Monday, June 16, 2014

A few weeks ago RISD pal and illustration phenomenon, Mary Jane Begin
invited me to participate in this touring blog post! Just want to thank her for the invite. Here is a link to her wonderful work:
http://new.maryjanebegin.com

So, here's the way this works- below you'll find a series of questions which have been answered by a number of great writers and illustrators in previous blogs. I'll do my best to answer them and then pass the touring blog torch on to two great illustrators and friends- Ralph Masiello and
David Biedrzycki.
Okay- let's go for a ride on this touring blog! 
Next stop?! 
FaulknerTown, IllustratioNation!

1) What am I working on?
Right now I’m creating the final art for two books. The first- “Groundhog’s Dilemma”, (Charlesbridge, 2015)- is by my wonderful wife- author/librarian and national speaker on early literacy Kris Remenar. It tells the tale of a groundhog who is conflicted regarding his job as a predictor of weather- should he tell the people what they want to hear or tell them what he sees is the truth and perhaps make some unhappy. A tough decision! I’m having a great time developing the characters in this story. 
It's a very fun story, for sure. Yet it has a depth that requires that I render the Groundhog and his friends as more than caricatures. They’re asking to be “filled out” with emotional nuance and quirks. So much fun for me to draw!

The second book I’m working on is called “Elizabeth Started All the Trouble” by Doreen Rappaport (Disney/Hyperion, 2015). This story tells the history of the heroines large and small of the American Suffrage movement.
It’s a very serious subject and one that requires lots of accurate research. Doreen’s voice as the author is so refreshing and honest.  Really enjoying rendering the portraits of these great heroines and their efforts to bring equality to all Americans.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I see myself working in a couple of different genre.


I love historical fiction and yet I also get a kick out of illustrating fantasy and mythic material and quirky stuff too. 

As far as historical fiction is concerned I do my best to make my work dance the fine line that attempts to educate and, at the same time, entertain. When I draw a historical figure involved in an action that is pivotal to the growth of our nation or species, it’s imperative that the work be informed by as much research and reference as possible. The moment must express the truth of the effort and for me much of the truth lies in the details. However, I find that history can be a hard pill for me to swallow if it doesn’t occasionally have a dose of wit and humor to wash it down. That effort- to weave the details of history based on research with wit/humor, is one aspect of my work that is very important to me and that I hope stands out.

3) Why do I write what I do?
Words are cool. They're not as easy for me to have fun with as making pictures but I’m getting better at it. And as I practice I see that I can express an idea with words in a way that is different and sometimes even better than the way I might express that same idea with an image. 

I also write because I love to pair these two expressions- words and images. It can be an utterly frustrating effort yet also, so very satisfying.  I’m always very happy to illustrate other people's stories, however I really do enjoy expressing my own stories through words.
The fact is, I write (and draw) what I do because I must. Stories, ideas, characters come to me and if I don’t share them through writing and drawing they can become very insistent, waking me up in the middle of the night, etc.. 
Setting my stories free. That’s why I write.




4) How does my individual writing process work?
I don’t like getting up in the morning. But I always feel better when I’ve gotten busy on a creative project earlier rather than later in the day. So, on a good day, I’ll start writing/drawing early. I tend to work on a few things at once. I find that keeping a timer with me helps. I set it for 20 minutes and shift from one project to the next every time the alarm goes off. This may seem tedious and at first, it is. However after a while I find that I get so much more accomplished when working this way. The alarm does not allow for my getting stuck in either an addiction to the enjoyable moments or a repulsion to the annoying moments that can arise while I’m creating. 
I do my best to refrain from editing while I’m in a creative groove. Punctuation, spelling, making “better”- I do my best to leave all this to later when I’m crafting an idea. And when creating, neither drawing nor writing take preference. I’ll shift from one to the other without thinking “Oh, look at this- now I’m drawing… and now I’m writing.” Whichever way the story wants out- I just do my best to get out of the way.
The end!

Now I'll pass it on to Ralph and David! Have fun!


A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, Illustration, 1985), Ralph has illustrated for magazines, newspapers and books, created posters and prints, and shown his fine art paintings in galleries throughout the world. Beginning with The Icky Bug Alphabet Book in 1986, Ralph has become internationally known for the children’s books he’s written and illustrated. Since 1987, he has visited over 2,300 schools all over the world, inspiring children with his life story, humor, and art. While visiting schools, he is often inspired himself by the enthusiasm, creativity, and hard work of the students and teachers. This led him to create his unique “How to Draw” book series. The most recent, Ralph Masiello’s Christmas Drawing Book was released in September 2013 to rave reviews. In 2011, his work appeared in a strange and mysterious book called The Mystic Phyles: Beasts, which is the first in a series of books sure to become instant classics. Coming in Spring 2013 is the Ralph Masiello’s Alien Drawing Book and Fall 2014 is the Ralph Masiello’s Train Drawing Book.




The moment his brother showed him how to draw a face when he was 4 years old David Biedrzycki has been drawing ever since. In his early years he created stories for his parents and friends. A commercial artist since 1980 his work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, book covers, billboards and even ice cream boxes. The supermarket is like a gallery of his work.
Now he has returned to his first love of picture book storytelling.  He has illustrated over 24 books including self authored and award winning Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective series, Me and My Dragon series and his newest Breaking News Bear Alert along with Dory Story and Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight? David travels the world to over 70 schools a year sharing his digital work with aspiring young writers, illustrators and readers.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

#WeNeedDiverseBooks because 
some Americans still think this 
was a swell idea.



Monday, April 14, 2014

The tremendous American painter, N.C. Wyeth cautioned his children against spending too much time watching movies- warning them that movies would rob them of their imaginations.
I wonder what the great illustrator would say about the intensely violent, hyper-real video games we allow our children to play these days.
Thoughts?


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Just Another Über Fun Day in Call o' Dutyville


I remember back in the day (the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's) when we worried about our children merely being witness to nearly 11,000 violent crimes on the television by the age they turned 12. Every one worried about this regardless of their politics. Lot's of studies showing the negative effects this practice had and has on our children. 
I wonder what happened to all that concern? Is it all better now that kids can get busy virtually shooting a person in the head rather than just watch it happen?  

And yet now, here we are funneling tremendously intense, horribly graphic violence to our children on a daily basis which requires their not just observing this trash but, god help us, participating in it.

Please, somebody help me understand why I'm supposed to feel good about a Forbes Magazine study that says it's nothing to worry about.

Monday, April 7, 2014



I remember the day my teacher advised me to steer clear of self promotion-
"Don't invest your time and energy in creating hype about your work. Let that be somebody else's job. And don't call yourself an "artist". Let others label you as such, should they choose. To be called an "artist" is an honor. It's nice- but don't worry about it. You're a painter, a writer- that's you're job and your love. If the hype happens, well, good. But that's really none of your business. You're business is to master your craft, not talk about it. All the rest is just hype."

And then they created this thing called "social networking".
Sigh.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"It's not that sort of camp, Koji."
Panels for "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War", written and illus.d by me, released by Disney/Hyperion this month! Woohoo!


Sunday, March 30, 2014


"You better keep your noses clean!"
Final art for "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War", a graphic novel written and illus.d by me & publ.d by Disney/Hyperion in April!

Friday, March 28, 2014


"What a cry-baby." Final art for "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War" written and illus.d by me and publ.d by Disney/Hyperion in April!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Mess Hall 2. Final art from "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War", written and illus.d by me and released by Disney/Hyperion next month! 
Much to Koji's surprise, there were no "big, juicy steaks" in Mess Hall 2. 
Just root vegetables and spam.

Monday, March 24, 2014

They put families in horse stalls. 
Final art from "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War", written and illus.d by me 
& released by Disney/Hyperion in April!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Civil liberties on hold in Michigan.


Final art for "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War", a graphic novel written and illus.d by me and released by Disney/Hyperion next month! When the vast operation to remove 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes commenced in 1942, temporary camps were used to house them while more permanent camps were being built in remote parts of the country. One of the first things noticed by the internees was that the latrines had no walls to provide privacy. When this issue was brought to the attention of the authorities they were told that it was an over sight due to the expediency required to house so many. Strange thing, though- when they arrived in the desolate places chosen by the government for the permanent camps they found in many cases that the latrines still had no walls. In the six months it took to construct the camps you'd think someone would've made an effort to build a wall in between each toilet. Eventually the internees took it upon themselves to construct walls. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

It happened again:
Today at a school a 5th grader asked- 
"When all is said and done, what's more important to you- getting money or being creativity." 
I'll tell you what I said to him in a moment. 
But first I want you to know that I have a purpose in presenting the issue of artists and writers acquiring income when talking to kids. It's my belief that there is a real disconnect in our culture regarding those who choose a creative vocation and many of those who choose something else. For many reasons, we as a society seem to insist that our creatives remain "pure" and not concern ourselves with worries of money. If a creative should discuss money, we tend to lump her/him into a slimy category of all those others who give up their their virtue for gold- such as drug dealers and money-launderers. The crazy part of this is that, if we, as creatives, actually buy into this societal "money-versus-creativity" trap (e.g. starving artist is good, thriving artist is false) why is it that we don't demand that our culture support us? I mean, somebody's got to foot the bill for all the wonderfulness we bring into the world, right? For instance, we could demand that society give all creatives tax abatements, free housing, free chocolate, free lunch meats even, etc.? If things were managed this way then creatives could be über-creative (maybe) and yet never have to sully our pristine selves with dirty dollars.  Still a  crappy situation but at least we'd get free chocolate and lunch meats. Until we accept that being creative is as natural a vocation as any other (requiring hard work, sensibility, discipline and, dare I say it, a desire to pay the rent on time), then we shouldn't complain when we get paid a pittance and find ourselves stuffed into a cramped box. 
And that's why I talk about how I make money to kids. Because it's good for them to know that working as an artist is a job like any other. 
So, my answer to the 5th grader?
"Yes."
The 3rd graders up front didn't like my response. 
"That's not an answer!" they hollered. 
I smiled and did another drawing for them, then gave the sketch to one of the kids.
I also smiled and thanked the media specialist when I was handed my honorarium check.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

2 sketches and the final art for page 138 of "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War", a graphic novel written and illus.d by me, released by Disney/Hyperion in April! So, here is a quick display of the sketch process on an important page. I did a very detailed sketch- seen on the left- and was very proud of it. Unfortunately, it had a little too much going on and my editor pointed that out. Drat! So I did another draft- middle sketch- this one more clearly showing the hero in the center of the page. We went back and forth and eventually the design for the color piece on the right won out. Making books is fun!
Pencil, water color, gouache, 2012&2013.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Just got back from Stasick Elementary. Shared my books with the 3rd through 5th grade crew and then the K through 2nd posse. I used to worry about whether this group or that would like me. But, after 30 years of hangin' with my elementary homies I pretty much just let the session happen and do my best to do my best, enjoying what ever comes. Today, the upper el kids were über excited to see me. Specially the third graders. Oh man, they laughed like crazy when I told jokes, even the dumbs jokes. "You're the funniest author/illustrator we've ever seen, Matt Faulkner!" they howled. They were quiet and thoughtful during the sad part when the monster eats the hero's peas but takes his brand new bike in return. They would lose it when I did wacky stuff, like when I show that goofy picture picture of me in a southern belle dress and my son and his pal in civil war soldiers uniforms that I spent a bajillion dollars on at Six Flags Over Somewhere. I tell you- it was crazy good. They wanted my autograph. They told me I was the coolest thing since sneakers that light up.
The whole gig was, as they say, awesome sauce.
The younger crowd, however, was way tough. An example- At the beginning of my presentation I asked a 1st grader if I could draw her up on the stage in front of everybody. She said "Do I have too? Oh, all right.". I tried to laugh it off and told her to come on up. When she sat down next to the easel she said, "Okay, draw." When I'd finished, she looked at the sketch "So, I guess you're an artist, huh." I asked her if she'd like to take the drawing home she said, "Not really. It doesn't look like me." My lower lip started to quiver. I must've looked pretty sad. She looked at me and said "Oh, all right, I'll take it." I then introduced her to the crowd and thanked her. Big mistake. She did an adorable little pirouette/curtsy thing. Everybody went crazy. They loved her. I couldn't compete. My timing was off. The whole show took a drastic downward spiral. The kid who made the fart noise in the third row got way more laughs than me. Towards the end I distinctly heard one of the kindergartens at my feet murmur "Dude, are you done yet? We're having hot dogs for lunch."
Big sigh.
Some presentations are like that.
But you know what? That little girl had great attitude! Think I'll put her in a book.
Just enjoying whatever comes!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Just got back from doing author presentations at Stasick Elementary. Shared my books with the 3rd through 5th grade crew and then the K through 2nd posse. I used to worry about whether this group or that would like me. But, after 30 years of hangin' with my elementary homies I pretty much just let the session happen and do my best to do my best, enjoying what ever comes. Today, the upper el kids were über excited to see me. Specially the third graders. Oh man, they laughed like crazy when I told jokes, even the dumbs jokes. "You're the funniest author/illustrator we've ever seen, Matt Faulkner!" they howled. They were quiet and thoughtful during the sad part when the monster eats the hero's peas but takes his brand new bike in return. They would lose it when I did wacky stuff, like when I show that goofy picture picture of me in a southern belle dress and my son and his pal in civil war soldiers uniforms that I spent a bajillion dollars on at Six Flags Over Somewhere. I tell you- it was crazy good. They wanted my autograph. They told me I was the coolest thing since sneakers that light up. 
The whole gig was, as they say, awesome sauce.
The younger crowd, however, was way tough. An example- At the beginning of my presentation I asked a 1st grader if I could draw her up on the stage in front of everybody. She said "Do I have too? Oh, all right.". I tried to laugh it off and told her to come on up. When she sat down next to the easel she said, "Okay, draw." When I'd finished, she looked at the sketch "So, I guess you're an artist, huh." I asked her if she'd like to take the drawing home she said, "Not really. It doesn't look like me." My lower lip started to quiver. I must've looked pretty sad. She looked at me and said "Oh, all right, I'll take it." I then introduced her to the crowd and thanked her. Big mistake. She did an adorable little pirouette/curtsy thing. Everybody went crazy. They loved her. I couldn't compete. My timing was off. The whole show took a drastic downward spiral. The kid who made the fart noise in the third row got way more laughs than me. Towards the end I distinctly heard one of the kindergartens at my feet murmur "Dude, are you done yet? We're having hot dogs for lunch."
Big sigh.
Some presentations are like that. 
But you know what? That little girl had great attitude! Think I'll put her in a book.
Just enjoying whatever comes!

Friday, March 14, 2014

"A camp for juvenile delinquents." 
Final art for "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War", written and illus.d by me, 
released by Disney/Hyperion in April!

Saturday, March 1, 2014


The Mississippi Senate has just passed Senate Bill 2681 which would give any business or individual a license to discriminate against lesbian, gay bisexual, or transgender people. Now the "license to discriminate" bill is moving through the Mississippi House of Representatives.

These discriminatory bills on the state level are smelling more and more like products of the conservative steam-roller conglomerate ALEC.

Just saw a clip for the new flick "Son of God". So happy they were able to get Barry Gibb, circa 1978, to play the blonde haired, blue eyed, middle-eastern lead.
The prettiest surfer-dude-Jesus ever.













Friday, February 28, 2014


Preliminary sketch for "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War", written and illus.d by me, released by Disney/Hyperion in April!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Gaijin: American Prisoner of War" Book Trailer Update:
We've got wonderful Mr. George Takei's reading of the text recorded at Buzzy's Recording Studio in L.A.. Big, big thanks to Mr. Takei for all his gracious good will and help! Right now, the dynamic Kirsten Cappy of Curious City is overseeing the mix of voice over and background audio. Next we'll be sending the visuals and sound over to Michael Barsotti Kate's talented husband) for animation.
It's all coming together!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"GAIJIN: AMERICAN PRISONER OF WAR 
is a powerful piece of work… Matt Faulkner tells his tale with fierce graphics and moving delicacy."
#GeorgeTakei

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Running for the fence." from "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War", written and illustrated by me, publ.d by Disney/Hyperion, pencil, gouache, water color.
Due out in April! 
See more at:

Friday, February 21, 2014


"Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him."
Sojourner Truth, 1851
Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio
A sketch of Sojourner for "Elizabeth Started All the Trouble", by Doreen Rappaport, illus.d by me and to be publ.d by Disney/Hyperion, 2015. Pencil, 2013.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Check out Travis M. Jonker's blog 100scopesnotes.com-
"10 to Note: Spring Preview 2014" for his review of 
"Gaijin: American Prisoner of War"! 


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Final art from "Gaijin-American Prisoner of War", a graphic novel written and illus.d by me and publ.d by Disney/Hyperion, April 2014. This image shows Koji and his mom, Adeline, as they take one last look at the street where they lived just before they, and all the other Japanese Americans in San Francisco, were sent off to a prison camp . Pencil, water color, gouache, 2012.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

They're here! 
Advanced read copies of my graphic novel "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War" 
just arrived on my door step. 
So happy!

Monday, January 20, 2014

It's International "Hug a Capybara" Day! 
Click on the link, buy this tee and a Capybara gets a hug!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Character sketch of Queen Liz the 1st for "The Pirate Meets the Queen", written and illus.d by me, publ.d by Phylomel/Penguin&Putnam books, 2004. Liz did like her lap dogs. Pencil, water color, gouache on Arches 140 cold press paper, 2003.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I was just asked to FB friend someone from the other side of the globe. Cool. Looks like a nice person. Done. We're FB friends. Then I looked at his friend section. My God, hundreds of people. Wonderful faces, most of them very different from the kind of faces I'm used to looking at. Observations come to mind: This is a really big world. There are lots and lots of people out there I don't even know. And they don't know me. And there are lots of people out there whose lives are so very different than mine, doing things differently than I do, speaking languages I don't understand. They seem pretty darn nice. How is it that that I don't know these people? How do they go about their day, some of them doing really big stuff like getting married and having babies and I'm not kept to date on all of this? 
Who's in charge of all this?
Where's my cell phone?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

No Bullies! Woman's T-shirt!

This tee lets 'em know where you stand!

Bully for "No Bullies!". 

Something I wanted to share with you a couple of weeks ago:
     Christmas Eve was, is and will be the best day of the year for me. Better even than Christmas or the last day of school or even Halloween. 
     Christmas Eve better than Christmas Morning?! But Matt, you ask, how can that be? 
Well, I reply, on Christmas Eve it just feels like it's all possible. It's all happening. The big day is before us but right now, the night before, all that really matters is our being together and having fun, yearning, shining. There are no demands, no gift-giving remorse or let-downs or gift opening exhaustion. Everything is still wrapped. It's all possible.
All of the fun, the electric Halleluja energy, all the singing, all the hopes and fears through the years come shining forth on Christmas Eve and sit there, smiling, right there on the couch. 
     People being happy just for the sake of being happy- even when they might not feel they should be happy- well, when that kind of magic makes an appearance the sky is the limit. I mean, if that kind of happy is possible, who knows what kind of crazy-happy stuff might show up at the front door on Christmas Eve!
     No advertising, no marketing, no gift- no matter how big or expensive- can compete with the power and joy of Christmas Eve.
     Everything is possible on Christmas Eve! I knew this as a kid. And I try to remember it now. 
Long Live Christmas Eve!
your pal,
Matt

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

George Takei shares his thoughts on "Gaijin: American Prisoner of War":
     “'Gaijin: American Prisoner of War' is a powerful tale of a boy’s fight for his identity as he is swept up in the madness of war. I know that struggle. I was like that boy, an American imprisoned in a barbed wire prison camp in my own country – except that he was half white and I wasn’t. I looked completely like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor.
     With forceful graphics and intensely moving storytelling, Matt Faulkner transported me to my own childhood memories. I remember those sentry towers with guns pointed at us; I remember the searchlights that followed me at night; the crowded barracks lined up like soldiers at attention. And I also remember the comfort I found in my mother’s love. Just like him.
      This is a story still too little known and even less understood. It is a dark but vitally important story with a critical lesson for our American democracy. Matt Faulkner tells his tale with fierce graphics and moving delicacy."
George Takei


You need this Rawr Bear t-shirt. 
Cause sometimes it just feels like this!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Look what's out for pre-order on B&N! 
Gaijin: American Prisoner of War, a graphic novel written and illus.d by me and publ.d by Disney/Hyperion!

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gaijin-matt-faulkner/1117434414?ean=9781423137351
Support Mad Bunny Nation! 
Buy this poster with art by me and 
a bunny gets a burrito!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sketch for tarot card deck- "The Gate Keeper". 
Pen&ink, 2006.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Mad Bunnies! Run! The want your burrito!
But first… buy this T-shirt!

http://www.zazzle.com/mad_bunnies_on_parade_womans_tee-235872087701940060

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reality: It's a choice thing.

     
     Grown-ups choose to ignore the inner and outer magical energies (some nice and some not-so-nice) that are the subtle motors of the Universe. Kids don't seem to know that they have that option until some well meaning adult or nasty ad agency teach them to forget all that "silliness" and get down to the business of buying into "reality".
Get Your "Wake 'Em Up Singing" T-shirt! 
Right here:


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Faeries Rule!
Get your "Faeries Rule" Woman's T-shirt here:
http://www.zazzle.com/faeries_rule_womans_t_shirt-235074353775194235


Monday, January 6, 2014

New! "Don't Think. JUST DRAW!" T-shirts, posters and more! You gotta get this!


Friday, January 3, 2014

The Queen of Cups tarot card sketch, Beaumont hospital, pencil, 12/10/13.

“Dreams, if they're any good, are always a little bit crazy. ”
  Ray Charles