Mac McCool - Children's Book Illustrations and Graphic Novels

Monday, April 28, 2008

Learning from Masterful Character Silhouette Designs

Just like a good logo, signature designs facilitate immediate recognition of characters and gives them an unmistakably unique look. Think Superman's cape, Tintin's upright tuft of hair, the zigzag pattern on Charlie Brown's shirt, Lisa Simpson's star-shaped head. The literary equivalent comes in the personal slogan, such as "What's up, Doc?" or "Elementary, my dear Watson." In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud presents one of my favorite and most iconic signature designs by reproducing Mickey Mouse's ears and head with just two dimes and a quarter. So if we're trying to improve on our character designs, we should all be grateful to Bob Flynn's latest blog post "Cartoon Silhouettes." Bob Flynn, a contributor to the group blog Creative Juices, shows us a layout of 37 silhouettes of famous cartoon characters, and proves the effectiveness and power of masterful signature designs. It's too good to miss -- go there and see if you can recognize them all!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Familiar Faces and Surprises Lurk at the L.A. SCBWI Writer's Day!

What a blast catching up with so many great SCBWI pals, like Jay Asher (the fine writer of the hugely praised Thirteen Reasons Why), Sarah Laurenson (who won a so-much-deserved service award for her tireless work on the SCBWI-SoCal website), or Greg Pincus with his wit, love of poetry, and fun t-shirts! I finally got the joy to chat with Cecil Castellucci (The PLAIN Janes) -- which we had never got to do at the last Los Angeles Summer Conference -- and to listen to inspirational stories, such as Caroline Hatton's behind the scene chronicles of the scientists who test the world's best athletes during the Olympics, and Philomel's Editorial Director, Patricia Gauch on writing one's passion ("You cannot FLINCH!"). Erica Silverman's tips on writing early readers came at a perfect time for my present graphic novel manuscript... which, by the great Maui, took 1st place in the "picture book" contest of this year's SCWBI-SoCal Writer's Day! What a thrill! And huge kudos to my friends, Kathryn Fitzmaurice and Christina Forshay, who received honorary mentions! Yeah! To all the organizers (Edie & Claudia, & your crew) and judges, heart-felt thank yous!!!