7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #348: Featuring Adam Rex

h1 September 15th, 2013 by jules

“I walked over and under and around
to where Mom and Dad waited. ‘What now?'”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Morning, everyone. Author/illustrator Adam Rex is visiting today to tell us a bit about his newest picture book, Moonday, released by Disney-Hyperion earlier this month. Moonday tells the goosebump-inducing story of the moon lowering itself into a young girl’s backyard, putting all the town under its sleepy spell. Was it real or a dream? That’s for readers to decide.

I really like Adam’s paintings for this story. No need to describe them; you can see them on display here. And the writing? The writing is superb. This one makes an outstanding read-aloud, best for (but not excluded to) a cozy one-on-one read with your favorite child. It possesses a rhythm and cadence to savor. Kirkus gave this one a starred review. I just read the entire review, and they put it this way: “Gentle rhymes, recurring consonance and almost subliminal rhythms make murky, dreamy paintings vivid and the surreal story sleepily spectacular.”

Yep. What they said.

Here’s Adam. I thank him for visiting …

* * *

Adam: Here’s the first image I tackled. It ended up being kind of a proof of concept piece. I thought it was going to be the cover, too.

“It was in our backyard.”
(Click image to enlarge)


[Here’s] the process for this piece:

“At school we slumped in desks and slept through lunch. I looked through my heavy lashes, through the window, through lean trees to see
my blue moon staring back at me.”

(Click to enlarge)

My earliest sketch was just a thumbnail, which I then overlaid with some crude perspective lines to pint out and use as guides to refine the drawing.

(Click to enlarge)

That got me here, and this is what my editor saw when I put together a dummy of the whole book.

Looks like I basically sketched this whole thing in Photoshop with my Wacom, actually. I’m doing that more and more, but I didn’t do it much back then.

(Click to enlarge)

Shot a lot of photo reference. This poor kid ended up filling in for the whole class.

All of the images for Moonday got rendered in vine charcoal on paper, with my photo reference as a guide.

(Click to enlarge)

Then I tinted the drawing in Photoshop …

(Click to enlarge)

… and colored it on a different layer.

(This is actually the same [image as the one from earlier]. But I had a narrative going, so …)

(Click to enlarge)


Shot a lot of photos of me …


… and my wife, too. We’re the mom and dad. Had to borrow a kid.


Here’s another photo …


…and the accompanying sketch …

(Click to enlarge)


…and the finished piece:

“That was when the tide came in. It trickled into our backyard.
The tide came in, smooth and thin, and settled underneath our moon.”

(Click to enlarge)

I had to draw a number of views of the same building, so I actually built a little 3-D neighborhood in Google SketchUp. I made the buildings in the foreground, but not in the background. (The background buildings didn’t actually end up in the book anyway.)

(Click to enlarge)

More random sketches:

(Click either image to enlarge sketch)

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

Final art for sketch above: “Then I started a yawn that swayed up the block,
crossed two policemen, rounded the square, and followed me home.”

(Click to enlarge)

MOONDAY. Copyright © 2013 by Adam Rex. Published by Disney-Hyperion Books, New York. All images here are used with permission of Adam Rex.

* * * * * * *

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 * * *

When I was a child, I would have been utterly spellbound by Moonday.

1) I love how challenging my piano lessons are (even if I was all, “THERE IS ANOTHER HAND POSITION TO LEARN ALREADY?” on Thursday of this week). As I discussed with a friend the other day, piano lessons are working lots of different parts of my brain. And that is good.

2) Dinner with friends, followed by free bluegrass in Nashville.

3) My girls and I have been dancing around the house to this slammin’ tune below. When my second grader comes home with worries and anxiety (which seems to be a theme this year), I listen and hug her and do the “there there now, it’ll be okay”s, and then we get up and dance, too.

Come on, y’all. None of this “but I’m dance-challenged” will be accepted here. Put on your best dance face, and let’s do it:

4) I’m reading the newest novel from my very favorite novelist (for grown-ups), and I love to linger over her sentences.

5) Calling Caldecott is back for 2013! I learn so much, reading that blog.

6) On the first song on Neko Case’s new CD, the guitar growls like a tiger at one point.

7) Hey, why am I still typing? As I’m composing this post (Saturday), it’s a gorgeous early Fall-like day, so I’m outta here. The park calls my name.

P.S. The unabashed goofy-ness of this book trailer has endeared itself to me. Plus, I really like that book, as I mentioned earlier here at 7-Imp.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

20 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #348: Featuring Adam Rex”

  1. Good morning! Thank you for sharing not only Moonday but the process. I love the photos that Adam used to create the various scenes. What a story.
    Jules, glad you are enjoying your piano lessons and the fall days. Who’s your favorite grown-up author you are reading?
    My kicks:
    1. Full week of school in the books.
    2. Lunch and shopping with a college friend yesterday.
    3. Husband’s family reunion today.
    4. Poem written and sent off for the summer poetry exchange (thank goodness it’s still summer up it’s late).
    5. Listening.
    6. Reading The Story of Fish and Snail to classes. They loved it. Written by Deborah Freedman.
    7. CYBILS participants announced tomorrow.
    Have a great week.

  2. Good morning, Imps!

    Thanks for dropping by, Adam! Always nice to see the process from start to finish. Thank you for sharing.
    Ah, now I know why I was able to sleep decently last night: it was the Moon. 🙂

    Jules: Go Jules go! Sending reassuring thoughts to your awesome 2nd grader, and hugs to both girls. Keep on dancing! Have fun at the park.

    Jone: Listening is key. Hope he has fun at the reunion. Yay for the classroom. Congrats on the poem.

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Audition
    2) Play submissions
    3) Research
    4) Receipt
    5) Recording
    6) Performing
    7) Preparing

  3. Hi Julie!

    Love Adam Rex and this book looks captivating. I will definitely be putting it on Lily’s Christmas list. I think she would love dreaming over it!

    And who’s the author, huh? Like I don’t have enough on my TBR list!

    I’ll play– my kicks:
    1) Watching my adorable son celebrate his 12th birthday riding gokarts with two of his closest friends! Amazingly enough, I actually like friends and enjoyed spending the day with them. What a gift!

    2) My 70 year old father-in-law rode his motorcycle down to surprise Morgan for his birthday. My husband had a great time riding gokarts with his dad. Such fun to watch!

    3) Sparkly blue toenail polish!

    4) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell– finally 🙂

    5) My kid’s ipod that is full of 80s pop, nerdy youtubers, and 70s rock.

    6) Sleeping in the sun– I’m really a lizard at heart!

    7) cooking for friends

  4. Jone, have fun at the reunion, and hello to Chuck. How was the first full week? My favorite author: Alice McDermott.

    Little Willow: Break a leg with those play submissions. I think this is the first time “receipt” has ever been someone’s kick. I like that.

  5. Hi, Shannon! I passed you in cyberspace. Did you see me wave?

    Happy birthday to Morgan! That is very classy of your father-in-law, too. … I think I’m a fellow lizard. Or cat. As mentioned above, it’s Alice McDermott whose novels I love (to answer your question). Have a great week (and what are you cooking?) …

  6. Good morning, Kickers!

    Adam Rex is one of those names I learned first at 7-Imp and ALWAYS look forward to seeing what he’s wrought. The opening image above rather bent my mind — in a good way — and the whole process was fascinating. (“Had to borrow a kid”: ha!) Adam’s verbs are great: the sneeze that swayed up the block, the tide trickled in (smooth and thin, yet: THIN)…

    So happy you’re liking the piano lessons so much, Jules! When they finally taper off (if they do) (even if they don’t), it’d be pretty cool to find out how what you’ve learned has changed how you listen to (or plain-old hear) music.

    Hope the family reunion is fun, jone. (Y’all hosting, or being hosted?)

    Little Willow: what Jules said about “receipt.” Also, I like that when I read down the first letters of your kicks this week I see a Bronx cheer.

    Hey there, shannon. The youngster’s iPod sounds pretty kickin’!

    My kicks:

    #1 has to be a fabulous surprise package in the mail, from a friend I know only online. It’s a musical treat I’ll be listening to for, well, years. Nothin’ beats good music. (Preaching to the choir here, I know.)
    2. British sitcom, via Netflix: The I.T. Crowd. Tech goofy.
    3. Finally saw Safety Not Guaranteed last week. Exceeded all expectations, which is saying something.
    4. This idea for cleaning up the oceans is so good that it almost breaks my heart that we might not actually do it.
    5. Good science fiction. Good science fact.
    6. Stephen Fry.
    7. A side-effect of the fact that the Earth spins on its axis: the way sunlight moves across the living-room floor, causing The Pooch to pull up stakes every now and then to follow it.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  7. Thanks for Adam. He’s always a treat. Funny and smart and good.

  8. Oooo I’m a sucker for moon books and this one looks just the mooniest. The tide-came-in spread with the moon done up like a paper mache project over a white balloon is so captivating. And, like JES, I enjoyed the text; I noticed the lulling quality: “drifted to sleep and was lifted to bed”. Thanks Mr. Rex for sharing your process (and Jules for sharing the book) with us.

    Jules – I’m dancin’ with you (and love the idea of dancing away anxiety blues with your 2nd grader.) I’ve been dancing off the pounds… another much-more-fun way to go about such things.

    Jone – what a great phrase/concept: “the summer poetry exchange”. And so nice to have touchstone college friends one still shops and has lunch with.

    LW – best of luck with your submissions. And hope your research fetched needed fodder.

    Shannon – sparkley blue toenail polish. (!) I had my first manicure/pedicure this week (finally redeemed a salon gift certificate I got 5 years ago for being a baseball Team Mom.) I was descended upon by a trio of chatty (to each other and not in English) Vietnamese ladies who did themselves proud; wow. Quite the revelation. I picked a natural-tone polish… but next time (yes, I think I’ll treat myself again sometime) perhaps I’ll go for a bolder color. Might take a while to work up to sparkly blue though. ha-ha.

    JES – Safety Not Guarateed just moved up my stack. And that Dutch engineer kid’s TED talk about plastic/his invention… He’s so full of himself and his project – it reminds one what kind of chutzpah it takes to change the world. Good for him; on the side of the angels–and the dolphins.

    Hi Bill.

    My mid-September kick list:

    1 – shared one of those “strikes you as so funny you can’t stop laughing” waves of laughter that goes round until everyone is teary-eyed and exhausted from cracking up, with mom and brother.

    2 – the birds, mice and squirrels that frequent my birdfeeder and ground underneath it.

    3 – recalling/dancing old routines with my college friends, prepping for our upcoming reunion.

    4 – hit a goal on my diet-down challenge (-30 lbs) yea.

    5 – figuring out the whole i-pad,-phone,-cloud, “synch up, download, pick-a-bale-of-cotton” quagmire of directions s-l-o-w-l-y. (Why can’t I just drag a file over to/from my computer?)

    6 – Finished another chapter in my middlegrade. Moving on.

    7 – Signed up for advanced novel class @UCLA, (took it once before.) Good for the craft and soul.

    And now we’re off into fall… Have a good week kickers!

  9. John, that last kick is perfect, quintessential John. And thanks for the link. AMAZING.

    Hi, Bill!

    Denise: I want kick #1 to happen to me. And THIRTY POUNDS? Congratulations! And congrats on kick #6, too!

  10. Wow – love the moon and this book. I especially love the how-he-did-it stuff. Can’t wait to see the whole book.

    Great kicks from everyone! GREAT song “Come to My Party” – a mistake to start listening at 11 pm when I should be asleep! SO excited about Calling Caldecott also! (is one of my kicks too!!!)

    It is great to be back. I had to take off August to prepare for my picture book workshop and then travel HOME (sigh!) to New England – had a fabulous time.

    My Kicks:
    1. Calling Caldecott blog is back – and with gusto!
    2-7 Earth Wind and Fire at the Hollywood Bowl (in Los Angeles) this past weekend. Just awesome.

    Have a wonderful week!

  11. Yup, best not to post at 11:30 at night. This late at night I’m not at my best. I think I counted 5 uses of the word great in less than 100 words – pathetic. Sorry everyone!

  12. Allison, hope the workshop was … um, great! p.s. “Great” is great with kickers.

  13. Julie- Still hoping to make it to Nashvegas in October! I was cooking cheeseburger soup, biscuits, and chocolate peanut butter pretzels. Not the most nutritious, but some of my boy’s favorites 🙂

    JES- I love my boy’s musical choices. It is the BEST to hear your kid singing along to American Pie, Footloose, Crocodile Rock, Jailhouse Rock, and Yesterday!

    Denise- Congrats on the weight loss! Go for the sparkly polish colors! Life’s too short for boring toenails 😉 (says the midlife crisis mama who quit her job, went back to library school, and got a tattoo….)

  14. Shannon, if only EVERYone had such interesting midlife crises …!

    If you make it to Nashville in October, lemme know for sure!

  15. I just saw this book the other day–AMAZING. So much fun to see some of the process here. This is one of those books I read whilst killing time, but I’ve thought about it so much since then and need to get my hands on it again.

  16. Yes, Betsy, it stays with you, doesn’t it?

  17. Hello from Moonday or Monday.

    This book looks beautiful. Thanks to Adam for sharing all the great process shots.

    Jules- Which Alice McDermott are you reading. I love her voice. I also find her Irish-American worlds familiar and real.
    Dancing!! Yes! Very important. I spent several hours doing that with some of my favorite people this weekend in heels no less.
    Jone- Glad to hear the year is starting off well.
    LW- I am often grateful for receipts.
    Shannon – I am currently wearing sparkly blue nail polish on my toes.
    JES- I’ve heard about the IT Crowd. Funny?
    Hi Bill
    Allison – Grrreeaatt!
    Denise – Congrats on the chapter.

    Kicks- 1 – 6 :Most of my kicks are from a fun weekend with family and friends here on the Cape for my cousin’s wedding. My feet are still recovering from the dancing. I am feeling very full of love and food and drinks and cupcakes!
    7. My hope for my sister’s second surgery to be a success (thoughts, prayers and good wishes welcome).

    Have a great week all.

  18. Moira: Reading her newest, Someone.

    Best wishes to your sister! Let us know how things go, if you’re so inclined.

  19. That’s a kick ass song. Reminds me of Tom Jones. I love Tom Jones.

    I also love Adam Rex. Looking at his process reminds me sometimes I need models.

    My kicks this week ..

    1. Reading a whole stack of Edward Ardizzone’s ‘Tim’ books.
    2. Working on being as loose as Ardizzone and loving it.
    3. Fitting into a shirt I bought 3 years ago that I couldn’t get into when I bought it :-D.
    4. Thinking about lighting the first wood fire of the year.
    5. Packing for Princeton Book Festival.
    6. Partying with excellent kidlit friends at Princeton Book festival!
    7. My mare finishing being in season (AGAIN) and therefore not spending all day NEIGHING and HOLLERING for every horse withing a 100 mile radius like she is dying.


  20. Hi, Hazel! Have fun at the festival. We have our Southern Festival of Books happening here in Nashville very soon, too. Book festival season is always a good thing, huh?

    Party down.

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