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26701. send in the clones


1 Comments on send in the clones, last added: 4/12/2013
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26702. Did Disney Steal “Alice in Wonderland” Artwork from A College Student?

Artist Katie Woodger is claiming on her Tumblr this morning that Disney’s Consumer Products division has been reproducing her Alice in Wonderland artwork on Disney merchandise without permission. She has a compelling case:

My painting was created back in 2010, and since then so many people have expressed their love for it, not just on tumblr, but in many places. At least 9 people had it tattooed on their bodies. It’s one of my favourite images I created at University and I was proud of it in many ways.

Disney have used it on a cosmetics bag HERE (look at the back)

and they have produced a Tshirt HERE with a really similar design clearly modeled from my painting.

I’m so mad because I have no chance at getting Disney to do anything about it. I had so much respect for the company and now I am just SO upset and disappointed.

Bear in mind that Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is a public domain property and Woodger’s art was styled in an original manner that is distinct from the Disney versions. If her claims hold up, this would be a bold example of copyright theft by the Disney Company.

0 Comments on Did Disney Steal “Alice in Wonderland” Artwork from A College Student? as of 4/8/2013 4:00:00 PM
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26703. Booklist likes Peanut and Fifi

Another great review just in for Peanut and Fifi have A Ball, Randall de Seve and my new book out at the end of this month. Preorder it here.


Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball.   
In this story about imaginative play, Peanut has a new blue ball. It’s a great ball, and her older sister, Fifi, wants it. But no matter what Fifi suggests they do with it, Peanut refuses. Then Fifi brings an imaginary seal into the equation, along with clothes and pajamas, so that all four can travel the world. Peanut acquiesces, but Fifi doesn’t need the ball anymore to play. End of story? Well, not quite. Much of this book’s charm lies in the spare illustrations of the girls, rendered as broad black strokes in geometric shapes (Fifi is triangular; Peanut is more rounded), and accented by a blue, green, and peach color palette. The backgrounds are plain and the pages creamy, which allow the characters to pop—up until the lovely, fully saturated final spread. When Fifi introduces each imaginary object, it’s effectively rendered in muted colors and bordered with a dotted line. Share with kids who understand what it’s like to have a special toy, a sibling, and a powerful imagination. 
— Ann Kelley

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26704. 99 Problems But the Witch Ain’t One

By Mary Pleiss

Wicked Witch of the WestWhen I was a little girl, the witches I knew came from fairy tales. They were old, ugly, and mean–life ruiners who cast evil spells with no provocation. My young friends and I ran into the problem of the witch in our play. We didn’t want to meet a witch in a dark forest or a bright one, even if that forest was the pair of trees in our backyard. Certainly none of us wanted to be the witch. But we knew we had to have a witch. Witches made things happen, provided scary, shivery tension, and gave the good characters something to fight against and overcome.

We often solved this problem by keeping the witch offscreen; we called out plot points detailing the unseen, unheard witch’s actions: “Now the witch is casting her spell. If you get to the swing set, you’re safe!” or, “You stepped into the witch’s clover patch–you’re trapped!” We could imagine the witch without casting her because we’d read stories and seen movies (mostly Disney movies and of course The Wizard of Oz). We knew witches well enough to weave them into our play without having to face the fact that we all had it in ourselves to be witches.

The Witch of Blackbird PondIn sixth grade, I read Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and I started thinking about witches in a different way. What made the people of Wethersfield believe Hannah Tupper and Kit Tyler were witches, when any reader could see they weren’t magical or evil–just a little bit different? Why did their neighbors feel the need to banish or imprison them? If Hannah and Kit weren’t really evil, what did that say about the fairy tale witches I’d always feared and hated?

The witches in our fiction today are very different from those in fairy tales, and it turns out that even the Wicked Witch of the West has more complexity than I realized when I was growing up. I knew her from the movie, but reading the books as an adult, and learning more about the history of the Oz books in particular and witches–and those who were accused of witchcraft–in western culture has witches in a new light. L. Frank Baum was heavily influenced by his mother-in-law, Matilda Gage, who was an historian and feminist who promoted influential theories about women who were called witches in history. Baum had those theories in mind when he populated Oz with witches who were more dimensional than what had come before; they had backstories and motivations, and while some of them were evil, just as many were good.

Since Baum, of course, a number of children’s and YA writers have included witches–and women accused of witchcraft–in their stories. Whether bad, good, or somewhere in between, those witches have developed into characters with more depth and complexity than even Baum could have imagined. As societal attitudes about the roles of girls and women have evolved, fictional characterizations of witches have changed, and we can’t  get away with taking the problematic witch offscreen or making her a one-dimensional villain. Now, when we write about witches, we work to make them as dimensional as all of our other characters, and our problem becomes the same as that we face with most other characters: how do we bring the witch to life?

Here are some suggestions and questions you can ask yourself if you’re including witchy characters in your fiction:

Consider doing some research into historical witches and witchcraft trials. You might find an angle or a detail no one’s ever written about before.

If your witches really do practice magic, is their power individual or communal, or some combination of both? Is magic learned or innate? Can you make witchcraft/magic a source of conflict, rather than a crutch that relieves it?

Does your character need to make choices about her “witchiness”—whether it’s to become a witch, to fully use or curtail her own power, or to educate herself about her power? Against or for whom she will use her power? Will she embrace her power right away, or resist it?

These are, of course, just a start to creating fully realized witch characters, but they’re a way to turn the witch into an integral part of your story, rather than a flat stereotype. Give your readers more to think about when you write witches, so that kids who play pretend will argue over who gets to be the witch, rather than relegating her to an offscreen ghost.

March Dystropia MadnessMary Pleiss: Though some might say all the hours Mary Pleiss spent haunting the library and disappearing into book worlds hinted at her future in writing for middle grade and young adult readers, she confesses that at the time she just thought it was a good way to escape her noisy family (she loves them, really, but six siblings can be a bit much at times). She is a curriculum development specialist, teacher, and recent graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Follow Mary on Twitter: @MKPleiss

This blog post was brought to you as part of the March Dystropian Madness blog series. 


5 Comments on 99 Problems But the Witch Ain’t One, last added: 4/16/2013
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26705. Spring! Cometh!

 

 

anipeepGif4

Winter is on the way OUT!  I say this as a huge storm is coming into Colorado right NOW!!  No, I did not go to the grocery store in freak out mode stocking my cupboards. Instead, I spent a bit of time today digging in my garden resisting the urge to acknowledge the storm at all!  ha!

Alas, tonight I will hunker down with my pens and paper and continue to work towards deadlines for up and coming trade shows. That is the good thing about storms!  They keep me focused.  I wonder how many artists are like me?

I have one problem.  I can’t seem to go out to my studio to work.  It’s covered with papers, receipts, file folders etc.  It is my new book-keeping system in progress. Eeeeek!  My friend is helping me set up my Quick Books program.  She entered all my checks, deposits etc, and sent me the disk. I bought the program, installed it, imported my files… … then I went to reconcile the two bank statements that my friend did not add and suddenly I am thirty dollars off!  What on earth?  What could I have done?

So, I did what I do best,  I locked the studio door and went in the house. ha!  My right brain is not in the mood for numbers!  Happy Spring everyone!

 


6 Comments on Spring! Cometh!, last added: 4/9/2013
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26706. Have I told you about…

THE STORY OF FISH & SNAIL?

Coming from Viking Children’s Books, June 13.

The Story of Fish & Snail


Filed under: Random Tagged: fish, fish & snail, picturebook, snail

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26707. CTN Block Party

Dear all,

I will be attending CTN Block party as an exhibitor at Burbank, CA this weekend.
I will be doing book signing for my children picture book, Treehouse Heroes and Acqerello II as well as selling art prints!!  This would be my first time attending a convention on my own and sell art prints!!

Please come and check visit my table at B-31.


Dates: April 13-14, 2013 10:00am - 5:00pm
Location: San Fernando Blvd between Angeleno Ave and Olive Ave Burbank, CA GOOGLE MAP
Parking: We recommend the FREE parking lots on Angeleno. PARKING MAP
CTN Animation Road Trip has gone mobile. Get it on your phone NOW: http://guidebook.com/g/qysa4mi8/

Hope to see you there,
I am very exciting to catch up with many familiar faces and friends in LA!!
Can't wait!!

Cheers,

Alina
PS:Top sketch:  Quick little watercolor demo for a lecture at AAU today.


2 Comments on CTN Block Party, last added: 4/10/2013
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26708. Music Monday - Firefly, "The Funeral"

I just finished another Firefly marathon. Probably my favorite TV series *ever*. STILL angry about it's premature cancellation. This gorgeous funeral piece was composed and filmed after they learned they were being cancelled, and is really a tragic, tearful musical farewell for its early demise...
Goodbye crew of Serenity. You left us all far too soon....

1 Comments on Music Monday - Firefly, "The Funeral", last added: 4/9/2013
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26709. Artist of the Day: Colin Howard

Colin Howard

Colin Howard is working as a character designer on Steven Universe, the new show in production created by Rebecca Sugar. You can see Colin’s current Tumblr here. He seems like a good match for the show, as many of Colin’s sketchbook drawings and characters seem to be built of the same cartoon materials as Rebecca’s—similar lines, forms, and convincing solidity.

Colin Howard

Colin Howard

For more drawings and recent CalArts school work, Colin has another blog here. Perhaps of special interest to future animation school applicants, you can peek at Colin’s even earlier blog, which he describes as his character animation application work.

Colin Howard

Colin Howard

Colin Howard

Colin Howard

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26710.


Hey all!  I warned you it was a busy time.
   Here's the final cover for My Time Machine contribution to the Graphic Classic's H.G.Wells anthology and the original sketch / pitch .  I can't wait to get into the guts of it; 40 pages of B & W goodness!  I'll be in Calgary and Vancouver this month...more news as very little happens.

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26711. The First Shall Be Last: It works for picture books too

At a recent writing retreat I listened to fellow kid lit creator Courtney Stevens Potter relate hearing how Shaun Tan chooses to create his images for a story. Tan does not paint his characters in the chronological order they appear in the book. His reasoning is that the more time you spend with the characters they better they will be. Therefore paint the scenes that appear first in the book last because they will be the best renditions of the character. Readers should see the best images of the characters first while they are hooked into the story. Once a reader has fallen in love with a character they will forgive minor variations or weaknesses in the images that appear later in the story.

Let's go ahead and state for the record that for this, and many other reasons, Shaun Tan is brilliant. Happily, I'm standing in the shadow of brilliance because I've already been doing this with my character illustrations - and for similar reasons. As I mentioned in this post, the recently finished illustrations for Beyond The Grave, were not created in chronological order either. Most illustrators will notice an evolution in their character's "design" over several pages. My evolution usually takes the form of putting more and more detail into the images as I get used to painting them. By intentionally painting the scenes out of order my hope is to sprinkle this detail over several pages making it unnoticeable that some versions of the characters may have an extra line around their mouth or extra attention paid to the shading on clothing. Since I usually transfer two images to the board at a time and work on them side by side the trick is figuring out which two images should go together.

In Beyond The Grave, along with the two boys there was also a cast of ghosts and the requisite Evil Doctor. I didn't have that many images to get across the point of how evil Dr. Naper is so I figured I'd better go straight for the jugular in the first one - literally. Here's the initial sketch and final:

































Do you want this guy chasing you around a creepy science lab? I hope not. In case you are wondering why this looks like it's been ripped out of a newspaper - well, you have to read the book.

Evil doctors rarely work alone and Dr. Naper is no exception. Here's a sketch of his monstrous creation and the final.



































I worked on these two images together even though they are pages apart in the book. Both depend on lots of solid black tones to carry the drama. And these were my two clearest images of the monster so I was able to check my details on each one.

Next Beyond The Grave post: the cover!

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26712.


Hey all!  I warned you it was a busy time.
   Here's the final cover for My Time Machine contribution to the Graphic Classic's H.G.Wells anthology and the original sketch / pitch .  I can't wait to get into the guts of it; 40 pages of B & W goodness!  I'll be in Calgary and Vancouver this month...more news as very little happens.

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26713. Postcards from Abroad - April Update

I'm nearing the last leg of my journey with Australia and New Zealand on the horizon. Big, epic adventures are on the itinerary from trekking thru & helicoptering over glaciers, road tripping from the North to South Islands of NZ in a campervan, wine tasting by bicycle, cuddling with a koala, and visiting Hobbiton. I've been waiting for this part of my backpacking tour and on the 8th, I'll be on my way. Make sure to order a Postcard from Abroad if you want a snippet of the travels!

Here are photos of last month's postcards:

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26714. Reception at Collector this Friday

 It's all about birds and bugs and springtime...



 Hope to see some of you this Friday night, 6-8 pm !
at Collector
2950 College Avenue 
Berkeley


2 Comments on Reception at Collector this Friday, last added: 4/14/2013
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26715. Evolution of a Snow Globe Design

In 2012, I signed a contract as a designer with Things Remembered in Cleveland, OH.  I thought it might be fun to show you how a concept changes and evolves until it becomes a finished product that you see in stores, on their website and in their catalogue.

In this case, the concept I drew was for a peacock snow globe painted in beautiful, shiny metallic colors. 


But we felt the peacock was lonely and lacked something endearing.  So we added a peachick.  :)


And we applied color.


And here is the final product.  The image is not very good, but if you click HERE, you can go to the website and watch the video where you will see a close-up, hear the music and watch the movement as the image rotates inside a snow filled globe.  It is quite beautiful.



1 Comments on Evolution of a Snow Globe Design, last added: 4/29/2013
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26716. Maddy Commission

Here's a pretty new commission I did , a drawing of Maddy, which ended up being a slight redesign of the flying boat...

Today I'm going back and forth between a new book cover contract and finishing my new Spring print, which I hope will be done before Summer....

2 Comments on Maddy Commission, last added: 4/11/2013
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26717. Curriculum Guides for Books

spikeheader

Why create a Curriculum Guide for your books?  

“A discussion guide and/or activity guide is a valuable way for teachers, librarians and parents to give a book more depth and breadth,” says illustrator Melissa Sweet who collaborated with me on SPIKE, THE MIXED-UP MONSTER. Today, there’s more interest than ever in these guides. Why? Two words: Common Core. Educators everywhere are looking for ways to incorporate this new mandate.

And once you have a guide, it’s a win-win-win situation!

  • For kids, the games, crafts and activities are fun. They encourage kids to play with ideas they’ve learned from the book and to dive deeper into the subject matter.
  • For teachers, the guide helps them incorporate your book into lesson plans, especially if the guide aligns with the Common Core.
  • For you, the guide increases your book’s exposure and lets you elaborate on ideas you’ve introduced. It makes a dandy handout for school and library visits and can drive traffic to your website.

meetspike

What are the different kinds of guides?

Activity Guides

These offer interactive activities, such as cut-out masks, holiday cards, finger puppets, bookmarks and so on. They may include directions for games, activities, songs, recipes, and crafts.

Discussion Guides

These guides have more text, fewer cut-outs.  They might provide interviews with the author and illustrator, discussion prompts, projects and extension activities. They list questions to ask kids and suggest additional books, websites and resources.  See Michelle Markel and Melissa Sweet’s Discussion Guide for BRAVE GIRL.

All of the Above 

Our SPIKE, THE MIXED-UP MONSTER Curriculum Guide has something for everyone—pages of interactive cut-out, crayon and drawing activities for kids, plus book-related questions that align with the Common Core for educators.

How do you create a Curriculum Guide?

Talk to your publisher. More and more houses are interested in developing them.  Some will work with the author and illustrator. Others will hire an outside reading specialist to write discussion questions, illustrated with pick-up art from the book.

For our book SPIKE, THE MIXED-UP MONSTER, Melissa Sweet and I agreed to work on the guide together.  I came up with the games and wrote the copy. (As the former Children’s Content Director of Nick Jr. Magazine, they were right up my alley!) Melissa did sketches for some pages and we used pick-up art from the book for other pages. We submitted the “manuscript” and later sketches to our editor and then worked with the Simon & Schuster marketing department to have the guide designed and copy-edited.  Simon & Schuster also hired a literacy specialist, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer to add a discussion guide with questions that align to the Common Core. Tracie says, “I’ve been writing guides for 10 years. My focus is to really try to find what’s unique about the book and bring that forward for teachers to use in their classroom. The new push is the alignment with The Common Core Standards, which I’ve been trained in extensively over the last two years.”

commoncore

Who pays the costs?

Sometimes the publisher, sometimes you! For my book JUST SAY BOO,

I worked with my illustrator Jed Henry to create Halloween cards, masks, paper dolls, a charades card game, and more.  Jed agreed to create some original art and we used some pick-up art as well.  We both donated our time and then I hired a former Nick Jr. designer, Jennifer Starr, to put it together. This is key. Without a good designer, your guide won’t look professional or be as appealing.

How long does it take?

It depends on the scope of the guide. Our SPIKE guide is 15-pages long and includes original art so the production process took several months.  Guides that are mostly text or use pickup art will take less time. 

How does it get distributed?

You, your illustrator and your publisher post the guide as a free downloadable PDF on your websites, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. I also take copies along to school and library visits, conferences and other venues. To keep costs down, I might copy one or two pages, do those activities with the kids, and then provide the school the link for more. Or you can email your school contacts ahead of time and have the school download the guide before your visit.

spike5

To download the SPIKE, THE MIXED-UP MONSTER Curriculum Guide, visit: www.susanhoodbooks.com

For wonderful ideas for teaching SPIKE developed by the professors of Lesley University, see http://march23rdhandout.blogspot.com/p/panel-i.html

Have more questions? To get more information about creating guides, contact Susan@susanhoodbooks.com.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Interview, Marketing a book, Process, Tips Tagged: Curriculum Guide, Melissa Sweet, Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster, Spike the Mixed up Monster, Susan Hood

12 Comments on Curriculum Guides for Books, last added: 4/17/2013
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26718. Bicycling through Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

 My rented ride. Biked about 40-50 km. I was very sweaty in the 90+ degree heat.
I sat down to paint this tree (because how could you not?!?) and by the end, I had quite an audience and some fellow painters with me.
 Showing her how to use the watercolors.
 The crowd gathered to watch sunset at one of the wats was more interesting than the actual sunset, IMO.
I was continually astounded by how open and well-preserved the temples were. I felt like a kid wandering through corridors, windows, and doors, not sure where exactly they would lead me, or climbing up steep stone steps for a stunning view. My favorites were the trees perhaps as old as the temples themselves essentially crushing the wat walls to grow. 

Besides Angkor Wat, Siem Reap is a lovely city. The people are really kind, and the tuktuk drivers are very creative with their solicitations. Best of all, the food is delicious and cheap. I can't wait to go back!

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26719. Dinosaur Hunter 7 Cover ideas

Which will it be?...Ooooh  the tension....the anticipation,
.......the roughness



Think the middle one- the other ones seem to throw your eye off the image- the middle one seems to keep your eye in that triangle of heads

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26720. Winchester Authorfest






Come join me tomorrow, April 9th, for the Winchester Authorfest!

I'll be signing books along with a long list of wonderful authors and illustrators: Kathleen Duble, Karen Day, Jackie Dembar Green, Amy MacDonald, David Biedrzycki, David Elliott, Matt Tavares, Marty Kelley, Susan Lubner, Susan Goodman, Jerry Pallotta, Ralph Masiello, Brian Lies, Scott Magoon, and Nancy Poydar.

Come to get a signed book or just say hello!

3:00-5:00 pm
Winchester Town Hall
71 Mt Vernon St, Winchester, MA

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26721. like a fish out of water


like a fish out of water

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26722. Contest winner


   




Thanks to everyone who entered and voted in the contest! The challenge was to write a story in 50 words.

The winner, chosen by reader vote:

_____________________________________________________________

We first met at a charity gala, our bruises hidden under designer gowns and cosmetics.

Our husbands died soon after. So untimely. So wealthy.

She loves Caribbean islands with Adonis arm candy. I prefer a Rolls-Royce and freedom.

Yearly, we visit their graves with our undying gratitude, and plastic flowers.

Anonymous Marnie

__________________________________________________________________

 But Marnie! You entered so anonymously that we don't know how to get in touch with you.

Where do we reach you? And would you like a signed book or chocolate? Please let us know by emailing:

bluerosegirls@gmail.com

Again, thanks to everyone who entered and commented: it was interesting to read everything, and very surprising to me that the readers agreed so much!

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26723. monster monday


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26724. Wombat 3 Cover Idea


0 Comments on Wombat 3 Cover Idea as of 4/9/2013 2:20:00 AM
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26725. The First Shall Be Last: It works for picture books too

At a recent writing retreat I listened to fellow kid lit creator Courtney Stevens Potter relate hearing how Shaun Tan chooses to create his images for a story. Tan does not paint his characters in the chronological order they appear in the book. His reasoning is that the more time you spend with the characters they better they will be. Therefore paint the scenes that appear first in the book last because they will be the best renditions of the character. Readers should see the best images of the characters first while they are hooked into the story. Once a reader has fallen in love with a character they will forgive minor variations or weaknesses in the images that appear later in the story.

Let's go ahead and state for the record that for this, and many other reasons, Shaun Tan is brilliant. Happily, I'm standing in the shadow of brilliance because I've already been doing this with my character illustrations - and for similar reasons. As I mentioned in this post, the recently finished illustrations for Beyond The Grave, were not created in chronological order either. Most illustrators will notice an evolution in their character's "design" over several pages. My evolution usually takes the form of putting more and more detail into the images as I get used to painting them. By intentionally painting the scenes out of order my hope is to sprinkle this detail over several pages making it unnoticeable that some versions of the characters may have an extra line around their mouth or extra attention paid to the shading on clothing. Since I usually transfer two images to the board at a time and work on them side by side the trick is figuring out which two images should go together.

In Beyond The Grave, along with the two boys there was also a cast of ghosts and the requisite Evil Doctor. I didn't have that many images to get across the point of how evil Dr. Naper is so I figured I'd better go straight for the jugular in the first one - literally. Here's the initial sketch and final:

































Do you want this guy chasing you around a creepy science lab? I hope not. In case you are wondering why this looks like it's been ripped out of a newspaper - well, you have to read the book.

Evil doctors rarely work alone and Dr. Naper is no exception. Here's a sketch of his monstrous creation and the final.



































I worked on these two images together even though they are pages apart in the book. Both depend on lots of solid black tones to carry the drama. And these were my two clearest images of the monster so I was able to check my details on each one.

Next Beyond The Grave post: the cover!

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