I made an epic post over on Picture Book Report this morning! I had two months worth of material to share, having missed my April posting date because of computer problems. It’s okay now though! I bought myself a new computer and holy smokes, it is wonderful. However! I’m now very, very poor. I mean I was pretty poor before, but the amount of money in my bank account is now frighteningly low. So before we continue on to the fun stuff in this post, I present you with a humble plea!
If you’re an art director, editor, publisher, or person who has the ability to hire illustrators: Consider hiring me to draw something for your project or publication? I’d really, really appreciate it!
Okay! Fun stuff! My Picture Book Report illustration for the month of April (up above) was a lot of fun to work on, though I definitely owe an enormous THANK YOU to my pal Vicki Nerino for her constant advice and input throughout the process. It wouldn’t have turned out as neat as it did without her help.
Something I don’t think I’ve mentioned anywhere is that I actually went down to New York in January to visit some friends. While I was down there I spent a day exploring the Met (where most of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is set). I took a few hundreds pictures with my phone, planning to use them for reference later. It was great! I knew I’d want to do an illustration dealing with the bed they sleep in at some point but I wasn’t sure which bed it was that was actually described in the story. So I just took pictures of every bed I could find in the museum.
More recently I found this little article that E. L. Konigsburg actually wrote for the museum. The article reveals that the bed she describes in the book isn’t actually on display anymore! So I ended up basing the drawing more off of my own mental image of what she describes in the book and a few additional photos I found online of beds from the same time period.
Here are a few in-progress shots!
Here’s what the finished line work looked like before I painted it…
The one part I really struggled with (and where Vicki really helped me) was in deciding what direction I wanted to go in with the colors. I made a bunch of really awful digital color roughs but after getting some input from Vicki I did one more, using only blue.
After that it was just a matter of sitting down and painting!
For the month of May I decided to try something a little different. I knew right from that start that at some point I wanted to do a bunch of little spot illustrations rather than one big one. I was a little bit short on time this month and the next big illustration I have planned depicts a crucial moment in the story. I didn’t want to give that scene a rush treatment so I decided to do those spot illustrations this month.
Newspapers and I have a long history together. My dad has been a newspaper reporter as long as I’ve been alive. I was first exposed to comics thanks to newspapers. I interned in a newspaper art department for two consecutive summers when I was in college. I’ve just got an intense love for this form of media that is now, sadly, really struggling to stay alive. Anyways, this little drawing might not look like it was the most exciting thing to draw, but I enjoyed every moment of it. The headlines, which are intentionally obscured by the size of the image, are a mix of well researched and accurate to the year the book was written (1967) and completely made up and silly. I borrowed names from some of my pals for the bylines. Ryan Pequin, Meg Hunt, Britt Wilson: you’ve all written articles for the front page of this fictional incarnation of The New York Times. I used my dad, Mike McAndrew, for one of the articles too.
Check out the other two spots over at Picture Book Report!
Before I end this epic blog post, I want to remind everyone that I’m giving away the last few copies of my FERAL PIZZA mini comic! You’ve got until the end of the day tomorrow (Friday) to put your name in for a chance at winning!
I should also mention that I am in fact still working on commissions that people ordered a while back. I’ve understandably had a few people email me, wondering when they’ll get their drawing in the mail. I fell way behind on them as I was busy preparing for MoCCA and SPX over the last few months but I’m going to try very hard to work my way through the pile now that convention insanity is over with for me until the fall.
Thanks for reading!