Thank you to the folks who’ve sent me messages and shared I will be Fierce with kids. Illustrating this book was a huge challenge as the text is powerful but not clearly visual. I revised sketches many times in order to match Bea Birdsong’s words with a strong visual story about a girl facing the challenges of her day. The positive response makes it worth it!
Here are some interior spreads – the librarian is based off my kid’s favorite story time librarian!
Thank you and I hope you have a lovely week!
I will be speaking and signing books in Seattle tomorrow at Third Place Books in Seward Park. I hope to see you there!
Also I’ll be back at Disney this weekend for more live watercoloring and the release of my new Disney piece! If you’re interested in the original of my first watercolor of Baby Dory or the new Disney print please contact WonderGround Gallery. They can take orders via email at merchandise.guest.services@
Hope to see you in Seattle or Anaheim!
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!
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.
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.
The cover for our forthcoming picture book, I WILL BE FIERCE, written by Bea Birdsong and illustrated by me is out! The book will be available May 2019.
Meanwhile my schedule for New York Comicon is shaping up, I will be speaking on a few panels as well as participating in a stellar group signing at Books of Wonder on Friday October 5th. I will be with Luke Pearson, Kazu Kibuishi, Molly Ostertag and many more. Find all the details here.
I hope you have a great week!
From now until May 10th enjoy 15% off my shop during the Mother’s Day sale.
I will also be signing books as part of Free Comic Book Day at Isotope Comics in San Francisco this Saturday.
Meanwhile I’m close to complete on the final art for my upcoming picture book, written by Bea Birdsong, I WILL BE FIERCE. After which I will roll right into finishing artwork for my first bilingual board book, Shubh Raatri Dost! Sometime after that I hope to create some new illustrations to share here.
Until then, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!