Ant, P.I. in "Hot Under the Collar!"

AntWeb The hangover hounded me all day, left me seeing spots, sick as a dog. I'd spent the night previous chasing my tail at the old watering hole, trying to forget the lady (the tramp) that marked my heart like a fire hydrant. She told me she'd always be loyal. And she was, right before she up and strayed. It was going to take more than a few Greyhounds to shoo her memory away.

As I self-medicated with a little hair o' the dog, there came a knock at the door.

"Come in," I whimpered.

He didn't have to throw me a bone. All it took was one look to know the guy wanted to see me at the end of a rope. Or, more specifically, a leash.

"Hey buddy," he said, giving me puppy eyes big as a dinner bowls. "You look a little ruff."

"What's it to ya," I growled back, but my bark was worse than my bite. He was going to get what he wanted, sure. But I wasn't going to beg for it.

"Heard you howling last night," he said, "thought maybe a walk would cheer you up."

He had the scent all right, I had been inside with my tail between my legs for too long. Maybe if I got some fresh air I could forget my troubles for a while, let sleeping dogs lie.

"Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy!?" he panted as we trotted out the door. I didn't bite. Good? Bad? What's it matter when we all end up in the same place. The important thing was I was feeling better. And as long I focused on putting one foot in front of the other in front of the other in front of the other, maybe, just maybe, I could find a way to heel.

[Commissioned piece. RIP Ant]


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Stick a fork in it.


The book is done.

What started off as vision of an antique store helmed by a talking bulldog clerk that wandered into my head during a midnight ramble ended up a 32-page adventure through lands marked by fiery rebellions, sea-sunk civilizations, stone giants, and dark nights of the soul. Oh, and there's also two scenes in a sushi bar for some reason.

All it took to get from that quaint flight of fancy to a real deal book was a pinch of imagination, a little luck, and an unhealthy amount of work. It was like giving birth, only it took 11 months and I was in labor the entire time.

Copies will be showing up on bookshelves this fall. I know it's a ways off, but I'll remind you when the time comes, and often. And I'll share more images from the book in the run-up to its publication.

In the meantime, enjoy this little watercolor of the bulldog himself, inspecting a famous animated ball (painted for a friend who was kind enough to give me a tour of Pixar last summer).


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Room with a view

[click for larger view]


In preparation for my trip to Bologna Book Fair, I spent the last few weeks getting my portfolio into gear. This included a 20-day tenancy in the museum exhibition space above. Forty different exhibits on display there, not counting the canine. Took forever not only to think up interesting curios to show, but also to organize them on the walls and shelves. It was all worth it, though, because now my children's book boasts both a human skull and a shining red butt. You're welcome, parents.

Alright, I'm off! Wish me luck!


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A Bunch of Bulldog

Been plugging away at picture book ideas lately, which amounts to a bunch of sketches and Word docs but not a lot of finished art. Spending so much time concepting illustrations but not executing them was proving torturous, so I decided to do a portrait of a character I'm particularly fond of from the current picture book I'm working on. With that mug and those socks, I'm not sure how kids could resist hearing his story. It's unfair, really.


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