Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Halloween Kid Animated Special Update 10/2013

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:

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: or on their webpage:

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


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!


or check it out at your local library!