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1. “A marvelous way to tell a difficult story”

The upcoming Austin SCBWI Graphic Novel Workshop on Saturday, October 5 promises to be a day for writers and illustrators, writer-illustrators and anyone interested in exciting alternative literary forms for children, teens and young adults. OK, plenty of adults read them, too. Webcomics creator, animator, digital content creator and our SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book […]

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2. “A marvelous way to tell a difficult story”

The upcoming Austin SCBWI Graphic Novel Workshop on Saturday, October 5 promises to be a day for writers and illustrators, writer-illustrators and anyone interested in exciting alternative literary forms for children, teens and young adults. OK, plenty of adults read them, too. Webcomics creator, animator, digital content creator and our SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book […]

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3. Your “Epiphany Essay”

It should have something to do with children’s book illustration, or children’s book illustrators or drawing or painting or simply communicating to younger readers with your art.

American painter Aline Rhonie working on wall mural

Aline H Rhonie learned mural painting from Diego Rivera.  She painted the large aviation themed fresco mural in Hangar F at Roosevelt Field.

By it,  I do mean — your epiphany.

What epiphany, you ask.
The epiphany that you’re going to write and tell me about in your essay.

That high awareness moment you’ve had in the past 12 months, where something something seemed to break for you  (in a good way) in your art-making.

The aha insight that came from within  –  or you were keen enough to really see when someone showed it to you or you read, saw or heard it somewhere.

What essay?  I can almost hear you now.

Will  Terry's video course on children's book illustration

The essay to win the contest, remember?  The contest to win illustrator Will Terry’s eight video course, Children’s Book Illustration.

Keep it under 400 words and e-mail it to me at [email protected] Illustrator.com

Or leave a comment here on the blog.


Or, if you prefer, use the above form.  If you don’t want to write an essay to enter the contest, use the form to express just exactly where you think children’s publishing is going, or discuss your favorite book illustrators or what you would like to see in the way of  tech (or traditional art medium) trainings for visual artists.  Your comments will get you a soapbox here.

But they won’t get you the prize.  The prize will go to the composer of the best short essay ((300-400 words max, please) about his or her uniquely personal learning experience — pertaining to drawing, painting or children’s book illustration.  Let’s just keep it to those skill sets.

No,  the epiphany does not (at all) have to be a result of my courses or lessons.  In fact (as much as I’d appreciate the references to me) your essay probably will be scored higher if your epiphany is of your own inspiration or problem solution.

It is true that many good essays already have been turned in since the launching of the contest in late February. But I want to make this an open competition — to everyone, not just those caring, responsible souls who always get their homework done early.

There is a rea

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4. What the heck is an e-book, anyway?

Children’s book illustrators, artistrators, writers take note: These guys kind of say it all. The trailer is by animator, web designer, online comics creator Erik Kuntz  (who also happens to be our SCBWI chapter’s webmaster.) Briefly, the Second Annual Austin SCBWI Digital Symposium is October 6 at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. But for the [...]

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5. Trail of Lights 5K!

The Zilker tree and Moonlight Tower
This year marked the return of the Trail of Lights to Zilker Park after a two-year hiatus.  It also marked the return of the Trail of Lights 5K!

Since Cyn and I have never actually done the Trail of Lights, we thought we'd do the 5K this year.  We were joined by Maggie and Erik Kuntz; and Gene Brenek.  

Me, Erik, Maggie, Gene, Cyn
Refreshments under the tree
Into the mouth of the beast...
Cyn, Erik, and Gene ham it up.

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6. An amazing way to learn illustration

So what is musician-performer-dancer-composer Lindsey Stirling doing on this blog about children’s book illustration? She’s an artist but she works in a different medium. She hasn’t published a children’s picture book. (Not yet, anyway, but give her time.) I’m sharing this video of her 2011 tune Shadows, because twenty-two million YouTube viewers are not wrong […]

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7. Harry Potter 1: Chapter One

Welcome to the Wizards Wireless chapter by chapter discussion of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. See this post for an explanation of why I'm talking about the 1st book when the 7th book has just been published.

Even though this post is about Book One, there are spoilers in it for all seven books.













Chapter One: The Boy Who Lived
(All quotes refer to the Scholastic hardcover edition).

Things that we learn in this chapter:

  • Professor McGonagall can transform from a cat to a human. This introduces the concept of animagi, which is very significant in Book 3.
  • The deluminator, which is important in Book 7 is mentioned here when Dumbledore extinguishes the streetlights in Privet Drive.
  • Dumbledore’s nose is described as crooked and broken. In the 7th book, we learn that Albus’ nose has in fact been broken by his brother Aberforth.
  • Dumbledore says that he wouldn’t remove Harry’s scar even if he could, because “scars can come in handy.” (Scholastic hardcover, page 15). Harry’s scar is important in every book and does come in extremely handy.
  • When Dumbledore leaves Privet Drive, he turns on his heel and vanishes with a swish of his cloak. This is exactly the way apparition is described in later books.

Characters and places introduced that aren’t important until later:

  • Dedalus Diggle. Professor McGonagall comments that Diggle is probably responsible for the display of shooting stars that appeared on the Muggle news. Diggle also appears in Book 5 but doesn’t have a real speaking part until Book 7.
  • Godric’s Hollow is mentioned as the place where the Potters were living. This is significant because it demonstrates that Rowling had already decided that the village would be named after Godric Gryffindor.
  • Sirius Black. This always amazes me. Here we are, on page 14 of the book, and a crucial character is mentioned in passing, although he doesn’t appear again until the 3rd book. Why is this so interesting? Three reasons:
Rowling has already named him Sirius Black, and his name essentially means “Black Dog.” This shows that she has already planned out a very important part of the plot of Book 3... before Book 1 was published.

Sirius’ motorbike is mentioned and doesn’t reappear until the seventh book when it factors into a crucial scene.

We get a glimpse of Sirius right before he’s framed for murder, and it sets the stage (and the time) of his battle in the street with Pettigrew.


I think that the first sentences of books are extremely important… and I have always been surprised by the first sentence of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” (Scholastic hardcover, page 1).

It’s a pretty bland descriptive sentence, wouldn’t you say? It doesn’t leap out and grab you (as first sentences should) and it doesn’t become more significant as you learn more about the characters. I've always found this odd.

Another observation:

Speaking of the opening of the book, I’ve recently noticed an enormous amount of repetition in the first few pages. The word Dursley appears over and over a surprising number of times. Obviously Mr. and Mrs. Dursley are being introduced and it’s important to give background information on them… but their last name is mentioned 14 times in the first four paragraphs. It feels a bit excessive. The word Dursley also is among the first words of nearly every sentence in the first part of the chapter. Take a look at the opening sentences of the first four paragraphs and you’ll see what I mean:

  • Paragraph One: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive…”
  • Paragraph Two: “Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings…”
  • Paragraph Three: “The Dursleys had everything they wanted…”
  • Paragraph Four: “When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday…”

Maybe this is over analysis because I frequently listen to the audio book (where it is quite noticeable) but I wonder if this is a stylistic choice or accidental.


  • Dumbledore mentions that he must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on his way to Privet Drive. Then how did he get there? If he had apparated, he wouldn’t have been able to see anything other than his departure and destination points.

Things that are never explained (that I wish were):

  • How did Dumbledore acquire a scar above his left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground?

Favorite quote:

  • Professor McGonagall: “There will be books written about Harry- every child in our world will know his name!” (Scholastic hardcover, page 13).

I love this quote because J.K. Rowling, a fledgling author who was thrilled just to get her first book published, could never have known how prophetic this statement would be.

11 Comments on Harry Potter 1: Chapter One, last added: 11/25/2007
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8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

If you're a regular reader of Wizards Wireless, you're probably aware that I've been posting about each chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That series is still is progress (I'm still working on it and there is more to come) but I'm also starting another project.

There have been numerous polls conducted about which books in the Harry Potter series are readers' favorites. The Prisoner of Azkaban typically wins, usually closely followed by Goblet of Fire, Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. Few people seem to care for Chamber of Secrets or Order of the Phoenix. And Sorcerer's Stone... well, I've never heard anyone describe it as their favorite.

But I think Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is brilliant. Why? Because it lays out the whole series and sets the stage for everything that follows. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but there are a few important things to keep in mind when thinking about Book One.

  • When Joanne Rowling started writing about Harry Potter in 1990, she was an unpublished writer. She had no agent, no publisher and no track record. There was absolutely no guarantee that anything she wrote would ever make it into print.
  • It took six years from when she started writing in 1990 until the first book was accepted for publication in 1996. Since Book One contains clues for all the books in the series, this means that Rowling outlined all seven books before the first was even published.
It's very impressive (not to mention extremely gutsy) that Rowling put so much time and energy into fully fleshing out a series that might never have seen the light of day or garnered enough reaction to warrant all seven books being published.

I think Rowling's solid construction of Sorcerer's Stone is what makes the series so successful. It also forced her to think about future plot lines in advance. The structure of the book is wonderful because the author knows where she's going from the very first page. The rest of the series relies heavily on the foundation she built in the very beginning.

Now that Deathly Hallows has been published, readers can finally look at the series as a whole and examine the clues Rowling spread through the previous books. Nowhere are these clues more apparent or important than Book One. So, I've decided to post about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone chapter by chapter in order to point out characters and plot development that Rowling placed in the very first Harry Potter book.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the first Harry Potter book I read and fell in love with.
(Spoiler ahead if you haven't read Book One.)

I'll never forget the moment when I found out that Quirrell was the one chasing the Sorcerer's Stone. Rowing had baited me so well... I was completely convinced that it was Snape, and then she pulled the rug out from under me. I couldn't wait to see what other tricks Rowling had in store. It also made me want to reread the book immediately, and I was impressed to find so many hidden clues and wonderful dialogue that could be interpreted several ways.

The other reason that I want to write about Book One is that it's the book I know the best and the one I've analyzed the most. And I think it's fascinating to re-examine it now that we finally know the ending of the saga. Also, of course, it's the shortest book, there are only 17 chapters... far easier than Book 7. =)

Here are the elements that I'm examining in Book One:
  • Connections to other books in the series
  • Characters and places introduced in the first book that aren’t important until later
  • Observations about the chapter in general
  • Things that are never explained in the books (that I wish were)
  • Questions that I have
  • Favorite quotes
Although the analysis is about Book One, the posts will contain spoilers for all seven books. Please comment on them... I'm curious to hear what you think about my new series.

Without further ado, here's my analysis of Chapter One.

Note: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was originally published in England as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but since I'll be referring to page numbers from the American edition, I'm also using the American title.

Additional note: My posts aren't chapter summaries. If you're looking for those, the best place to find them is at the Harry Potter Lexicon.

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9. Harry Potter 1: Chapter Two

Here's another chapter analysis of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Why am I writing about Book One? Find out why in this post, and read about Chapter One here.

Even though this post is about Book One, there are spoilers in it for all seven books.














Chapter Two: The Vanishing Glass

All page numbers refer to the hardcover Scholastic edition.

Connections to later books:

  • Parseltounge. The fact that Harry can talk to snakes is first established in this chapter, mentioned again in Book Two and is quite important throughout the series.
  • Avada Kedavra. In this chapter the only two things that Harry remembers about his parents’ death are a flash of green light and pain in his scar. In Book 4 we learn that the green light is a telltale sign of the Avada Kedavra curse. And in Book 7 we learn that Harry felt pain in his forehead because he became an accidental Horcrux almost immediately after his parents died (and that’s why he has the scar on his forehead).

Characters and places introduced in this chapter that don't appear again until later books in the series:

  • Aunt Marge gives Dudley a birthday present in this chapter and is mentioned as a possible babysitter for Harry, but she doesn’t actually make an appearance until Book 3.
  • Mrs. Figg is briefly mentioned but doesn’t have a speaking part until the fifth book.
  • Dedalus Diggle gets another minor mention in this chapter (he's also in Chapter 1) as the tiny man in the violet top hat that bows to Harry in a shop. Both Dedalus Diggle and Harry talk about this incident when they meet in The Leaky Cauldron in Chapter 5.
  • Madame Marsh. You have to pay careful attention to catch this one. On page 30, Harry mentions that: “a wild-looking old woman dressed all in green had waved merrily at him once on a bus.” Right about now you’re probably wondering who on earth Madam Marsh is. She has a walk-on part only and she is mentioned as a passenger on the Knight Bus every time Harry rides on it. She is always dressed in green. I love this mention of her in the first book, it’s so incredibly subtle.


  • I love the old-fashioned neglected orphan tone of this chapter. It really makes the book feel like a timeless classic. Harry living in the cupboard under the stairs, having to wear clothes too big for him, having broken eyeglasses… all these things are wonderful contrasts with the fact that Harry is incredibly famous.

Favorite quote:

  • "Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby angel—Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig." (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Scholastic hardcover, page 21).
  • Who on earth does Harry make the comment to about Dudley looking like a pig in a wig? It doesn't seem like the kind of thing he'd say to any of the Dursleys.

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10. Comics on the monitor: Erik Kuntz and the kid-friendly “Hex Libris”


Who is the creature lurking in the library in Erik’s comic strip? I think I know, and I’ve entered Erik’s contest, but I can’t share my guess with anyone. But I will say this much — it’s a character from a book we know. After all, the strip is Hex Libris, in which Kirby, the main character is charged with taking care of a ginormous enchanted library. 

Ever read a novel that just comes to life before your eyes? Well you can expect Hex Libris to take that theme and … ramp it up a little for you. 

The serial web comic by designer-writer Erik Kuntz of Austin, Texas began as a New Year’s resolution. So did his illustrator’s blog A Dog a Day  that features Erik’s unstop able canine imagery — with a doggy bite of daily commentary.  But that’s a subject for the next post. 

Erik was thinking of the classic Nancy Drew stories of the 1950’s, mulling how they contrasted and compared with the Nancy Drew graphic novels that are being designed for today’s teens.

“I wondered, ‘What if there was a place where characters could wander out of their books?’ ” Erik says. ”‘And what would happen if the real Nancy Drew ran into the punky Manga style Nancy Drew?’”

Our hero Kirby meets them both as a result of his new archival responsibilities. And so it is inevitable that the trio and who knows who else (stay tuned…)  join forces to solve a mystery, or two.

The story unfolds in  semi-weekly panels that move us easily, cleanly and sweetly through time and space. We care about Kirby and Amy (a girl who likes him) and girl detective Connie Carter ( the “original” Nancy Drew) and even the little old lady (or is she a witch?) who leases Kirby the uptown apartment that somehow, magically contains a Library of Congress-like basilica within its tiny walls.


It’s an idea Erik hatched at last year’s Summer Arts Workshop at California State University. He studied comics and animation in the summer program. One of the teachers, Trina Robbins (a comic book writer and illustrator since the 1960s) encouraged him.

“As much as I love comic books, it’s the comic pages in the Sunday paper that I most enjoy and try to emulate here — their sequential nature and the art style and sense of humor — especially from the 40s to the 50s, where they could work bigger and  there was more possibility,” he says.

Kuntz blends his pop knowledge with early 20th century literacy, opening his ”chapters” with such verbiage as “In which our hero acquires new lodgings and meets a mysterious young woman ….” 

“It tells you what will happen without giving it away,” he explains. ”With a serial web strip, just like in the Sunday funny papers, you kind of need to have a stop every day. You want each page of the comic to be a beat  Each one has to be a sort of mini cliff hanger. And each chapter must have its own arc. That’s the other thing I work with to get right.”

Erik begins by writing a synopsis of what’s going to happen in the chapter, without the dialogue.
Then he begins to sketch and figure out the panels and individual frames,” he says. 

“I scanned [pencil on paper] sketches for the early strips, but now I’m working directly on the computer, starting with rough sketches in Corel Painter using my Wacom Cintiq tablet monitor,” he says. “I stay with Painter through the inking process, then I bring the whole thing into Illustrator to do the lettering. Once in a while, when I’m out and about with my sketchbook, I capture a pose I want to use and scan that in and mix it in with my computer sketches.

“To be more precise,  I use Painter’s Mechanical Pencil brush set to a light blue color. When I ink I use a variety of Painter’s Ink Pen brushes, mostly the Smooth Round Pen one. For the next one, I’m going to experiment with the tools that more closely imitate traditional comics inking brushes: it’ll be looser and I am not certain whether I’ll like it.

“I’ll know in a day or two when I get to the inking. “



Here’s Erik’s ‘pencil rough’ for the March 13 panel of ‘Hex Libris” — except he’s done it digitally. 

“They look a lot like my traditional sketches look, since I use a col-erase blue to do my roughs on paper,” he says.

“I’m most of the way done with this roughing, I have some poses to adjust, some faces to finish and I’ve got to fix the perspective on the backgrounds, which are currently just scribbled in.  Oh, and I need a background in the final panel. Painter has a perspective grid,  which is useful for simple 2-point perspective, so I’ll be using that to get the kitchen sorted properly.



Erik has been a student of


 I’ve done so much study over the last few years as to what makes a comic a comic as opposed to an illustrated story,” Erik says. ”It’s a constant struggle between what needs to be put in the picture and what needs to be said ‘out loud’ in words.”

For inspiration, Kuntz looks to the late “father of Manga” Osamu Tezuka (”Kimba the White Lion was my favorite show as a kid,” Kuntz says. “It was cartoony without being overly simple.”

He also draws from the late E.C. Seegar, the creator of Popeye and Thimble Theatre. “I like the older style of newspaper comics, where the adventure strips had a more realistic look.”



There are a huge number of ppl doing them now.
Early days, doing tremendously.
Most of them are very poor. You won’t get it if you weren’t out drinking the night before.
There are quite a few brilliant child-friendly comics.
Some people thew business model is web advertising, especially if you’re drawn to a certain one,.
If you don’t lnpw anything about video games you’;lbe mystified by the strip,

Advertising art.
Others are off advertising on their site, or sales of merchandize, T-shirts and print versions of ytheir work, and their artisitic expression and online portfolio.
I wouldn’t think that ppl doing the webcomics,
Aren’tmakiny money,

There is a stunning amount of good work out there, on the web, and a much
Web an ideal way for me to do a serial.

Web is an inexpensive way to put the work out there and much easier way to get it in front of somebody.

With the web and the social network everyone’s sharing things, pointg it tout toe each other, it’s a new milleu, an old art form anbut a different way of delivering it.


 could do it free,
I think every artist that does children’s stuff, cartoony stuff.

Kids are more ., kids are reading comics on the web.
My web brouwser, opens all the comics I want to each in tabs. I don’t read them in the newspaper.
Traditional newspaper strips,
Calving and Hobbes being run again and again on the web. They syndicate.
Kidsa nolw reading Calvin and Hobbes on the web.,

Hald of them are newspaper strips and half are web only strips.

The interesting thing about comics is it could be a way to get ppl to your site,
Comic and the dog thing, anything they want to like and put elsewhere they can put ,
Imbedded my website address into the picture,
Then they canb
Its hard for everyone to say, content is not as sacred than it used to be.
url on the left, name and copyright infor


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11. Paper Engineers!

Two members of our Inklings Picture Book critique group recently made a pilgrimage  to see the original pop-up art of Robert Sabuda and David Diaz in an exhibit “The Wizards of Pop-up.”  It was at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas.

Austin author-illustrators Christy Stallop and Erik Kuntz basically spent the day with Sabuda, Caldecott Medalist Diaz and museum executive director Debbie Lillick. They had dinner with Diaz .

Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhar,t are considered to be the  premier contemporary  pop-up book artists in the U.S.

Maurice Sendak tried his hand at 3-D moveable art with great results.  Mommy? released in 2006 by Michael di Capua Books/Scholastic was  a collaboration between him, author-playwright Arthur Yorinks and pop-up wizard Reinhart.

Erik and Christy’s field trip got me thinking how much I enjoyed pop-ups and  any kind of  “3-D” art as a kid.

Maybe because it broke the picture plane and added one more dimension of “make believe.”

I once owned a reprint of a Turn of the Century pop-up book  about  a Victorian family’s visit to a  zoo. don’t   remember the title or the artist

As you turned each page, you saw the same family and a different cage of animals come to life before you.  The animals did stay behind the bars, thank heavens.

The book gave you a charming experience of visiting a zoo.

There was this one issue of “Jack and Jill” magazine ( I was a proud 10 year old subscriber) that had a sort of 3-D assemble-it-yourself Dinosaur Diorama.

It featured Pteranadons, Brontosauruses and maybe a T-Rex.
You placed them into a primeval forest stage-set with a curved backdrop that gave depth to a world of  volcanoes, ferns, and Jurassic beasts.

Of course the best dinosaur is a 3-D dinosaur.

After doing my part in the assembly I felt as if I’d done the whole mural myself.  It wasn’t like I’d painted the dinosaurs. I just punched them out of cardstock and inserted them into their places in the scene. But I had helped to contribute to the 3-D effect!

Pop up books have been around since the Middle Ages — for kids books, since the 1800s. Here, according to Amazon.com is Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart’s List of “Top 10 Pop-Up Books”

Speaking of 3-D papercraft, Kids Can Press has re-released the eminently kid-friendly The New Jumbo Book of Easy Crafts by Judy Ann Sadler. A redesign and smartly graphic illustrations by Caroline Price keep176 pages of step by step procedurals from feeling  burdensome.

The New Jumbo Book of Easy Crafts by Judy Ann Sadler and Caroline Price

Mark G. Mitchell hosts the How To Be A Children’s Book Illustrator blog.

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12. A 24 Hour Comics Day album

Illustrators and comic book creators hunkered down two weekends ago to produce original comic book content.  They did this in cities all over the world.  It was Twenty Four Hour Comics Day – an annual happening launched some years ago by cartoonist and teacher  Scott McCloud, the author of Understanding Comics. (You can read the rules at that link.) This year the event was sponsored by Bawls, one of those caffeinated energy drinks.

In Austin they conclaved at a store,  Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy, where lots of tables had been set up for the artists.  There were all kinds of things going on in the store that rainy night — people were putting models together, browsing the shelves, visiting their friends.

I wasn’t a participant. Only  curious. Plus a pal,  cartoonist and writer Erik Kuntz, part of our enchanted SCBWI tribe, was doing  the marathon again this year. Erik is the author-artist of  Hex Libris, a witty,  kid-friendly webcomic with wonderful characters.

Erik's laptop with a panel from his new comic --work in progress.

Erik's laptop with a panel from his new comic --work in progress.

I don’t do comics much anymore but they were important to me growing up.  I read them and drew them.

My own formidable classical education came from reading Classics Illustrated comic books — as many as I could get my hands on.  (They were a whole lot better than CliffsNotes.)

(L. to R) Bonn Adame, Erik Kuntz, Justin Rogers and Jeremy Guyton create at their table during 24 Hour Comics Day in Austin, Texas.

(L. to R.) Bonn Adame, Erik Kuntz, Justin Rogers and Jeremy Guyton create at their table during 24 Hour Comics Day in Austin, Texas recently.

Another SCBWI and Inklings Group pal,  illustrator Martin Thomas is a professional colorist of comics.

Mary Sullivan,  supremely talented illustrator for Highlights and many other magazines and books and part of our Austin clan — has illustrated a beautiful and funny children’s comic book.  She draws in comic panels for her own amusement.

Austin SCBWI  illustration chair Christy Stallop does great black and white  comic strip panel style illustrations

A panel of sketches for "Action Packed Gorillas", a new web comic being developed by Erik Kuntz.  The dialogue balloons always come first. (Note: The character featured here is a chimp, not a gorilla.)

A panel of sketches for "Action Packed Gorillas", a new web comic being developed by Erik Kuntz. The dialogue balloons always come first. (Note: The character featured here is a chimp, not a gorilla.)

My stepson Glenn remains  a connoisseur- collector of graphic novels.  School librarians are increasingly making room for graphic novels on their shelves.  Scholastic Books wants to whip up  its own graphic novel brand.

For years the “comic book look” has  been finding its way into wildly popular  “chapter books ” for upper elementary and middle grades. w.  Dav Pilkey is one example.  The Zack Proton series by Austin author Brian Anderson (of our SCBWI Mafia family) with illustrator Doug Holgate is another.

Kads and Matt. Matt has the webcomic http://ayellowworld.com

Kads and Matt. Matt has the webcomic http://ayellowworld.com

The Toon Books are comics for toddlers and children just begining to learn to read.

Disney bought Marvel.

By the way, Matt’s blog has a good recap of his experience of the 24 Hour Comics Day here.

Artist-writer Meghan Regis and her technical consultant Jeremy Zunker (an engineering student.) Meghan is the creator of "Yours Truly" a comic published in "The Paisano", the weekly newspaper of the University of Texas at San Antonio. The reason why she needs a technical consultant is that her main character is a young woman on the moon.

Artist-writer Meghan Regis and technical consultant Jeremy Zunker (an engineering student.) Meghan is the creator of the comic series "Yours Truly" published in "The Paisano", the weekly newspaper of the University of Texas at San Antonio. The main main character in the strip is a young woman who lives on the moon. So seriously, that's why Meghan needs a technical consultant around her when she's working. "Because there are a lot of technical terms that are used in the dialogue," Zunker explained.So

And Yes. Women really do participate in 24 Hour Comics Day.  In addition to Meghan (above) there was Kad (who will let me know when she has her website up) and Melanie Moore working on her strip “Sacred Junk” with Amy Middleton (not shown.)

Meghan Regis with her panels.

Meghan Regis with her panels.

The teamwork of Jason Poland and Austin Havican ( below) can be seen here and here.

Colored comic panels (watercolor washes) on the comic strip "The Ortolan" created by a collaborative team,  Jason Poland, and Austin Havican, whose hands you see here. They described their work as deceptively simple child-like and simply but "definitely not child-friendly." See more of their work at www.robbieandbobby.com. S

Colored comic panels (watercolor washes) on the comic strip "The Ortolan" created by a collaborative team, Jason Poland, and Austin Havican, whose hands you see here. They described their work as deceptively simple child-like and simply but "definitely not child-friendly." See more of their work at www.robbieandbobby.com. S

Erik Kuntz laughs at one of his digital cartoons as he draws on a Wacom tablet, while Justin Rogers works with traditional comic artist materials -- paper, pencil, eraser, pen, triangle, T-square, etc.

Erik Kuntz laughs at one of his digital cartoons as he draws on a Wacom tablet while Justin Rogers works with traditional comic artist materials -- paper, pencil, eraser, pen, triangle, T-square, etc. (In the background with beard is comics writer Tony Franklin. )

As you see, there were fun moments and lots of hard work– or should I say heart work? I guess they go together  — being done by a lot of people  in that comic book store.

Erik is suggesting that we get together next year for something a little less intense than a They Shoot Horses Don’t They? draw-a-thon.

He’s calling it the “geriatric version of 24 Hour Comics Day.” I can’t say that I’m in favor of the name.  It sounds, you know, a little ageist — and hits a little close.  But the idea intrigues. Instead of laboring over pages of comic panels, we could be blitzing through picture book thumbnails and storyboards, or maybe even a dummy.

A children’s book illustrators lockdown. Check back with us in September next year to read our rules.


I don’t want to go without mentioning that I saw the movie Seraphine recently, about an early 20th century painter most of us have never heard of –  Seraphine Louis or Seraphine de Senlis.

Seraphine offers an unblinking look at the dilemma of art vs. reality that confronts all artists and would-be-artists sooner or later in their lives.

It’s being promoted as a fictionalized portrait of Seraphine and also of  the kindly German art collector who discovered her. But I felt its  spirit to be honest. My friend and I were both moved. I recommend that you see it, then give me your thoughts on it.  Leave a comment  and I’ll share another of mine.

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Austin SCBWI  illustration chair

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