That time Adam Carolla “wrote” a children’s book and I illustrated it.

And what it points out for hopeful illustrators

During an episode of the Adam Carolla Podcast, Adam was complaining about how dumb kids books are and how easy they would be to write. He demonstrated by improvising a story. I thought it would be funny to illustrate/animate this “throw-away” story with absolutely professional artwork. 

I’m really happy with how it turned out. They even played it on the show! And the project drives home an important message to hopeful illustrators. 

Lets face it. EVERYBODY thinks they could write a terrific kids book if they were ever so inclined and given a few hours.  if given a day they could write a terrific kids book. Check out Craigslist for any city and you’ll see postings from people who wrote a children’s book (or have a “cool idea for a comic book”) and want YOU to illustrate it for free. “And then we’ll share the profits when it’s printed!!” 

THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS!

Don’t ever do that. Even when working with a professional writer, its the illustrator who will have to put in the weeks, months to make a book come to life. And more importantly, publishers don’t want to work with writers who have already paired with an illustrator. Submit your portfolio to publishers and hope your style matches a story they are working on. If you are an illustrator who wants to self-publish a book for “exposure” (for free) or in hopes of selling it yourself, it’s always better to just write something yourself. It won’t be any worse a story than the tales from amateurs who post on Craigslist. Or even better, use a classic story that is in the public domain. You won’t make any money either way but at least you’ll have a book you can call your own. 

More thoughts and news from the world of comedy and art at my new Tumblr, Huckster Life.

Help Me Help Jamie

My good friend Jamie Baker is in a pickle. Help me help him out.

Jamie Baker is one of my best friends. He's the most upbeat, approachable dude you'll ever meet. He's also an amazing cartoonist and animator. If you watched saturday morning cartoons in the 80s you probably saw his work. More recently, he's been storyboarding your favorite movies at Pixar. He was even the voice of a crab in Finding Nemo!

I had already been buddies with Jamie for about 5 years through Comic-con etc. and when I moved to San Francisco a couple years ago, guess who I found living a block up my street? Yep, John Waters. No, it was Jamie! Awesome! Finally I have a neighbor-friend! With both of us working from home, we're itching for a break and some sunlight (or the San Francisco equivalent) so we'd meet up to drink coffee, compare notes on our projects and make dumb jokes.

OK here's the pickle. The day after Christmas 2012, Jamie had a major stroke. Jamie's life partner, Julia has the details on his condition and financial situation -

Jamie Baker had a large hemorrhagic stroke on the left side of his brain in the thalamus region on December 26th, 2012. The damage of the bleed has caused paralysis and loss of sensation on the right side of his body, including his leg, arm and hand, face and mouth. Jamie's prognosis is very good, although the recovery is expected to be slow over the course of the next few years.

Jamie was in intensive care for six days at UCSF, from December 26 to January 1st before being transferred to an acute rehabilitation center. As events unfolded, I learned that he was not covered on our insurance policy until January 1st. The bill for six uninsured days came to $189,000. Fortunately, we were able to get the bill reduced to $137,000 and are working on reducing it further with the help of an advocacy group and a lawyer.

In addition to the massive hospital bill, Jamie was denied state disability due to a form that was filed incorrectly. We have filed for an appeal and are waiting for a hearing date. He has filed for Social Security benefits as well. We have learned that getting approval for Social Security takes about a year, leaving Jamie with virtually no income and only savings to live on, money that he needs for recovery efforts. Jamie has this massive bill and will not be able to work during his recovery, making it necessary to ask for help.  

You can also donate directly and read more about Jamie's story here: YouCaring.com

Alamo Fair & Rodeo, acrylic on wood panel

Alamo Fair & Rodeo, acrylic on wood panel

I want to help! So I am putting up for auction a very special piece, Alamo Fair & Rodeo. This is something I originally painted as a tribute to my all time favorite film, Pee Wee's Big Adventure. It was part of of Gallery 1988's Crazy 4 Cult show, 2008. It's been hanging in my home since. Jamie and I love talking movies. I love Pee Wee! He loves Pee Wee! Whether you are close to Jamie or you're a fan of Pee Wee's Big Adventure, I encourage you to bid on this piece. 100% of the sale will go toward Jamie's recovery fundraiser.

See the Ebay auction here- Alamo Fair & Rodeo

Family Crest show poster

A few weeks ago I got a chance to see Family Crest perform and was blown away by these guys. They are a classically trained, orchestral indie rock band inspired by jazz, folk and classical music. Regardless of all the Wikipedia stuff, they are just a kick to see perform. Aside from sounding impeccable live, they are all super-nice and enthusiastic. That's the kind of people I want to make cool posters for.

This poster is for an upcoming show at Bottom of the Hill (no duh). I'm going to rework it for another Family Crest performance coming up at The Starry Plough in Berkeley. 

That's all for now! Go check these cats out.