Mac McCool - Children's Book Illustrations and Graphic Novels

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Alison Lyne Paints Molly Pitcher in Pictures

As I'm working on the dialogues of Boston 1775 (right now between the "man who knew too little" and the "wife who knew too much," namely General Thomas Gage and his wife, Margaret Kemble Gage), fellow illustrator Alison Davis Lyne brought to my attention her current work on historical short bios in graphic novel format for young readers. Huzzah! She has started with the story of Molly Pitcher, told with quite a nice sense of humor!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lions, Tigers And Bears Wins Angouleme Youth Award

The Angoulême comics festival, the biggest in Europe, just gave its highly coveted awards. The Award for Best Youth Comics (for ages 7/8) went to the British-U.S. team, Mike Bullock and Jack Lawrence, for their series, "Lions, Tigers, and Bears," published in the U.S. with Image Comics. Because Belgian and French publishing houses produce such high quality children's comics, it's a great accomplishment for English & U.S.-made children's graphic novels to win this prize! Let's celebrate!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dupuis Starts Two Superb Comics Collections for (Very) Young Readers

The Belgian veteran comics publishing house, Editions Dupuis -- the original home of the Smurfs and Marsupilami, has just launched two graphic novel collections for very young readers in French-speaking markets. Under the labels of Punaise et Puceron, each collection shares the same goal: helping children read on their own. Puceron includes graphic novels with almost no text to match the reading comprehension levels of 3 year olds and above. The art gets high marks for cuteness and clarity (especially "Petit Poilu"), and the stories bring a few good chuckles! Page counts on the first two titles total 32. Graphic novels in the Punaise collection feel very much like traditional all ages comics, save for the stories and characters appealing to ages 6 and above. The first three volumes have 48 pages each. The beautiful art complements gentle adventures with more complex characters and plots. All these books, or "albums" as the French call them, have a hard cover, quality paper and color printing. Such thoughtfulness, passion, and attention to details are wonderful ways to edit, craft and manufacture graphic novels for young children. Who's up for doing the same in the U.S.?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lunchbox Funnies Treats All Ages to Fun Webcomics

It's up! Lunchbox Funnies! Finally a website with comics for kids and grown-ups! Check it out, it's tons of fun! (And Newsrama runs a long article on Lunchbox Funnies worth reading next!).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

SCBWI Bulletin Gives "Comic Lessons"

The SCBWI Bulletin always brings good vibes when it shows up in the mail. The Bulletin is the elegant newsletter that comes with a SCBWI membership. It does a terrific job at keeping alive the spirit of friendly community you find at annual SCBWI conferences. The latest issue covers learning resources about comics. Yeah! In the feature section, "The Illustrator's Perspective," contributor Anne Sibley O'Brien shares her own experiences about what helped her master this unique art form. Scott McCloud's books, Understanding Comics and Making Comics, get a lot of (deserved) mentions. She also has an overview of her own graphic novel making process on her website. Yet, the best experience she shares in her article is what's between the lines: get pencil to paper, and create your own children's graphic novel! That's what I'm doing!!

Friday, January 05, 2007

The French "Understanding Comics"

Freshly back from France (with lots of comics filling the luggages), I just finished reading Bande Dessinée: Apprendre et Comprendre by Lewis Trondheim and Sergio García (published by Delcourt in 2006). Designed in the typical French comics album format (A4, hardcover), this 32-pager aims to present the art form of comics to teachers and beginners using comics to do so. American readers cannot help, but think of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. Bande Dessinée: Apprendre et Comprendre, which means "Comic Art: Learning and Understanding," is a very good introduction, an easy read, yet quite exhaustive. Just as Scott McCloud portrays himself as the protagonist of Understanding Comics, the drawn characters of Trondheim and García discuss the means of expressions in comics by using many funny literal examples. The end papers include more than 60 practice exercises to further the learning. In closing, the authors refer readers to the following books as other good sources:
  . Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (they even comment that it's an "excellent book!" A "Hooray" for Scott!)
  . Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner (another "Hooray" for U.S. comics!)
  . Case, Planche, et Récit by Benoit Peeters (sadly out of print...)
  . Pour une Lecture Moderne de la B.D. by Jan Baetens et Pascal Lefèvre (out of print too...)
  . Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee (discussed here just weeks ago, hey!).
  . OUBAPO, Oupus 1 by several comic authors.