Tuesday, October 25, 2011



A King Fit For A Tale

As of today, in bookstores across America and probably Canada, the first picture book I've ever illustrated will be available. Elegantly penned by seasoned children's author and party cut-up Mac Barnett, Mustache! is the tale of a vain king and his greatly put-upon subjects.

My own work on Mustache! started almost three years ago, collecting reference, putting together concept art, and piecing together rough comps. I also had a few production hurdles I never experienced before. First, I had to figure out how to work at such a huge size (I was generally working at 600 dpi, with files as large as a full gig). Then I had work out how to color the spreads digitally, something I had only dabbled in here and there.

Early concept work on Mustache!

Mac was gracious enough to give me quite a lot of artistic freedom, and so I put a king's ransom of effort into designing humorous scenes to compliment his tale. But this was hardly a two-person job. Tamson Weston was our editor, Joann Hill was the art director, and Whitney Manger laid out the copy. And my agent, Steve Malk, had the brilliant idea for the cover.

Interior Shot of Mustache! along with Cover

If you have a child, or if you're just very immature, I highly suggest picking up Mustache!, or at least checking out some of the art over in my Work section. It must be said that even though it is a book for tots, I was mostly trying to entertain myself during production. So I can confidently say that if you're a regular visitor to this site, you might find it humorous even should you be a non-child, or very small human, or particularly smart monkey or what have you.

In Other Bearskinrug News...

I thought I might also use this update as an opportunity to give a little bit of news regarding this site. After several years working in this incarnation, I've decided to change the direction of Bearskinrug. Don't worry, I'll still be delivering bland humor and juvenile insight, but my intention is to deliver it on a smaller scale, with much more frequency, in a new design. Why am I telling you this? Well... I suppose I just wanted to give a friendly warning that there's a change on the wind.

Mojo is slashing prices!

Also worth mentioning, what with the impending holidays, I've decided to slash prices on Six-Penny Anthems Volume II, taking approximately 15% off. This is a technique that saavy marketers like me call a "Sail", which in turn encourages people to buy things. So, if you have a loved one who deserves a gift, I highly suggest you get them either the paperback or the hardcover version. If you have a loved one who doesn't deserve a gift, I recommend buying the book anyway, and keeping it inside a bulletproof lucite box reinforced by exploding doberman pinchers so your loved one can realize the pure joy that their horrible behavior has cost them.

Comments on this Article

There are currently 11 comments.

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Glindon Marten

Dude, only $11 bucks for a hardcover on Amazon? Sold.

BTW, I like your profile pic/drawing (smoking the cigar) on Amazon, Sweeeet.


Haha - thanks, Glindon. I've always been certain children need a strong role model to introduce them to smoking!

Cliener von Cleanskin

While look at your so called “art’, I fed the bear for the first time in a while. Reading that back, it sounds like an allusion to something bad.
Meanwhile, your new thing has been placed on my Amazon thing list that my very small human and I might find future amusement.


I am both looking forward to and am somewhat frightened of your incoming changes to the site. While Im sure things have changed in the intervening years since you created it Ive always thought your site was lovely. Keep a memento of it somewhere in the archives please?


Cliener - "Fed the Bear" is a much better false euphemism than "Read your obituary". So no harm done.

Gilbert - Oh definitely. I think what's kept me working in this iteration so many years is that I haven't found a BETTER structure for delivering the kind of content I want. The only reason I'm really changing is because I want to post more art, without having to write so much to accompany it.

A. Big (Biggy) Rugfan

I was at once delighted and frightened when I read on a smaller scale, with much more frequency. Your site is a bastion of thoughtfulnessness and goodnessness and badasserynessness and other desirable nessnesses. Who wouldn't want more? But please don't tell me you will be trying to uphold such fine principles in only 140 or fewer characters. It's too dangerous, man! If you cram your full mass of clever into such a small space of bits, the resulting gravity wave is sure to suck us all in. Then everybody's bits will start touching and rubbing about. Things could get weird, you know? I'm uncomfortable just talking about it.


Haha - well - I understand the concern. I don't think we're talking about trying to work in an only twitter format - truth be told, I find it really hard to communicate that way. This is more... I want to show more sketches and concept art, but in this iteration I'm kind of always forced to write - and that's what delays the sharing of things these days. So I need a way to share without writing all the time.


Thanks, Kevin! It looks great.


As always, amazing work!! I may have to buy one, though my critters are much too old for reading picture books. But then, it may serve as a source of inspiration for my two budding artists ... it would be good for them to see that there is art in this world that is not anime!
Good luck with the reincarnation of Bearskinrug! Let us hope its Karma was good enough to avoid coming back as BananaSlugRug! ;-)


it would be good for them to see that there is art in this world that is not anime!

Also, it might also discourage them from combining their vehicle with four other vehicles to make a Voltron!


I'm more of a liberal, easy-going parent - if my kids could accomplish such a feat of engineering with their friends and save the world, week in and week out, I'd be cool with that.
As long as they keep up their grades, of course.

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