This past year I've had the privilege of working with the team at Grosset & Dunlap (Penguin Random House) on a book series with the Smithsonian Institute. Each book has a unique theme and is packed to the max with fun facts, photos and illustrations. I absolutely love the range of imaginative illustrations each book provides, from blood thirsty birds to sauerkraut slurping sailors!
It's truly an honor to work with such an incredibly talented team of creatives at Grosset & Dunlap. Two creatives that have been key to the success of this series has been Giuseppe Castellano (Senior Art Director) and Sara Corbett (Associate Art Director). Giuseppe's insights on the industry and best practices for illustrators has been a key source of inspiration and education for me over the years (I HIGHLY recommend you visit website!) Working with him on this series has been a treasured experience. He is also a truly talented illustrator with an incredible creative journey that I admire greatly. Check out his inspired work here. I want to give an EXTRA big cheer and thank you to Sara! She has provided inspiring vision for the illustrations and given cherished encouragement along the journey. She is also a highly imaginative and uniquely talented designer and illustrator (Check out her eye dance inducing work here)! I respect both of them as creative leaders and look forward to many more creative connections with this book series and beyond!
Working on a book for the Smithsonian Institution is an opportunity I hold with the highest regard. My art may not be right there among ol' George Washington's teeth and Dorothy's ruby slippers, but it's quite inspiring to have it in the book shop!
Below are a few of my favorite spreads from the "Road Trip" book.
The first book in the No Way ... WAY! series "Road Trip" is filled with wacky facts covering every kind of travel on land, sea and air! I provided illustrations for several dozen facts, and the team implemented those into the pages among photos and vintage illustrations from the Smithsonian archives. It was quite delightful to see how they combine the photos on occasion with the illustrations to create a compelling image with a historical vibe!
Here are a few more favorites before they took their road trip into design (click image for larger preview):
The second book in the No Way ... WAY! series "Are You My Dinner?" is filled with tasty facts that both delight and disgust! Again, I provided illustrations for several dozen facts, and the team implemented those into the pages among photos and vintage illustrations from the Smithsonian archives. After the success of the first book, I was feeling extra inspired to dive into the characters and culinary creativity of the food theme! Of course, how often do you get to illustrate a naked mole rat that prefers his restroom to be his favorite restaurant. AEEEWesome!
Below are a few of my favorite pages from the "Are You My Dinner" book:
Here are a few more favorites before they got served up to design (click image for larger preview):
One of the greatest joy's of this project has been watching my 3 kids enjoy, laugh and learn with each page turn. They continue to share favorite facts, photos and illustrations as we drive (these are their favorite car books). I love hearing them say "WOW! Did you know ...", "EWWW, that's so gross." or my favorite "Ha Ha ... I like the illustration you did for this fact dad!" It's a win all around. Bonus Dad points when they ask "So is this book IN the Smithsonian?!" and I say "YEPS! ... the book store." They still think it's quite an amazing book project to be part of, and so do I! It encourages me deeply to know that kids around the world are learning, laughing and enjoying right along with my own kids!
The team and I would be delighted to have you buy each of these books (Road Trip and Dinner) to enjoy yourself, or share with your family. It's guaranteed to bring plenty of "WOW!" "EWWW!" "HUH!?" and "HAHA!" responses with each and every page!
Book #3 is in the works, so be on the look out for it in 2016!