Bay Area, St Louis, New York in May!

I will be in MANY places in May. The upside of work travel is meeting teachers, librarians and kids on the road. Those connections are heart warming and necessary. I keep those as fuel for the times I want to give up. The downside of travel, of course, is time away from my family and book deadlines. I’ve been inkng away on Jukebox, my next graphic novel, and reached the joyful part of the process where drawing pages becomes easier and more exciting. My main characters, Shahi and Naz, become more real every day.

The hardest part of this set of travel is that I will be away on Mother’s Day. That’s the reality of loving my job and my family, though.

My events kick off this weekend at the Bay Area Book Festival – I will be participating in an illustrator duel and story time. Then I head to St Louis for two events at their libraries (my first time there!), New York for PEN America’s World Voices event, back to the bay with a comics demo at the Apple Store in San Francisco’s Union Square, Turn the Page event at Fairyland in Oakland and end the month at my alma matter, UCSC, providing a heritage month keynote presentation. You can find all the details here.

I look forward to every event and I hope to see you on the road!

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!

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!

shubh raatri dost on sunday!

I hope to see you this Sunday at Books Inc in Palo Alto! I’ll be reading my bilingual board book and signing.

valentine’s sale

Valentine’s is soon! Celebrate the love in your life. Today until Feb 4 11:59pm [PST] my Art Book is on sale for $15 (originally $30). Additionally, enjoy 15% off everything* in our online shop using the code LOVELY at checkout. Thank you for your continued support!

*excludes sale & gift certificates

the jukebox journey

Jukebox idea, 2014

Jukebox pitch, 2016

I spent last fall thumbnailing my next graphic novel, Jukebox. It’s a story about two cousins, Tannaz and Shaheen, who find a jukebox that takes them back in time. The thumbnail manuscript is where a cartoonist lays out the story taking into account page layout, panels, page turns and flow. I wrote the book with my hubbahubba, Nick Giordano. Over the past few weeks we received early feedback and I’m wrapping up revisions. Next week I will start drawing final art for the book. It’s roughly 200 pages.

Each milestone in a long and arduous project deserves a celebration. I’m pretty terrible at taking the time to mark these moments because of my work demands. But… finishing the thumbnail manuscript was a feat. I approached it differently than Pashmina which began with a full script. I abandoned the full script for Jukebox and went straight to thumbnails, stopping to write when needed. This approach integrated the visuals and text concurrently and took five months, compared to Pashmina, which was over a year. In those five months I lived inside the story. I talked about the characters like friends I was trying to understand. It’s my absolute favorite part of the process.

Working on the final art is fun and labor intensive. I’m looking forward to using color to communicate pieces of the story visually, approaching the line work in a way that allows for focal points and nuance and drawing my favorite city, San Francisco.

I will continue to share sales, occasional art and events (I will be in LA, St Louis, New York, and PA this year) but mostly I will be quietly working on Jukebox. I will share snippets when I can and it will hit the shelves in 2021. Jukebox is very dear to my heart. Writing a book with the love of my life has been wonderful and challenging. I’m a pretty intense person to work with! The truth is that Nick contributes to all my projects but this book is our joint love letter to music, family and connection. The wait will be long but worthwhile.

For now I’m sharing these early images. Nick and I started talking about our idea in 2014 and I roughly sketched it. The next drawing was used to pitch the book immediately after finishing Pashmina in 2016. Neither will appear in the finished book but I love them both. Making a book is a looong journey and I’m in the middle. Finishing the manuscript is an important milestone. Based on my other committments and schedule, I should finish drawing  it by years end but it will leave little room for anything else. So, I will stop to celebrate this milestone… and then get back to work!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

 

shubh raatri dost soon!

Happy new year!

It’s less than a month away from the release of my bilingual board book, Shubh Raatri Dost / Good Night Friend! Raising a child bilingual/bicultural is wonderfully challenging. I created this board book with families like ours in mind. With the romanized Hindi on each page, both my husband and I can read this book to our child. You don’t need to know Hindi to utilize it.

We received advance copies of this book and it’s absolutely wonderful to see the effect in action. My daughter remembers the names of animals in Hindi better and says shubh raatri regularly.

I will be reading and signing the book at the Books Inc in Palo Alto on February 3rd.

Meanwhile I’m working away on my next graphic novel, Jukebox, and some unannounced projects. It’s going to be a busy and fun year!

I hope to see some of you at my upcoming events!

 

Happy new year (and sale)

Happy New Year! Our card sale is live now! ALL cards are $2 (until supplies last). No coupon code necessary. Give a loving note to the special people in your life! Ends Jan 9th.

Thank you to those who’ve already placed orders – they’re all going fast!

I hope you all had a restful and warm holidays.