August 19, 2007

Art Monster


I've been wanting to show this to everybody for a long time, like a little kid with a barely-contained secret, ever since I got the preliminary sketches. A few months ago, I commissioned Debbie Ridpath Ohi to do an illustration (as part of her Little Nightmares series) for the book site. I received the finished piece today.

(Go check it out in context. I redesigned the book site, and I'm a lot happier with this new look, which seems warmer and more appropriate to the book and its subject. Also check out the new endorsement I received from Neal "Alternadad" Pollack, over on the Press page. Okay, pimpage over...)

I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted, but what Debbie came up with far exceeded my expectations. Even all the way back in her initial rough sketch, she had Schuyler down perfectly. In her final version, she managed to capture exactly the tone that I hope comes across in the book itself. The illustration has humor and pathos; it's a little dark but full of Schuyler's tough girl spirit.

The monster seems to me to appear both friendly and just a touch menacing, an ever-present companion who nevertheless has a healthy respect for the monster slayer in pink Chucks.

And Schuyler? She looks entirely unconcerned and ever so slightly amused, ready to play with the monster or kick its ass, depending on the need. Either way, she's content with the outcome.

Thank you, Debbie.

28 comments:

Eileen said...

LOVE IT!!! It looks perfect. Captured the look on Schuyler's face perfectly. So glad you shared your secret.

misdee said...

love it love it. its perfect!

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! This artwork looks cooler than I ever could have imagined.

Rob, have you ever considered writing a children's book (with Schuyler as the main character, of course)? I ask because I've been thinking about it for awhile and just bet that if you ever did, it would be so unbelievably amazing. You have such a great bond with Schuyler and you can really relate to kids.

Sara said...

So cute and so perfect!

Sarah said...

It's totally cute. The only thing that threw me a bit was the blonde hair. Whenever I picture Schuyler, she has purple or red hair. Otherwise, perfect.

Alejandra said...

Cool! Debbie Ohi does some awesome stuff. That sketch of you for your cards is great, too.

ladydisdain said...

OMG NEAL POLLACK BLURBED YOUR BOOK.

Also, awesome illustration.

Rob said...

The only thing that threw me a bit was the blonde hair. Whenever I picture Schuyler, she has purple or red hair.

We talked about that during the whole process, and ultimately it made sense to go with Schuyler's natural hair color since lord knows WHAT color she'll have it in six months.

Anonymous said...

No disrespect to Debbie, but I like the photo of her with her hand covering her mouth better. To me, that totally captures Schuyler's essence -- playful, yet with a lot to say that she's not revealing.

-- Terri from Detroitus

Rob said...

Rob, have you ever considered writing a children's book (with Schuyler as the main character, of course)?

Julie is actually toying with that idea, she's even begun some sketches and rough ideas.

Rob said...

Well, yeah, that was a great photo, if I may say so. (It was also a total accident, so I'm not going to play the "I'm a brilliant photographer" card here.) But it's also going to be used over and over and over, and I wanted something different, and something metaphorical, for the promotional stuff. Debbie's piece was exactly what I wanted, except executed better than I thought possible.

One other thing about that photo. I think it's perfect for the book cover and all that, but it also obscures Schuyler's face. I want some alternatives to that, and Debbies illustration captures Schuyler's expression perfectly.

pat in Austin said...

She picked up on the little twist to Schuyler's mouth, which to me says, "ok, well, crap, I've got to deal with this thing but it's not going to ruin my life".
And yes, another vote for the children's book.

britmummybites said...

Would be cool if someone could make a cuddle toy of the monster to add to her collection.

Sarah said...

The hair thing makes sense.

Bernard said...

Rob

I love this. Schuyler looks impish and ready to take on anything.

On a completely different topic. Do you know that your blog was nominated for Best Blog under two categories, including Hottest Daddy Blogger?

I've voted for it in both. I hope that others will do the same. Best of luck.

Rob said...

That's a sad commentary on the hotness of daddy bloggers...

Anonymous said...

Thought you would have used the Schuyler & Monster pic that matches your tattoo.

I like this one, but that was the one I'd think you'd want to use since it was the first and you loved it so much you had it put on your body.

Rob said...

I sort if wish I'd had this one back when I was getting a tattoo, actually.

However, there's a small chance that the earlier piece may actually end up in the book itself. So there's that.

I like the idea of there being differing artistic representations of the "monster". I suspect everyone sees something different in their minds, which I think is very cool.

missbanshee said...

Oh holy shit, I ADORE it. The look she captured on her face and the little hip-check? I can see her thought bubble all "Oh y'all? He's with me. No worries, got this one covered."

I love the photo too, but I completely understand that the last thing she should be doing is covering her face.

loriflori said...

I love it, I absolutely LOVE it! I can see her little personality coming through link gangbusters. I also really love the picture of her face because I can hear the little giggle behind it, but understand your thought that the same picture will be seen everywhere. Your tattoo will be another great sketch to add to a growing assortment of cool images that all portray Schuyler.

I loved the whole booksite, too. Very clean and neat, and all the info is perfect. May I make one comment, though, can you please capitalize the "i" in index? Other than that, it is perfection!

Rob said...

I have been fighting with that fucking I for three days. If I capitalize it there, it capitalizes the filename and gives a big fat 404. Perhaps I'm just doing it wrong.

And the whole time I'm working on it, all I can hear in my head is that old, old, old Sesame Street song, 'We All Live in a Capital I"...

loriflori said...

Hahaha... You're a dad, alright. ;)

kris said...

I love it. The monster is a great balance of menacing and "along-for-the-ride." And the look on Schuyler's face, combined with the sword right in front of the monster's big toe is all, "Not another STEP, mister." (Or "missy"? Schuyler tends to make her monsters and dinosaurs girls, right?)

Anonymous said...

The site is awesome! Really beautiful and touching. It totally breaks in firefox though. I think it may be the navigation.

~ Kimberly

Rob said...

Weird, really? I just successfully tested it in Firefox for Mac, anyone else having a problem?

kris said...

Hmmm...I never use firefox, but have it on this computer. Our friend Kimberly is 100% correct. I see the front screen, but all the links across the top of the page are gone. Can't drill into the site.

Karen said...

I've been fascinated by this whole "birth of a book" process that you've revealed here. Someday, I hope to pen one of my own!

Anonymous said...

I'm using a PC if that helps. It's weird that there would be a difference between firefox in Mac and PC in terms of how it renders stuff though. Wacky.

~ Kimberly