Mac McCool - Children's Book Illustrations and Graphic Novels

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year to all of you! It's chilly here in France, but the bookstores are stocked with great graphic novels! Wishing great health for you and all your loved ones, success in your endeavors, lots of happy moments, and grand adventures worth sharing for generations!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday Tip: The Right Width of Gutters

In comic art, the "gutter" defines the space between panels. How wide should gutters be? Generally, not so far apart that the panels seem disconnected and no longer belonging to a meaningful visual group and reading sequence (fig. 1). When the gutter width is small enough, the page looks like a pictorial unit (figs. 2 & 3). However, most artists do not reduce the gutter to a single line (fig. 3), and we'll see the pros and cons of this approach in another post. Still, if you have the heart of an experimenter, one device with which very few comic artists have tinkered is gutter widths, especially varying gutter widths.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Amulet is Out!

At the Children's Graphic Novel Day last November, Kazu Kibuishi showed us the first copy of his first graphic novel with Scholastic, Amulet. It's now out!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tuesday Tip: Thick Balloon Pointers

A funny phenomenon happens if you draw your balloon pointers too thick: your balloons become cardboard cutouts floating in the world of your comics (and your characters could bump their heads against them!). To preserve the illusion that speech balloons only exist in the mind's ear of the reader, keep those pointers slim!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Louisville Courier-Journal Introduces Tintin and European Comics to U.S. Readers

Journalist Tamara Ikenberg introduces the character of Tintin (a superstar in French-speaking Europe) and other top series of "bande dessinée" (comics in French) in two well-researched articles in the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky. With the rise of children's graphic novels in America, we can learn much about the success of children's comics in France and Belgium, where top-sellers often sell in the millions.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Night Predator

I didn't see it at first, but the loud cracking of dry bush couldn't have been a bird or a rabbit.

An hour and a half before, I had headed out for the hills, not realizing how soon the sun would set. Halfway through, near the peak, an purplish orange sky tinted by the smoke off the Malibu Hills signaled I now had to pick between the shortest or the longest way home. The short way followed a narrow path I hadn't hiked on in more than a year. Lots of it could have changed in that time. Would I see the path when it got dark? The longest way guaranteed it'd be dark by the time I stepped back on a paved road, however the path was large and I knew it well. I chose the long way.

Once night set in, I picked up a stick and a heavy fist-size rock.

Coyotes live in those hills as well as mountain lions. A coyote won't generally attack a creature larger than itself, but in a small pack, and at night, when they start hunting, how certain would you feel?

Only about 100 yards to go. It's dark. Still no sign of the moon. The eyes can't see far. Smudges of dark and darker black surround me. I hear dry brushes crackle on both side of the path. I grip my rock, stand tall, keep on pacing. When I look to the side, something moved. I keep walking. Then the silhouette of a coyote, not 30 feet from me, overlooking the trail cuts against the charcoal gray of the hills. The predator looks about with a jitter, as coyotes often do. I reach the road. A sigh of relief and excitement. What was on the other side of the trail?