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.
Hey all, I know it has been some time since I've lasted updated. I have been hard at work on a new book project, and it has really been ramping up lately, so I hope to get some more legitimate info out soon. And to share some info on the previous book project that was ultimately scrapped.
Meanwhile, it's hard to believe that a few months ago marked the one-year anniversary that "Saxby" hit the shelves. As always, the book is still available (at a much cheaper option than Amazon, etc.) in the online store here. There is still a little bit of time left for it to make it and under your Christmas tree in time (and free stickers while supplies last). And I hope everyone is watching Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas!
(from last year's round of Christmas cards)
It's certainly the most "unique" location for a "Story Time with Saxby" event thus far ... taking place at a pharmacy (Harrison is located on the west side of Cincinnati, right near the Indiana border). Why just drop off your prescriptions when you can listen to a zany story about a portly squirrel? It should be a lot of fun ... cookies, balloons, and Saxby coloring pages will all of course be present in addition to the book reading and signing!
Harrison Pharmacy & Wellness
620 Ring Rd
Harrison, OH 45030
A sampling of one the many Saxby Christmas cards that went out this year. I'm glad that they have been well received, as since I do them all by hand individually, the process is a little rushed.
P.S. - a few more days to get a copy of Saxby while on sale in the store and ensure delivery by Christmas!
P.S.S. - the blog will probably just be featuring a bunch of my favorite Christmas songs for the next week.
For the next few weeks, "Saxby" will be for sale in the online store. That gives you ample time to get the lazy squirrel under your tree by December 25th! As always, shipping is free and you will get some fresh cut Saxby stickers with your book.
A sincere "thank you" to everyone who came out to the "Story time with Saxby" book reading/event on Saturday. Although I have various Saxby readings lined up this winter, this one was special because a lot of close family/friends got to be there, and it was at one of my favorite places in Cincinnati. It was a blast! I'm glad a lot of the (amazing) cookies were eaten and most of the Saxby coloring pages were colored. Best of all, all of the Saxby books that were in stock at Broadhope sold out, and a lot of folks natrually ended up buying some of other stuff from the plethora of great local artists at the shop to give back. I'll be bringing more books in soon!
Some pics below ...
Amazing Saxby cookies!
Just a reminder that the Story Time with Saxby event in Cincinnati will be tomorrow morning (Saturday) at 10:30am. There will be a traditional (though interactive) book reading and signing, followed by enjoying some Saxby-themed cookies and a coloring activity. It should be a lot of fun, hope to see you there!
(location details in the flyer)
One of my fears when I made this site blog-centric (by making the blog the default homepage) was falling into the trap of just wanting to promote stuff I like. Not that I think there's anything wrong with that, but most of all this is intended to be about updates and an archival way to store my own work (mostly in the form of project updates, sketchbook scans, etc). I think a healthy combination of the two is pretty ideal.
Lately though is one of those times when there hasn't been much OG stuff posted ... for two reasons. Things have been busy with getting a few Saxby promotional events/readings lined up prepared, and then a lot of work is being done on some other stuff that is beginning to progress past the original, bare bone stages. Saxby has actually been "done" for about a year and a half or so ... at least my end of it (the finalized illustrations and story/manuscript). The rest of that time was spent on researching the best publishing routes, raising the necessary funds to do so (a lot of emphasis on this one), and finally working with a partner/digital whiz on the final composting/design/color schemes for the book, concluding in the final back end of production stuff that goes into working with the publisher to get the manuscript and all necessary matters officially print-ready.
All that will change soon, just giving a little update about the slow pace as of late. And we're officially just a week away from this! Some very fun stuff is planned, and my weekend will mostly be spent getting stuff like Saxby coloring pages printed and balloons ready. All are welcome to stop on by!
I just found this when cleaning up around my studio ... a Bristol board "thank you" drawing that was meant to be sent to my "Saxby" design partner Kenny Phillips as were wrapping up the book's production. Something funky happened during the shipment (as if often the case with the USPS in Brooklyn, I hear) and it ended up being returned to me a few months later. By then I really wasn't feeling it and decided to make a different one.
Hey all ... I will be doing a "story time" reading of my new picture book on November 15h in Cincinnati. The event is at 10:30 am (in true "story time" fashion) at an awesome little shop called Broadhope (3022 Harrison Ave.) in Westwood.
A good time is sure to be had! There will be Saxby-themed cookies, a Saxby coloring activity following the reading, and a bunch of other fun stuff!