Monday, December 22, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 23rd Fossilized Psittacosaur Family
  • This fossil illustrated here is proof that some species of dinosaurs lived in family groups, with the young living in a nest with a parent.
  • Christmas wish list: The Fossilized Psittacosaur Family has one wish--to come to life and celebrate the night before Christmas! They need your help! Please comment, if there are enough comments, I'm sure the Psittacosaurs will come to LIFE! 

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 22nd Allosaurus in a flash flood

(to the tune of Chestnuts Roasting...)

"Allosaurus in a flash flood,
Jack Frost freezing T-rex's nose,
Apatosaurus, sinking into some tar,
and folks getting cooked by volcanos."

That's my Christmas song about dinosaur extinction, it didn't make the book, it's a work in progress.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 21st Purple Devilsaurus
  • Purple Devilsaurus can be seen here, in her natural habitat, a crowded doorway. (Lower left corner, with the Barbie.) This particular Purple Devilsaurus is from a page in The Devil You Know.
  • Christmas wish list: Purple Devil--"HEY! Is that YELLOWBELLY AND PLUM behind her! Wow! This is such a big surprise! Tell us, what are you working on? Will there be a sequel to your big hit book? What do YOU want for Christmas? This is fantastic!"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ....Purple Devilsaurus just wants a little peace and quiet.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 20th LEGOsaurus
  • Isn't he super! I love it! The image for LEGOsaurus is not mine, it is clipped from a European ad campaign.
  • Christmas wish list: LEGOsaurus needs nothing. He is completely at peace with existence.
[UPDATE] The Layton Barnes & Noble signing is off. I woke up soooo sick. Hello Ther-a-flu, how are you?

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 19th Plateosaurus
  • Plateosaurus traveled in herds across Europe, during the Triassic period, when Europe was a desert. Like humans, Plateosaurus had five digits on each hand.
  • Christmas wish list: Rapunzel's Revenge--in HARDCOVER, which is getting hard to find, it's now back ordered on Amazon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 18th Stegosaurus
  • Scientists claim Stegosaurus was an herbivore, grazing on plants. But I have a different theory. I think Stegosaurus was a meat eater, and this is how it operated: it would charge under the belly of a larger dinosaur, the plates on its back would slice open the dino from underneath, and all the guts would fall out. Then Stegosaurus would use the spikes on its tail to shish-kebab the guts for later. It's gross, but it's my theory.
  • Christmas wish list: All Stegosaurus wants for Christmas is his two front teeth.

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 17th Quetzocoatlus
  • Technically, pterosaurs weren't dinosaurs, they were flying reptiles. Quetzo was the biggest of all the pterosaurs with a nearly 40 foot wing span.
  • Christmas wish list: Custom "flame" paint job for beak. That would look so cool.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 16th Suchomimus
  • I don't have any neat facts about Suchomimus, other than that he looks wicked awesome. I have to say that Suchomimus, for my money, is a cooler, scarier dinosaur than T. Rex. Big spiney back, long crocodile face, giant claws, why doesn't he have his own movie?
  • Christmas wish list: The only thing Suchomimus wants is an extra two months to finish the drawings for his gigantic graphic novel project. Suchomimus is very short on time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 15th Ankylosaur
  • To eat an Ankylosaur, a predator would probably have to flip it over onto its back. The heavy, armored spikes would then be out of the way. Of course, the predator would still have that club tail swinging for the ankles. Maybe that's why it is called ANKYLosaur--it swings for the ankles.
  • Christmas wish list: A gong. Ankylosaur could whale away at a gong for days.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 14th Amargasaurus
  • Amargasaurus was a small sauropod who lived in South America. It had long, bony spines along its back.
  • Christmas wish list: That the thing in the previous post, about Carnotaur's jaw not being strong enough to stop large prey, is true.

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 13th Carnotaur
  • Scientists are fairly sure that Carnotaur was a scavenger, the weak lower jaw wouldn't have had the strength to stop large prey. 
  • Christmas wish list: BABYMOUSE!!!
[REMINDER!] Book signings today--Springvlle Art Museum at 11:00, West Jordan Barnes & Noble from 2-5:00. Come get your books signed!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 12th Saichania
CRATCHET SAICHANIA: "Merry Christmas to you Mr. Scrooge, sir."
SCROOGE SAICHANIA: "Any fellow who goes about with a Merry Christmas on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly in his heart. He should! Bah humbug! " WHACK!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 11th Triceratops
  • Triceratops was discovered in Wyoming by John Bell Hatcher. He discovered 32 Triceratops skulls in one county.
  • Christmas wish list: One year membership to the Jelly-of-the-Month club. "That's the gift that keeps on givin' the whole year long."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 10th Apatosaurus
  • Apatosaurus is the correct name for the sauropod commonly referred to as Brontosaurus. Apatosaurus was identified and named first. Two years later, in 1879, Brontosaurs was discovered. Further study proved they were the same species. You might think the guy who discovered Brontosaurus would be angry, nope, same guy discovered both.
  • Christmas wish list: Rock Band 2. Apatosaurus thinks Rock Band is ten times better than Guitar Hero. And she is right.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 9th Styracosaur
  • Styracosaur is the one in the back, with all the horns. I know, I know, these are supposed to be dinosaurs that AREN'T in The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas--but this is from the back cover, so technically not in the book.
  • Christmas wish list. Too bad Styracosaur, you don't get a wish list, today is my birthday (the 8th...the day I'm putting this together) and I get to post MY wish list. I want everyone to buy this book, and all my other books. Also I want the LEGO Coast Guard Chopper.
  • Greetings to the folks who wandered over from Facebook. I just signed up today, I've been looking at photos of all my old classmates. What a fascinating, technological age we live in.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 8th Diplodocus
  • New fossil evidence shows that Diplodocus had a row of spines along its back, like the modern day iguana. Those would have been pretty big spines.
  • Christmas wish list: "I'd like another one of those big candy canes, Santa. Do you have Ginkgo flavor?"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 7th Baby Maiasaura
  • Christmas wish list: Two pair of skis, two pair of boots, season pass.

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 6th Tyrannosaurus Rex
  • An early version of "Santasaurus" looked very similar to this T. Rex, after looking at all those rows of teeth, the publishers and I decided that Santasaurus would work better as an herbivore.
  • Christmas wish list: Pom-poms and a trampoline.
  • This T. Rex made his appearance in this book and floor puzzle.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 5th Eoraptor
  • From the Triassic Period, Eoraptor is one of the earliest known dinosaurs.
  • Christmas wish list: A Very Marley Christmas--not the book, he wants to eat Marley the dog for Christmas. Although, since he's only three feet long, Marley might eat the Eoraptor.
[Reminder: Tomorrow, Orem Barnes and Noble, 1-4. Be there too!]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 4th Brian
[REMINDER--King's English Bookstore author party, tonight, 5:30-7. Be there!]

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 3rd Tsintaosaurus
  • Tsintaosaurus was a hadrosaur from China with an unusual head crest.
  • Christmas wish list: Unusual head crest cozy, something wool, like a hat, only taller and thinner.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 2nd Sauropod Egg
  • Eggs from the Sauropod family (Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus, "Long Necks," etc.) were spherical and had a very thick shell.
  • Christmas wish list: Baby Mozart CD, padded headphones.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Dinosaur-A-Day Christmas Advent

December 1st Albertosaurus
  • Period: Late Cretaceous
  • Named for the Alberta, Canada region.
  • Christmas wish list: Fresh Centrosaurus carcus, also LEGO Coast Guard Chopper.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas is going on the road! A five store tour from southern Springville all the way to northern Layton! I'll be doing in-store signings on the following dates:

Salt Lake City, The King's English 
Thursday, December 4th at 5:30-7
(Shannon and Dean Hale will be at this one! Bring your Rapunzel's Revenge for the ultra-rare TRIPLE SIGNED COPY!)

Orem, Barnes and Noble
Saturday, December 6th 1:00-4

Springville, The Art Museum
Saturday, December 13, 11:00

West Jordan, Barnes and Noble
Saturday, December 13, Afternoon and evening?
This one also features a bunch of Utah authors, including Dragon Slippers author Jessica Day George.

Layton, Barnes and Noble
Saturday, December 20, 1:00-4

Hope to see you there. And be thinking of your favorite dinosaur, I've been drawing them on the title page of signed copies. And choosing "T-Rex" is the easy way out. A six year old in Kayesville asked me for a Parasaurolophus. Beat that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A little taste of Calamity Jack

You must think I spend all day thinking about Yellowbelly, considering my last few posts. Or maybe the Dinosaurs and their Night Before Christmas. In truth, the bulk of my working hours are spent in a book I can't post too much about; Calamity Jack, Rapunzel's Revenge Book the Second.

I smuggled this panel out of the factory for a sneak preview.

I'm about 3/4 finished with the ink drawings, and the color team are right behind me page for page. This particular holiday weekend, I'll be turning in the pencil sketch version of the cover. If the publisher allows it, I'll post the cover in progress

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yellowbelly and Thumbs

I was digging through some files yesterday and found my some of my earliest Yellowbelly and Plum thumbnail drawings. 

I don't think the publisher even saw these, I did a bigger, tighter set of sketches for them. But I enjoy the loose scribbliness of these early drawings. It's surprising how little really changed for the final artwork.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Real Yellowbelly?

So what is Yellowbelly? The best answer I've heard was from a teacher who described him as a "Cheetah-beaver." I've always thought he had a little Totoro in him.

But get a load of this photo! Isn't he great? If we could just fatten him up and give him a teddy bear, I think we'd have our Yellowbelly.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dinosaurs' Book Trailer

Score one for the dinosaurs! We have a book trailer!

The audio you hear is from the cd, both the Al Roker narration and the Allosaurus Chorus. Special thanks to the gang at Chronicle Books for putting this together! Wow!

Dinosaurs vs. Pirates: The Battle for the Night Before Christmas!

The same month Yellowbelly and Plum Go To School came out, Jane Yolen released How Do Dinosaurs Go To School. The Dinosaurs tromped all over us, that's a very popular, well-loved series.

Well, this year, I'm the one with the dinosaur themed picture book, The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas.

Now look what's happened:
Another epic showdown. Those pirates look pretty cute. Who do you think will win the Battle for the Night Before Christmas?

Let's break it down.

  • Dinosaurs ruled the earth for millions of years. Pirates sailed the oceans for a few hundred years.
  • Dinosaurs are displayed in museums all over the world. Pirates have their own ride at Disneyland.
  • Dinosaurs say, "RWAAAAR!" Pirates say, "AAARGH!"
  • Dinosaurs were covered in plates, armor, and spikes. Pirates were covered in tattoos, beards, and eye patches.
Hmm. No clear winner. Are you like me? Kinda wishing they could BOTH be in one book?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Post Halloween Post

First off, Princess Rapunzel vs. Four-armed Dracula. Who are these children?

And second, get a load of this AWESOME pumpkin! This comes courtesy of Little Red, from Little Red Reading Hood. Incredible!

Happy (day after) Halloween everybody!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Plate Party

Last night I visited E.G. King Elementary in Layton, UT for their Spooky Literacy Night. I It was a wild time. For my costume I drew 25 different "masks" on paper plates. Choosing the final mask was part of my program. 

The kids went BANANAS. It ended up being a shouting match for each mask. 200 costumed kids screaming bloody murder while I threw paper plates at them. It was a lot of fun. I lost my voice. 

Here are a few of the kids who caught plates. The one on the far right was the winner, "A Trilobite with a Mustache." Among the plates visible here are Super Mario, Super Mario's Skeleton, LEGO Skeleton, Rapunzel, LEGO Barack Obama (LEGO McCain left early?)

Yeah, so I had a few posts planned for October that observant readers will notice didn't happen. Don't worry, November will catch them up.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Devil You Know on the cheap!

My first picture book, The Devil You Know, is on sale right now at Amazon. $4.99 while supplies last on this page. In hardcover even! Just in time for Halloween. Don't miss out on the chance to bring the little devil home for cheap!

[UPDATE] Sale's over! Hope you were able to snap one up--that was a sweet deal. You now have to pay the regular full price to bring home the lil' Devil.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yellowbelly's Lost Page

In last week's Shannon Hale interview, I talked about my favorite characters from Yellowbelly and Plum go to School. I mentioned a few characters who were changed for the final illustrations. The Cactus Boy and the Shark Girl can be seen here, on this missing page from Yellowbelly and Plum Go To School.

This was my sample illustration when I first pitched the project to the publisher. When I send a story to an editor, I send it in sketch form, a rough pencil version of the whole book called a "Dummy." But along with the sketches, I send one illustration that shows what the final would look like. Many changes take place once the book gets under way, see for example, how different Plum is here. The sample illustration never actually goes into the final book, which is kind of sad in this case, since I really like how this one turned out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

In Store Event in Orem Tonight

Tonight I will be at the Barnes & Noble in Orem signing books and hanging out. A bunch of other Utah authors and illustrators will be on hand as well. Who? Well you'll have to come and see. Friday, Oct 17, 7:00 pm Orem B & N. See you there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Calamity Jack Color Map Preview

The team of color mappers has been a HUGE help. They've now been working for about a month. Everyone's moving at a different pace, but the pages are rolling in. As of today Calamity Jack is half-way color mapped.

If you don't know what color mapping is, take a look at my earlier coloring tutorial. Essentially, the team is doing the painstaking job of outlining each color area. Every little hat, braid, brick and cloud has to be carefully traced. The team is doing fantastic work.

The colors used aren't the final colors, so it's been fun to see the different palettes each colorer has. They range from subdued:

To colorful:

To REALLY colorful:
Are those My Little Ponies? What is going on here?

These scenes are all within the same few pages of each other, I love the drastic differences. It'll be sad to mellow everything down to the final color scheme. These color mapped pages will all get the official palette treatment, then have highlights and shadows added.

Last of all, I did an interview for Shannon Hale (one of the authors of Rapunzel's Revenge) you can see it here. Thanks Shannon!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

LEGO Rapunzel

When you try to recreate a scene in LEGO, the biggest problem is hair. It's hard to create a good likeness of someone, when you only have a handful of hair pieces to choose from. There is no LEGO hair piece with twenty foot braids. So I went with a pre-braids scene; Mother Gothel visiting the tree tower.

Ta-daah! It's a little rough, I am under deadline. And I had to fake Rapunzel's yellow dress, that's a white dress Photoshopped yellow (Marion's dress from the Indiana Jones tomb set--because I know you were wondering.) But for a two hour, Sunday night build, I'm pretty happy with it.

So what do you think? Should I keep posting the LEGO stuff? If I do enough of these, maybe I can write off LEGO purchases as a work related expense.

Friday, October 10, 2008

B-Money, My Famous Neighbor

I came home from running errands the other day, and there was a strange guy on my lawn. He explained that he had just moved into the house next door. He seemed like a pretty nice guy, he said he was a musician. I asked him what instrument he played. "Rap." he said, "My name's Brian, but my friends call me B-Money."

I told my sister the story, and she freaked out, "B-MONEY IS YOUR NEIGHBOR!?" she said. Apparently, my neighbor is YouTube famous. And here is why:

I've been to that Burger King--I had no idea there was a hot tub in it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

October plans

Well, okay, maybe it is a little too early for PaleoChristmas.

We've got big plans at the space station for October. Although the ongoing Calamity Jack ink-o-thon is going full blast, I hope to post the following items here on the blog this month.

  • Yellowbelly, the lil' Devil, and Rapunzel will all be posting their top three favorite songs for your listening enjoyment.

  • The Calamity Jack color mappers are producing some pretty extravagant colored pages, we'll preview a few more pages from the upcoming Rapunzel sequel.

  • Commenter Erin threw down a challenge to build a LEGO Rapunzel, the answer to that should be up next week.

  • Plans are in action for a live Yellowbelly YouTube video. I've never made a video before, so it should be funny, one way or another. Before the end of the month you will see Yellowbelly speak! (Anyone know where I can find some yellow, leopard print fur?)

  • Last of all, a little BLAGGING, or would it be BROGGING? Bragging on a blog, but hey isn't all blogging really just a form of bragging? Anyway, I'm dying to show off a little. I've been a fan of long distance running since high school, and saturday was a big race for me.
Yeah, that's BLAGGING.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's never too early for PaleoChristmas!

Today is a book launch day! The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas by Anne Muecke, illustrations by Nathan Hale, is in stores TODAY! It can also be found here.

This book is jam packed with Dinosaurs and Christmas! Proceeds from the book will go to the Museum of Natural History in New York, where the book takes place. The book also comes with a little surprise, inside the front flap is a CD of Dinosaur themed Holiday Music. With hits like, "Hark! The Pterodactyls Sing!" and "We wish you a Dino Kwanzaa!" My kids played the CD non stop while I was working on this job (this was last March--I'm sure it sounds even better during the holidays.) Also on the disc is a full reading of the book, by non other than Mr. Book of the Month, Al Roker!

Here is one of my favorite paintings from the book. This is the title and copyright page.

This is Argentinosaurus, walking past parked cars on a New York Street. Each of these cars is a great car I've either owned or spent time in. Starting on the left with my first car, an '82 Toyota Corolla Wagon. I loved that car. My little brother burned the engine out near Scipio Utah. I believe it is still there. Sniff.

I'll do more Dinosaur Christmas posts as we get closer to December. But today is launch day, so happy Oct 1st. Remember kids, this is the time of year when Santasaurus starts watching you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yellowbelly Day!

September 24th was Yellowbelly Day! I didn't know it was going to be Yellowbelly Day, but that's the way it turned out. I visited Hayden Peak Elementary School and did a presentation about being an illustrator. Yellowbelly came along to help me out. He was there in my Powerpoint presentation.
Here he is teaching kindergartners about Damien Hirst (but not too much about Damien Hirst.) This part of the presentation was about the differences between Fine Art and Illustration. Kids love that wacky diamond skull.
He even made an appearance in LEGO form. Look at him go!
Don't ask about LEGO Plum--do you have any idea how rare purple LEGO bits are? (I'll have to make him out of blue.) Who should I try next? The red robot kid? The others might be too tricky.

The school librarians at Hayden Peak had been reading Yellowbelly and Plum Go To School during library time over the past week. So when I got there and started talking Yellowbelly, the kids went INSANE. It was great to see some love for the furry yellow guy.

It was tons of fun. And a nice break from the 24/7 CALAMITY JACK ink-o-thon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rapunzel's TODAY SHOW Revenge!

Here's the segment that aired on the TODAY SHOW this morning. Wow! Tremendous job! We didn't get to see the hoped-for "Rokerpunzel," but the wig did get a lot of screen time on one of the kids' heads. Fine work, "Charliepunzel." They picked great, spoiler free pages to highlight, a whole bunch of them. Gotta say, it was weird seeing those drawings on my teevee. 

The story that aired before the book club was called "From Jail to Yale," about a felon who was attending Yale Law School. I was waiting for them to say, "And now from Jail to Yale to HALE." I should write for television.

But let's talk about the real star of the show. Dean! Good grief! He's got star quality! The camera loves that guy. He was as laid back and cool as anyone I've ever seen in a live television situation--including George Clooney! Dean, can I get an 8x10 glossy?

Fantastic job! Thank you Shannon, Dean, Al Roker, Charliepunzel and everyone at the TODAY SHOW.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Epic Wig Post

This is the week of the wig!

Mindy (Rapunzel letterer, and my wife) spent many, many hours on the wig. I think it looks FANTASTIC! A better representation of Rapunzel's hair than an actual realistic wig. It really captures the illustrated hair look. Here it is in action:

The wig is now on it's way to NYC (Shannon, you better be wearing it on the plane! Or better yet, Dean!) The wig will appear on the TODAY SHOW this friday (Sept. 12, NBC) on Al Roker's Book of the Month segment.

We are crossing our fingers and toes that Al himself will wear the wig. Making it the MOST FAMOUS WIG IN NORTH AMERICA for at least a few hours. Who doesn't want to see Rokerpunzel? I want me some Rokerpunzel!

If you'd like to try making your own Rapunzel wig, Mindy say's the pattern is loosely based on the Hallowig by Good luck!

The ugliest LEGO set this year...maybe ever.

The Epic Wig Post should be up later today, I'm still waiting on a few pieces of knitting information.

In the mean time, I thought I'd drop my first LEGO related post. LEGO is a big deal at the space station. Anyway, get a load of this:
What IS it? A trash can with a wing on the side?

I remember hearing once that one of the model makers for Return of the Jedi glued some junk on his shoe and flew it through the background of one of the space battle scenes. I'm guessing that this is a tribute to that urban legend. A shoe with junk glued on it.  Horrible. HORRIBLE. 

Apparently this is from the latest Star Wars fillum. Now I'm a fan of Star Wars LEGO. The prequels were awful movies, but they did provide some pretty neat-o spaceships (I'm looking at you Naboo Starfighter.) 

This set is called "The Twilight." What? Twilight? Is it full of vampires and chubby goth kids? The real crusher is that this is a $100 set. 

There was a time when a hundred dollars in LEGO looked like this:

Ohhhh yeah.