7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #175: Featuring Mark Crilley,
a new Mad Tea Party image,
and a bonus treat from Elisha Cooper

h1 July 11th, 2010 by jules

I’m pleased to welcome author/illustrator and graphic novelist Mark Crilley to 7-Imp this morning. He’s stopped by to share some art, tell us a bit about where he’s been and what he’s up to next, and to give 7-Imp a gift!

Mark says he started drawing, growing up in Detroit, almost as soon as he could hold a pencil in his hand. After graduating from college (more on that below) in 1988, he taught English in Taiwan and Japan for nearly five years. His first comic series, Akiko, was published in 1995, leading Random House to invite him to adapt it as a series of chapter books. His latest graphic novel series, Miki Falls, was chosen by the American Library Association as one of the Great Graphic Novels for Teens for 2007 and has been optioned by Paramount Pictures and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Production Studio for development as a feature film. His newest project is a six-volume graphic novel series from Dark Horse Comics called Brody’s Ghost, which he tells us more about below.

Currently, Mark lives in Michigan with his wife, Miki, and children, Matthew and Mio. I thank him for stopping by and for sharing some of his art with us this morning.

Mark: Some people are blessed with an incredible clarity of purpose in life: They see precisely where their greatest talent lies and they know exactly where they want to go with it. If you are such a person, I’d like to ask you to stop reading this right now.

Good. Now the rest of us can huddle around and say, “Don’t you just hate people like that?” Or, if we’re willing to be a bit more honest about it, “What’s their secret? How come we can’t be like that?”

As a creative person, I am hopelessly all over the place. I try out one style; it doesn’t work; I try something else. I try out another style; it does work; I try something else anyway. A friend of mine says, “Mark, changing styles all the time is career suicide. No one will know what it is you do.” He’s right, of course. But on I go, firing off experiments in all directions. It’s who I am, for better or worse.

I was very fortunate to study under David Small when I was a Fine Arts major at Kalamazoo College back in the mid-1980s. Indeed, I was one of the last lucky few to study under him, just before he stopped teaching for good. (I swear, having me as a student was not a factor in that decision. Well, not a major factor. Surely.) He became a true mentor and, for me, has remained a great friend, taking a special interest in my development as an artist. He once told me, “Don’t worry about pursuing your own style. Just do what you do, and your style will emerge on its own.” Here’s hoping David was right. He generally is.

These three images {above} are from my first published works: The Akiko comic book series and the Random House young reader novels of the same name that grew out of it. My comics publisher, Sirius Entertainment, gave me a remarkably free hand to do whatever I wanted with the series, bringing in all manner of influences over the course of its 53-issue run, comics-based and otherwise. This Winnie-the-Pooh tribute {opening this post}, which appeared on one of the back covers, was born of my huge admiration for the illustrations of E. H. Shepard. (Did anyone draw trees better than him? I’m thinking no.)

I always felt the “big clock” front cover was one of my better ones from the comic book days. I liked the limited-palette approach to the color and the near-symmetrical composition. Working the logo and price information into the artwork, on the other hand, is probably just evidence of lunacy.

The wrap-around cover comes from the Random House Akiko novel series. I remember the editor being particularly fond of this cover and saying she’d love to see me do a picture book in this style. Alas, doing a picture book remains one of my unrealized dreams, though I’ve no shortage of ideas for them. Someday, someday.

Leaping ahead a bit, we come to the Miki Falls manga series, unquestionably one of the highpoints of my career. My editor was Susan Rich of Lemony Snicket fame, and she, in spite of never having edited a graphic novel before mine, had such brilliantly inspired suggestions you’d have sworn she’d been working with the things all her life. This “making of” spread shows my process from rough to final art.

Multiply this by 670 and you have an idea of the work that went into producing this series. And I loved every minute of it.

This splash page image of a Japanese doorway, with my protagonists Miki and Hiro in the distance, is one of my favorites from the series.

I’ve always had an interest in putting the reader into the story by way of fully-rendered environments. I like to think this illustration would be at home in any number of books, not just a graphic novel.

The fourth and final book in the series, Miki Falls: Winter, featured this artwork on the front cover.

I enjoyed the seasonal aspect of the series (there’s a volume for each of the seasons), and was pleased with the colors in this image. Note the presence of Anra, the little cat-like creature near Miki’s legs. All of my stories seem to include a little creature of one kind or another. They tend to be “less is more” creatures, simplified down to the bare essentials needed for the thing to qualify as a living being.

For whatever reason, I just don’t seem to show up on people’s radars as an illustrator for hire. The happy exception was Little, Brown’s recent re-issue of Oliver Butterworth’s The Enormous Egg. Joe Monti brought me in to provide new illustrations for this classic, and I really had a ball with it. This picture is probably my favorite of the bunch.

I was a bit nervous about replacing Louis Darling’s marvelous pen-and-ink originals, but did my best to go back to the text and discover fresh ways of presenting each scene. It was a blast illustrating someone else’s story. If I ever get the chance again, I’ll jump at it.

Finally, we come to my latest project, a six-volume graphic novel series from Dark Horse Comics called Brody’s Ghost. True to my let’s-try-something-different instincts, I’ve gone from the rural rose-tinted Japan of Miki Falls to a decaying futuristic cityscape in which greenery is seemingly prohibited by law. I’ve imagined a chaotically multi-cultural future in which no single language predominates. And please, no flying cars or slick humanoid robots in this series. For once I want to see a future that’s not wildly different from the present: just a bit more rough around the edges.

Here’s a sample page from early in the first book.

Though our main character is a young man, the story features a strong female protagonist in the ghost, Talia. I’ve enjoyed playing with people’s preconceptions of what a ghost is supposed to be: scary, ethereal, vaguely Victorian. Talia is the complete opposite: modern, sassy, and—though dead—every bit as alive as Brody in terms of her personality.

Finally, we have the front cover.

Brody’s Ghost is a slightly tricky experiment. Can I produce an action-oriented story that’s tough enough to appeal to a young male audience, but doesn’t include swearing, extreme violence, or mature content? It comes out this Wednesday: I’ll let you know.

* * *

Thanks again to Mark for visiting, and best of luck to him with Brody’s Ghost. I’m happy to say that Mark also contributed an original illustration for 7-Imp’s Mad Tea Party collection:

It has gone up in the header of this page at the site. I love it! Big thanks to Mark!

(All artwork used with permission of Mark Crilley. All rights reserved.)

* * * * * * *

As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on 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. New folks are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

So, here’s the good thing about these weekly kicks: They are good for one’s soul. Or so I think. I had a week filled with one too many migraines (what in the what the is up with that?) and also feelings of severe inadequacy, since my writing this month is going slower than I’d like. Perhaps the two are related; it wouldn’t surprise me a jot. Consequently, I figured I had no kicks. Really. Sad, huh? Good thing for these weekly exercises in gratitude, as insufferably Dr. Phil-y as that might sound.

1). My girls survived their swim class, which they pretty much just put up with — but at least without whining. If you’d handed my six-year-old a ball of tin foil as an alternative to getting her face wet, I think she would have opted to chew on said foil a while.

2). They had a great summer art-camp kind of class this week. No complaints about art from them.

3). I’m happy Mark stopped by. He’s not only talented; he’s super nice. And I love love love the new Mad Tea Party image.

4). I’ll be speaking at The University of Tennessee at the end of this month about the best picture books of 2010 (oh twist twist my arm), and I’m enjoying prepping for that. Can I just say how much I love this book…

…but perhaps I’ll post on it later.

Oh, and where has this picture book been all my 2010? I hope to share art from this soon, too:

(That’s this book, since I know it’s hard to read the creators’ names in that image.)

5). A very funny email conversation with David Small (funny that Mark mentions him, too, this week), in which he figured out that, indeed, I’m a lady and not a gay male.

6). The Nashville Public Library is now allowing free music downloads, a certain number of mp3s each week. I mean, how great is that?

7). The July issue of The Bluegrass Special is up, and this month they included my piece on David Ezra Stein’s Interrupting Chicken. I still feel honored that these talented guys include my posts in their publication.

BONUS TREAT: You may remember that Elisha Cooper stopped by in late March to share art from one of his 2010 picture books, Farm. Well, he has another new one out and is giving us a peek inside today. It’s called Beaver Is Lost (Schwartz & Wade, June 2010). It’s the (mostly) wordless tale of a young beaver who is separated from his family but eventually makes his way back to them. It’s adventure as only Elisha can bring it — understated and with watercolors Kirkus calls “splendid…Stunning in their simplicity, these pictures speak a thousand words.” Here are a few illustrations, and I thank Elisha, as always, for sharing:

“Beaver is lost.”
(Click to see the spread from which this illustration comes.)

Click to enlarge the Chicago skyline.

And the cover…just ’cause…

Lovely, yes? My girls and I had fun taking in that one this week.

Big thanks again to Mark Crilley. What are YOUR kicks?

Oh, my other bonus kick is that we’re surprising the girls today by taking them to an aquarium a couple hours away. My nonfiction-lovin’ six-year-old, obsessed with ocean life, will probably squeal to see cuttlefish. But this means I won’t be around much of the day. If spam grabs your kicks and tries not-so-impossibly to eat them before breakfast, I’ll release the hounds later. And I’ll talk to you all when I return.

24 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #175: Featuring Mark Crilley,
a new Mad Tea Party image,
and a bonus treat from Elisha Cooper”

  1. Wow, Mark Crilley’s work looks great! I can’t wait to check it all out.

    Jules, I really wish I could attend your talk at the University of Tennessee. Will it be recorded in any way? * hopes hopes hopes *

    My kick this week: ELECTRICITY

    We didn’t have electricity at home for two days and it was hell. We couldn’t sleep or nap because it was too hot and humid, and we couldn’t do any of our work. Thank God it’s back on. I’ve never been so grateful for electricity.

  2. Happy Sunday!

    So sorry to hear about the migraines, Jules. Kind of a vicious cycle, when they may be caused in part by work stress, and then when you get them you can’t work!

    Love Mark’s work, especially the big clock spread and the enormous egg! Somehow when I saw the clock, I had a quick flash of William Joyce (whom I’ve always loved). How cool that he gave you that wonderful tea party spread for 7-Imp! It’s perfect. Must see City Dog, Country Frog (eeeee, Jon J. Muth!) and that beaver is adorable.

    Sorry about the power outage, Tarie. I hate when that happens. At our house, we can’t flush the toilets because our well is powered by electricity!

    Okay, kicks. I’ve been MIA for two weeks, so these are a little “vintage” by now.

    1. ALA weekend was fun, meeting cool folks at the Paterson Tea, and of course, having Tanita & Co. over for a visit.

    2. Got tickets to go to Hawaii this fall!

    3. Tried Vietnamese food for the first time last night, research for a book I’m reviewing.

    4. Lots of deer sightings — bucks with racks! They’re not afraid of us. We can walk by them on the way to the mailbox, and they’ll just look at us.

    5. My mom had a pacemaker put in this week and seems to be doing okay thus far (fingers crossed).

    6. Had a relaxing 4th, took some time to drive out to the country and meander a little.

    7. Root beer floats. Sweet melons. Tomatoes growing!

    Have fun at the aquarium, Jules, and happy week, everyone!

  3. Mark’s work is wonderful! I like the giant egg very best.

    Jules, sorry about the migraines. I used to get WAY too many also. Migrelief (vit B, Magnesium & Feverfew) pretty much got rid of them! Check it out & I can tell you more if you want.

    1. I got the first full spread of art done for my dummy! One more to go then I can put it all together.
    2. I posted an interview with my friend and wonderful artist Becky Driscoll http://vsschat2.blogspot.com
    3. The Univ. of Denver bought my artist book Evergreen!
    4. A rattlesnake rolled onto the path and landed right between my husband & I. I am SSOOOOOOOOO glad nobody got bitten. We were jumpy and pumped with adrenaline the whole hike.
    5. My dog is actually learning how to play fetch. He now brings the ball back AND drops it 🙂
    6, 7, 8, 9 & 10 Summer! (Winter is too long here)

  4. There is a William Joyce feel to the illustrations, aren’t there, Jama. I like them. The clock is my fave.
    Jules, I hope you are done with the migraines, they can be wicked. Have fun at the aquarium today.
    Tarie, glad you have your electricity back.
    Jill that’s exciting that the U of D bought your book.
    My kicks:
    1. Being home this week. I like to travel but it’s good to be home.
    2. Writing, working on my WIP.
    3. Time with grandgirl 1 who is concerned that my hair is more gray now. Cracks me up.
    4. Discussions about the upcoming Kidlit Con in October.
    5. Watched Gigi last night. Wanted to revisit the first movie I remember seeing. Delightful.
    6. Dinner with friends tonight,
    7. Strawberries and chocolate sorbet.
    Have a great week.

  5. I saw Mark Crilley’s tea-party recreation over on your Facebook profile, Jules — it cracked, me, UP. (If you ever decide to do a line of 7-Imp t-shirts, I think this image should be first of the set. It captures so much that I love about this place, including the off-center humor.)

    And I want to share the first paragraph (and next sentence) of his interview with 90% of the creative people I know.

    The artwork slays me, really. As he implied in that first paragraph, it’s all over the map; about the only test I could use, if someone showed random illustration X to me and asked if it was Mark’s, would be: Hmmm… Do I like it?

    The autumn image — the doorway, with Miki and Hiro silhouetted at the end of the path — reminds me of a classic image from a John Wayne movie, of all things. Like he said, it’d be at home in a LOT of books, but non-books as well. Really stands on its own. Thanks for including it!

    So glad you found your kicks, Jules. A lot of us, I suspect, use Kicks Day here that way: a week rather sucks, or so we think, but then we look back at it more carefully and find there were all these little glitterstones scattered along the way.

    Your kick #6 may explain something… noticed the spike in music recommendations in your FB status updates, and wondered what that was about and how you kept coming up with such consistently good selections. If you ever consider giving up blogging, (a) DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, but (b) if you DO, please consider firing up your own music webcasting channel.

    The Bluegrass Special selection: wonderful! (I especially appreciated that they included your kicks from that week. :))

    That’s a great idea, Tarie — about recording Jules’s talk. Maybe, if she’s self-conscious, just recording the audio and syncing it up with a slideshow of sample images from the books? (Because we know she doesn’t have enough to keep her busy, haha.) Glad the A/C came back. When our power goes out for more than a few hours, we get awfully cranky — it’s like the coolness leaks out, and murderousness seeps in to replace it — so I cannot imagine going two days without!

    Jama: laughed out loud at your kick #3. It was sorta interesting until it really hit me that this was for a book you’re REVIEWING, not WRITING. An angle that never occurred to me, and suddenly I’m reconsidering the list of books I’d like to review in light of the experiences I want to live through myself. 🙂

    Congrats on the book sale, Jill! (For anyone who — like me — wondered what an “artist book” might be, I found some Evergreen samples at Jill’s own site.)

    Jone — I’ve never even thought the phrase “strawberries and chocolate sorbet,” never heard it, never experienced the thing in itself. A hole in my life which I suspect will be remedied sooner rather than later!

    Brief kicks:

    1 – My favorite day to take off from work is Friday. But I’ll settle for a Monday if I have to, and did so this past week. 🙂

    2, and also 3 – An amazing (you HAVE to watch this!) stop-motion street-art project, showing, well, the history of the universe. Really: watch it!

    4. Blogging exhaustion, which is sometimes a good thing.

    5. Summer reading.

    6. Summer dozing.

    7. Seeing people grow.

  6. Mr. Crilley’s – ode to Shepard trees. His general sensibility (Yeah, where do those perfect Clarity People get off? ha.) That fantastic moody doorway. The Ramen Noodle truck.

    The Tree House cover is lovely and makes me want to see more…

    The Chicago skyline cityscape going from trucks to houses to high-rises — so squarishly.

    Jules – glad you found your Kicks through the haze of headaches. Really enjoyed all the art you’ve shared with us today. Thanks! (as always). I could visit an aquarium every day of the week (especially the jellyfish exhibits; mesmerizing.)

    Tarie – love the sheer trueness of your kick.

    Jama – big deer who tolerate your presence! Envy that experience.

    Jill – visited your site (via jes’ helpful link). Love your artist books!

    jone – Thank Heaven for… Gigi.

    JES – BLU and company’s new stop-motion piece is FABULOUS. This is the first time I’ve seen them jump inbetween the paint and 3-D moving pieces (the roof top AC, the volleyball egg, the floating bottle, etc.) He/they are really getting good at their odd chosen artform. I really liked the dinosaur mouth that merged into the dip in the culvert and (I could go on and on) but the chase of man’s evolution around the watertank was genius. The amount of time and effort that crew puts in just floors me. THANKS for sharing this.

    My Kicks:

    1. finding a box of FRESH Good & Plenty.

    2. These scenes from “Despicable Me”: the 3 Kitten bedtime story “This is literature?”, Gru winning the to-die-for fluffy unicorn at the amusement park, okay… nearly every appearance of The Minions (they stole the movie) and the Road Runner-esque far-off shot of the explosion at the Gates of Vector. Ha-ha-ha-ha!

    3. my critique group kicked my butt when I was feeling prematurely satisfied.

    4. electricity (because I totally get that kick)

    5. my 15-year-old son casually used the word “distilled” in the just perfect, sophisticated metaphor. Mom reaction: Did he just say…? Wow. : – )

    6. moving from battling entropy to gaining momentum.

    7. Reading “Nation”.

  7. Welcome, Mark! I love the new tea party image. It’s adorable. Congratulations on your successes, and good luck with the next series! Now I want some Ramen…

    Jules: Glad that the girls are enjoying their summer activities. What did they think of the aquarium? Say hi to the otters for me, please! Best of luck at the University of Tennessee later this month. I know you’ll be wonderful. Migraines are evil. Just say no.

    Tarie: Hope the conditions have vastly improved.

    Jama: Sending lots of healthy vibes to your mom.

    Jill: Congrats on the completion of the first art spread. Hola to your pup!

    Jone: Mmm, strawberries.

    JES: Glad that you enjoyed a long weekend.

    My kicks for the past week:
    1. Opening weekend!
    2. Outfitting
    3. Audition
    4. Pacing
    5. Balance
    6. Performing
    7. Visits

  8. That interview with Mark Crilley was a good read. I hope to pick up Brody’s Ghost ASAP. I hope one of my local comic book shops or book stores gets it.

  9. Wonderful post. We should all be so lucky to be as “hopelessly all over the place” as Mark! The art is wonderful, especially the Ernest Shepard homage.

  10. Happy summer, everyone!

    I LOVE Mark’s illustration for the Mad Tea Party collection! The Mad Hatter truly looks a bit mad. Jules, I hope the migraines are long gone — maybe the other Jill’s remedy will help you. WOOT to your speaking engagement! Wish I could be there to listen and applaud wildly.

    Tarie, ditto to the electricity love — I don’t know what I would do without A/C in the summer.
    Jama, thinking good thoughts for your Mom. Be sure and let me know if you make any Tom Selleck sightings in Hawaii (doesn’t he still have a house there?).
    Jill (great name, BTW), YIKES! about the rattlesnake and glad you’re okay. Your first three kicks rock.
    Jone, strawberry and chocolate sorbet makes my mouth water!
    JES, taking ANY day off is great in my book, and summer reading and dozing sounds lovely.
    Denise, I love your word “squarishly”, and can totally relate to going from battling entropy to gaining momentum — a nice feeling, yes?
    LW, hope you had a great opening weekend!

    My kicks:
    1) and 2) Seeing Sir Paul McCartney in concert at AT&T Park in San Francisco last night with my boyfriend. AWESOME doesn’t begin to describe it. Listening to 45,000 people singing along with “Let It Be” and all of the other Beatles and Wings songs brought giant waves of happiness and emotion washing over me. And he seems so nice on top of his amazing gifts. He deserves at least two of my kicks.
    3) I’ve missed the past two weeks here at 7-imp, so have to include a wonderful July 4th weekend with my brother.
    4) Seeing the Maira Kalman exhibit in S.F. last weekend. She is incredibly talented and fun. Here is an interesting interview she gave recently about the exhibit and her art: http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-07-01/entertainment/21933148_1_maira-kalman-new-yorker-new-york-times (note to Rachel: she mentions Robert Walser as an influence in this article).
    5) Seeing the “Birth of Impressionism” exhibit at the deYoung Museum a couple weekends ago. I felt honored to be in the presence of such beauty.
    6) The amazing power of intention.
    7) Abundance.

    Have a happy week, all.

  11. Don’t think I said it was Haagen Dazs Chocolate sorbet. Sinfully scrumptious.

  12. Absolutely love the interview and art this week. That first image is so awesome, (I was wondering why it looked so familiar, and then ohhhh), of course, so is everything else Mark shared. I love that he is so good at all the different styles he uses.

    Hope those migraines go far away jules! And that the aquarium is loads of fun.

    Tarie – so glad you’ve got electricity again.

    Jama – root beer floats, yum.

    Jill – congrats on the sale of your book!

    Jone – I’m with you on being home after travel – it always feels so nice.

    JES – Summer reading + summer dozing = perfect.

    LW – Congrats on all the good things currently going on for you! Hooray for all your performing!

    I’ve been missing for two weeks due to a combo of work and travel, and for the most part am glad to be back home. My kicks:

    1. For my birthday, a week in New Orleans spent with my sweetie. He and I and his daughter did all manner of fun summer stuff.
    2. Crawfish, shrimp, po boys, snoballs, and all the smells of Nola in the summer.
    3.Catching up with old friends at Croissant D’or in the quarter.
    4. Introducing a friend to his first crawfish boil: http://mattdavisopenshismouth.com/2010/06/my-first-crawfish-boil/
    5.Books, read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest cover to cover on my flight to nola, and then The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox on way back to pdx.
    6. The simple pleasure of reading side by side with someone you love. Pure contentment.
    7.Sadly Cheyenne got bit by a spider the weekend I got her back from her visit with friends. It was nasty and she had to have emergency surgery. Recovery is slow going at the moment, but it is recovery, and I’ll take it. Hooray for small improvements.
    8. The World Cup games. So fun and amazing to watch. On my flight to Nola I had a layover in LAX and watched the USA win sitting at a bar, eating bad eggs, and cheering with a bunch of strangers while explaining soccer rules to the bartender. Pretty awesome.

    Have a great week everyone!

  13. Jill: JEALOUS!! Sir Paul AND Maira? *faints*

    I may have to keep Tom all to myself just to even the score :D.

  14. Oh, now that would just be mean, Jama! Did I tell you that Tommy’s brother lives a few towns over? He’s a dentist (his office has a sign which reads “The Selleck Building”, which almost caused me to have a car accident when I first saw it), and his wife used to get massages from a massage therapist friend of mine. I told her that if Tom ever came to town for a massage, she was to immediately call me and I would take over for her. Needless to say, that never happened.

  15. Oh, I just love you all, my people. It’s so nice to come home to such rich and varied and interesting kicks. And I’m so glad you all like Mark’s work.

    Tarie, glad you’re back in the 21st century with the electricity and the sleeping and the napping and the working. I always say my favorite kicks are the simple ones, and electricity is definitely one.

    Oh, and someone else asked if that talk will be recorded. I have no idea, but I can ask.

    Jama, Hawaii! ROOT BEER FLOATS! Ah, love root beer floats. I’d like one even now, though we gorged on pizza and ice cream on our aquarium trip. Best of luck to your mother, Jama. Keep us updated.

    Hi, Jill. Congrats on kick #1, in particular. And I’m gonna explore the link John sent us in a sec. Woot!

    Jone, welcome home. May I join you for strawberries and chocolate sorbet?

    John, actually, that very real spike in new music is really due to my friends, who have made me some really fabulous mixes of late. I just discovered the NPL music download and it’s also sorta all over the place, in terms of quality, but it IS a wonderful service and very fun to explore. Anyway, I don’t know what I’d do without the music I get from friends.

    And, John, sigh: I miss summer reading. Too much work and writing here, but one day I’ll get back to it….Oh, and thanks for the link, which I’ll explore in a sec.

    Denise, I love kicks 5 and 6. And Despicable Me looks very funny. Good to hear you give it a thumbs-up, as I mucho trust your recommendations.

    Little Willow, they loved the aquarium. And I experimented with my camera and jellyfish pics on different settings. What show did you open, if you can say?

    Hi, Christian and Lisa!

    Jill, I am enamored with your last kicks. And I’m also jealous of the Kalman exhibit. Wow. What a good couple of weeks you’ve had.

    Rachel, poor Cheyenne! Sick again? I’m so sorry. Here’s wishing her the best. And I was just watching the World Cup games on a t.v. in a pizza shop in Chattanooga. It’s best I stay away from sports; I got slightly worked up again. Oh, and happy belated birthday!

  16. Jill: Kudos for your sixth kick especially. Glad that you enjoyed (understatement, I’m aware) the concert.

    Jill and Rachel (rm): Thanks for the good wishes. Opening weekend was wonderful.

    Rachel (rm): Sending healing vibes to Cheyenne. Poor, poor thing!

    Jules: Hurrah! May the pictures (especially those of the electrifying jellyfish) turn out to be as stunning as they should be. 🙂 It’s a new show. I’ll email you something…

  17. Thanks so much, everyone, for your kind words, and of course thanks again, Jules, for shining your spotlight upon my work. It’s such an honor to be featured on this blog: definitely one of the coolest things to happen to me in many a moon.

    I don’t think anyone has ever compared my work to a master illustrator like William Joyce, so I’m going to print that comment out and frame it on my wall. 🙂

    Thanks again, everyone–I really appreciate the encouragement and good vibes you sent my way today!


  18. Jules: I’ll have to send you my husband’s account of our daughter’s first swim lesson. It was both hilarious and painful. I was not there (as I could not have taken it), and he had to go around the block to get some air. The good news is that the second lesson went much better, and she’s actually looking forward to the third lesson. That’s better than I ever did, i.e. clinging to the side of the pool the whole time. A friend of mine said that her son stayed under the radar so much that one of the instructors was surprised to find out that child was in the class. (To which I ask, “What? Was this instructor actually getting paid?”)

    I’m sorry you’ve been having so many migraines… having ANY migraines, really.
    I like the new Alice graphic. Nice work, Mark Crilley!

    It’s been a long week for this introvert. We hosted a Fourth of July/New Citizenship party last Sunday and a much smaller marionette puppet show party yesterday morning. I’ve had the care of my daughter for much of the time. I would like to get to the point where we can spend time together and she can rest her words. Resting words is very, very hard for her.

    Have a good week, everyone!

  19. Farida — your evocative comment “Resting words is very, very hard for her.” reminded me so much of that wonderful, TALKATIVE little girl in the Volvo commercial. One of my all time faves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVtpKY7vqOI&feature=related
    Whatcha gonna do? : – )

  20. Jules: Thanks. That’s my daughter to a T.

  21. Thanks again for visiting, Mark.

    Farida, Denise actually sent that link. Funny, isn’t it? I wish you peace and quiet for as long as you need it.

  22. I have one GIANT kick.

    My daughter got married this past weekend. My Sara was the most beautiful bride I have ever seen in my life. I had a blast at the reception! My daughter and her husband are now in Ireland–where she said it is 65 degrees and sunny!

    Here’s a link to wedding photos the photogrpaher, Tom Underwood, posted on facebook:

    I just posted a picture I took with Sara before she put on her wedding gown at Wild Rose Reader.


  23. Hello, tried to post yesterday but was repeatedly having trouble via Blackberry so gave up and decided I would join the party late this morning!

    Thank you for bringing Mark to us, Jules; and I hope the migraine is subsiding or better yet, GONE!

    1. My father moved this weekend from our small hometown in south Arkansas to Little Rock to a retirement complex…so far he is doing great but of course it helps the move was his idea!
    2. Time with grandson William this weekend; at age 15 months he is ever so active and ever so much fun.
    3. RIF had a great first week with Macy’s in the first week of this year’s Book a Brighter Future campaign!
    4. I finished ABIGAIL ADAMS by Woody Holton, what a book, what a lady — every female needs to know more about Abigail.
    5. The 50th anniversary of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD which is a very special book to me for multiple reasons as shared at http://www.rascofromrif.org.
    6. Fun conversations continued online post-ALA with new friends.
    7. Seeing this beautiful cover of THE TREE HOUSE which will be my COVER STORY today on my blog, wow!

  24. Elaine, the photos are wonderful! What a beautiful day it was, I’m sure.

    Carol, so glad your father’s move went well. Looking forward to reading your posts.

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact sevenimp_blaine@blaine.org. Thanks.