"How Picture Books Can Change the World" Lecture Video

Here it is, the video for the lecture I delivered last Tuesday at the Adventure School Store!

Thanks to Aviva Palmer for inviting me to participate in the lecture series, Mathew Chasan for the video handiwork, Brian Murphy for feedback on the first draft of the lecture, Greg Flores for the poster design, and Erin Gainey for getting the word out. Also, thanks to everyone who took time out of their Tuesday evenings to attend, you guys were wonderful and had some really great questions (which, unfortunately did not get recorded).

Hope those of you who couldn't make it enjoy the video, and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to shoot them my way!

Oh, and all images in the video are copyright their respective owners. Durr.


Monday Sketcharoo! 2ZackandBrianYes, this is me. No, my legs are fine. Last Saturday was the 25th Worldwide Sketchcrawl, so I decided to bust out my watercolor travel materials and join the other sketchers amassing in Volunteer Park up on Capitol Hill. I was curious to find out whether or not I could pull off some on-the-spot watercolor sketches. And as it turns out, I can! They look like they we executed by a half-blind chimpanzee who was having difficulty recovering from his recent electroshock treatments, but if we're using the strict dictionary definition of "sketch," then yes, I technically sketched. Technically.

Anyway, here's the best sketch of the bunch:


I should note it was freezing cold and raining when I drew this. I should note this because engendering pity in my viewers' hearts tends to make my work more palatable.

Meanwhile, my friend Brian (pictured above) drew this:


Glorious, I know. It's this sort of brilliance that allows Brain to create his reasonably popular thrice-weekly comic strip.

If you want to see more work from the Sketchcrawl, including photos taken by Seattle Times' sketcher extraordinaire Gabi Campanario (who snapped the above photo), visit the Urban Sketchers > Seattle blog. In fact, if you just love Seattle and art, you should visit there often. They're always posting some great sketches from around the Sound.

IN OTHER NEWS: I finally updated my portfolio site, including a slightly adjusted version of my latest Trinity Western Magazine illustration:


Oh, c'mon. Like you can't relate. Please.

LASTLY: I've been posting art on my Twitter feed pretty regularly recently, stuff that may not ever make it onto my blog, so if you're interested, subscribe!

Okay, time for go to bed.

B is for Bomb-Throwing!

Monday Sketcharoo! 2 Ask the man on the street how to create a successful product, and he'll most likely respond with some platitude about innovation and research. But what he won't tell you is that he's an idiot, and the street he's on is South Moron Ave. Because creating a successful product as nothing to do with innovation, research, creativity, competence or anything else they teach you in those stuck-up, can't-get-into-without-having-graduated-junior-high-style business colleges. The key to creating a successful product is looking at the marketplace, seeing what's already successful, then copying it.

To take a relevant example, look at William "The Jolly Roger" Powell's 1971 classic The Anarchist's Cookbook. The author saw two already successful products, anarchism and cookbooks, and synergized them into a popular new product, perfect for those anarchist housewives looking to try out fun new recipes (I assume - I haven't actually read the book). Inspired by The Jolly Roger's double-up piggy-back, we decided in 1972 to develop our own line of anarchist-related books for the family. And we had all sorts of great ideas for titles in the series, like The Anarchist Guide to Etiquette, Spain for Anarchists, and Talking to Your Teens About Puberty (and Anarchism), to name a few.

Unfortunately, we were only able to publish one title, A is for Anarchy: An Anarchist's Alphabet.

C is for COP!

Citing an enthusiastic endorsement from Abbie Hoffman emblazoning the cover, our publisher reported more copies of A is for Anarchism were stolen then sold. Hence, they canceled the rest of the series. Lesson learned? Maybe sometimes the success of a product isn't measured in units sold. Maybe, just maybe, it can be measured in the amount of money won from a favorable verdict in a breech of contract lawsuit.

ALSO, in case you are wondering why I wasn't able to post anything last week, you have this man to blame:

Justin Townes Earle

Justin Townes Earle, son of Steve Earle and namesake of  country music legend Townes Van Zandt, has been touring in support of his fantastic new album Midnight at the Movies, and I was lucky enough to catch his show at the Tractor Tavern last Monday. Sorry about that! Well, not really.

By the way, I have been to a lot of concerts here in Seattle, and I defy any locals to name a better venue than the Tractor Tavern. I love that place.

yes we did!


Driving home from an election party last night, Amber and I came across a police barricade behind which 4,000 insanely happy Seattlites chanted, danced and shouted. Heading towards the throng, looking for a parking spot, we nearly hit a topless woman flagrantly disregarding the Don’t Walk sign. The event was incredible. Fueled by sheer joy (and plentiful beer), Capitol Hill spontaneously exploded into a celebratory frenzy, taking their isolated parties to the corner of Pike and Broadway to merge together into one chaotic expression of excitement and relief. Folks were climbing on street signs, leading people in cheers of “O-BAM-A, O-BAM-A!” American flags were being hung and waved everywhere. Smiles, high-fives and Miller Lites were shared freely. Someone hooked up a speaker on a nearby rooftop and the crowd participated in a singalong to the dance remix of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Hipsters loudly repeated “USA! USA! USA!” unironically. Fireworks blazed up into the sky, briefly drawing attention to the three helicopters monitoring the festivities from above. All this while the police stood guard, smirking and periodically getting asked to have their pictures taken with a reveler.

I’m so happy I was able to be part of that celebration, happy to live in a city whose priorities include active political participation and indulgence in the true meaning of the term “political party.” But more than that, I’m happy that last night America said no to the politics of fear, no to business as usual in the other Washington, and no to an ideology that is dangerous for both Americans and the rest of the world. I don’t anticipate things will get better immediately, but I’ve got this strange feeling – I think it’s called “hope”- that over the next few years, with a lot of work and effort from both the government and the citizenry, we can ensure America lives up to the principles set forth by its founders.

Yesterday was a good start. Let’s keep the party going.


(Poster courtesy of Christopher David Ryan. Get your own, printable version here)