I'm changing things up a bit here, bringing this site back to being a bit more blog-like so that I can keep my posts current with news and hopefully a bit of interesting back story stuff.
A bit of history
Some of you may know (most probably don't) that I have spent the big chunk of my professional career illustrating kids' books. But my first love has always been comics, and over the past few years I have been going back to that. My very first professionally published comic was in a Canadian publication by Potlach, the 1980's Comic Annual (I know, I'm dating myself - you can do the math!) My contribution was a few pages of goofy Goscinny and Uderzo-influenced knock offs, a spoof on the Arthurian legend and something called Sir Rolaid and the Black Knight (forgive me, I was young).
|The first and only Canadian Comics Annual with cover art by the editor, Ian Carr|
I will spare you my pages, but that was pretty well the beginning and end of my comic career for the next long while. There really wasn't much of a comic industry outside of the big two anyway at that time and I drifted into doing kids' books, a close cousin in so many ways, and stayed there. I'm doing a fast forward through that as well - if you are interested in seeing some of my kids' book work you can find it through the navigating links at the top of this page.
So what about Mordecai Crow?
My first crack at Mordecai was in 2007. I had mapped out a bit of back story and some character ideas and even took a crack at a few pages of finished art (way ahead of myself, I know, but I was excited!) but then all that went on the back burner for the next few years as I got busy again with another project, my Elephants Never Forget
trilogy, a comic series for Kids Can Press (I blogged about that process extensively back then - you can still read about it here
). On completion of the Elephants Never Forget (
Otto) books, I did a few more kids' books, including the second picture book I ever wrote and illustrated, Who Broke the Teapot?!
(Interestingly enough my kids' book shelf of over 100 books is more or less book-ended by the only two stories I both wrote and illustrated, The Stone Lion
(1996) and Who Broke the Teapot?!
(2016), both of which were received with a huge amount of critical acclaim and glowing reviews, and both of which tanked in sales - go figure.) These last few books would be my last picture books in a very long and gratifying career - I was ready to move on and so was the industry so we sort of parted ways.
I had lots of time on my hands so I pulled out my old sketch book with some of the early thumbnails and notes I had made for Mordecai and began to more seriously plot out the story. I spent the better part of an idyllic summer on my back porch, thumbnailing the story and doing character sketches, and things started to take shape. This was something completely different from anything I had done before but I was excited as to where it was all taking me.
More of this next time...
And some newsy bits
Doing comics is a whole new gig for me, pulling me way out of my comfort zone. But Alexander at Renegade has been great, lining up some interviews, getting the word out as we approach the pub date.
Super-pleased to have had Secrets of Jarrow included on this list!
And it was fun to do this interview for Comic Beat