Category Archives: book promotion

Action!

A couple of posts ago I told you I’m having trouble with the dialogue between Job and his comforters. Though I stick pretty closely to the conversation as it unfolds through Chapters 11 – 31 (each chapter gets summarized down to one or two short lines), there doesn’t seem to be a build-up to a punchline. For this to work as a comic, the tension should build to a climax just before the next scene, when a new character enters.

One solution is to add some action, although there is none during this sequence in the Bible. I thought about how Job’s three comforters could literally beat up on Job while they interpret Holy Writ. I’ll have these scholars bring their scripture with them. I drew a quick sketch of Bildad hitting Job over the head with a scroll. I like it a little better than just heads talking for two pages.

If you’ve seen the Broadway musical West Side Story, you’ll remember the Officer Krupke number. The gang members sing about how the system has failed them, from the police to the courts to the social worker to the psychiatrist. Each hits one juvenile delinquent with a rolled up newspaper as they condemn him: “The trouble is he’s lazy (smack!); the trouble is he drinks (smack!); the trouble is he’s crazy (smack!); the trouble is he stinks (smack!)”

Could something like this work for my comic about Job?

Your Friday morning message of cheer

I’m still working on the Book of Job. As you get ready for the weekend, here’s Zophar, Job and Eliphaz with comforting words to lighten your load and gladden your heart—

Zophar, so good!

More from my Book of Job project—a sketch of Job’s pal Zophar who came to comfort Job in his hour of need. Job sits in a dung heap and scrapes at his loathsome boils with a potsherd (a piece of broken pottery), while he wonders where it all went wrong.

Bad Things 3

Yet another sketch from the Book of Job comic I’m working on.

Even after being afflicted with horrible, disgusting, festering boils, Job refuses to curse God. He tears his robe, shaves his head and goes to sit in the ash-heap—taking a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself with.

Bad Things 2

Here’s one of the most surprising things about The Book of Job—the Lord and Satan appear together as if on the stage of a morality play. To top that, Satan makes a bet with the Lord—that deprived of his wealth, Job would curse God.

I’m trying to keep the dialogue here somewhat casual & conversational—after all, one point of this comic is to make Job’s story easier to read. I have God say: “How about that Job?…” The good old King James Version goes: “And the Lord said unto Satan, ‘Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?'” How I love that! Satan’s lines in the KJV are delightfully impertinent: “Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, ‘From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.'” (“Where’ve you been?” “Oh, out.”) This scene has echoes of ancient Near Eastern storytelling, where the gods and demi-gods have their squabbles. Gilgamesh and the gods and goddesses seemed always to have some tiff going on. Likewise in stories from Greek mythology.

As with the previous post, this is a sketch which will get inked in.

Bad Things

Yep, I’ve been working on some more of that Bible stuff I’m into. I was going to reduce the Book of Job (rhymes with ‘robe’) to a single page, as I’d done with the Major Prophets series. I didn’t feel a single page would do Job’s story justice. There’s simply too much story in Job.

So here’s the opener for an 8-page comic. This is merely the sketch, of course. I’ll ink it in like a proper comic. Maybe I’ll figure out how to color it, too.

Author/illustrator school visit tips from your old Uncle John

I got an e-mail from an author/illustrator colleague who is about to do her first school visit—she asked for some tips about how to make it a success. Here are a few ideas that came to mind.

First of all, don’t be nervous. The students are going to treat you like a rock star. You’ll be new and different and fun. They’ll love you.

Dress like you’re going on an interview.

Have you read the story aloud yet? Rehearse before you go in front of the students. Read it to a friend or two this weekend, just so you can get comfortable with doing that. BE AN ACTOR—be sure every character sounds different from the others. Don’t be afraid to go over the top with the voices. I’m a ham, and wear some kind of hat that fits with the story—a cowboy hat, or bunny ears—because the narrator is also a character. Relax, don’t rush through your reading, and enjoy the experience.

Ask for water. Ask for a microphone if you’re speaking to an assembly. If it’s just 25 or so kids, no mic.

Know how much time you’re allotted and keep an eye on the clock.

I have a few of my books in jpeg format. The school should have a computer and projector—ask for it ahead of time, along with a tech person. You bring your jpeg file on a flash drive. Bring at least one backup on a different flash drive. You can project your images while you read the story.

If you feel comfortable doing it, draw the kids a picture afterward. An easel with a big pad and a chisel-point marker is all you need. Keep it simple. Draw something you’re good at drawing—a cat or a dog. Describe what you’re drawing as you draw it as if you were doing a presentation on the radio.

If you do Q&A, keep the answers simple. Preface your answers with things like, “That’s a really good question.”

When the show’s over, thank everyone and turn the class back over to the teacher.

Vampire wearing bat slippers

mummy_03Had I shown you this before? I think I painted this picture a few years before I started blogging, so maybe not. It’s Baby Mummy meeting Drac—just as he’s getting ready for bed—in Carolyn Crimi‘s* wonderful story, Where’s My Mummy?

Today is National Garlic Day. Vampires are supposed to hate garlic, so why not post a picture of a vampire on my blog? Enjoy the day, everybody!

 

 

*rhymes with ‘shimmy’.

Big, big news!

Sorry I haven’t been posting much here in recent months. I’ve been working on a top-secret project. The good news is: today I can tell you about it! I’m launching a webcomic, called Gloriana. It takes place in the 1500s and will feature lots of swordfighting, pirates, wizards…you get the picture.

Please stop by, and if you like it, subscribe. You’ll get an e-mail every time I post a new page of the story.

Two gulls for every buoy

Hey, gang—if you live anywhere near Long Beach Island, New Jersey, I’ll be at the public library in Surf City this Saturday morning at 11:00. Come over and say hello! I’ll read stories and paint whatever everyone tells me to.