The charming Sylvia at Penguin Random House told me via email to expect delivery of a package. And so, a few days later, when I stepped into my foyer after a long day at the office,
I was greeted by a pale mustard-yellow wrapped parcel that made my heart break into a Buddy Rich. I don’t care much for anticipation, and this moment promised a quick reveal. The parcel read “PULL TAB TO OPEN” and I did. It was the book, that beautiful book that I first read and fell in love with a year earlier, now
dressed in a cover that I both designed and crafted with my art tools. I loved every step of making this, starting with Tundra’s then editor Tara Walker—now Publisher of Penguin Random House Canada’s Children’s Publishing Group—handing me the manuscript. It was a pure joy to read Linda Bailey’s masterful manuscript. Geared at 8-12 year olds, it was not created with me in mind, but I was hooked nevertheless. The characters are gripping and enchanting. I could see each unique personality with vivid clarity. Tundra has posted a brief synopsis that gives you a condensed version better than I can.
It’s a wonderfully frightening moment to agree to take on the illustrations for a written work of art that has lived in an author’s head, but I was too excited to let fear bother me! I had already sketched out renderings of all the major characters. I worked with the visionary that is Tara, and Tundra’s brilliantly talented designer Terri Nimmo to craft the artwork that evolved to its present published form.
Fast-forward to the recent release of the book—I received an email from the author that I put off reading for an hour. I imagined the worst, so I had to let my insecurities play out before I read the sweetest message I could ever imagine. To learn that Linda Bailey was pleased with my visual interpretation of her characters made my heart sing in a note that it had no business singing. I’m pretty sure there was some embarrassing falsetto happening in there. Please check out Linda’s website here. Linda regularly speaks to children about her work, and her current slide show mentions me! I am thrilled to be associated with the fabulous Linda Bailey.
Let’s get back to the recent pale mustard-yellow parcel in my foyer, and a note from Tara Walker that I won’t share in its entirety, but I can’t help revealing in part.
It is with pride and deep satisfaction that I present to you Seven Dead Pirates. It is now available for sale and I highly recommend it, especially for any 8-12 year olds you may know who are full of imagination and love adventure. Happy reading!
On to current events: Are you going to be in Toronto this weekend? On Sunday, October 11th I’ll be exhibiting at the Bazaar of the Bizarre with all my books, prints, calendars (yes, I have them in stock!) and all the rest of my wares from 11am to 8pm. For full details, visit the event’s facebook page.
If you’re just meandering about looking for somewhere to eat, go to Vesuvio Pizzeria & Spaghetti House in the Junction and enjoy my original artwork on the walls. Artwork will remain on exhibition until October 25th. Get all the details here.