Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sketchgiving

This post is long overdue. Over the holidays at the end of last year, I started a fundraiser called Sketchgiving where people were encouraged to donate money and receive a sketch in return. The plan was originally to help 5 families in need with the money raised, but we surpassed that goal and raised $1,247.87 to help 8 families!  Thanks to the kindness of strangers, together we helped 8 families each get $100 in Ralphs grocery gift cards along with a $50.00 gift card to Target to help buy gifts for their children. Some of these families are living at a poverty level and some have kids with serious heart conditions and learning disabilities. Thanks to YOU these gift cards helped the families get basic needs like groceries, shoes, clothing, along with spreading some joy to their children over this past holiday season. THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE. YOU helped make a difference for these families over the holiday season and made their day just a little bit brighter. Thank you to everyone who donated or just simply helped spread the word. Thanks to those that shared encouraging words and heartfelt stories. One person even commented that they had been given gifts by strangers when they were kids and wanted to pass it along to others by donating. Because of YOU, this is a wonderful win for mankind and kindness!

I also drew one name from all the donors and they won an additional color sketch. The winner was Charles Hastings. Congrats Charles!


Thank you SO much for these kind souls who donated to these families:Gary Ham, Charles Hastings, Dominic Dolar, Chris Censullo, Kathleen Hiraga, James Baker, Julia Lundman, Mylan Biermann, Eric Olivolo, Chad Kerychuk, Eric Blair, Juan Quiroz, Grasiela Rodriguez, Claudia Orozco, Jonathan Zammit, Jessica Preciado, Sandy Sanchez, Mario Lizarraga, Sylvia Smiser, Marcela Pertussi, Adrienne Anderson, Jarrod Maruyama, Mark Giglio, Jeffery Hansen, Manuel Marquez, Carlos Davila, and Jose Cabrera.


May your kindness be repaid in magical ways!

-Rhode Montijo



Here are some of the sketches below:
(Above) This was the original announcement.














Here were some of the sketches with the totals raised along the way.






This is the color sketch that Charles Hastings won. Congrats again Charles!


This is the photo of the gift cards we were able to get for the families!

Thanks again everyone!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Halloween Kid Animated Special Update 10/2013


Pardners,
After fighting the good fight, we are 90% finished with the animation for The Halloween Kid Animated Special and close to having half of the soundtrack completed. We are doing final recording of voices in the next few days, which I'm looking forward to, then editing and adding sound effects. We had hoped for some Halloween miracle, but it unfortunately, realistically, doesn't look like we will be finished with the special in time to air for THIS Halloween. Although we were not able to complete it to air, the animated special will be completed real soon. It has been wonderful working on it during the months leading to Halloween and it has been nice seeing the final pieces fall into place, but we are still a bit of a ways from completion. The Halloween Kid Animated special will have to wait 'till 2014. I always try and think of the bright side of things and by waiting to release it next year, we won't be as rushed with the final creation and we can fine tune things from now until then. Although, we will not be able to fine tune the animation as our team will be moving on to their next project shortly, we can get the editing and sound design down as best we can. Our animation team has poured so much into this! I wish I could share with you what they've done so far… Another plus side to waiting to release it next year is that because this is an independently produced animation, we will have a little bit more time to build an audience to be able to give this special a fighting chance when it does finally air.

I wish we could've finished in time, but again we are taking it in stride. This personally has been the biggest learning experience. I've never worked on something so hard and with a small team that works even harder. I'm proud of what we've accomplished so far. I look forward to wrapping this up so that we can share it with you next year. We are so close! Thank you for your support through all of this. If you are still reading this far into this latest update, that means that you care about this animated special. You have all been so supportive and encouraging with your comments- it has kept me going. I will continue to give updates on the Halloween Kid Facebook page, but will also be starting a newsletter just for the animated special. So if you'd like to hear about developments and not miss important announcements, please message me on the Facebook page with your email. I will only use it to let you know about the Halloween Kid and will protect and not pass along your private information. Again, this is an independently funded animation and we've used up all of our funds making this special (which I'm personally thankful that the budget has all gone into the making of it) but we have no advertising and do what we can with what we have, so word-of-mouth helps immensely! If you know anyone who would love an animated special like this for Halloween or just loves Halloween, please send them our way! 'Like'
The Halloween Kid Facebook page, help share and spread the word however you can. It will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for all the support through making this. Happy Halloween to everyone, I hope that it is full of magic. 'Till 2014, Yee-Ha-lloween! ~Rhode

Below is a sneak peek that a friend captured at this year's Comic Con:http://web.stagram.com/p/504358216172921767_18245599




Saturday, October 26, 2013

Anaheim Halloween Parade


I took a small break from working on the Halloween Kid animation this past Sunday to help out with something that I feel is truly special- The Anaheim Halloween Parade! I wish I could've contributed more, but here's a photo of some parasols that I did.
The parade will capture all that is vintage Halloween with a homemade touch that celebrates the past and community. IF YOU ARE A LOVER OF HALLOWEEN,THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED! I was introduced to Kevin and Jody (organizers/artists of the parade) through some kind folks that stopped at my booth at Comic Con earlier this year and referred me to them. As soon as I stepped into their workspace, I knew these guys were makers of magic! AMAZING STUFF!!! They have a great eye for detail and celebrate the past. YOU MUST see/experience the parade! It's happening this Saturday October 26th starting at 6:00pm. Whether you are in the area or have to travel a bit, GO! GO! GO! Bring the whole family! You were warned! 

More info can be found on their facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/AnaheimHalloweenParade or on their webpage: http://anaheimhalloweenparade.org
~Rhode

Friday, October 18, 2013

Temporary Store (Open for 13 days!)


I opened a temporary store to sell all kinds of Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos goodies! It will be only open for the next 13 days! There are lots of items and even some one-of-a-kind goodies! Please visit:

Happy October! ~Rhode


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Retro Halloween

This is something I doodled a few months ago and thought I'd share it for the season. I tried to make this look like a page out of an old children's book. ~Rhode

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Limited Print!

                                                             
                                                                
I'm happy to announce my latest print. Just in time for Halloween, or if you are like me and Halloween is year round, this is the print for you! This is called THE KINDCROW. This was based on one of my sculptures (shown below). It was printed at the same print company that I've done my prints for the last 10 years. They have an attention to detail that always make me happy when I receive them. This is a 2 color print (orange and black) on archival paper and is limited to an edition of 100 pieces. It measures 18 x 24 inches and will fit a standard frame- so no extra custom framing charges! Each print comes signed and numbered and will be sent out the following day that your order is received. U.S. ONLY (for now-sorry! Leave a comment below if you are interested) As always thank you for your support and I hope you are enjoying the best time of the year! ~Rhode

Here's a closer look (copyright info is not printed on actual print)



EXTRA OPTION: Since it'll fit in the same tube, I am offering the option to add THE HALLOWEEN KID OFFICIAL BADGE again with this order. These are $10.



Please let me know if there are any questions in the comments section!






Tuesday, August 20, 2013

SECRET ORIGINS: THE GUMAZING GUM GIRL!

Hi everyone!

I'm currently in Japan working on the animation for THE HALLOWEEN KID Animated Special, but today my latest children's book, THE GUMAZING GUM GIRL hits the shelves! I thought I'd take some time to share how this book was born and celebrate its arrival!

Gumazing Gum Girl Book #1: Chews Your Destiny

The spark:
Around 2007, after my first children's book CLOUD BOY had been released by Simon & Schuster, my editor contacted me and asked if we could do a companion book (not a sequel) for CLOUD BOY. Since CLOUD BOY took place in the clouds, it was light blue in color so my editor posed the idea of simply having a pink book.
My first children's book

 For me, the quickest thing that came to mind for the color pink was gum, so that's when I came up with Gum Girl- and with the name to match the title of Cloud Boy (Cloud Boy, Halloween Kid, Gum Girl- lots of original titles here folks!) I pitched the concept to my editor (there was no story, just an idea) and it didn't quite stick! 


The very first sketch!


 I later sketched Gum Girl in my sketchbook and kept thinking of adventures. She pretty much looked close to what we see today, except with no eyeballs!?!?! Years later, after my editor was let go from Simon and Schuster I had no other option than to start over and go back knocking on the doors of the publishing world again.  I had just finished on the last of 8 books in the MELVIN BEEDERMAN SUPERHERO books around this time and I was hopeful for work, but nothing happened...for awhile. I didn't give up and kept trying. I didn't realize 'till after my editor was let go that I was so lucky to have someone who believed in my (sometimes quirky) stories, because not everyone took warmly to them.

I searched and hustled for around two years and was pretty close to jobless, taking on a few small gigs here and there to survive, but no new children's book work was close to happening. I was hurting for work, but most of all I just wanted to do more books. Finally, I came across a publisher that was interested in a few ideas, including Gum Girl. I drew out the first adventure, (pretty much what is in the current chapter book) but as a sequential story (comic book style!) and sent it off to them. 

Here's the first way (Sequential/Comic Book format) that Gum Girl story was drawn

The first conception of the cover for the sequential format story


The old gum ads that were inside gum ball machines were a source of inspiration

I didn't hear back from that publisher and didn't even get a letter to say they received it. When you've been jobless, a month seems like forever. Around this time my old editor resurfaces and I get a call that I'll never forget. 

"Let's make some books!" he said after explaining his leave of children's books and his triumphant return two years later, this time at Disney Hyperion. I pitched them all my book ideas and they responded quickly (Side note: Pitching meant showing loose-sketched mock-ups of the stories that could be flipped through along with a separate manuscript). He told me that he had some good news and bad news. I asked him what the good news was and he explained that they wanted Gum Girl! He said that they were thinking it would work better as a chapter book. I was beyond excited! He then explained what he called bad news- I was expecting the worst and he explained further, "They want three of them…" 

WHAT?! Three books?! I went crazy and asked how this was bad news? He explained that they wanted them fast! I could hear his excitement on the other end of the phone and it was nice celebrating this news. I had been pretty much jobless for two years and now I was getting offered a 3 book deal. I couldn't believe it! Even though I did not feel confident with writing something longer like a chapter book (I had only written picture books up until then) I appreciated them taking a chance.  I explained that I HAVE to make it work!
An inked and colored drawing showing Gum Girl's stretchy powers that was used for the pitch (I tried to make the logo look like stuck gum)

Another image that was used for pitching the idea. This showed how Gabby transforms into Gum Girl

Fast forward and with LOTS of help from my editor...LOTS! We have the new GUMAZING GUM GIRL out today! It was a lot of work, but I'm SO proud of this book. For one, the fact the book features a Latina as the main character is huge! I always wanted to share stories and characters that mirrored my culture, but nobody would take chances with those stories. I was once encouraged by another publishing editor to change the nationality of a Latino family in one of my other stories to a caucasian family and I turned it down, even though I needed work. I was upset at the suggestion, but kept my cool and tried to explain that I felt that the demographics of today did not match the output of children's books that were being put out. So this is why this is a big deal to me- someone finally took a chance! Gabby Gomez is Gum Girl! 

On top of this, I had sprinkled some Spanish words in the original manuscript and to my surprise I was asked to put more Spanish (which I did not hesitate to do!) but this showed me early on the belief and support that I had with this book! I couldn't believe it! Readers can hopefully see that having the main character and/or the inclusion of some Spanish words does not alienate anyone, but hopefully, rather widens the vision to the beautiful spectrum of other ethnicities that are out here and I hope that in some small way to convey that anybody can be a hero!

Thank you for reading and thanks always for your support!

~Rhode Montijo

Below are some more images that were made in the process of making the book.


An early treatment sketch where I envisioned the word bubbles being actual gum bubbles

This was another original sketch that was used in presenting the idea to Hyperion

Cover and interior poster ideas: Along the way, I thought it'd be fun to have the character be sticky on the cover. I pitched the idea of having a POST-IT NOTE-like sticky substance printed/placed on the character, but they were worried that booksellers and librarians might not like that as the books might get stuck together :) I liked the idea of the cover collecting lint, hair and residue, but they came to me with something better- A gum-scented cover! So if you pick up a book don't forget to SMELL it! I am also told that there is a poster on the other side of the cover! (Because I'm in Japan, I haven't seen the actual book!)
Early suggestion for the poster found inside the cover showing Gum Girl busting out of a comic page

Another suggestion for the interior poster with a stretched kick



Process: Here's a quick peek at the process.
It all starts with a thumbnail sketch


Here's the final after it is inked and scanned. The pink color is placed digitally in Photoshop. The designer adds the text and the page is ready to go!

MAKE SURE TO PICK UP THE GUMAZING GUM GIRL TODAY!


or check it out at your local library!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Kid Approved!


It seems that every year my neighborhood decorates less and less for Halloween, but there are a few that keep the Halloween torch burning bright. I decided to give out some sort of encouragement to those that did, to show that their house matters, and hopefully encourage them to keep going every year. I devised a door hanger that I would leave to those that decorated their homes for Halloween. 

(detail)

It was fun to do. I started in my hometown and it ranged from homes that had really elaborate decorations,
to just simple decorations as long as there was just SOME sort of decorating. It started locally and then as I went to do school visits to other cities (for my children's book THE HALLOWEEN KID) I put up door hanger signs there.
(Petaluma, CA)
(Another home in Petaluma)
There were other homes, but these were a few that I managed to take photos of. I don't know how the signs will be accepted, but I personally just appreciate all decorations big or small that keep Halloween alive!

 I hope everyone is enjoying Halloween Eve!
~Rhode

Bonus pics: 
A Halloween Kid Scarecrow from Mrs. Moore's 2nd grade class in Elk Grove, CA. Great job guys!

Yee-Ha-lloween! It's the Halloween Kid!