The EXPEDITIONERS proofs are fresh of the presses and my illustrations for BURIED BENEATH US are in! So what, might you ask, am I up to right now? I’M PACKING FOR MY OWN PERSON SHARK WEEK, YO!!
Tomorrow I am flying out to San Francisco, California to accompany TOPP‘s (Tagging of Pacific Predators) white shark tagging team while they do their work at the Farallon Islands. No, I will not be cage diving, and feeding and petting the wild life is not advised, but I plan to sketch and photograph as much as possible and to interview as many people in the Farallon community as I can. Not to mention, of course, see my first white shark!
While this research trip isn’t mandatory for my book to see print, I’m absolutely certain that this first-hand experience will enrich the content of the project. It’s clear that the final pages are where I have the most rewriting to do, and being out on the water with Farallon scientists will fill out my understanding of these beautiful creatures and their fragile ecosystem.
I’m incredibly grateful to the Farallon community for the welcome enthusiasm and support of my book project! More to come soon! Follow me now on Twitter or Instagram at @KRoyStudio.
This Sunday found me at the Museum of Natural History in NYC drawing Mayan sculptures and pottery. After many days spent indoors working on my BURIED BENEATH US book I thought it would be fun and helpful to go get a look at some source material. At first glance the Central American wing is a little disappointing: it lacks the dioramas, reproduction clothing, educational videos and drawings curated for many of the other civilizations. But at closer look there’s much to see, and the time that I spent there gave me some new ideas for the book.
From the towering reproduction stelae (above) to the tiny figurines, the museum’s collection of Mayan figures wear a dizzying alphabet of marks and lines to describe their clothing, hair, and ornamentation. While this stylized short-hand doesn’t quite compute for modern viewers, it’s a terrific jumping off point for an illustrator. With my walnut ink washes and black line work I focused trying to draw “from the inside” of the figures, looking for gesture and anatomy within the different clay portraits:
My giant Moleskin gave me ample room to play, and I’m already looking forward to my return. In the meantime I may take a trip down to China Town to draw in the markets, the closest stand-in for village life that I can think of in New York City (but I’m open to suggestions!) In other news today I signed the gigantic beast that is my contract for SHARK. I’m a real author!! Huzzah for Macmillan!
I really can’t think of a better way to top off a birthday than with a book deal. A lifetime supply of chocolate? A month of luxury living in Paris? A few days with a time-traveling Delorean? (actually, that would be pretty cool…)
BUT NO! I will take my birthday last week just the way it went: a beautiful day in New York City, a lunch spent dining at the Society of Illustrators, an email in the early evening bearing the news that Macmillan Publishing had made an offer on my first solo picture book (AHHH!!!), followed by a delicious dinner with my favorite person on earth.
My shark book, tentatively titled SHARK: THE GREAT WHITES OF THE FARALLON ISLANDS, follows a day in the life of a young white shark at the Farallons just off the coast of San Francisco. Ancient, gorgeous, and endlessly cool, these apex predators return to hunt elephant seals every fall using some of the most amazing (and lethal!) adaptations on earth. The story goes way beyond teeth and dorsal fins to explore shark hunting methods and the way the ecosystem of the Farallon Islands works, and just how badly this species needs our compassion and protection.
In diving into the book I have absolutely fallen in love with great white sharks, and I am so excited to share what I have learned with readers of all ages. As of right now the pub date is completely up in the air, but may possibly be sometime in late 2013. In the meantime I am a busy kid. More on what I’m currently working on to be posted soon!
Publishing world, I am calling on the Shark Phone: non-fiction picture books, here I come!