Like anything that you might hold in for a long time, it feels SO good to finally let this out:
Two weeks from today, on October 6, 2015, four books I illustrated are going to be hitting stores. I'm officially a published illustrator!
But how did that happen? Let's step into my narration time machine and travel back to August 2014. It's humid and bright. Birds are chirping. Green tea in hand, I go to check my inbox with sleep still crusted to the corners of my eyes. What the? I have an email from this guy named Dan Zevin.
Some quick googling tells me he's a funny writer. He's published a few books and even won an award as a humorist. In the email, he tells me that he has a new book series concept, a parody he wants to pitch to publishers - his first ever illustrated books - and that I was recommended to him on a short list of illustrators. He liked my sense of humor and the art style on upside down grin. Three character designs / covers. Two interior pages. It's just meant to be a quick project to help him sell through the idea. Could I do it?
We worked together for the rest of that month and had such a blast in the process. I handed off some work we were both very happy with. Then silence. At least until December of that same year. Dan had been busy in those proceeding months. He emailed me, telling me the pitch illustrations were a hit and he was finally closing in on a deal with none other than Three Rivers Press, an imprint of Crown Publishing / Penguin Random House. Everyone would be happy to have me on board. Would I like to be the illustrator for this book series?
The process was incredibly collaborative. Dan and I were on a tight timeline, so we were brainstorming the characters and their stories, creating the manuscripts and illustrations all in tandem. Amanda Patten, our Senior Editor, showed me why editors are a thing and why people are always thanking them at the beginning and end of their books (and in blog posts, THANK YOU, AMANDA!). Her instincts always made for the sharpest final writing and helped pushed my illustrations toward their best and final destination.
And here's the result: four parody books written for adults, using some twisted humor and some modern personalities. Do you recognize any of these characters from your own life? Are you one of these characters?
I seriously cannot wait for people to get their hands on these. They're the funniest things I've ever been a part of. Dan and I always had a goal of making each book at least one laugh out loud per page. Whether that was because of the writing, the illustrations, or a combination of the two - we achieved that goal!
Be sure to drop a line and let me know what you think! If you order from Amazon and the like, and we made you laugh like I said we would, leave a review of the 5-star variety. I'm too biased for people to believe me, but potential readers will believe fellow readers - even if they do happen to be fans of upside down grin.
PRESS (so far)