Monday, November 25, 2013


From "Gaijin-American Prisoner of War", a graphic novel written and illus.d by me, publ.d by Disney/Hyperion, April 2014. 
Water color, gouache, sketch created in 2012.

Friday, November 22, 2013


An illustration that will be given to the grand prize winner of a contest put on by the Mardigian Library at the Univ. of Michigan/Dearborn. I'll be giving a presentation on Saturday morning at the university for their Young Author's Conference. I was asked to illustrate the winning story and here tis. In her essay the young author shared a difficult true story about her family life and also her desire to create books for kids who, like her, have felt the pain of loving someone who can't or won't love back. A noble desire. She has some serious writing skills. I wish her courage, fortitude and hope that she continues to believe in her dream, in the near and far future. 
Pencil, water color, 2013.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Underlying pencil sketch and preliminary wash for a piece that will be given to the grand prize winner of a contest put on by the Mardigian Library at the Univ. of Michigan/Dearborn. I'll be giving a presentation on Saturday morning at the university for their Young Author's Conference. I was asked to illustrate the winning story and here tis. In her essay the young author shared a difficult true story about her family life and also her desire to create books for kids who, like her, have felt the pain of loving someone who can't or won't love back. A noble desire. She has some serious writing skills. I wish her courage, fortitude and hope that she continues to believe in her dream, in the near and far future. 
Pencil, water color, 2013.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thumbnail single page sketch for "M'Lady, said the Frog", a retelling of the Frog Prince.  
Pencil, 1998.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


A single page illustration from "Thank You Sarah, The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving" written by Laurie Halse Anderson, illus.d by me, publ.d by Simon and Schuster.  Text for this page reads: "She argued against spanking,
pie for breakfast, dull stories,
forests and bloomers and bustles,
and very serious things like slavery."
So easy to illustrate Laurie's fun, informative and way-cool writing style! 
Pen&ink, water color, 2002.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Thumbnail sketches for the dedication and title page of "Scatterbrain Sam", written by Ellen Jackson, illus.d by me, edited by Yolanda Scott and publ.d by Charlesbridge Publ.. Just noticed that I must've renamed the book in the title page 
sketch from "Scatterbrain" to "Scatterbrained". 
Ah, the hubris of some illustrators! 
Pencil, 1999.

Sunday, November 17, 2013



Character sketch for "M'Lady, said the Frog", a retelling of the Frog Prince. This is the Princess' dad, the King. The model, a friend of mine, was very happy to 
be chosen as the eccentric monarch. 
Pencil, 1998.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thumbnail double page spread sketch for "M'Lady, said the Frog", a retelling of the Frog Prince. Put this one together about 15 years ago but it never got off the drawing board. 
Fun to look at after all these years. 
Pencil, 1998.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Final art from "The Pirate Meets the Queen" written & illus.d by me and publ.d by Phylomel. In this spread, Granny O'Malley has made the trip to London with a plan to gain an audience with Red Liz, Queen of England. That's her red galleon rowing under the London bridge and up the Thames. At this time, this was a phenomenal feat for her to make- journeying from the wild west coast of Ireland and demanding an 
audience with the premier monarch of the age. 
But that was just Granny being Granny. 
Water color, gouache, 2003.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just turning people into characters in my sketch book. I can hear this guy speaking English with a very thick French accent. 
Pen&ink, 2013.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Sketch of Lucy Burns for a book on American Suffrage to be publ.d by Disney/Hyperion, 2016. On this day of remembrance I'd like to honor a courageous American patriot- Lucy Burns. She didn't wear a uniform- unless a prison smock qualifies- nor did she carry a weapon, excepting the truth. Lucy Burns was a leader in the "Women's Rights" movement during the decade just prior to it's passage in 1920. Often maligned and abused by the male political power structure of the time, she spent months in prison all because she believed in the right of women to vote. As a prisoner at Occoquan Workhouse, Lucy Burns suffered at the hands of the prison administration and it's guard during what is remembered as the “Night of Terror.”. Lucy, along with several other women suffragists were beaten, bound and refused medical attention. In an effort to unite her sisters, several times Lucy called a roll call that evening, despite threats from the guards. Eventually they handcuffed Lucy's hands to the bar above the door, allowing her to hang there all night. In support and sympathy, her sisters placed their hands above their cell doors and remained that way until she was released. Eventually, in an effort to squash her influence, Burns was moved away from the other suffragists. When she went on a hunger strike she was force fed. Held down by five guards, they forced a tube up her nose and poured raw egg into her nasal passages. 
Many believe that this horrendous treatment was condoned by President Wilson because Burns and the other suffragists embarrassed him one evening prior to their arrests when, during a visit from a Russian delegation, the women held up signs in from of the White House which read "We women of America tell you that America is not a democracy, twenty million women are denied the right to vote. President Wilson is the chief opponent of their national enfranchisement". 

Pencil, 2013.

In honor of all the American women who have, do and will serve in our armed forces. God bless them, every one. "Independent Dames- What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution" written by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by me & publ.d by Simon&Schuster. 
Water color, pen&ink, 2007.
“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” 
Bob Dylan

Sunday, November 10, 2013

So, last night, me and my Honey were hanging at a way cool cafĂ©- The Dessert Oasis in Rochester, Mi., so good- listening to some fine live music and sipping on our tasty beverages. While she was working on her cool picture book manuscript, I was reading "Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling" by Ross King. Great book. Anyway, I'm sitting there and I suddenly realize that I just had to draw a picture of Il Maestro Michelangelo. Wasn't easy. He kept hopping up and down, tools in his hands, telling me "Affrettatevi! Ho da fare!" I was like "Okay. Don't know what that means but I'm almost done." When I was done, he gave the drawing a look, gave it one of his notorious grunts and took off. I think he liked it. Who can say? Regardless, he is one of the best teachers I've ever known, living or dead.  Molte grazie, Maestro. 
Pencil, 2013.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Detail of the current version of Henry Brewster Stanton. 
Pencil, watercolor, gouache, 2013.


In-process portraits of Henry Brewster Stanton for a book on the American Suffrage movement for Disney/Hyperion, to be publ.d 2016. While I had fun doing the original pencil on the left- I don't like Stanton, he ran out on his wife Elizabeth at a very pivotal moment, and so I made him look a little crazy- I didn't like how the transfer to water color and gouache (center image) exaggerated this crazy-cartoon interpretation. So I went back and redrew Hank, softening his feature, making that ear smaller, mellowing out the palette and taking a little of the crazy out of his eyes. The image of the far right is where I am now. While I don't mind putting my feelings about an historic figure into my rendition of him/her, I don't think it wise to exaggerate their features to the point where they become monstrous. Unless, of course, they were monstrous. 
Pencil, water color, gouache, 2013.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Just a couple of dawgs getting' they hug on! Sketch for a series of greeting cards featuring these to pals. Pen&Ink, 1994.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Single page frames from "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War", a graphic novel written and illus.d by me & publ.d by Disney/Hyperion- due on shelves April, 2014. Koji is in trouble again. If he doesn't "clean up his act he'll find himself on a fast train to a more secure internment camp for miscreants and trouble-makers." says the camp commander. Koji's mom is shaken by this threat of separation. Koji gives the whole thing a teenage shrug. Material: pencil, water color & gouache.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

As a kid, Abe Lincoln was very much into his books.


Final art for "Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln", written Judith St. George, illus.d by me and publ.d by Phylomel/Penguin&Putnam. Abe was very much into his books. His reading habit was very much supported by his bonus mother, Sarah. She kept him supplied and kept his father off his back when the knucklehead insisted that chores were more important than education. 
Water color, gouache, 2006.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Character sketch of Angelina Grimke for picture book on the (s)heroes of the women's suffrage movement, to be publ.d by Disney/Hyperion. Angelina Grimke and Sarah Grimke, South Carolina sisters, made history by daring to speak before “promiscuous” or mixed crowds of men and women. They "published some of the most powerful anti-slavery tracts of the antebellum era, and stretching the boundaries of women’s public role as the first women to testify before a state legislature on the question of African American rights. Their crusade, which was not only to free the enslaved but to end racial discrimination throughout the United States, made them more radical than many of the reformers who advocated an end to slavery but who could not envision true social and political equality for the freedmen and women. And the Grimke sisters were among the first abolitionists to recognize the importance of women’s rights and to speak and write about the cause of female equality." (Carol Berkin, gilderlehrman.org)  
Pencil, 2013.




Monday, November 4, 2013

Young Abe for "Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln", written by Judith St. George, illust.d by me, publ.d by Phylomel/Penguin&Putnam. 
Water color, gouache, 2005.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Camp Agua Dulce, internment camp for Japanese Americans

Camp Agua Dulce, internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War 2 (based upon the Manzanar Camp, California). This is from "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War" a graphic novel written and illus.d by me, publ.d by Disney/Hyperion. 10,000 Americans were held here- two thirds were children. 
Tar paper shacks in the desert. 
Water color, gouache, 2013.