Fierce tomorrow!

Tomorrow our picture book, I WILL BE FIERCE, written by Bea Birdsong and illustrated by me is out! As I prepare for promotional events in the bay area and beyond, I reflected on the process. From when I agreed to illustrate it in October of 2017 to when it hit shelves, it’s been a year and 7 months! I created the illustrations from sketch to final in 5 months and delivered in July of 2018. In between July and now, our publisher, Roaring Brook, prints and promotes to help build excitement.

One of my favorite pages is in the library (of course!) and below are some early sketches. I receive manuscripts with art notes. From those notes, I drew our fierce girl in a well stocked, inviting school library with a helpful librarian.

But my editor wanted to try a few different ideas, so I drew a more fantastical library.

But we settled on the first take, modified.

Creating picture books is a fascinating challenge. These opportunities allow me to grow as an artist and story teller. Like my graphic novels, I add people from my life into the art. The librarian is based off our local librarian who my daughter loves, the bus driver is my adopted auntie and the grandma is based off my mother in law. I also added the author and her son! It’s these things that make the work personal and fun.

When I held the finished I WILL BE FIERCE in my hands, I felt the same as when I first read the manuscript – happy and strong. I hope that it’ll make you feel that way, too.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this and I hope to see you on the road!

P.S. For any who are interested there’s a free story time kit available to use in conjunction with the book.

 

japan travel thoughts and LA Times festival of books

I’ve dreamt of traveling to Japan most of my life.

Traveling for us is a huge undertaking financially, emotionally and physically. I am grateful for every trip we’ve managed and Japan was a dream come true. The culture and art has influenced my work and life so deeply. Between Tokyo, Kyoto and jet lag, it was a whirlwind. I only had a few moments to draw which I’ve included below. My schedule for the rest of the year is packed between work and travel… I hope in the fall I’ll be able to create more art inspired by our trip. I have so many ideas!

Meanwhile, I was interviewed on the Children’s book podcast about my bilingual board book, Shubh Raatri Dost/Good Night Friend. It’s my favorite interview of the year, if you have a moment check it out. Also, Matthew is hosting a giveaway for the book on his instagram.

Lastly, if you’re in the LA area this Saturday, please come by the LA Times Festival of Books. I will be there with copies of Pashmina, Shubh Raatri Dost and advance copies of I will be fierce for sale!!

That’s all from me now! I hope to see you at one of my upcoming events.

 

SF public library Thursday!

I’m working away on things I can’t share yet – but here’s a sneak peek!

I will be presenting about my path to art and comics at the San Francisco Public Library, Noe Valley branch this Thursday from 4-5pm as part of their women’s history month events. I hope to see you there!

Have a great week!

character designs

I’m buried in work. I break for family time between 5-8, then back to work til 10-11p every night through April and hopefully not May, but we’ll see! Meanwhile, sharing these rejected character designs.

I hope you have a lovely week!

Pashmina and Netflix

 

I’m overjoyed to share this announcement with you that my debut graphic novel PASHMINA will be adapted into an animated musical with Netflix. Gurinder Chadha and Ashok Amritraj are wonderful and I’m honored to have them take my work to new places.

I’m a bit overwhelmed with the good news! Thank you to everyone involved, especially my husband Nick, my editor Mark Siegel and the entire team at First Second/Macmillan and my rockstar agent who years ago helped me believe in myself, Judy Hansen. And of course all the folks who supported PASHMINA since it’s release.

I hope you have a lovely week!

baby shark

two unicorns

I’m exploring loose backgrounds. I love nature and gravitate towards those settings. I’m also working on comfort with the darkness that light creates – placing characters in shadow challenges me to let go of their importance (as story objects and as the parts of the drawing I spend the most time on).

In essence, I am working on harmony.

the llama life

sakura

I don’t have a lot of time these days. So I ignore email, trust my instincts and draw direct in photoshop without sketching (!!) and try not to erase. Results will vary but this is how I want to push myself as an artist. I learn each time I finish something – inking 200 pages is teaching me every day. These warm ups are giving me needed freedom and joy.

winter wonder