Two Images I Love, and Why I Love Them

For starters, apologies to the artists, Iacopo Bruno (SCARY TALES #3: Good Night, Zombie) and Greg Ruth (A Pirate’s Guide to Recess).

The art represented below might make them sick to the heart; I can only guess. The shots below were taken from the books via my iPhone. The quality of the original artwork is in no way reflected here. But as far as I’m concerned, these crude snaps serve the conversation. Also: I’m going with what I’ve got.

The art immediately below comes from a spread late in the book, Good Night, Zombie. It’s an exciting moment of peril and temporary escape, of dead hands reaching, clawing. I love it. And I’m grateful for the design here, which breaks away from the usual layout of the book, with the art leaking across the gutter, where for a moment the chapter book takes on more of a picture book aesthetic.

“Up, up, up!” Carter cried.

The picture below is a detail of a larger piece of art from my most recent picture book, A Pirate’s Guide to Recess.

To me, as an ex-kid who became a published author, the moment depicted here feels like the story of my imaginal life. I was that boy. Dreaming things, imaginary games, battling monsters or tough pitchers, walking the plank or ducking for cover. Bombs exploding, tacklers approaching. Inside my private skull, it was one “Yikes!” moment after another.

And when I ran, the life of my imagination trailed after me. Stomping in heavy boots.

That’s what I tried to get at with this book — what I hoped to celebrate — and it is a personal thing. The stuff of dreams. It’s amazing that an artist I’ve never met helped bring it vividly to life.

Thank you, Greg Ruth.

And for the zombies, and all the great art in the Scary Tales books, thank you, Iacopo Bruno. I can’t wait to see what you do with Scary Tales #4: Nightmareland.

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