Great Lakes Elementary visit - The hits keep comin'!

The weekly update for Great Lakes Elementary had a a little bit about my author visit! The best part was seeing all these newly-minted AMBASSADORS of THE PLASTIC KINGDOM already making decisions to have POSITIVE impacts in their community :) Keep up the great work!!!

If you'd like more info about school visits, please go HERE!

School visit!

It was my absolute pleasure to visit Great Lakes Elementary School this past week!

I spoke with all 400+ students, divided into 3 presentations. This was my first presentation for PLASTICKINGDOM, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, my fears and anxieties were immediately banished. The students were well-prepared for my visit by the dedicated staff at the school, and they were ready to listen, and ask questions about plastics, the environment, and my experiences as an author/illustrator. We talked about making decisions that have positive impacts on the word around around us, as well as not being afraid to make mistakes and challenge ourselves creatively.

Listening level: Legendary

Listening level: Legendary

Putting that cardigan through its paces.

Putting that cardigan through its paces.

Pretty even split between students requesting drawings of seahorses and ocean sunfish in their signed books.

Pretty even split between students requesting drawings of seahorses and ocean sunfish in their signed books.

A fresh batch of ambassadors for the PLASTICKINGDOM!

A fresh batch of ambassadors for the PLASTICKINGDOM!

The day went so well, and it has rekindled my passion to share this book and its message with others. 

Do you have a school, group, or organization that is interested in taking-up the fight against plastic pollution? LELANI and THE PLASTIC KINGDOM is starting to have an impact! I'd love to visit and talk to you about how we can all make a difference in the PLASTICKINGDOM. Please contact me HERE for details!  

Keep it plastic-free, friends.


PS - Mrs. Brieden is a phenomenal teacher and the best little sister a big author/illustrator brother could ask for :) 



St. Corbinian - Patron Saint of Bears

While on pilgrimage to Rome, Corbinian's pack horse was attacked and killed by a bear. Undeterred, Corbinian demanded that the wild beast, then, should take up the luggage and carry it the rest of the way. Upon reaching Rome, Corbinian released the bear, which wandered back to its native forest.

In the first panel of this diptych, you see Corbinian and the bear, burdened with the Saint's luggage. The bear's left paw is drenched in horse blood, and the bottom corners of the panel depict horse skulls. Corbinian has his arms crossed across his chest, performing the sign-language motions for the word "bear."

The second panel depicts the Saint and his bear tending to a bear being tortured for its bile. The harvesting of gall from bears is a cruel and ongoing practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Bears are confined and their gall bladders drained; they are made to suffer for extended periods of time before they finally (mercifully) die. Claims as to the medical benefits of bear gall are dubious.

As are claims about the medical hazards of, say, childhood vaccinations.   

Work in progress

A fellow artist gave me a heads-up about an opportunity to contribute to an upcoming comic. The book will have bears as a central theme, so naturally I jumped at the chance to participate. I'm submitting two pages, the first of which you can see here, sketched out and ready for ink. Horrible picture...but you get the idea, maybe ...?  

I don't do much work in grayscale, so this will be an exciting exercise. Thanks Cristina! BEARS!  


So, this was kinda cool! A few months ago a fine young lady named Carla got in touch with me through the website. It seems we'd met at the Shadow Art Fair in Ypsi a couple years ago and she'd snagged a copy of THE WOODCUTTER and THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TREE.

Well, the illustrations appealed to her, so she got a tattoo using some of the designs found in the book.

Looks great, Carla! Thanks so much for sharing :) 

Drawing FACES.

I've often spoken on my aversion to drawing people. Well, I'm resolving to drop the crutch and just work on getting better. Here are a couple o' portraits from the weekend:

Daryl and Rick (top and bottom) from "The Walking Dead." These took about an hour each. Lots of fine turning and adjustments to get the little facial nuances as close as I could. For Daryl, getting the mouth right was challenge (still not thrilled). For Rick, I gave up on trying to get the eyes right. I'm pleased with how the proportions turned-out, though. Onward. 

Hey, it's February! Feel like writing a book review?

I have a little something of a goal for this month, and you, gentle reader, can help me achieve it.

My goal:

Reach 25 Amazon reviews for LELANI and THE PLASTIC KINGDOM

That means I'm looking for just (as of this writing) 19 people to write an honest review of the book before March (National Reading Month, duh!)! Aside from sharing the book with those around you, book reviews are really one of the best avenues for this wee, little book to gain attention. If you liked the art, found the story to be compelling, or appreciated the message of reducing plastic pollution in our environment, please help spread the word. 

If you're reading this, chances are you've been a supporter of this book from the beginning, and without you this book would not have had a chance. It's YOUR book, it's OUR book (I still get kinda delirious when I think about that). If you're as proud of this book we've put together as I am, I hope you'll take a few moments to share it :)