7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #53: Featuring Zachary Baldus
(The Obscenely-Cute-Kids-We-Don’t-Know Edition)

h1 March 9th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: Meet “Batgirl.” This is a commissioned piece by artist Zachary Baldus. Eisha and I are pleased to be featuring Zachary this week, who first came to my attention with his captivating cover for the new YA novel, The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher, which I reviewed here, complete with Zachary’s illustration (with and without the cover text). Zachary has done a slew of other book covers — see here (Scholastic), here (Puffin Books), here (Putnam Books), and here (Random House) for some examples. When I saw his web site, I knew I’d want to ask him to stop by here one Sunday. Fortunately for us, he said yes.

Zachary gave us free reign to choose our favorite images from his site. This proved difficult for me and Eisha. I mean, there’s this, this, this, and this. And then we also liked some of his weirder (that’s a compliment), darker stuff, such as this and this. And then there’s the eye-popping art work he’s done for comics, such as this and this (don’t click on the latter if you don’t wanna get freaked. right. out).

So, that’s one too many “this”es, but my point is that it was hard to pick a favorite. Nevertheless, we’re going to share some below, the first one being one that Zachary sent us that is not featured on his site, a panel from a page he did for an upcoming issue of American Splendor.

As a reminder, our weekly 7 Kicks list is the meeting ground for listing Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week — whether book-related or not — that happened to you (as well as featuring artists like Zachary). New people are more than welcome to leave their lists. We hope you’ll share your kick-worthy moments from the week.

Many thanks to Zachary for visiting and sharing some art work this week. Here are just a few more images from him:

As mentioned above, this is a panel from a page Zachary did for an upcoming issue of American Splendor (not currently featured at his site).

“Smells” (“Penthouse — a girl is reminded of her ex-boyfriend when she finds his old shirt,” as it is explained on Zachary’s site).

“Tiger Boy” (“Insight Magazine — laughing at the school bully”).

And we’ll close with “Wrangler” — (“I like drawin’ cowboys,” Zachary says at his site).

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* Batgirl!

2* I accidentally made a friend at work laugh so hard she spewed coffee all over her keyboard.

3* I went out for coffee and cocoa with the same friend and her nearly-five daughter, who kept cracking us up with her version of knock-knock jokes:

her: “Knock-knock.”
me: “Who’s there?”
her: (looks around coffee shop)”Um… napkin.”
me: “Napkin who?”
her: (in gleeful singsong) “Napkin Knock-Knock! Napkin Knock-Knock!” (raucous giggling ensues)

Repeat ad infinitum.

4* There were a couple of fake-out early spring days this week, with sunshine and warmth. It was enough to melt most of the ice on the river I walk next to coming home from work, turning the waterfalls into really serious, loud, rushing torrents. And now it’s snowing again.

5* I got very very very cute pictures of another friend’s three-month-old baby. Note the restraint I’m showing here. I’m just telling you about them, and not forcing you to look at a baby you don’t even know.

6* But I also discovered this; which, okay, is a baby I don’t even know, but who cares? I am a Beatles fan from birth, too, so this makes me incredibly happy:

7* I’m writing up my kicks early (Fri.) because I’ll be in NYC this weekend to see the latest show my husband designed. Woo!

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

Dude. That kid carries a tune well. And, speaking of videos of devastatingly cute children we don’t know, did you see this at Adrienne’s blog this week, Eisha? Okay, I’ll just post it here:

glumbert – Star Wars Girl

As I told Adrienne, my husband is DYING to show Star Wars to my oldest and hasn’t been sure if he should at age almost-four (will she get it? he wonders), but this might have sealed the deal for him. Thanks for the video, Adrienne. We all might just pass out from overwhelming cuteness this morning, huh?

(Oh, and speaking of knock-knock jokes, Eisha, Brooke of The Brookeshelf has a new family blog. To be honest, I won’t be frequenting it, as much as I love her writing, ’cause I can barely keep up with my lit blogs. But anyway, I did see this, a post on the art of the knock-knock joke with children, which you captured so well with the napkin version).

My kicks:

1). We got a big-for-middle-Tennessee snowfall yesterday, and my girls finally got to build a snowman. Small, but he exists. They wanted to build a dinosaur snowman, but there was not quite enough snow for that.

2). I volunteer-taught a program at my local library. People showed up, and I think it went well.

3). Getting more snail-mail from Adrienne. I love pen pal-ship. Real letters in your mailbox. Not credit card applications. And from Adrienne!

4). “A-Punk” from Vampire Weekend:

5). John Mutford’s Poetry Friday entry: “Everything I Need to Know I Learned Through The Simpsons.” It’s here. John’s my new hero.

6). My oldest will be four on Wednesday, and I can’t stinkin’ wait! (I’m not so sure yet why this hasn’t been declared a national holiday, but I’m sure every mother feels like that). Since we’re doing our second reading of Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I not only got her Robert Sabuda’s gorgeous pop-up of the book, but — since she loves acting out the story with her little sister — I got her some ruby slippers (and, in case any diehard Baum fans try to send me corrective emails, I know Dorothy’s shoes are silver in the book. Still, ruby ones are more fun). And, hell, I went ahead and got a pair for both of ’em. I can’t wait to see their faces.

Plus, Piper (the one about to party down) has been wearing every day, for about the past YEAR, cowgirl boots her Granddad gave her. Refuses to don any other footwear. Maybe these ruby slippers will break that streak.

7). The Kadir Nelson/We Are the Ship feature in Sports Illustrated. Just look at this gallery!

That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. Eisha, have fun in NYC! What are everyone else’s kicks this week? And how about that oozing-with-talent Zachary Baldus?

25 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #53: Featuring Zachary Baldus
(The Obscenely-Cute-Kids-We-Don’t-Know Edition)”

  1. Hi Y’all!
    Okay, after THAT introduction, I HAD TO look through Mr. Flagg’s ENTIRE ART PORTFOLIO, thank-you. WAY too much greatness. THANK YOU once again for getting me all giddy about art!

    (OF course, the Toy Master guy did freak me RIGHT OUT –who knew you could freak out from too many gums showing? *shudder*)

    I am SO getting the Kadir Nelson for my Dad for Father’s Day. Huzzah! Easiest gift year EVER.

    I’m thinking I need to now learn a rock song in Japanese, so match that smart Baby singing Hey Jude. Definitely passing out from cuteness.

    Have a great week, all!

  2. Me, too, TadMack, me, too. Every single picture.

    And how awesome is it that Kadir Nelson is in SI? I’m reeling at the genius of whoever made that happen.

    This week, I’m happy because my daughter’s home on break. She found an awesome job for the summer, too–writing the curriculum for overnight kid visits to the planetarium AND helping a professor with his research on gamma rays. (Now if only I can get her to turn all this into a graphic novel…)

    And did you guys see Laini Taylor’s post about her Chest of Claws? Her school visits are going to be so cool they aren’t going to let her leave!

    And Adrienne’s post about her jeans and putting air in her car tires? So true that it makes me wish Adrienne wrote fiction. Cause you know she could write intelligent chick-lit (or charming zombie YA) that I would actually read. Just saying.

    As for me, I’m having geeky fun learning how to use my Mac’s presentation software for the workshops I’m giving next week at a writer’s conference. I can animate! I can link to websites! I can waste hours and hours playing with music clips and dancing dots!

  3. Hi, TadMack and Sara. Sara, that’s great news about your daughter, and thanks for pointing us in the direction of Laini’s post (already saw Adrienne’s great one). Have fun with that software, Sara.

    Here’s the link to the cover of the SI with Kadir. The book made the cover, too!

  4. Oh, and I forgot to say how much fun that Batgirl image is. I want to live in some hip loft so I can hang that somewhere.

  5. Happy Sunday!

    Love the art feast today, J and E, and the kiddie cuteness is off the scale.

    My kicks are short this week because we have company coming in a little while.

    But, my major kick this week was hearing Sara’s good news and then reading Liz’s beautiful reaction to that news, in her post, “To Cheer or to Covet.” They both made sure that the rest of us were covered. And they were right, about it being better to “lay bare rather than bury” any “what about me” feelings. This says so much about the caliber of people in the kidlit community. Honest, supportive, and caring! I celebrate that!

    Right at this very moment, there are 6 (count em, 6)! deer lying down in our back yard. They feel safe here. That’s a good feeling.

    Happy week!!

  6. Ohhh, I love the batgirl image! That was a delight to see. Beautiful art work. It’s really cool to see that Baldus can work in so many different styles. I wonder which one feels most like his own voice?

    My kicks:

    1) I have interest from a literary agent. I’m cautiously happy–I’ll wait and see–but it’s still happy/hopeful.

    2) I’m not sick any more. Yay! No more cold-flu–it dragged on for so long. Yay!

    3) A friend I really care about is coming back home after being on vacation, and I’ll see her soon.

    4) Pancakes. I actually made myself berry pancakes this morning and really enjoyed them. Especially with a good book.

    5) There’s a ton of snow outside, piled up really high, and I’m indoors and warm, with all my pets in the room with me.

    6) I’ve started writing poetry again, and am enjoying it. Even sharing it, on Poetry Fridays. Eep! 🙂

    7) I just finished Avi’s The End of the Beginning, and really enjoyed the humor, the silliness, and the bits of wisdom and truth.

  7. http://lectitans.livejournal.com/56722.html

    1. On Sunday, I got out of rehearsal an hour early.
    2. On Monday, I did really well in dance class and my parents brought me hushpuppies.
    3. On Tuesday, I had no meetings.
    4. On Wednesday, we only had students for half a day. And when you’re used to a 90 minute class, 55 minutes flies by.
    5. On Thursday, I gave a test in two of my classes, which is always nice because it makes for a low-energy day.
    6. On Friday, I saw The Princess Bride on the big screen at the Carolina Theatre. And found out they will have Space Balls, The Secret of NIMH, and Terminator showing in the near future. Also a friend was working the concessions stand.
    7. Yesterday, I spent $4 and got a whole pizza for it, because Will’s dad gave him a gift card and we ordered 3 pizzas and I only had to pay the difference on the order between the gift card amount and the total.

  8. Hello All! After living for more than two weeks in a house rampant with flu, I am happy to say we are all on the mend. That is my biggest kick for the week.

    I am woefully behind on blog reading, so I appreciate all the pointers to good things I may have missed.

    My other kick for this week is the lovely note I received from Kelly Fineman. She posted last week about a new poetry book she received and I was heartbroken to read about it, as the topic was one I have been secretly working on these last 3 years. I wrote and told her, and she sent me a long, encouraging note back. It was just what I needed to hear.

    I hope you all have a good week. I’ve missed you!

  9. YAY for Batgirl! GO librarian superheroes!

    Eisha: Hee hee to the spit take.

    Jules: It sounds like the girls had fun with their snowman. I hope they get to build a snowdino at some point! Congrats on the library program. Somehow, I’m not surprised that you like “A-Punk” from Vampire Weekend. Last week, I showed that video to some people I knew would appreciate the video itself. HAPPY (almost) BIRTHDAY to the fourbie! I am sure they will both enjoy the slippers (and I love that you pointed out the book version!) As per the cowboy boots: Have you/they read the Lucy Rose books by Katy Kelly?!

    Sara: Enjoy your time with your daughter. Definitely get her to chronicle the experience, graphic novel or diary-wise.

    Cheryl: Crossed fingers for the agent. Glad that you are feeling better. 🙂

    My kicks:

    1) I think I listed it last week, but on Sunday, I saw a dance show featuring many people I know, and it was very cool.
    2) Meeting and beating (personal) deadlines.
    3) New website clients.
    4) TCM, which is always fantastic, has offered me various Barbara Stanwyck and Alfred Hitchcock films this week.
    5) Ferris Bueller being on TV right now, which is a great thing to have on in the background while I work.
    6) The Yip-Yips from Sesame Street, which, along with a friend, cheered me up one afternoon when I was stressed.
    7) The readergirlz forum discussing this month’s book, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, and a great many other books (this month’s recommended reads have been a hit! yay!) in detail.

    Update on me: Just yesterday, I discovered that the production in which I’m suppose to appear opens next weekend – and I have to find my own costume. Gee, I love short notice! I looked through three thrift shops yesterday – and I literally looked at every. single. piece. in one store – but came out emptyhanded. Oh, and I lost my Go Overboard Book Tour bookmark at the third shop, because I had a book in my hand as I was helped (and I use the term loosely) by people there, then walked out, prepared to open my book to the marked page, and the bookmark was gone. HOWEVER, I am okay. I will most likely just end up wearing a dress out of my own closet which isn’t 100% perfect for the show, but will do in a pinch. And I’m definitely pinched.

  10. LW, I was watching Ferris when it was on here a couple hours ago and thought of you! I also found an excerpt from Just Listen that I picked up in an independent bookstore years ago.

  11. Every Sunday, I am reminded here that the world is full of wonderful things. I love that! Zachary’s illustrations are awesome, as are this week’s videos. I had to watch the little girl talking about Star Wars again. So funny. And I love when I can be a part of someone else’s kicks.

    1. WPL’s Library Club met this week, and those kids continue to be some of the most intelligent and charming people I know. That program is always so fun.
    2. One of my patrons brought me ARCs of soon-to-be-released novels by Jerry Spinelli (Smiles to Go–read it, loved it, but I’m a Spinelli fan) and Kevin Henkes (Bird Lake Moon–2/3 of the way through, love the way that man puts sentences together).
    3. I went to see a traveling production of Avenue Q with a friend on Thursday night, which was a complete and total treat.
    4. We’ve been having the same weather here as Eisha’s been having a little further south–a big thaw followed by snow this weekend, over a foot on the ground right now. It’s kept me in the house in a good I’m-reading-and-watching-DVDs-and-baking-bread kind of a way.
    5. Speaking of watching DVDs, I finally finished the second season of Robot Chicken. That is some good, funny stuff.
    6. I also finally watched Michael Clayton, which was very WOW.
    7. I took my car for its first-ever oil change on Friday, partly because it was time and partly in anticipation of my upcoming two-week road trip, which I am really looking forward to (Minneapolis for PLA, then time in Michigan, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio–I’ll obviously be going through other states en route. I’m particularly excited that I will be seeing the Mississippi River for the first time with my own eyes.).

  12. LW, I’m with you on Ferris Bueller and the Yip-Yips.

  13. Hi, everyone! Wow, a girl heads off to take her ritual Sunday-morning-bubble-bath-with-books-while-the-husband’s-in-charge-of-the-kids and comes back to all kinds of great kicks. And may I just add that, during this morning’s luxurious bubble bath, I finished the first Penderwicks book and the last of Kerry Madden’s Maggie Valley trilogy? Blast it, Kerry’s book made me cry — such a beautiful ending. Two such fabulous, well-crafted middle-grade gems about two very unforgettable families.

    Anyway, Sara, Eisha and I love “Batgirl,” too. We just knew we had to lead off with that one. And, Little Willow, I thought you’d appreciate the American Splendor cat.

    Jama, OMIGOD, yes, Sara’s great news is an assumed kick, but I should have made it a real kick in my kicks list. Very exciting stuff, and I saw Liz’s thoughtful post, too.

    And have fun with your house guests, Jama.

    Cheryl, your kicks are particularly kickin’ — keep us updated on what the agent says, and CONGRATS! And congrats for kickin’ that lingering bug you had. I also got a copy of Avi’s new book but had never read the first one, so I’m reading that one now.

    Kimberly, I’d love to see The Princess Bride on the big screen again. Did you see the shirt I got as a gift that I featured in last week’s kicks? Perhaps you need one.

    Tricia, we’ve missed you, too. Glad you feel better. Sorry to hear about that poetry book. That’s gotta be hard, but I can see how Kelly Fineman would be a good, calming person to hear from about something like that, to encourage and support.

    Little Willow, it turns out that Vampire Weekend performed on Saturday Night Live last night. Sorry about that bookmark, LW, and I know you’ll be lovely in your dress, but sorry you couldn’t find exactly what you wanted. Break a leg!

    Ferris Bueller. Woot!

    Adrienne, thanks for what you said about the kicks. I really enjoy reading everyone else’s, too. Your road trip sounds great. Will you pack me in your suitcase?

  14. Oh, and Little Willow, nope, I’ve not seen the Lucy Rose books. But we did read Cowgirl Kate & Cocoa this week.

  15. Whenever I make it here on a Sunday I’m reminded that kick number one is reading all of ya’lls kicks. Honestly. A shot in the arm, is this.

    Plus, that Batgirl pic is going to drive me straight to the toenail polish after I finish up here.

    Tricia… I’m thinking about the poetry book news and I just have to believe that part of what another book is telling you is that you have a very, very, very good idea. And your book will be unique and fresh and singular. I have to believe that.

    Because, one of my other kicks this week was writing and reading all about envy and support and community and I am reminded of the beautiful truth that there is room enough for all of us…

    And let’s see. A few more:

    3. Awesome 7 miler this morning.
    4. Hot and frothy decaf latte afterwards.
    5. Going to the rodeo.
    6. Going to the movies with my husband even though I didn’t exactly love the movie, which was No Country for Old Men, because it was a little relentless for me.
    7. The crisp weather and green buds and the breeze.

  16. Liz, man, I haven’t been to a rodeo since I was a girl. Congrats on 7 miles and, better yet, a latte afterwards.

    Speaking of Tricia saying she’s behind on blog-reading and hearing about particular posts, there’s also this fabulous one from MotherReader over at ForeWord Magazine. I sent that link to every mama I know.

    And, Tricia, I seem to be very behind on blog-reading, too. I managed to catch up a bit this week and read stuff here and stuff there.

  17. Eisha, the stranger’s baby is very cute. Perhaps not as cute as your nephew.

    Ruby slippers are such a cool birthday present, Jules.

    My list (again surprisingly easily created given the madness of my life at the moment!):

    1. I never thought I’d be happy to say this, but it was so nice to be the in the office all week without travelling.
    2. We went out for dinner at a local pub Friday night and had a great time. My co-workers are great people!
    3. Speaking of which, my new manager started this week. She’s really nice and it will be so good to have a full team for the first time in months.
    4. To celebrate we bought a bird feeder for outside our office window. It’s already attracting cute little British garden birds!
    5. I saw my first wild newts in a pond! Very cute!
    6. I have been cast into despair over finding a new skirt to take on holidays (see point number seven) and wear to work as shops only seem to have chiffon-let’s-pretend-it’s-summer skirts in stock, but I bought three on ebay yesterday. I’m sure at least one will fit!
    7. My friends and I have managed to line up accommodation for our holiday in Spain next week (I’ll be away the next two Sundays but will do a mega happy list when I come back!). It’s Holy Week so accommodation was really tough to find, especially at short notice, but it looks like we won’t be homeless after all. I’m really really looking forward to this holiday especially seeing my Aussie friend. We’ve been friends since kindergarten and this is the longest we’ve been apart for 20 years so catching up over tapas and wine sounds like the perfect holiday.

  18. Woo!

    I didn’t know WHO did the cover art for OPPOSITE ’til you first blogged about it, and I’ve since looked through Zachary’s work and pretty much love all of it. My personal fave is probably the Hannibal Lecter drawing, and the non-Hannibal Anthony Hopkins drawing.

    People tell me all the time that they love OPPOSITE’s cover art, and I’m so pleased to now be able to point them to Zachary’s site!

    Great choice to feature him!

    — Liz Gallagher

  19. jules, I did see that shirt and I actually mentioned it to my horde (sister, sister’s bff, my boyfriend and mom) after the movie. We all agreed it is an awesome shirt.

  20. Emmaco, whoa, #7 is particularly nice. Have fun, and we’ll look forward to your mega happy list when you return.

    Hi, Liz! Yes, Zachary’s cover art for your book is really striking.

    Kimberly, glad you like the shirt. I think all hard-core Princess Bride fans like us need one.

  21. Love Batgirl. Eisha, I love to laugh that hard or make someone laugh that hard. I can just see it.
    JUle, snailmail is the best, isn’t it?

    I have to start with a kick from Chuck (who is computer illiterate). He got a call from his daughter to tell him that his granddaughter said she was reading the newspaper like grandpa. the man could barely wipe off the grin on his face. Granddaughter is just 3.

    My kicks:
    1. A weekend away. Well sort of. I had a one day conference in Tacoma, WA for the national boards. Chuck went and we made a weekend of it.
    2. Having pizza with a former student and a daughter of my good friend who are both freshman at University of Puget Sound.
    3. Listening to the acapella(sp) group on campus last night.
    4. Meeting friends for breakfast along I-5 this on the way home today.
    5. Watching Little Miss Sunshine. Love Netflix!
    6.Naomi Shihab Nye’s new book Honeybee.
    7. The weather has been fabulous.
    Have a great week.

  22. Jone, ooo! ooo! Honeybee is out already? I want! Will have to look for that.

    What fun kicks. I loved “Little Miss Sunshine,” too.

  23. Kiba: Whenever I see Ferris, I think of YOU!

    Adrienne: Good times, good times.

    Jules: Meow and thanks! Lucy Rose loves her cowboy boots.

  24. Hey, all – just got back from NYC and had to say thanks for all the kicks. Glad to know everyone had such excellent weeks.

  25. These are such happy lists, I always love reading them–even if it does take me four days to get to them.

    LOVE Batgirl. Deeply. All the illustrations are great!

    The “Hey Jude” kid is fantastic. Don’t you love how he leans into the mic even when he’s not actually singing at that moment? He’s got the moves.

    I’m so happy everyone here is having such fun lives. That’s how it should be!

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