7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #378: Featuring Laurie Keller

h1 April 19th, 2014 by jules

Happy Easter and Passover to one and all. You’d think I’d have bunnies for you today, given the Easter holiday anyway, but nope. I’ve got doughnuts. Lots of doughnuts.

Back at the beginning of the month, I chatted with author-illustrator Laurie Keller over at Kirkus about her new chapter book series about Arnie the Doughnut. The first two books in the series are Bowling Alley Bandit, published last year, and Invasion of the Ufonuts, released in February of this year. These are published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt and were inspired by Laurie’s beloved 2003 picture book, Arnie the Doughnut. We talked (here) about writing funny books for children, slapstick humor, schools visits, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Today, I follow up with some treats from Laurie. She shares some sketches and, well … she pretty much shows us how she does what she does. And I really appreciate her sharing. It’s fun stuff, and it’s neat to get an inside look at it all.

Without further ado, here’s Laurie …

* * *

Laurie: These are the opening two spreads for Bowling Alley Bandit (Book 1) that show Mr. Bing and Arnie laughing about how Mr. Bing tried to eat Arnie in the original picture book.

“Hey, Mr. Bing, do you remember the time you tried to eat me?”
(Click to enlarge)


I needed a way to show why Arnie wouldn’t be a doughnut-dog all the time in this series (like he turned out to be in the original picture book), so he explains:


I like adding extra jokes on the sidelines that have nothing to do with the main story:


“If you spell BOWL backwards, you get LWOB. I’m a LWOB.”
(Click to enlarge)

This spread introduces Peezo, Arnie’s new favorite bowling alley friend. He’ll be in each book in the series.


In each book, a famous person makes a cameo appearance a few times. In Bowling Alley Bandit, it’s Albert Einstein.

In Invasion of the Ufonuts, it’s George Washington.



This spread introduces Betsy, Mr. Bing’s new purple bowling ball. Unbeknownst to everyone, she gets stolen, which sets all the trouble in motion.



To create the art for these books, I do line drawings, then scan them into the computer and add textures and the gray values in Photoshop.



The finished illustration:



Sketches of bowling pins and bowling balls used to complete one of the illustrations:



Bowling ball return sketch and pattern I used to do the finished illustration:


(Click to enlarge)


Bowler sketches (first two images) for finished illustration:



Sketches of people and parts for the bowling alley tournament night illustration:


(Click each to enlarge)


Photo reference, sketch, and close-up illustration:


(Click to enlarge)


I use variations in type size and style to break up longer blocks of text.



This was one of my favorite jokes in the book, but I took it out when my friend’s 3rd- and 5th-grade kids didn’t know who Marilyn Monroe was.


(Click to enlarge)


These are early sketches while I was trying to get the right “voice” for the story. It takes me a while to get into the groove. (These are all wrong, by the way!)



The first chapter of Invasion of the Ufonuts:



Finally, how to speak UFONUT:


THE ADVENTURES OF ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT: BOWLING ALLEY BANDIT. Copyright © 2013 by Laurie Keller. Published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt, New York.

THE ADVENTURES OF ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT: INVASION OF THE UFONUTS. Copyright © 2014 by Laurie Keller. Published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt, New York.

All images here reproduced by permission of Laurie Keller.

* * * * * * *

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 * * *

I’m so glad Laurie visited and gave us a peek into her sketchbooks, too.

Instead of listing seven separate kicks this week, I’m gonna scoot on outta here and eat me some hard-boiled eggs on this sunny day. If anyone is around on this holiday, I hope you’ll share your kicks, though. I’d love to read them.

15 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #378: Featuring Laurie Keller”

  1. Laurie, I had so much fun reading the first Arnie book. Glad to hear there’s a new one.
    Jules, enjoy Easter.
    My kicks:
    1. Geology Rocks presented by the public librarian for Family Library Night.
    2. A presentation with a “member” from the Lewis and Clark expedition. Fabulous artifacts.
    3. Sunshine.
    4. Rain showers.
    5. New book I’m reading: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan.
    6. Wrote a tritina for Poetry Friday.
    7. Mailed Poetry Project Postcards.
    Have a great week. Happy Easter.

  2. Good morning, Imps! Happy Sunday! Hope you are enjoying the spring holidays this month. Did you participate in Rock the Drop? Hope you posted pictures and/or recaps. Let me know!

    Hello to Laurie and the singing, dancing doughnuts. I always love seeing the evolution of ideas to sketches to final versions. Thanks for sharing!

    Jone: Geology Rocks is the PERFECT title!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Dress rehearsals
    2) Sourdough bread
    3) Operation Teen Book Drop 2014 with readergirlz!
    4) Orphan Black season 2 premiere
    5) Sleep, when possible
    6) Picked
    7) Presenting

  3. Jone, I read Mudbound when it first came out and LOVED it. Hope you enjoy it. Funny: Just the other day, I was trying to remember the name of that novel. … I started The Goldfinch and like it so far.

    LW: SOURDOUGH. Nothin’ tops it. It rules all the other breads. I like your last two kicks. Can you tell us what you were picked for, or is it a super special secret?

  4. Hello, Kickers!

    Laurie Keller: wow wow wow wow WOW. (That’s sort of how a doughnut siren sounds.) The karaoke scene alone was worth the visit here — it looks sorta like if Picasso had dropped acid while working on Guernica — but this is an amazing bunch of artwork here. Also: “Doughnut make my brown eyes blue”: wokka wokka. Thanks so much for dropping by! Or, should I say, for oppingdrut ybut.

    Jules, don’t eat too many hard-boiled eggs. (You’ll put your eye out.)

    I’m with Miz Willow on “Geology Rocks,” Jone — great title!

    LW, no one here is fooled by your “when possible” disclaimer on Kick #5. We know you are actually an android with a SAG card.

    Kicks here, and keeping it simple today:

    1. Well, I’m gonna have to start with DOUGHNUTS myself. Like this mega chocolate-covered cream doughnut. I can’t TELL you how good this bakery’s regular c-ccd’s are, people (they’re shown at the bottom right). This cake-sized behemoth must be what Zeus eats for Sunday breakfast.
    2. Good music.
    3. Good movies.
    4. Good games.
    5. Juuuuuuust enough good drinks (and no more).
    6. Good meals.
    7. …and, of course, good people. (But I’m preaching to — and about — the choir here.)

    Have a great week all!

  5. John, you win Blog Commenter of 2014 for speaking in Ufonut! And I’d like one of those donuts please—in kick #1—thank you very much.

    Here’s to all your Goods … happy egg-hunting!

  6. Jules, I have Goldfinch on hold….like there’s 50+ before me!!

  7. These books look like a lot of fun! I enjoy seeing the process pics too.
    I am feeling full of love and ham and candy on this chilly but sunny day.
    I’m ready to crash on the couch and watch some Game of Thrones.
    Mudbound, Presenting, Goodness- Yes, Yes, Yes

  8. Put some Nutella on the right kind of bread and it tastes like a doughnut.

    Jules: Some short pieces that I wrote were selected for a production happening this summer in NY!

    JES: That’s hilarious! You’re not the first people to accuse me of being a robot. 🙂 I actually played a robot once and had an absolute BLAST with it.

    Hi Moira!

  9. LW…sleep is always goos as is sourdough.
    John, good drinks and friends…best combo
    Moira…Game of thrones.

  10. Hi, Moira. Oh my gosh, I just totally crashed too. I mean, out like a light AND I even slept in this morning. Must have been all the egg-hunting. … As someone who has to wait for Game of Thrones on DVD, I’m jealous. Enjoy.

    Ooh, Little Willow, CONGRATS!

  11. Oh, and Jone, I impatiently caved in and purchased the book (Goldfinch). I can only imagine the hold lines right now.

  12. Happy week kickers! Late flyby kicks – oh my goodness but I love seeing the process unfold – thank you Laurie Keller for sharing all your illustrations and such fun work!

    Jules – hope you had a lovely time and ate a lot of hardboiled eggs! Glad you are liking The Goldfinch.

    Jone – wasn’t that rain on Saturday impressive? Can’t wait for my poetry postcard!

    LW – I am especially fond of your Sleep kick. I love sleep.

    John – Love all your kicks today, but I am with Jules – good drinks and friends is the best.

    Moira – sounds like you had a full and fun Easter!

    My quick kicks:
    1) Friday night drinks and catch up with a good girlfriend.
    2) Saturday night dinner date – we ate at a local restaurant and its now my favorite ever. Everything was incredible, including the after-dinner cappuccino.
    3) Party with friends afterwards.
    4) Easter brunch.
    5) Taking a pup to the park. (Not mine, but still nice to have pup time.)
    6) Mowing the yard before the week of rain we’re going to get.
    7) Small favors.

    Have a great weeke everyone!

  13. Rachel, what kind of cuisine was it in kick #2? I have started picking restaurants lately, based on whether or not they can make a good cappuccino.

    I like your last kick. It’s always the little things, yes? Well, okay, big things are sometimes good, too, but you know what I mean. The little things are often the very best.

  14. jules – it was local cuisine, we specifically ordered all seafood except for a beet salad – http://www.paleysplace.net/
    Truly incredible and delicious!

    And yes, small favors go a long way for me – it is always the kindness behind them that means so very much.

  15. Rachel: Mmm. Just mmm.

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