Monday, June 28, 2010

The Halloween Kid Is Coming!

I'm so happy to announce my upcoming children's book, THE HALLOWEEN KID! This will be my second children's book that will be published and it's a big dream come true! THE HALLOWEEN KID is about a mysterious masked boy who wrangles Halloween hoodlums to keep the night safe for trick-or-treaters. All is well for years, that is, until a band of greedy goodie goblins gallop onto the scene - then even the Halloween Kid can use a helpin' hand. This book is 32 pages and will be published this Fall (August 10th) through Simon & Schuster. I'm hoping, however, to have some super advanced copies to sell for the San Diego Comic Con on July 22-25 (will confirm soon!)

For a peek at the book, here's a small book movie trailer: (click image to play or click here)

You can also flip and read through the first five pages here:

Simon & Schuster Browse Inside

Growing up and to present day, I love me some Halloween. I LOVE everything about it!

With children's books, I love going to the Halloween section every year and seeing what's new and I'm happy THE HALLOWEEN KID will be a part of that batch this year.

The book itself was inspired by newspaper articles from my hometown where I read that some kids were no longer allowed to dress up in schools on Halloween and were getting discouraged from trick-or-treating because of fear. I really felt Halloween was in danger, more so than being dangerous. The inspiration for the look of the book came from vintage Halloween decorations that I love and which tend to have limited colors. Most times, the colors off-registered a bit, and some of the vintage decorations are worn and distressed, so I tried to emulate that here. It was also fun writing the whole book in a Western drawl, dropping g's and even using a double negative in a sentence, something that normally publishers will try and correct, but my publisher embraced. I hope it makes for a fun read-aloud book. I really owe the printing of the book to my editor, Kevin Lewis. I feel lucky to have illustrated a few books, but since day one, he believed in my writing and it's because of him that CLOUD BOY and THE HALLOWEEN KID came to life. Thank you Kevin. Now, here's a peek at some of the book's process:

This was the cover to the book mock-up (the whole book quickly sketched in it's entirety with pencilled in story) that I used to shop around the idea to publishers. ( you'll see later that the final cover was pretty close to this):

Here's an interior page sketch:

Here's the same page finalized and in color:

Another interior illustration:

This is a peek at the cover process. Initially I just had the Halloween Kid on the cover, but the publisher felt it should reflect the trick-or-treating part of Halloween as well, which I didn't mind at all. The first cover sketch revision showed a trick-or-treating scenario, with houses and all, but it just felt too busy. We knew we wanted to use black as the cover, but the silhouetted houses were getting lost against that.

In the end we just simplified, dropped the homes, and lined the trick-or-treaters at the bottom with no perspective.

Here is the final cover with THE HALLOWEEN KID logo designed by Laurent Linn, who outdid himself with the design of this book!

Here's a group shot of characters in the book that I just did for fun. This image is not in the book, but maybe I'll make a print or a poster in the future.

For More Rootin Tootin' HALLOWEEN KID fun and information please visit:

I will be posting new information, activities and images, as they become available, on that site. There will be free goodies like this HALLOWEEN KID coloring page and maze! (click on the images to enlarge and just hit 'print' on your printer!)

Thanks for reading. More news as the publishing date nears. If you are interested in this book and want to pre-order THE HALLOWEEN KID, you can do so by clicking the link below (if you complete the process through here or at,it would be greatly appreciated!) or look out for the book when it hits bookshelves on August 10th.
Pre-Order here:

More HALLOWEEN KID goodies are coming. Please visit again soon!

Thank you kindly, pardners!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Melvin Beederman: The End?

Yesterday marked the end of a series of books that I had the great pleasure of working on, with Melvin Beederman Superhero #8 hitting the book shelves. A book written by first time author, Greg Trine, about a struggling kid super hero who couldn't leap a building in a single bound, but took him more like six or seven tries. What was supposed to be one book, initially, it was pulled from the infamous "slush pile" (that dark room at all publishing houses with piles of book manuscripts that are stacked high to the ceiling) and was granted an eight book series! That alone should give any aspiring writer hope. I remember getting the call from my editor, she was so excited about the book and was giggling as she explained the rough story line to me. I was immediately drawn to the main character and all of his struggles and soon became a fan devouring each new manuscript like a fan first and then as my illustrating job later. I loved working on this book so much. On top of that, Melvin Beederman took me to cities I'd never seen, when Greg Trine and I went on a book tour arranged by the publisher, and met many new friends because of the book, and for that I am thankful. It had at one time even been optioned to be animated, but never quite made it.

 Melvin Beederman had a good run of eight books, although part of me secretly wished to see what Greg Trine would have written had he known it would be the last, there was/is so much potential in the series, that's for sure! I'm in a bit of a denial about the whole thing, I feel that it may live on in the future, but it's not up to me and for now, it's a bittersweet good bye. If you ever had thought about maybe picking up the book before and maybe passed, now would be the time to give it a chance. It's a treat! A bit biased of a recommendation, but a sincere one. Here's a peek at one of book #8's final scenes of an epic battle inside of a space mall (click image to enlarge):
Melvin Beederman was a blast to work on. Thank you Greg Trine for writing the book with such fun characters with heart. Thank you Reka Simonsen for pairing me up with Greg and for believing in me for the series. Thanks to the designers that worked on the book. Thank you librarians and readers old and young, for giving the book a chance. Thank you Henry Holt & Co. for publishing eight books about a struggling little hero that leaped from the "slush pile" and into homes and schools everywhere!


p.s. for all readers old and new, one last surprise: I had a fun time of hiding a panicking chicken in all eight of the Melvin Beederman books, so if you have the books already, go back and look for the chicken! Some are easier to find than others, but there's one in each book. If you are asking why a chicken, I will quote a wise one that once said "because chickens are funny."

Exhibit A: Panicking chicken