Monday, July 25, 2016

Waiting, Part 3

...and here is the third and final page spread for Waiting, continuing from Part 1 and Part 2 before it.

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A few words on the inspiration behind this poem and illustration: it's kind of a mash-up of images & ideas invoked by an old LP album cover of Saint-Saens' The Carnival of Animals and the song Look at the Animals by Jethro Tull. I wanted to create something with the same feel of absurdity, plus I just love the idea of animals wearing people clothes, especially really fancy ones. I have no idea what kind of show they're waiting in line to see...that's up to you.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Waiting, Part 2

After a long dry spell, here finally is the second installment of my poem Waiting, continued from Part 1.

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In other news, I sent some manuscripts into the four winds in May, and still waiting to hear from a couple of publishers who I feel would be a good fit for the book. Based on their stated response time, I'm giving it 'til the end of the summer to see if a yay-or-nay comes forth. I shall then consider my options for what to do next.

In the meantime, some very recent developments have also transpired towards re-doing a number of illustrations. Ya know, when your gut tells you something is off and could be better, ya gotta listen.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Waiting, Part I

This is the first of what's intended to be three two-page book spreads, for a poem called Waiting. The concept, from page to page, is a menagerie of different animals doing various things while waiting in a line. This is the only spread that is inked...the other two are only penciled, so I'll reveal them over time as they are completed.

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"Waiting" has a double meaning in terms of how these books are progressing. I'm waiting for a crystallized plan for publishing and I have friends waiting to purchase an actual book (for which I'm very grateful...a little encouragement goes a long way in this lonely endeavor.)  I've learned many lessons as of late about patience, endurance, research and the big picture. Last September I submitted a query to a traditional publisher who seemed to promise a quick turn-around on a response, but have been met with only silence almost 7 months later. That waiting period, however, was the best thing that could have happened for the book, as it caused me to make changes to several poems and re-think things pertaining to fonts, layout and such.

All the same, I've decided to play the field with a few other publishers and see what unfolds. In the meantime I'll keep working on new poems, drawings and ideas...plus I have a new animation gig for the next few weeks which will keep me plenty busy.

But I feel in my gut the "waiting" will be worth it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Still Revising...

Things are still coming together...been going over some of the book's poems and fine tuning some details, finding more things that need to change.

Of course, after I posted this, I made more changes.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Inspiration Monday: The Tomato Collection

I decided the time was nigh for another "Inspiration Monday" post highlighting another artist who's given me inspiration for the work I'm doing.

My mom teaches in a school district close to my home town of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and a few years ago a writer/performer named Kevin Kammeraad had visited her school. Soon afterwards as a gift we received this book in the mail, signed by Kevin for my daughter, called The Tomato Collection, a quirky collection of poetry, photos and artwork.

I was instantly intrigued by this book, and have enjoyed reading it with the kids. It's delightfully creative, random, silly and poignant from page to page. It also sparked something inside me, and made me think, hmmm, it might be fun to start writing poems again. Before too long it also made me think, hmmm, maybe I could put them together into a book...

A few years and a pile of full sketchbooks later, it's still coming together, thanks to that little spark of inspiration.

This excellent video was just posted recently about Kevin Kammeraad and his work, and I love it. I love the philosophy behind what he does, and it gives me loads of encouragement. I hope it does for you too.



More at www.kevinkammeraad.com

Other "Inspiration Monday" posts: Shel Silverstein - Mercer Mayer - Dr. Seuss - Maurice Sendak - The Decemberists and Other Musical Storytellers - Aaron Becker - Rooftops in Paris and London

Monday, January 4, 2016

A New Poem for 2016

Happy New Year from the Gnomes of the Cheese Forest!

I made some good progress on the book (which is actually two books now) over the Christmas holidays. Mostly I spent some time organizing the second volume and which poems will be a part of it, including a brand new one which has been a concept in my noggin for a long time and finally flowed out onto paper.

Enjoy this little epic, which will likely be included in the second volume...


THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK (second-ish/third-ish draft)

When all’s said and done, at the end of the day,
I have a strange feeling that God wants to play,
So put all your masks and your mirrors away,
And we’ll meet at the House on the Rock.

We’ll garden for stories, we’ll dig up old books,
We’ll bring in the criminals, captains and cooks,
And dress in a way that brings quizzical looks
From the bishops who don’t understand.

We’ll steal every treasure, collect to our pleasure,
And load it all up in a ship of great measure,
And sail ‘cross the wide open sea at our leisure,
Until we arrive to find land.

For here there be monsters and bumps in the night,
So come with us now, let us flee and take flight,
And turn all the dirges and darkness to light,
And meet at the House on the Rock.

For ‘round any corner, much to our surprise
A merry-go-round of fantastical size,
Each beast and behemoth a sight for sore eyes,
Could be waiting for us to ride it.

Then on to the market to sell off our wares,
Our cotton and candies, our sugars and squares,
Contraptions designed by intelligent bears
With a clockwork monkey inside it.

We’ll walk where the coffee flows sticky and strong,
And every freak finds a place to belong,
If you need to find me, I’m lost in a song,
But we’ll meet at the House on the Rock.

Through terrible tunnels we’ll carefully tread,
And duck down to dodge what may hang overhead,
What gallant explorers, still living or dead,
May have travelled these caverns before us?

And could there be places that no one has seen,
Untapped and untethered in spaces between?
If we found one, would every print magazine
Come and knock on our door to implore us?

Let’s find out together, we’ll draw our own map,
We’ll note every danger and each booby trap,
And scout out the safe spots to have a quick nap
On our way to the House on the Rock.

A city of doll houses winds through the street,
With cobblestone labyrinths under our feet,
But know there are those who are less than discreet
Who lurk in each crevice and crack.

So keep your watch wound, take note of each sound,
Be wary of each alley cat and each hound,
But fear not, for if you get all turned around,
Take comfort, for I got your back.

For here’s where the jester’s tales sputter and spin,
The feast at the fire‘s about to begin,
So fill up your mug, wipe your feet and come in,
And we’ll stay at the House on the Rock.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Poem: The Parliament of Owls

An overdue update to the blog...here's a reveal of the poem that goes with this illustration (which was published in The Story Warren Reader: Volume 2)

           THE PARLIAMENT OF OWLS

The Parliament of Owls will now come to order...
Something must be done about this trouble at the border.

Now I'm not one to meddle in the business of ferrets,
Or disturb the operations of the Company of Parrots,
But as the noted chairman of this most distinguished board,
I have to say, murder of crows should never be ignored!

This Mob of Kangaroos has gotten way too out of hand,
And that Pack of Wolves is slowly taking over our whole land.
If what they teach in that School of Fish does not change for the better,
I think we'll have to write to them a reprimanding letter...

For if the Colony of Rats cannot protect their plants,
I fear we'll have to call upon our own Army of Ants.
It’s a shame in my opinion, and I really must confess
It’s the pride of lions that contributes to this awful mess.

But now it's getting late my friends, the dawn is drawing near,
So the Congress of Baboons will have to take it all from here.