What’s new? Here’s what I’ve been up to…

What’s new? Here’s what I’ve been up to…

Illustration by John LechnerThis past week I had the honor of being interviewed on the website There’s A Book, by a 3-year-old book enthusiast named Turkeybird. He was a tough questioner, but I think I held my own! It was nice to talk about my books and my hobbies, and what books have influenced me. You can read the entire interview here.

The same blog also recently reviewed my book The Clever Stick, which was very nice.

I’ve also been contributing to the Creative Juices blog, including our What The Doodle challenge every other week. We pick a random word and create an image inspired by it, and above is my illustration for the word BREEZE. You can see what the other artists came up with on the Creative Juices blog.

In other news, I will be helping to teach the Illustrator’s Academy at the New England SCBWI conference this spring along with Dani Jones, Kerry Martin and Nicole Tugeau. The focus will be online marketing for illustrators. It should be interesting!

Oscar nominations for animation – a few thoughts

Toy Story 3The Academy Awards are this weekend, and in the animation category, there’s a lot of “Buzz” around Toy Story 3, nominated for Best Animated Feature, Best Song, Best Screenplay and Best Picture. I’ve been a fan of Pixar since the beginning, but I’m not rooting for Toy Story 3 this year, because I think it is not one of Pixar’s best films. Despite its popularity, I thought it had a weak script, and it pains me to see it nominated for screenwriting.

You can read more of my thoughts about Pixar in a recent guest post I did for the Animated Writings blog. I invite you to leave comments and let me know what you think. Have you been disappointed by any of Pixar’s recent films? Do you think they are as good as their earlier ones? Do you think Toy Story 3 should be among the Best Picture nominees?

The film I would love to see win Best Animated Feature is The Illusionist, by French director Sylvain Chomet. It’s a quiet film, a quirky film, a film with almost no dialogue and almost no plot. It is like no animated film I’ve ever seen, and several days after viewing it, I’m still not sure what to make of it. It’s a slice of life, a tribute to a bygone era, and a beautifully-animated film.

Snow, comics and flipbooks

Hi everyone, here are a few things I’ve been working on, in between shoveling snow.

I just wrote a new post for my art/nature blog The Untended Garden, continuing my winter theme with one of my favorite books from childhood, Katy and the Big Snow, by Virginia Lee Burton. This is the kind of book that may seem old-fasioned at first, but the closer you look at it, the more remarkable it is. Read my full review here.

My interactive story Elfbook: The Curious Journey was featured in a nice review at Books4YourKids.com.  It’s a project I did with my brother Tony last year, a mixture of a book, a film and a game. I hope to do more like it in the future. (You can see Elfbook here.)

I also recently resumed drawing new pages in the Sticky Burr web comic, and hope to add a new one each week. Stay tuned to see how the latest story unfolds!

Finally, here is an update on my Page A Day Flipbook project, where I draw one page each day. I made a video of the first part so you can see how it’s coming!