A (very) minor detail from the new children's book I am working on. Technically it has been in the works since before Tunnel-Ball was published last year, and with summer fast approaching, I am hoping to get most of the pages done over the next couple months. After hundreds of changes, I am pretty happy with it in rough form. Anyway, this is the logo of Purple Pouch Records, a fictional record store that appears on a storefront page. It doesn't actually have anything to do with the story.
I had a blast at yesterday's special Earth Day reading of Tunnel-Ball. The duo dry erase/chalkboard easel (typically used in the animation workshop) was a nice touch that I plan to keep using in the future. It was great to get to utilize my silly book about a baseball team from Earth for a greater good. Afterwards, I got to do some request drawings for the young ones while they made their own seed paper, courtesy of Cincinnati artist-crafter Annie Roth. Thank you to pal Tara at Robot Inside for putting this one and for their week-long Earth Day festivities.
I will be doing a special reading of "Tunnel-Ball" on Earth Day (April 22) in a few weeks to kick off all of the Earth Day activities at Robot Inside. It's going to be fun!
Originally a Christmas card design, then decided to paint it, then decided to make it a print ... "a Galaxial Christmas". This one's perfect for the unapologetic lover of the holiday, the armchair astronomer, the completist Mark Neeley collector, and/or everything in between. $12 / free shipping, located in the "store" up above. P.S. - "Tunnel-Ball" mugs are ideal stocking stuffers according to the 2016 Sears Roebuck holiday catalogue.
Baseball season may be winding down, but Intergalactic Baseball is year-round. As such, "Tunnel-Ball" is now on sale for $12 in the online store located above. The "Bases-Clearing Bundle" (includes a hardcover copy, felt pennant, cards & magnets) is also on sale for $20, a real steal if you like us (no pun intended). Also on sale are T-B mugs and the new prints.
Yesterday afternoon's "Kreate-a-Kaiju" workshop event at the Play Library was a success and a total blast! Thanks to everyone who came out and made kaiju with me. The coolest part, by far, was the diverse mixture of both new and familiar faces, ranging from families with young toddlers to adult couples who got their hands dirty and made Japanese-inspired, city-crushing clay monsters. We even had a Japanese visitor (who had moved her less than two years ago), who had heard about the event on social media. She carefully sculpted her own "Booska", and taught me the correct pronunciations of several kaiju.
Here are a few pics from the event. Also, if you came out, when my illustrations of your kaiju are complete and ready for pick up at the Play Library, I will be posting about it here. The Library will also be posting about it through their usual means. I hope to have them finished within a couple of weeks.
(the "Tunnel-Ball" mugs make their in-person debut)
There is going to be a really cool event coming up a few Saturdays from now. On July 23rd, I am teaming up with the brand new Play Library (a recycled toy and game loan library) in Over-The-Rhine (Cincinnati), right across from historic Findlay Market. We are going to create our own strange, Japanese kaiju-inspired creatures and monsters together! I'll be bringing a few of my own for display, and we will be getting our hands dirty with clay and plenty of drawing supplies to make our own (complete with displaying them on our own little foamboard Tokyo). Additionally, I will be taking your designs (sculpted or drawn) and making you your own fully inked 9x12 drawing, giving your doodle my own take. I will also have signed copies of "Tunnel-Ball" (plus pennants and mugs) for sale .
Here is the event link with the full agenda. It is from 10-1 (so you will still have time to do your important Saturday evening things) and perfect for all ages. The Play Library needs your support and I promise you'll fall in love it when you visit. I certainly did when I went to the grand opening last month. See you there!
Doing some cleaning this morning, and thought I would share a few old "Tunnel-Ball" pieces that never came to fruition.
I wish I remembered the exact chronology of Tunnel-Ball's origin (it was a few years ago and changed quite a bit), but it went something like this. While I was finishing my previous book, I was thinking about a new project, and I had unintentionally doodled a mole-looking character in an over-sized shirt that only later became a baseball jersey. Sadly, I no longer have that original doodle, but I do recall it was in one of those "kona" sketchbooks w/ paper made from recycled brown coffee bags that I was experimenting with at the time. I used to hoard and archive old sketchbooks, until I moved a year ago and now have an even smaller/cramped studio. As usual, I didn't jump in and start doing anything with the character, but he stuck in the back of my mind and I kept coming back to the idea until he became the protagonist for a new book idea. Initially, it wasn't baseball-related. Around the same time, I got an idea for a completely different baseball story in which the mole wasn't used. The next few months, I believe I kind of simultaneously realized that the baseball story was too ambitious, and I was also really struggling with ideas for the mole story. When I thought about combining the two, I immediately felt like it would be a lot of fun.
This is the oldest drawing of Clive Mole that I could find. For a while there, he had ears and an "Earth Worms" logo on the jersey. Most noticeably, he didn't always have arms. I think I eventually realized that just having giant claws was a tad on the scary side (not to mention drawing him gripping a baseball bat with no arms was increasingly tedious).
Page 3 before the colored interior was abandoned for b&w.
There was originally going to be a page with a closeup of the floating scoreboard (which is seen on the page w/ Worms Stadium) right before Clive's big at bat. Of course, it wasn't to be electronic, but one of the charming old scoreboards that had to have a worker change the score manually (while sitting w/ a recliner, footstool and popcorn in the meantime).
This "ticket" was never originally supposed to be appear on the back cover. It was just a postcard design to send to friends/families for advertising. But I liked it so much and thought the simplicity of the message ("here's your ticket, hope to see you at the game!") worked really well to be the back of the book.
And finally, a very, very old rough painting. This page idea was ultimately replaced by the page of Clive reading the morning paper. Originally, the "dream" of receiving the package and invitation was quite literal. Clive's baseball obsession is evident in the fact that the room is filled with thousands of balls.
"Tunnel-Ball" is now available at the following awesome independent stores around the Midwest and New York City. These shops are all fantastic (regardless of the fact that they are carrying the book), so if you are in one of the following areas, please give them your local support!
Quimby's (Chicago, IL)
Boxcar Books (Bloomington, IN)
Carmichael's Bookstore & Carmichael's Kids (Louisville, KY)
Shake It Records (Cincinnati, OH)
Robot Inside (Cincinnati, OH)
The Book Loft of German Village (Columbus, OH)
Bluestockings Bookstore (NYC)
Desert Island (NYC)
Thank you to everyone who came out to the Tunnel-Ball reading and release party at Robot Inside in Cincinnati yesterday. It was truly a blast despite the dreary, rainy weather for mid-May. We even made it through the "song" performance of the reading with the old 70s toy turntable staying in one piece! I will make another post later explaining what that "song" was, exactly, for those who couldn't make it. And the coloring pages, "create your own baseball card", photo booths and cookies seemed to be a hit. Special thanks, again, to my good friend Jacob (who drummed during the performance, as well as revealed that he is a season ticket holder of the Neptune Newts) and Tara of Robot Inside for hosting the thing.
I will be doing a book reading/signing at Robot Inside in Cincinnati on Saturday, May 14th. This will be a special, "release party" kind of event. I hope to see you there!
It's going to be a lot of fun, and guaranteed to be much different than your average book reading (for example ... there will be a drummer accompanying me, and plenty of audience interaction). There will also be activities to follow the reading such as "create your own baseball card" and T-B coloring pages. Books will be for sale, of course, with felt pennants being included with every purchase (p.s. -- this also means that more "bases-clearing double bundles" have been stocked in the online store).
And finally, there will be the life-size T-B card photo booths (see below).
Here is the link w/ more event info.
(niece posing as Centipede Cedrick for maximum cuteness)
I have been so humbled by all the support I have experienced since "Tunnel-Ball" came out a few days ago. Clive Mole agrees, amidst answering a bunch of cliche media questions at his busy locker (pictured below). The first round of orders were shipped out this morning. I also did a sporadic "test run" reading or two as an experiment and they went really well. Some official readings are in the process of being scheduled.
Thanks so much for all the early support! P.S. - there are still a few "Bases-Clearing Double" bundles remaining in the store.
Now available in the online store ... my new picture book, Tunnel-Ball! The book is hardcover (36 pages), and every purchase includes a pack of Topps cards featuring some assorted characters from the story.
There are two buying options in the store ... the regular, hardcover book is available for $15, or for a limited time (while supplies last), you can purchase the "Bases-Clearing Double" bundle for $25. The bundle features a copy of the book, the Topps cards, a refrigerator magnet set, and a 9x18" felt pennant (example pictured below) featuring the team name from the story. Free shipping on either option.
I am proud of this one and have been working on it for parts of the last two years. I hope you and/or your family enjoy it!