Tuesday, September 30, 2008

7 Habits of Happy Kids is a Winner!

I received my personalized copy of The 7 Habits of Happy Kids today, and wowza! I haven't seen a book like this in years. It is jam-packed with Stacy Curtis's wonderful paintings and is just a circus for the eyes. He really poured his heart and soul into this book.

Reading through it, it reminds me of children's books from the Golden Age of illustration. The characters are fun and well-designed, the colors are rich and vibrant and the level of detail keeps you looking at the illustrations and then going back to look some more. Stacy's style is the perfect blend of contemporary and classic children's illustration. This book is on its way to becoming a new classic.

My 9-year-old son walked by the book and picked it up nonchalantly, and then didn't put it down until he finished it. I think that's pretty much going to be the reaction of all kids that are lucky enough to get this book as a gift or find it at the library.

The stories are fun and the book is very well designed. Parents are sure to love reading this to their kids. They're going to have a blast seeing all the problems the characters have and how they solve them. And they'll get a kick out of the little surprises Stacy put throughout the book.

Stacy's illustrations make the book. They put the fizz in the soda pop!

Mell Lazarus - Momma

I ran across the long-running comic strip Momma today, which I used to read all the time when I was a kid. I was pleased to see Mell Lazarus is still drawing it. As far as I can tell, the 81-year-old cartoonist has been drawing his comic strip continually (since 1970) longer than any other living cartoonist. Can you think of anyone else who holds the honors? Most of the strips that have been around this long have someone else doing the writing and drawing chores.

Excelsior, Mell!

Ted Rall on Orphan Works Act

From the Association American Editorial Cartoonists:


The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) is dismayed to learn that unscrupulous members of the U.S. Senate have taken advantage of Americans' focus on the nation's financial crisis in order to pass controversial legislation that threatens the livelihoods of everyone who relies on copyright for a living.

Deploying perfidious secrecy reminiscent of the circumstances of the passage of the USA-Patriot Act, the Senate passed S. 2913, also called the Shaw Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 ("Orphan Works Act") on Friday, while the national media was focused on the mortgage meltdown bailout proposal. A similar bill is being considered by the House of Representatives.

The owner of a store notices a man shoplifting her merchandise. She calls the police, who arrest the man. But they don't take him to jail. Instead, they let him keep the stuff he stole. All he has to do is pay the retail price. They let him go.

Crazy? You bet. But that's exactly what Congress wants to do to intellectual property. If a cartoonist or another artist catches someone stealing his or her work, the thief gets to keep it. All he has to do is pay retail.

Sponsors of the Orphan Works Act claim they want to make it easier for libraries and researchers to reproduce intellectual property whose creators or copyright holders are difficult to find. The practical effect of the Orphan Works Act, however, would be far more sinister. If signed into law, it would create an irresistible incentive for unscrupulous individuals and companies to violate copyrighted material, including the political cartoons created by our members.

"The bill enables users to exhibit orphan works if, after a thorough and documented good-faith search, they are unable to locate the copyright owners," reports the Deseret News of Salt Lake City. And there's the rub. A "good-faith search" is so broadly defined as to be meaningless.

Let's say, for example, that a book publisher wanted to print an editorial cartoon in a history textbook. Currently a typical reprint fee for such use is $250. Under current copyright law, a publisher who gets caught using such work without permission would be liable for three times the standard rate—in this case, $750. A judge could order the books impounded. If the cartoonist had to hire a lawyer, a judge could make the violator pay his or her attorney's fees. These provisions deter most would-be copyright violators.

Under the Orphan Works Act, the deterrent effect of punishment would all but vanish. If the cartoonist learned about the infringement and tracked down its perpetrator, all the publisher would have to do to avoid the triple penalty would be to claim that it engaged in an as-yet undefined "good-faith search." In the cited example, the aggrieved cartoonist would receive $250. He or she would have no way to remove the image from a book that he or she might find objectionable—say, one that advocated reprehensible political views. There would be no compensation for legal fees, or the time and effort involved in tracking down lawbreakers. And that's assuming the artist were ever to learn about the illegal usage.

In the unlikely case that an artist were lucky enough to learn that his or her work had effectively been stolen, he or she would only be entitled to "the amount on which a willing buyer and willing seller in the positions of the infringer and the owner of the infringed copyright would have agreed with respect to the infringing use of the work immediately before the infringement began." But this is no different than the storeowner who catches a shoplifter. A victim of theft is NOT a "willing seller."

Laws that encourage illegal behavior are bad laws. We hope the Senate and President Bush will join us, at least 60 other organizations representing writers and artists, and millions of Americans employed in the creative arts, in opposing the Orphan Works Act.

Ted Rall, President

Association of American Editorial Cartoonists

Monday, September 29, 2008

Plan B: Or, Like they actually listen to us


Orphan Works Opposition: Plan B

SEPT 27 Yesterday, in a cynical move, the sponsors of the Senate Orphan Works Act passed their controversial bill by a controversial practice known as hotlining. With lawmakers scrambling to raise 700 billion dollars to bail out businesses that are "too big to fail," the Senate passed a bill that would force small copyright holders to subsidize big internet interests such as Google, which has already said it plans to use millions of the images this bill will orphan.

With the meltdown on Wall Street, this is no time for Congress to concentrate our nation's copyright wealth in the hands of a few privately owned corporate databases. The contents of these databases would be more valuable than secure banking information. Yet this bill would compel creators to risk their own intellectual property to supply content to these corporate business models. That means it would be our assets at risk in the event of their failure or mismanagement.

As David Rhodes, President of the School of Visual Arts has said, the Orphan Works bill would socialize the expense of copyright protection while privatizing the profit of creative endeavors. Copyright owners neither want nor need this legislation. It will do great harm to small businesses. We already have a banking crisis. Congress should not lay the groundwork for a copyright crisis.

--Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Illustrators' Partnership


We MUST try to stop the House Judiciary Committee from folding their bill (HR5889) and adopting the Senate version. PLEASE EMAIL CONGRESS TODAY. If you've done it before, do it again!It takes only a minute to use our new special letter. Click on the link below, enter your zip code, and take the next steps.

Thanks to all of you who heeded the call to action yesterday.

For ongoing developments, go to the Illustrators' Partnership Orphan Works blog:

Over 70 organizations oppose this bill, representing over half a million creators. Illustrators, photographers, fine artists, songwriters, musicians, and countless licensing firms all believe this bill will harm their small businesses.The Capwiz site is open to professional creators and any member of the image-making public. International artists will find a special link, with a sample letter and instructions as to whom to write.

Along the lines of Ted's post below...

I had an assignment for a cover on a local voting topic and I thought i'd throw it in here. It's a wacky proposition aimed at automatically giving a "no" vote for people that don't get out to the polls on that day.  

This probably won't go in my children's book portfolio. :) Fun to draw tho.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Well-Informed Populace Is Vital To The Operation Of A Democracy

TMT endorses no particular presidential candidate (are any of them really presidential?) but please take time, even if you have already, to learn about all of the presidential candidates and compare their stances on the issues. Remember, the Right to Vote gives you the Right to Gripe!:

Constitution Party Candidate: Chuck Baldwin
Democratic Party Candidate: Barack Obama
Green Party Candidate: Cynthia McKinney
Independent Party Candidate: Ralph Nader
Libertarian Party Candidate: Bob Barr
Republican Party Candidate: John McCain

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tell the Senate NO to orphan works bill today!

Senate is hotlining the Orphan Works Bill!

Take Action!

Contact your Senators today and tell them to vote NO!

We need you to contact your Senator immediately to oppose S. 2913.

Word from Senator Leahy's office today that Senators Leahy and Hatch are pushing the Senate to hotline S.2913, "The Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008" today or this weekend! There is a possibility that Leahy's Orphan Works bill may be tacked onto another economic bill related to current events and quickly passed first by the Senate and then by the House. Senator Leahy has just released an amendment to his bill, but the amendment still does not include the Notice of Use (NOU) nor an archive of NOU filings. Without the Notice of Use provision, the Graphic Artists Guild continues to oppose the Senate Orphan Works bill, S. 2913.

Click on Take Action link at top

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

School Visits!

Mike Knudson, the author of the Raymond and Graham series, and I teamed up for a couple of school visits to Kingsley Elementary School and River Woods Elementary School in Naperville, IL.

We had a blast!
The kids were absolutely terrific and it was uplifting to meet fans of the Raymond and Graham books face-to-face, entertain them and sign and draw in their books.

A special thanks to the fine folks at both these schools for allowing us to come visit your schools!
We appreciate your support!

Here are a few photos:

The awesome set up that the school folks made for us:

Answering questions...me (on the left) and Mike (on the right):

Mike's doing the talking and I'm drawing, which is projected up on that screen between the Raymond and Graham banners.
Technology sure has come a long way since overhead projectors and transparencies:

Looking at the drawings:

Two student volunteers help Mike make a point about the writing process:

Photos courtesy of Marcia Bean, Kingsley Elementary School

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Peanuts Unoriginal

I just can't afford to buy a Peanuts original, and I didn't know when I was younger that Schulz just gave away his originals to fans right and left, so I had to make my own.

India ink with a Zebra G on Crescent board. Two feet wide (!) just like the original.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

7 Habits Book Trailer

Check out this book trailer made for "The 7 Habits of Happy Kids" using the artwork I created for the book.
It's terrific!

Click here to view the book trailer!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

7 Habits on the CBS Early Show ....

Watch CBS Videos Online

Note: Sean will be on FOX & Friends Friday morning to discuss the book.

A few monkeys.

This was fun for me to draw except for the architecture of the stairs, which I didn't get quite right. Somehow I can look at reference photos and they will be right in front of me and I'll miss little details about the makeup of things. 

Regardless, I do love google images for that.


Jan Eliot

Take a look at this video of Jan Eliot, creator of the comic strip, "Stone Soup."

"Stone Soup" at GoComics.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ban on Baggy Pants Unconstitutional

A Florida judge has ruled that the state's ban on baggy pants is unconstitutional. The law banning so-called "saggy pants" was approved by city voters in March after supporters of the bill collected nearly 5,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot.

The new law threatened to affect the livelihood of thousands of plumbers in the state. Over three hundred plumbers gathered in front of the state capitol in protest. The circuit judge presiding over the case on Tuesday promised an immediate decision, as his toilet had been backed up for three days.

"Somebody help me," said Palm Beach Circuit Judge Paul Moyle, before giving his decision. Plumbers refused to help, however, until a decision was made.

The law was declared unconstitutional and revoked immediately.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The 7 Habits of Happy Kids

"The 7 Habits of Happy Kids," a picture book I illustrated launches today!

The book was written by the great and wonderful Sean Covey.

It was published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

For the Seven Oaks friends, there is always something to do. Whether they're singing along with Pokey Porcupine's harmonica or playing soccer with Jumper Rabbit, everyone is having fun and learning all sorts of things. These seven stories show how practicing the 7 Habits makes this possible for the whole Seven Oaks Community.

From learning how to take charge of their own lives to discovering how balance is best, the Seven Oaks friends have tons of adventures and find out how each and every kid can be a happy kid!

The book is also available as an audio book, you can listen to a clip by clicking here.

The characters of "The 7 Habits of Happy Kids" book were integrated into Franklin Covey's "The Leader in Me" program.
Take a look at this awesome set of posters for use in school classrooms:

And this absolutely amazing web site, "Student SCHOOLYARD," created using artwork from the book!

Here's a promotional video of Sean Covey talking about the book.
(The book in the video is not the actual book, it was made for use in the video.)

Sean Covey: - For more amazing video clips, click here

If you want to buy the book, you can order it online from:
Simon & Schuster or Amazon.com

Or just pick it up at your local Borders, Barnes & Noble, Powell's, Waldenbooks, Books-A-Million, Costco, Sam's Club or any of the places listed here.

Or if you want an autographed/doodled-in copy of the book, e-mail me and we can make arrangements.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NY Times Interview with Maurice Sendak

Click here to read the interview with Maurice Sendak.

The Little Red Spider

Once there was a little red spider. She loved to climb up the gutter drain and wait for rain to come. When the gutters filled with rain water, she would take a deep breath and jump in. The tiny torrent carried her through the rushing water, ever closer to the drain and then… ZOOP, down she went, into the dark, flooding downspout and then… FWOOSH, out the bottom end onto the soft, slippery grass. She would catch her breath and laugh uncontrollably until Mama called her back to the web.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sword Bill

This sketch was inspired by the Sword Bill hummingbird. Drawn in ArtRage2. I think.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Little Vanity

I found my name mentioned in an article that came out last year, and it surprised me enough that I thought I'd post it here. I'm not exactly part of the national consciousness, but if I were world-famous as were my original intentions, I suppose references like this would be commonplace. As it is, I really don't know what it means. But I like that it is written so matter-of-factly.

"Patrick Smith is an animator who creates his frames the old school way: he hand draws them, saving any computer animation work for coloration only. His composition is somewhere between Ted Dawson's Spooner and Berke Breathed's Bloom County. MTV fans are already acquainted with his work as director for the Beavis & Butthead spinoff, Daria, and his animated short works are..."

Original source

Drawring in progress.

I'm just at the point where I ask myself why on earth I took this approach and color scheme. Self doubt is entering in and despair (so about half way done).

More later. 

Banjo Player

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nyquil-induced Faun

Yet another faun. This one brought to you by Nyquil, the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, best sleep you ever got on the kitchen floor cold medicine.

If I Were in Chicago, I'd Go To This

Looking for something to do on Sat. or Sun. September 13 and 14?

Well stop by the Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park! Get some early Christmas shopping done and stop by our MILE 44 booth and say hi!

Our screenprinting company, Mile 44, will have a booth at the Renegade Craft Fair from noon to 10 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. We'll be selling our gigposters, movie posters and art prints.

Renegade offers a wide range of items including handmade jewelry, tea, and ceramic dishes, to stationery, accessories and clothing... and of course POSTERS (music, movie and art prints). And LIVE music from bands like Califone and Northern State. So stop by booth 102 (between Wolcott and Marion), say hi and check out the arts and crafts!

See you there!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Odin, the White Tiger.

Anyone who draws animals should see these great images of Odin, a rare white Bengal tiger, swimming at a zoo in Vallejo, California. There are poses that would be impossible to find reference before, and video to show almost slow-motion underwater movement.

The faces Odin makes are the things of illustration as well. He looks fierce, but is merely scrunching up his face to block water from entering his nose.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Color Experiment

Broken Bridge

This didn't quite turn out, but... More Mystic Woods stuff. Still working on concept drawings.

Calvin and Hobbes

By Nina Matsumoto.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

odds n ends

Just some stuff for the book that will never see print. Historically, Bud (a real dog who was a travel companion on the first road trip across the USA) never had red goggles... they were whitish. I changed them to red just for fun and contrast.

I'm sure this will tick somebody off in some history department somewhere.