Friday, July 01, 2016

Scholastic Summer Reading Road Trip Sunday in Plainville MA

Beep! Beep! Here comes the summer reading bus!

Come see your favorite costumed characters and children's book authors Mary Newell DePalma, Tommy Greenwald, Spencer Quinn and me at An Unlikely Story in Plainville MA this Sunday from noon to 2pm.

There will be games and activities, book signing and more!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Summer Reading Log - Ice Cream Theme

Summer Reading Log

Want a sweet way to keep track of your summer reading?  Here's an ice cream themed reading log - based on the Scholastic Reader - The Ice Cream Shop.  Download the free reading log PDF today.

Color a scoop every time you read a book and maybe when you get to the top you can reward yourself with a cold treat!

Want a great book to read, check out the Level 1 Scholastic Reader, The Ice Cream Shop.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

ALA Midwinter Meeting

I'm really looking forward to signing books at the ALA Midwinter Meeting this Sunday at the Boston Convention Center.  If you are attending the conference, please stop by and say hi. :)  We will be at booth 1917 - Publisher Spotlight.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Monday, October 05, 2015

Trick-Or-Treat Bucket Craft

These trick-or-treat buckets are made from recycled plastic peanut jars. They are adorable, plus they have the added bonus of being smaller than the store bought treat buckets. Your little ghosts and goblins will feel like they got lots of candy when their bucket is filled to the brim with sweets.  The screw-on lid avoids spills.


* Large plastic peanut butter jar 
* Acrylic craft paints in white, yellow, orange and green
* Drill with 3/16" drill bit or a sharp object to poke holes into plastic jar.
* 18" of 5/8" wide ribbon
* Black magic marker

To make, wash the jar and remove the label. Let dry thoroughly.

Then paint the outside of the jar with non-toxic acrylic craft paint.  I used a combination of orange, yellow and white and swirled them together.  No need to be neat with this part.  I gave mine two coats to make the paint nice and opaque.  Paint the outside of the lid in a similar fashion with with swirls of green and white.

Once the paint is dry, draw a face on your jack-o-lantern using the black marker.

Carefully drill 2 - 3/16" holes, one on each side of the jar and thread the ribbon through to use as a handle.  Knot the ribbon in the inside to keep it from pulling through.  Of course, using power tools is a job for adults, not small children.

Get creative and make custom treat buckets to accompany everyone's costumes.  Use silver paint to make a treat jar for a robot, or make a rainbow colored one with sequins for a sparkly unicorn to carry.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Anyone Want Some Tuna Ice Cream?

Yesterday I found carrot ice cream on-line.  I thought OK that's weird but it doesn't sound half bad.

Which made me wonder if there was really such a thing as chocolate tuna chunk ice cream.  I didn't find any but I did find chocolate tuna tartlets with tuna ice cream.  I'm sure Steve would approve.  Anyone want to try it?

Character Consistency - Character Turnaround Exercise

One of the things I find challenging about doing sequential illustrations is having my characters stay consistent from page to page and from pose to pose.  I thought doing some turnarounds would give me some good drawing practice.

Today I chose to work on a basic child character.  I didn't want to complicated things with clothes and hair and such. I use this same body type for a lot of different characters so I wanted to create some reference for my generic little kid.
After I drew the figure from the front, I drew him/her from 3/4, side, and back views.  To help keep the proportions the same from pose to pose, it helps to draw straight lines across the page to note the position of various body parts; the eyes, the mouth, the tip of the nose etc.  I find drawing on graph paper or lined notebook paper can also be helpful.

Keeping track of how many heads tall your character is another way to help maintain consistency.  Rarely do characters stay in this static standing position. Measuring how many "heads" tall the character is a useful tool to check your drawings in more dynamic poses.  Note, that my characters are stylized.  This character, which I envision is being about 5-year-olds, is 4 heads high.  A real-life 5 year-old would actually be about 6 heads tall.

To test the accuracy of my drawings, I scanned all my poses into Photoshop and placed them on separate Photoshop layers one top of another.  By turning the layers on and off it I could flip through the poses and see where there I had made mistakes.

Another cool thing is that once your are done, you can use the Photoshop Timeline window to make an animation.  Select "Make Frames from Layers."  Below is the resulting Photoshop animation.  I then did an Export --> Save for Web and saved as a GIF (since I did the animation, it saves it as an animated GIF).  Any anomalies in the drawings quickly become apparent when you string them together like this.
If you give this a try yourself please share your results in the comment section.  Happy drawing!