Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wells Library Fundraiser

On October 22nd, the Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid is hosting a fundraising event for the Hurricane Irene-devastated Wells Memorial Library. There will be a silent auction of more than 50 items, including this pencil & watercolor sketch I drew for the occasion. Event details are HERE.

If you are in the area, please stop by and help out a great cause. Thanks to author Kate Messner for spreading the word and helping to organize the event.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Around the World Has Launched!

Initial cover sketches.

My new graphic novel AROUND THE WORLD is finally available! The book is based on the true stories of three intrepid adventurers who circumnavigated the globe alone at the end of the 19th century. My own journey to tell the stories of Thomas Stevens, Nellie Bly, and Joshua Slocum felt, at times, as arduous as trekking across the earth. In the coming weeks, I'll be posting some tidbits about how I came to create this book. I hope you'll check back for the journey.

Abandoned "travel journal" concept.
A fine way to procure this volume is through your local bookstore (if you are lucky enough to have one of these rare emporiums in your area). How do you find one? Try Indiebound's nifty store locator or order online from any of the indie stores. You can also order directly from my publisher Candlewick Press, or find it at your online purveyor of choice. And don't forget your local library!

Final cover sketch.

Cover painting of the three. Makes me want to write a fictional team-up.
And just for fun, here's the trailer once again (and yes, that is me on the ukulele) ...



Thursday, October 06, 2011

ATW Review Round-Up

Joshua Slocum faces a wave of enormous proportions.

With only 5 days to go until the release of AROUND THE WORLD, I thought I'd round up some of the nice things being said about my new graphic novel...

Kirkus Reviews (star)

"By focusing on the travelers’ faces, he captures their distinct characters (and shared rock-steady determination) with such force and clarity that readers can’t help but be swept along by Stevens’ aggressive mustache, Bly’s steely glare at male doubters and nay-sayers, the aching heart visible behind Slocum’s tough, grizzled countenance.”

Booklist (star)

"Chronicling the true trip-around-the-world adventures of three nineteenth-century adventurers gives Phelan the opportunity to once again examine the Great American Narrative, as he did so effectively in his beautifully mythological The Storm in the Barn (Booklist Top of the List, 2009)... In addition to tight research and a gift for evoking both an era and the personalities that lived in it, the stories are greatly abetted by the magic of Phelan's art: washes of light and darkness that set the tone and effortless, uncomplicated (yet highly distinctive) faces that are the very essence of determination and adventure."

School Library Journal (star)

"The small, specific pleasures of Phelan’s work–the faces of miners emerging from the darkness as they converse, the way slanting rays of sun illuminate a large interior, the expression on Bly’s face as she eavesdrops on steamship sailors singing–are showcased in panels laid out in horizontal bands, reinforcing the linear, ever-onward nature of each narrative."

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (star)

“Phelan invests each tale with its own distinct mood and style—the humor of Stevens’ bumbling machine, the quick cuts between Bly’s travels and her employers’ journalistic maneuvering, the heart-aching loneliness and eerie hallucinations of Slocum’s peril-ridden voyage. Deftly controlled splashes of translucent watercolor tease along the outlines of Phelan’s spidery ink lines and sure-handed pencil dashes; the buttoned-down neatness of frames and gutters is an effective counterpoint to the daring and uncertainty of the adventures themselves.”

Horn Book

“Phelan successfully weaves graphically told stories with third-person narratives, the travelers’ own words, and, in Nellie Bly’s case, words of reporters. This volume is as stunning as his Scott O’Dell Award–winning The Storm in the Barn (rev. 11/09), with more text and with eye-catching illustrations rendered in pencil, ink, gouache, and watercolor.”

Fuse #8

“Like a good movie director he switches effortlessly between close-ups, scenic panoramas, and other angles and approaches. Phelan has a knack for avoiding the static... By bike, by sail, by train, they circled the globe and lived to tell the tale. And Matt Phelan knows just how to bring such tales to life. Great stuff.”

End of horn blowing. Thank you for indulging me.

500th Post!

Wow! This is my 500th post which means I've had this blog for 500 days... Okay, I'm not that consistent, but still, it's been a few five years of relatively regular posting. Not too shabby.

To celebrate, here's a sketch of a sort of porcupine/hamster critter. Step 1: slosh some watercolor on your paper in a random manner. Step 2: forget about it for a few days. Step 3: take a brush and ink and draw whatever comes to mind.