Posted in Author Meet Up, Illustrators

Mike Laughead


Website/social media: mikelaughead.com @mikelaughead on instagram and twitter

Tell me a little about yourself: I am an illustrator and college illustration teacher as well as a father of 3 girls and a husband to one amazing wife. I have lived in Columbus, OH since 2011. But I’ve also lived in Michigan, Idaho, Iowa, California, Illinois and Argentina!
I like drawing monsters and using bright colors. My favorite TV show to watch and re-watch is the Pride and Prejudice BBC miniseries.

How long have you been drawing? I have been drawing since I can remember. I drew all the time growing up and I always kept drawing, sketching and doodling on whatever paper was around through elementary school, middle school and high school. When I went to college I chose an art major because I couldn’t imagine life without drawing. One of my favorite things to draw when I was a kid was Bilbo Baggins from the 1977 Hobbit cartoon. I had a copy on VHS tape and I would pause it and draw the characters.

How did you get into comics? I have always loved comics, from before I can remember much else. I made my own in middle school and high school and I’ve kept making them in college and afterward as well. Most of my comics have been self-published.

What is your favorite comic you have worked on? My favorite comics I have worked on are my Pink Bunny Self-Help comics. Using a style similar to Scott McCloud’s informational comics (like Understanding Comics) I drew a Pink Bunny teaching the reader about positive affirmations and stress. I’m working on one about traumatic memories right now.

What is the coolest thing someone has said about your work? The coolest thing has to be the people online that said the Pink Bunny comics helped them to feel better about their life and to make positive changes to try to be happy or happier. I made art that is fun for many people to look at, but that is the first time my art made someone have a bit of a better life.

What are you working on right now? Ā Right now I’m working on 3 comic projects. One is a new addition of “The Legend of Acornhead” that we released online a few years ago. My collaborators (Keaton Kohl, writing and inks, and Stefan Jolet, colors) and I are editing the first issue and pitching it to publishers. The second is a short book of my Pink Bunny Self-Help comics. And the third is a funny/strange story about something strange that happened to me when I lived in Argentina. When I was 19-20 years old I was a missionary for my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (also known as Mormons). I was in northern Argentina. One day another missionary and I walked by a guy who started yelling at us, then he ripped ort glasses off our faces, slapped me and punched the other missionary. We had to walk away, without being able to see, 5 blocks to the police station and report the theft of our glasses. It was strange, but the man was eventually brought in and shockingly didn’t harm our glasses. We were able to walk away without any problems.

I know some other comics artists who went on missions as well. We all had at least a few strange things we either did or happen to us when we were there. We are planning to create an anthology of these comic stories and run a kickstarter to fund the printing and shipping. Look for more information (and who the other artists are) in the next few months.

Why do you think kids should read comics/graphic novels? When I was a kid, for a long time I thought that The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were the only good books. So I didn’t read other things and I missed out on other things I would have liked. If kids only read books or only watch cartoons or only watch movies they miss out on all the other ways to enjoy stories. Kids should be willing to try comics because experiencing a story in a new way can be fun, just like I learned that tons of other books were amazing, not just the ones by JRR Tolkien.

What are some all-ages comics you suggest? I have been loving Cucumber Quest by G.G. Digi (a webcomic, soon to be officially published) for a long time. I also like Sam Bosma’s Fantasy Sports series. Bone by Jeff Smith is my favorite comic series (and I live in Columbus, where he lives! I got to meet him a few times and he is really great!) COWA! by Akira Toriyama, the guy who made Dragonball is super fun. And I also like to point out to people that children’s picture books are just comics with 1-panel per page. And there are tons of great picture books out there.

Bonus silly question round:

– Pop vs soda? I saw Pop because my family is all from the midwest and I have lived most of my life in the midwest.

– Crayon vs marker? I love using markers in my sketchbook so I have to go with markers. Plus, I love how much of the page they cover and how fast. I also love how flat the color can get. Wow, maybe I have a thing for markers. šŸ˜‰

Posted in Book Review

The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth

by Ian Lendler

Illustrated by Zach Giallongo

This is a very funny story about what happens at the zoo at night. The animals put on plays. This time they are doing Macbeth (Bridget note: Mom says it is a Shakespeare play). At first you think Macbeth is a good guy but it turns out he is not.

This is so funny, not just the play, but the audience comments. It is done as a graphic novel so easy to sneak in funny moments. There are some monkeys who come up regularly and are very funny. Keep an eye out for them. The illustrations are well done and help the funny moments be even funnier. I definitely need to get the second book where they do Romeo and Juliet.

This would be a great summer read. You will laugh and learn Shakespeare at the same time.

 

Posted in Book Review

Vordak

 

This is a review of all four books because they are super funny. Vordak is a really bad super villain. He is trying to take over the world but keeps failing. The books are how to be a super villain with him. Four days after reading this, I still haven’t taken over the world.

These books are laugh out loud, pee your pants funny. (Mom note: there were lots of giggles heard while reading this) There are tests in the books. I am Vordak’s sidekick, Zordak, because I scored really evil. 

I recommend this book to people who want to rule the world. I think this would be good for kids who aren’t into reading yet. They won’t want to put this down.

I met Vordak the other day. He is awesomely evil.

And Vordak, I am having my minions work with your minions for an interview but you know how minions are. They aren’t too reliable, especially my monkey minions. All they want is electronic bananas.

Posted in Illustrators, The Illustrator Says

Meet Steve James


Website/social media: http://stejdesigns.wixsite.com/mysite @SteJDesigns

Tell me a little about yourself: Hi I live near the vibrant City of Leeds in the UK with my partner Vicky and little girl Rosanna, I also live very close to the countryside which we all love to explore whenever we can. There are lots of arty people in my family and I naturally had a love of drawing from an early age, inspired by comic books and Warner Brothers and Disney cartoons. I’ve worked in the creative industry for over 10 years mainly working in greetings cards (with a highlight being illustrating a range of Star Wars cards) and only recently had the pleasure of illustrating childrens books. I like to keep up to date with the latest cartoons and childrenā€™s books, and adapt my style by introducing elements from new sources of inspiration. When I’m not illustrating I like spending time with my family and friends, music, films, video games, walks in the countryside and attempting to play guitar.

How long have you been illustrating books? It’s been about a year and a half, I remember because that’s the age of my daughter and I was first asked to illustrate the Super Happy Party Bears a week before she was due to be born (it was a very busy time in our household) so far there’s been four Super Happy Party Bears books published and four more due out pretty soon so it’s all happened very fast but it’s been a really fun experience and I love working in this industry.

How did you become a book illustrator? iMPRINT Macmillan Publisher’s saw some of my work and contacted my illustration agent at Advocate Art who asked me if I’d like to be involved in the Super Happy Party Bears books. The piece of artwork I think they particularly liked was originally from a page in a calendar I illustrated which was very in tune with what they were looking for.

How do authors pick their illustrators? In this case it was iMPRINT Macmillan Publisher’s who came up with the idea for Super Happy Party Bears then they contacted Marcie Colleen to write the books and me to illustrate them, it’s been a team effort.

How do you know how to illustrate a story?For the Super Happy Party Bears I was originally given notes on the story outline, characters and setting and then drew sketches of how I thought the characters should look, I thought to have the party bears look as colorful and fun as possible like a rainbow and the grumpy woods towns people to be more drab colors but still keep all the characters looking different from each other so they are instantly recognizable, this then partly influenced how the books were written by Marcie. From that point on for each new book I get a list of characters, objects, scenery then draw everything separately so that there is a library of images then the artists at iMPRINT put everything together with the words and they design how everything goes together on the pages.


Do you have a favorite book you have illustrated? My favorite Super Happy Party Bears book so far is ‘Going Nuts’ as I like the Goonies style adventure Marcie has written and the Chipmunk cops, I also really enjoyed drawing the punk characters in Bat to the Bone which is due out this August.

Do you illustrate by hand or by computer? I do a bit of both, I usually draw everything in my sketch book first then redraw the characters in color on computer.




Posted in Book Review

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures


By Ben Hatke

Julia’s house arrives in town by the edge of the sea (spoiler alert: it’s on a turtle).  It is a really nice house but it is lonely. Julia makes a sign and soon it’s not lonely anymore. Then there is more trouble and another sign. That fixes most of her trouble but she needs one more to fix the last issues.

I like that is a very kind story. It is a very pretty story. I like the creatures that come to live with Julia. I would like a mermaid to come live with me. 

I recommend this to kids who are lonely. It shows you can make friends. Also people who need to learn to ask for help because nice things come from that. Kids with silly imaginations will like this too.

Hey readers: what creatures do you want to live with you?