7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #288: Featuring Craig Frazier

h1 July 15th, 2012 by jules

“‘Here it comes!’ said Tyler. ‘Let’s eat!'”

Every now and then, I like to check in and see what author/illustrator and designer Craig Frazier is doing. Last June (2011, that is), he visited 7-Imp—his Pearly-Gates Pivot response is still one of my favorites—and shared lots of artwork.

Craig’s got a new illustrated book out, Tyler Makes Pancakes! (HarperCollins, April 2012), written by Food Network chef Tyler Florence. It’s all about a young boy (whose dog, Tofu, is along for the fun), who wakes up with pancakes on the mind and then sets out to make some. In the process, he learns about where the ingredients come from, thanks to Mr. Jones at the local market. (Yep, this is for all those who think pancakes come from a box. No, that’s eggs, buttermilk, butter, flour, and maple syrup, thanks very much.)

Craig’s palette is sunny and his characters boldly-outlined, as you can see above. In their review, Kirkus—calling this a good choice for so-called foodies—wrote: “Capturing the spirit of curiosity is Frazier’s department. The renowned graphic designer has created Tyler as a stick figure with a big round head and a pink nose. Even with a limited palette of mostly blues and ochers, wonder, humor and clarity shine from the pages. The childlike perspective featuring enormous stacks of pancakes and tiny, distant adult faces invites readers into Tyler’s real and imagined worlds.”

Right now, I’m going to turn it over to Craig’s art (and early sketches and drawings). ‘Cause you know how you sometimes need a vacation after your vacation just to get caught up on stuff? That’s been me all week. So, with apologies to Craig for not writing more, here are a few more images from the book before I get to my kicks. (I still haven’t commented on last week’s kicks yet. No, really! I’ve only had time to skim them. This is just all wrong.)

Hey, I like to let the art speak for itself anyway. And I thank Craig for sharing images.

Early drawings

Spreads from book, courtesy of Craig

All images are copyright © 2012 by Craig Frazier and used with his permission.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 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 kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) We went on vacation last week to beautiful Maine — primarily Bangor, but then my aunt and uncle drove us all over to see many beautiful places. It was a visit of many “firsts” for my daughters — first visit to Canada, first water taxi ride, first island visit, first seal sighting, first cairn, and even their first time to the Atlantic Ocean.

Oh, and first schooner-races sighting …

2) My aunt and uncle are so smart and fun and kind, and it was so generous of them to have us visit and show us around.

3) Thanks to two good friends, who happened to be in Maine at the same time, my eight-year-old and I got to meet Ashley Bryan in his studio/home on Little Cranberry Island, and he was so kind and attentive and showed us all around and showed us what he’s working on. This is my new favorite picture ever:

4) Speaking of seeing artists’ studios, thanks to yet another thoughtful friend, the girls and I—when we returned home—got a tour of local illustrator Susan Eaddy’s studio/home, and she showed the girls her clay projects. She was just as generous as Ashley. Lucky us to get to meet these people, who share their abundant talents with others.

5) Omnivore Recordings mailed my order this week! They reissued Sam Phillips’ 1994 masterpiece (I do not use this word lightly), Martinis and Bikinis. It’s got bonus tracks! I got it on CD and white vinyl! When I listen to it, suddenly I’m a senior in college again! The music doesn’t even sound dated! It is a killer-good album! I can’t stop using exclamation marks, blast it!

Same Rain by Sam Phillips on Grooveshark

That song right there is called “Same Rain.” It’s not like I haven’t known for nearly twenty years how particularly great this one song is, but in re-discovering the album, I’m reminded of its brilliance. Especially the lyrics and especially those drums. When I turned it up loudly the other day and heard the refrain—“all the money in the world / all the power it can buy / will not take your voice away / cannot own what you hold inside”—I got all misty-eyed. That Sam. She’s extra talented.

6) A lovely picture book surprise in the mail that made my week.

7) A previously unrecorded song from the very talented Laura Marling is sandwiched in these three. This makes me happy to hear, as I’m a fan.

But, wait. This performance from Regina Spektor is all wonderful-ness, too. I showed this to my six-year-old, who, I suspect wants to be Regina for a day. (What can I say? She loves her new CD.)


Did you know Candlewick Press will be celebrating picture books for a year, starting in August? Really wonderful news for us picture book junkies. Here’s the scoop:


I admit another reason I’m behind on stuff is that I got seriously stuck on Season One of AMC’s The Killing, quite the addictive show (and what NPR notes is part of a genre now called “Nordic noir”). I may or may not have watched the entire season in, ahem, about three nights. It’s not without its flaws, but overall, dang, the writing and acting are superb. I don’t really even watch crime shows, so this is all new to me (though oftentimes I feel like I’m in high school again and watching Twin Peaks).

What are YOUR kicks this week? I think now I’ll finally go and read last week’s … Eventually, I’ll get on the same page, you all.

22 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #288: Featuring Craig Frazier”

  1. Ah Tyler, I think I need me some pancakes. Love the illustrations.
    Jules, Maine is a place that’s on my TBV list. Hat fun. Listened to Regina, I can see why your daughter wants to be her for a day.
    My kicks:
    1. Hosting Poetry Friday.
    2. I got the sweetest note from someone who won a copy of Solace in Nature.
    3. Reading outdoors, in my backyard.
    4. Walking my dog.
    5. Our book club meeting at Beach Books last Monday.
    6. Possible titles for this coming year’s book reads.
    7. Discovered Paprika, a recipe app for my IPad.
    Have a great week.

  2. Meant what fun not Hat fun.

  3. This book looks like a lot of fun. My favorite pics. are of the pancake dream and the maple syrup farm.

    Jules, glad you had a good time in Vacationland.
    The vacation comes here at our house, so it’s hard to get anything done. Instead of going to the art studio I am spending my day off at the beach and my evenings on the porch drinking cocktails or eating ice cream.
    Woe is me.
    Instead of kicks I give you these two Vampire Weekend songs to sum up my week.
    Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

  4. Jone, Hat fun sounds good too.

  5. Good morning, Imps!

    Craig and Tyler: Wow. That’s a lot of pancakes. 🙂 How cool that he gathers ingredients from a local market! Nice touch. Hello to Tofu the dog as well.

    Jules and family: Welcome home! Sounds like you had fun on your vacation. Yay. I think I told you the lyrics I love from Firewood by Regina Spektor: “The heart beats in three / Just like a waltz / And nothing can stop you from dancing.”

    Here’s another song recommendation for all of the Imps: Days I Regret by Allie Moss. Also, the title track, Late Bloomer.

    Jone: Sounds like a lovely week of walks, talks, cooks, and books.

    Moira: Woe is you, indeed. Enjoy.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Memories
    2) Offers
    3) Performing
    4) Auditioning
    5) Confirming
    6) Declining
    7) Clarifying

  6. Greetings, Kickers!

    The Tyler/Pancakes book looks great; the image you chose to open with almost ruined (in a good way) the breakfast I’d already opted for. (And it says a lot about the respect Craig Frazier he’s accorded that he gets equal fontish billing with the celebrity author, rather than, like, y’know, BY TYLER FLORENCE / Illustrated by Craig Frazier.) I like the way the adult heads are little tapering things, like they’re shown in perspective from a great distance away, i.e., at Tyler’s own height.

    Loved that Maine coast photo when you posted it on FB, Jules. There’s something sort of Christina’s World about it, hmm? (Btw, I didn’t know ANYTHING about that painting’s back story until just now. WOW.)

    The Tiny Desk format works very well for Laura Marling, doesn’t it???

    I’m so happy you recommended The Killing, too. It’s been in my streaming-Netflix queueueue for a couple weeks now. I’d seen it listed in their catalogue for some time, but didn’t add it until I read an interview with a Norwegian crime author who recommended the original Danish series (called Forbrydelsen, which I like to say). I toggled right over to Netflix and, well, there the US version was. (Fwiw, they don’t currently offer the Danish one. Which is called Forbrydelsen. Yes, Forbrydelsen. For, bry, delsen…) Looking forward to watching it now, especially if it’s got (a) a Twin-Peaksish feel and (b) your thumbs-up!

    Kicks, hmm…

    1. Day job currently just piling the work on, actually uncomfortably so. This is a kick because my imagined time off feels so much sweeter, ha.

    2. Do you know about The Tutu Project? OMG. Great cause, and what photos…!

    3. Neal Stephenson’s newest mammoth novel, REAMDE (no typo). I’m astonished by how well he juggles multiple richly drawn characters and POVs, big ideas, and fantastically complex action scenes — some of which sprawl across dozens of pages.

    4. My brother and I finally got a good Skype connection and working webcams. Plain old telephone calls suddenly become less interesting. Next stop: working out the same thing with both sisters and Mom.

    5. Although #1, above, used the word “uncomfortably,” I have to admit that the chance to work with totally new (oddball) technology feels refreshing.

    6. The newest Henri the Dispirited French Cat video, The Vet.

    7. I’ve been listening to newfound MP3s of some great standup comedians’ albums from the 1960s-70s: Robert Klein, Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart… D@mn but those guys can still make me laugh.
    7a. …Although I have to admit, I’ve also been getting stitches in my side from more latter-day comics: Louis C.K., Jim Gaffigan, Tina Fey… Laughter, huh? One of the best running kicks of all.

    Have a great week, everybody!

  7. Jone: Paprika sounds great. Hmmm, will have to look into that. And you know what? Your book club sounds so great every week that I wish I could join.

    And I’m with Moira that Hat Fun sounds just as delightful.

    Moira: Enjoy your company! And thanks for the tune-age! I’m gonna blast that when I get back to my own computer spot.

    Little Willow: I love your mostly-gerund kicks. Thanks to you, too, for the tunes, which I’ll click on soon here.

    John, indeed, I think Craig and Tyler collaborated on this book together. As in, the storyline. And, yes, in my nerdy Wyeth phase of years past (though I shouldn’t call it a phase, as I’ll always be a huge fan), I read all about the Olsons and the story behind Christina’s World. Remind me to tell you the story some time behind this painting, hanging in our home (a print, of course — not the real thing). … Last night, John, we FINISHED Season One of The Killing. Iiiiiiiinteresting. Always keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure. … I did not know about the Tutu Project. That is a great cause. THANK YOU for the Henri link. I will, posthaste, show my daughters, as a friend who was visiting recently showed us the first two, and they CRACKED UP. … I’m jealous of the MP3s you’ve been listening to. That sounds wonderful, though I am reading Tina’s memoir now. Goodlord, it’s funny.

  8. Craig Frazier’s illustrations for Tyler Makes Pancakes! look fantastic!

    Jules, kicks numbers 1-4 are OMG.

    I think my biggest kick this week was playing with my four- and seven-year-old cousins. The four-year-old is so sweet and honest and beautiful. And the seven-year-old is so smart and articulate and talented. (I’m with her in my new Facebook profile picture!) They asked if we could play together again next week! I have a play date! I’m so excited!

  9. Tarie: I saw those pics, and they are BEYOOOTIFUL. I also loved your kicks from last week. Your life is so full of rich, rich blessings, most especially your family.

  10. …and your students, too, Tarie. Your lucky, lucky students.

  11. Glad you enjoyed your trip to Maine and got to meet Ashley! You were right in my back yard.

  12. I am doing what I have to admit is my usual Monday morning thing of just dropping by 7-imp, but as usual shall return to revel in the kicks this afternoon! (the glimpses of the artwork and Maine look alluring too…)

    My main kick is my job. I think I mentioned that things have been hard at work, with staff being let go. I was worried about my job as it ends in November, so went for another job interview during the week and was offered the job. This prompted my current job to fast-track the extension application for my role, which amazingly was approved on Friday! So I had the choice between two jobs to make over the weekend – and although it was a hard choice to make I know how lucky I was to be in that position. That’s my kick for the week. (ps to finish the story I am staying in my current job)
    As a bonus kick, there was an egg shape hot air balloon hovering over Brisbane this morning. As it came down low over my suburb I noticed it was from “Ovo”, the Cirque Du Soleil show. A slightly surreal and glamorous way to advertise a show!

  13. Hi, Meryl!

    Emmaco: Congrats on the sorta-new job! That worked out well. And only you would have an egg-shaped Cirque Du Soleil balloon over your house. Interesting things fly to you like a magnet.

  14. I have got to have that book, the illustrations are so colorful and happy. And I do really enjoy the work of Craig Frazier.
    Jules: So glad you had a wonderful vacation filled with those special memories and meetings.
    Jone: Poetry Friday sounds like fun.
    Moira: I like eating ice cream on the porch too!
    Little Willow: Memories are what sustain us.
    JES: Glad you got the Skype down pat. It’s loads of fun.
    Tarie: Isn’t playing with kids the greatest?!

    My kicks this week are:
    1. Scoring a new bright red blooming coneflower for my gardens.
    2. Getting some new bookish jewelry in the mail.
    3. Spending two hours on a river kayaking with a friend.
    4. Making a new pasta recipe that was so delish.
    5. Receiving some ARCs won in the mail.
    6. Reading some amazing new picture, MG and YA books.
    7. Walking with my sweet Xena and hearing the sound of her gentle snoring at night.
    Have a good week one and all.

  15. Margie, what a good week. What is your bookish jewelry like? And what, pray tell, is in the pasta recipe? Mmm. Pasta.

  16. Jules, I’m so glad you & your family had the chance for such a fun vacation. What a good list of firsts.

    LW, your items 5-7 are a succinct summary of my kick!

    Margie I don’t know what a coneflower is, but a red blooming one sounds pretty special!

    Jone, what a nice bookish list, especially the reading outdoors.

    JES, glad you are getting to use Skype to connect with family!

  17. Good morning, Jules. My bookish jewelry was discovered on Twitter from a post by Book Shelves of Doom. Items are here:
    My diet downfall recipe is from the folks at Food Network. It’s called Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad. I improvised and used White Balsamic Pear Infused Vinegar. I also used the mushroom tortellini. Enjoy. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/spinach-artichoke-pasta-salad-recipe/index.html?soc=wctw

  18. Thanks for sharing Craig Frazier’s illos with us Jules. I can’t wait to see Tyler Makes Pancakes! up close and personal. I’ve loved his work since my advertising days and have enjoyed seeing him illustrate for children. This book looks especially yummy. And, as always…LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing his sketches!

    My kicks:

    1) homemade pizza with girls…fired up on grill. yummy as pancakes!

    2) seeing old friend who has moved to Austin.

    3) Watching my 3 girls along with neighbor girls set up a tent in the backyard and talk talk talk for 4 hours about how fun it was going to be to sleep outside only to all pile back in their own beds before 9:15pm.

    4) Home grown tomatoes!

    Thanks again Jules for all you do here.

  19. Oh, Margie. I think there will be no going back for me re that Etsy link. And that recipe, wow. I love all those ingredients, and I really need some new dishes. I just might make that. Thanks for both links.

    Hi, Lori! Love the camping kick. Isn’t that the way it always goes? Have fun with your friend!

  20. My goodness, summer can get in the way of ‘kicking’ can’t it!? All good things so I will leave it at that! Promise more detail next week 🙂 So glad to hear about your wonderful trip- sounds magical!!

  21. hey Jules and all… busy week so my kicks are late… but i LOVE the pancake illos… I’m always impressed when an artist can make such simple lines and color look so …so… tight… like everything works perfectly together. I think i strive all the time to do this in my own art. Also enjoyed your kicks pics. I agree on the awesomeness of 3,4 (susan’s house is like a giant piece of her art i think) and 5 (have to go listen to sam phillips on pandora after this)

    here’s my kicks:
    1) my computer did not explode while trying to simultaneously watch the videos and scan artwork. I always hold breath a little when doing this.
    2) progress on 6 year old swimming aided by pizza out after
    3) spoke to a group of high school kids who are refugees from Burma about how to get paid to draw and paint all day. They did not fall asleep. They did laugh but mostly in right places.
    4) meeting deadlines meeting deadlines
    5) our new screen door keeping bugs out while kids run to and fro on the deck
    6) i have say seeing the awesome work of Dan Santat and Yuyi Morales in later posts (since i’m late)
    7) itty bitty canvases at Plaza Art make me inspired to do something cool on them. don’t know what yet.

    have a great rest of the week everyone.. and jules, good luck with your presentation tomorrow

  22. Hi, Stacey! I tried not to let summer get busy for me and my girls, and it did anyway (though we are purposely slowing down in July).

    Mary: Kick #3 is great. Where’d you do this? … And thanks for the well-wishes. The presentation went very well. (I got some itty bitty canvases for my daughters, too, who like to make art. But what kid doesn’t, right?)

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