mourn later. It will be easier for both of you this way. You’ll erase the best bumper you’ve ever drawn, but you’ll save the rest of the drawing you’ve made. Plus, you just proved you can draw an amazing bumper, so why can’t you draw it again? Your drawing is going to be stronger because of this.

Whnicetryo knew erasers could look so threatening? Pick it up. Erase the bumper. Draw a better one.

Here’s a gentle reminder, friends: It’s probably not THE best drawing or painting EVER made in the HISTORY of Art, right? If you put it next to the Mona Lisa, would she turn to look at it and be all, “OH, DAYUMN!” I didn’t think so.

Take heart. Your baby will return, maybe not specifically as a car bumper, but as a really amazing overall piece that you can be proud of!

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Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Little Elliot on KidLit TV (and GIVEAWAY!)

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to hug Little Elliot in person! He is now a plush doll made by my wonderful friends at Merrymakers.

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Clair Frederick, President of Merrymakers, and I stopped by KidLit TV to talk about the process of making our little guy.

For a limited time you can win a signed copy of Little Elliot, Big City, Little Elliot, Big Family, and your very own Little Elliot plush from MerryMakers! Enter here to win!

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Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Petit-Kleiner-Piccolo Elliot!

Today I am happy to announce three new foreign editions of Little Elliot, Big City that are now available!

Le Petit Elliot a la Gran Ville is now available from Casterman Jeunesse. You can purchase it from FNAC and other French retailers.

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He’s already making the rounds… Continue reading

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Kidlit County

Worm Loves Worm

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the book release of Worm Loves Worm! To read a full synopsis and starred reviews, visit this page.

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I had the great honor of illustrating this important story written by debut author, J.J. Austrian. This was much more than just another project for me. It came at a poignant time in my life, and in our nation’s history.

We are all a little different. This has been a fact that I’ve been reminded of daily. For most of my life, I doubted that I could ever be married. This wasn’t because I thought that I was incapable of finding true love; it was because the law would have prevented me from Continue reading

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