Dec 20, 2010

Quick info

Hey folks! Two quick notes:

1) Thanks mucho for all of the support so far and ideas on how to get this out. It's super appreciated, especially since this is my first time in the book world. Ultimately it's you who will make the difference between me selling two copies to my mom or you guys shooting over some ideas and you telling your people about the book/blog (and hopefully picking up two copies for YOUR mom).

2) Also, my email is locked up at the moment by Google (apparently it's too much awesome for their servers to handle. Well, they said "suspicious activity" but that's just the same thing) so I have not been able to receive emails since this this launched. So if you sent me a message, I'm not ignoring you, I just can't get to it.

Thanks again! Word!

I need a Hero

Every story needs a hero. Ours has the greatest dynamic-est duo since Kanye West and himself (if you ask him) - I'd like you to meet Dewey (Get it? Dew-ey? Water. Dew.) and Blue. I won't get into the details, but I thought I'd share a few sketches of their conception:

Above is first sketch of the duo once I had an idea of what I wanted the story to be. Notice the crazy amount of work that went into this. I must've spent at least 3 hours on blue's legs. I HAD to get it right.

These next two are a little ways down the line after some more exploration and refinement. Blue is not too far from the final. Dewey however looked like he deserved a wedgie so I went back and reworked him.Which bring us to:

Now there's a kid who deserves a high-five. And this is pretty much where I'll leave you today. Word!

Dec 14, 2010

It's not you, it's me.

Editing your story can be hard. Even painful. I look at it like this: You know when you go to a buffet and you're walking past all of the food on the way to your table? Then in your head you have already mapped out what you want on your first plate. Easy - fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, bread, green beans, ham, rice pilaf and chicken pot pie. Then you grab an empty plate and step up to bat and realize, man, there's a lot of great food (or however you view Old Country Buffet. Yeah, I said OCB. Don't judge.) but it all won't fit on my plate. So I need to choose only the best items that are the most cohesive and will tell the best "story" in my gut. Make sense? I just made that analogy up. I kinda like it. Mainly because I like to eat.

Anyways, there's a point to all of this (Can you tell I have ADD?). I thought I'd share a page that made it to the post it note stage, but didn't pass the Wife Test. First the original sketch (from the very first pass).

And now the post it page.
Sometimes editing is like breaking up with somebody. But instead of saying, "It's not you, it's me" it's more like saying "You're not fitting the story of my life right now...and your left eye is slightly higher than your right." Ok, nix that last part. I leave you with a sketch of the break up. I need to get a scanner or a new iPhone.
So I'm leaving you guys for now. It's not you, it's me.

Dec 10, 2010

Successful (?) Surgery

No stories about the story today. Rhymeswithfun had made a comment about my sketch from the "The Wife Test" blog. She said my arm was coming out of my head. Thought it was weird. She's obviously never been to Mexico. Totally normal. Well, thanks to American culture I was left self-conscious about my arm, so I had it surgically placed to be aligned with my other arm at the shoulder. Now all of my Mexican brothers will point and laugh. I hope you're happy Rhymeswithfun.
Also a quick note about my wife. She, too, is a designer/illustrator so her input is credible and valuable. She's also seen every Pixar movie at least 3 times so that almost makes her an expert. It may be worth noting as well, X-mas is coming up soon and I would like a few video games. Just sayin'.

Dec 9, 2010

The Wife Test

Where were we? Ahh yes, the story. So after receiving JP's feedback, I had to go back and re-craft the story so there'd be more substance. So after re-thinking and rewriting and liking where I was, now came the REAL challenge - The Wife Test. You see, I'm lucky enough to be married to a woman who will tell me like it is. You know, "Skinny jeans aren't your thing" and "you should probably take a shower before we leave the house." She even kept me from entering MC battles after watching 8 Mile (Although I could probably easily take out at least 6 out of 10 country singers in an MC battle if I tried). You catch my drift, if I ever want an honest opinion, I know where to go. Once the story was updated, I grabbed some post-it notes and story boarded the entire story, page-by-page on these neat little orange pieces of brilliance. Peep it.

In our kitchen we have a little nook in the wall for some odd reason, so for the first time in 2 years I decided to make use of it and hung these little suckers in order so I could see the full story all at once. I made some revisions and editing and prepared it for The Wife Test. I sat her down in front of the wall and "pitched" her the story. If you've ever seen the extras on a Pixar or Dreamworks DVDs (or blu-ray for all of you Big Willies), they will sometimes show the artists pitching a scene to the director. Same idea here. Here's a quick sketch of how it went down.

Long story short, she liked it! She did have some thoughts and I agreed with most, if not all of them. So I quickly sketched some revisions on the post-its and the story is complete! (I will say, I'm thinking of adding a T-Rex. No lie.) And yes, my head is really that big and one eye is bigger than the other.

That's where I'll leave you for now.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask via comment, email or Twitter. Word!

Dec 8, 2010

Tell Me a Good Story

So onto the story! I've never written a story outside of an English class assignment. Songs, yes (bad ones). Stories, not really. Here's where JP was a real help. You see, JP has a Master's degree in Cartooning. Yes, Cartooning. Do you even know how awesome that is?! It's like graduating Magna Cum Laude from the Jedi Academy and Yoda was your professor. It's like speaking softly and carrying a pimp stick. Anyways, I set up lunch one afternoon so I can bring him my sketch book and show him what I thought was gold in written form and wanted some feedback. Here's a bad iPhone photo of said page. This is the very first pass at the book. I basically did a rough storyboard to get the points across (I should add I'm not aiming for Shakespeare. It's more like Sesame Street).
Thankfully he was kind in saying there needed to be changes and instead of telling me what changes to make, he asked me a few questions and gave suggestions on how to create some basic story telling principles. I wrote down those notes 3/4 of the way down the page below the horizontal line. (You'll notice it's near impossible to read. That's how I protect my work from prying eyes like YOURS! I kid. I just have horrible handwriting). His feedback was great and extremely valuable (some would say invaluable. See, not a writer. That's why it's all about the drawings folks.), so I am beyond grateful for his friendship and expertise. Thanks brotha! So I went back to the drawing board (literally) and thought about his advice and made some changes.Check back to see what happens next. This is edge of your frickin' seat stuff, I know.

So for now I leave you with a quick sketch from tonight (not relevant to this book). 


Dec 6, 2010

How It Started

So here's how the idea for this book started: Confession - This isn't my first book-for-a-charity attempt. I was working on another book I wanted to do for charity (I'll eventually go back to it) and was trying to figure out what charity I wanted to support. (Below is a bad  photo of one of the pages. That book is for another time; another blog. But I WILL finish it!)
Back to this book - For some reason water came to mind. It's one of those things you take for granted and if you've ever seen images or videos of the water some people actually drink, it's deeeeee-sgusting. It's like Fear Factor except nobody wins any prizes and there's no Joe Rogan. Anyways, I felt the story should tie back to the type of charity so it's somewhat cohesive. I liked that idea so I quickly sketched the character below and a star was born (or soon to be star...I hope).

The original thought was to write the story then I would get my friends (some of which are reading this right now) to each illustrate a different page. My pie-in-the-sky wish was to get some of my favorite illustrators (outside of my friends) such as Amanda Visell, Johnny Yanok, Don Clark (from Invisible Creature), etc to do a page also. I've been lucky to meet some of them. Others are friends, or relatives of friends, and some I would just contact out of the blue (no pun intended) to see what would happen. So if there was going to be 32 pages, then there would be 32 illustrators. Kinda cool.

I quickly texted my buddy and first illustrator on my list, JP Coovert with the idea to get his thoughts since he's kinda in the biz. He liked it and was down to do help. He'll play a bigger role eventually but I'll ruin a surprise right now and let you know that's not the route I'm taking. He suggested that I illustrate the whole thing for two reasons - 1) He liked my style and, more importantly, 2) we both agreed that all of the different illustration styles would distract from the story.

That's too many words in a row so that's where I'll leave you for now. Till next time! Oh yeah, you can check JP's stuff here:


Dec 5, 2010

Let it Begin

So this is the first post on what I hope to be an exciting adventure. I hope to use this blog not only to show the process in writing and illustrating this book (which may or may not be the correct process to take), but to also do what the purpose of the actual book is, which is raising the awareness of the need for clean water in third world countries and how easy it is to help out. I'm not going to Suzanne Sommers you, don't worry.

Before I go any further I wanted to let you know how this book came to be. I've always wanted to be an uber-famous children's author and illustrator and make Harry Potter moolah. Then you kinda realize if everybody thought like that, then we'd be in for one horrible helluva ride (which explains things like Jersey Shore). So I wanted to see what it would look like if I made this less about the money and more about something bigger than me. I am fortunate to have a pretty sweet full-time gig, so why not write a book and donate ALL of the money to a charity? So here we are. I know absolutely nothing about publishing a book or anything about that stuff so you know this is going to be fun!

I'll be revealing all of the details including the name of the charity and eventually how much this puppy makes and hopefully where the well will be built as time goes on. Things like this usually take more than one person to make happen so I'm counting on you guys to spread the word, especially once the book comes out. I'll be posting updates on Twitter so go ahead and follow me and let's do this! @Muddybeats. Word!