Friday, September 05, 2014

DRUTHERS!


If you had your druthers, what would you do?




My first picture book as both author and illustrator is now available! The idea for Druthers came to me ten years ago but it took many years (and, arguably, fatherhood) to get the book right.

Here are some images from the long journey:



Original cover concept from the pitch dummy.




Another cover idea.






Pages from the sketch dummy. The basic structure of the story is the same from the dummy, 
but we expanded the build-up to the ending.









Various character sketches. Fortunately, I have very good source material running around the house. This book is dedicated to her.


A Tentative Shrew




Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Wind in the Willows




More classic characters, this time from one of my favorite books, The Wind in the Willows. These guys were sketched just for fun while on vacation.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Ramona & Me


What do you say when you are asked to draw one of the great characters of children's literature? YES! And YES, PLEASE!

That's what I answered when the Oregon Children's Theatre approached me to provide a drawing of Ramona to promote their upcoming production of Ramona Quimby. OCT of course had forever endeared themselves to me for their stunning production of The Storm in the Barn two years ago. I leapt at the chance not only to draw Ramona but to work with these great folks again.

As luck would have it, I was reading Ramona the Pest to my daughter when OCT contacted me. But although she was fresh in my mind, capturing Ramona on paper took some work. Here is a sample of the many, many, many sketches I made of Ramona...










Everyone liked those last two, but ultimately we decided the poster needed a bit more of the rambunctious side of Ramona.




One more try, and we settled on the final image.








And that's that! Here's an interview I did with OCT  about the project.

If you are in Ramona's home town of Portland next May, be sure to catch the show!



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Three Eisner Nominations for BLUFFTON!




I was beyond thrilled to learn that Bluffton has been nominated for THREE Eisner Awards. The Eisners are the "Oscars" of the comics industry and are named after the great Will Eisner, creator of The Spirit and the artist most often credited with the creation of the modern graphic novel.

Bluffton is nominated in the categories of Best New Graphic Album, Best Writer/Artist, and Best Publication for Teens. Here is the press release.

VOTING for the award winners will close on Friday, June 13th at midnight PDT. Comics professionals, retailers, and... LIBRARIANS are all eligible to cast a vote. VOTE HERE.

It is indeed an honor to be recognized in these categories and to stand beside such amazing fellow nominees. I'll be at the awards ceremony on July 25th. It's my first time at San Diego Comic Con.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

ABFFE Silent Auction 2014


Once again I'm very happy to participate in this year's ABFFE Silent Auction event at BookExpo America. Here is one of two pieces that I've donated...




I'll be at the auction Wednesday night and will be in NYC for the rest of the week for various events including signing lithos of my upcoming picture book DRUTHERS (more on that later this week).

Sunday, March 09, 2014

BLUFFTON at the Muskegon Museum of Art!


On March 6, I had the immense pleasure of attending the opening night of Buster Keaton's Bluffton: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan, a new exhibit at the Muskegon Museum of Art.

The experience of seeing my paintings framed and hanging on a museum gallery's walls was amazing and more than a bit surreal. It took me a few minutes of standing in the gallery to really get my head around the whole thing.

The exhibit features paintings, sketches, and preliminary work as well as Bluffton memorabilia (including a porkpie hat made by Keaton's wife Eleanor and a bar stool from Pascoe's).

The museum is also featuring a range of special events around the exhibit and encouraging local schools to bring their classes. 

On opening night, I signed books and gave a talk about the making of the book. I met many people who either currently live in Bluffton or had relatives who lived there during the vaudeville era. 

One gentleman gave me a photo of his father as a boy sitting outside of Pascoe's. Needless to say I was overwhelmed with the warm reception the book is receiving from the people of Bluffton.

The exhibit runs through May 25, 2014.


           





Thursday, October 31, 2013