What Was the Vietnam War?

Penguin

In 2018, I worked on a few of the ‘What Was / Who Was’ series of young adult non-fiction books. The next two in the series, my 18th and 19th books for this publisher, featured some rather heavy topics, The Vietnam War, and the Bombing of Hiroshima (samples to come next month). The challenge for these books, which feature a lot of real life horror, was to not sugarcoat the images, and yet not get too grisly with the details. It was a fine line sometimes. I dedicated this book to my Aunt Lynn and my Uncle Bernard, who both served in the armed forces during this conflict. Here’s all the illustrations for this book (still available at Amazon and other fine booksellers).

Quietly Sketching Away

First Second, MacMillan, Penguin

Been a long time between posts. After a period of quiet, this past week I’ve been caught up with sketches for an upcoming ‘Who Was’ project. My favorite part of these books is the portraits, and here’s a few rough sketch versions of some of the cast of characters from this project. I’ll also be finally starting work on another book project for MacMillan (which got sidelined during the whole pandemic of 2020), and with one more ‘Who Was’ project waiting in the wings, it should be a pretty busy spring.

In the meantime, the ‘What Unites Us’ graphic novel has been making the rounds, and there was a very nice review for it on Multiversity Comics.

Impeachment Buddies

Penguin

Was asked to revise one of the illustrations for a revised edition of the book “What is the Constitution?” for Penguin Young Readers. Since it was published, of course, we have a new member of the “Impeached Presidents” club, and they wanted “The Previous Guy” added to the portraits of Johnson and Clinton.

In the meantime, I’m currently in a holding pattern, awaiting the manuscripts for two new ‘Who Was’ books, one on Charles Schultz, and another on the Harlem Renaissance. Hoping to get started in the coming weeks.

Typical Daily Workload

Penguin
1/2 page size

I’m in the middle of another ‘Who Was’ book project for Penguin currently. This one is on Walt Whitman. I usually post samples from the book a couple years after it has been published, but today, I thought I’d share with you what a typical day’s workload looks like when I’m doing one of these books. I try to shoot for a minimum of 6 illustrations per day, to meet the deadline the publisher has set for September 3rd (I always plan on trying to beat the deadline by a few days). This schedule is workable for me, as it takes up most of the day, but also leaves a little wiggle room in case I also need to fit in another project. This was todays’ 6 illustrations, and they usually range from single half page spots like above to 2 page spreads like the two below, with the occasional small spot (like the portrait). Today’s big challenge was the elaborate theater scene, which took a good chunk of the day to complete.

2 page spread
2 page spread
1/2 page size
Spot (1/4 page)
Spot (1/4 page)

RIP John Lewis

Penguin

Read this morning in the news about the passing of John Lewis. Condolences to his family and friends and many admirers. Had a chance to draw him for a recent book on the Civil Rights Movement.