A Basketball Story – Cover

This week I finished illustrations for a new picture book for Entrepreneur Media Inc. Here’s a mock-up of the cover. The final text will be formatted a little different, probably a different font, but this gives you the idea.

A cover mock-up for a picture book titled A Basketball Story:  Always be Humble, based on a true story by:  Miles Davis-Majors and Illustrated by:  Karen B. Jones.  

The cover is divided into four quadrants.  The upper left shows a team picture of the Jackrabbits team, a youth basketball team consisting of players around 10 years old.  The upper right has the same sort of team picture for the Sea Turtles team.  The lower left is a close-up of three Jackrabbit players' faces in profile, receding from the viewer.  The lower right is the same for the Sea Turtles.  The center has a basketball with the title text and bylines overlaid.

A little behind-the-scenes detail: I originally had a different cover design concept in mind (below) but the client wanted this one (above) because they wanted to show everyone on both teams and didn’t want them to look aggressive.

A rough cover mock-up for a picture book titled A Basketball Story:  Always be Humble, based on a true story by:  Miles Davis-Majors and Illustrated by:  Karen B. Jones.  

Two basketball players, both around 10 years old, hold a basketball between them with one hand each.  The other hand for each is a fist.  The Jackrabbit player on the left is frowning with eyes narrowed and eyebrows down.  The Sea Turtles player on the right has a similar aggressive expression, but with his teeth showing.  The Jackrabbits player is an African American boy with his hair bleached blonde on the top.  The Sea Turtles player is an East Asian boy with thick, shaggy hair.  A crowd seated on bleachers is out of focus behind them.

Shutterstock and Trump Caricatures

So, I finally got some information I needed yesterday about shutterstock’s rules for stock image submissions.

I have several celebrity caricature and political cartoons that I want to sell for stock images, but they can only be sold for editorial use because they’re images of real people rather than fictional characters and I don’t have a model release. Istock won’t allow illustrations to be sold as editorial stock, but shutterstock allows this, which is just what I needed.

I had a few cartoons and caricatures of Donald Trump, one of which was clearly offensive and kept getting rejected when I submitted it. I suspected it was being rejected due to being offensive, but they never said that. They kept saying they didn’t like my description or the keywords. I gave up on it for awhile, but I tried again a few days ago and I finally got a response that it was rejected due to being an offensive subject.

Which is fair.

It’s also what I needed to know.


My new Trump caricature (below) is very neutral. It’s not quite complementary, but it isn’t offensive at all. I figure this one should easily pass shutterstock’s censors and, based on my sales of my other Trump images, it should sell reasonably well also.

Trump Golfing

[Edit: Trump Golfing is now available on shutterstock.]

Christmas in May

It’s just about summer, so it’s time to draw Christmas illustrations! I’ve been working on some line drawings for a Christmas-themed activity book for Educate.ie, an Irish educational publisher. It may seem odd to draw Christmas pictures this time of year, but if you want everything ready in time for the Christmas season, you have to get things done way ahead of time.

Here are a couple of things I just finished.

Connect the dots.

Four presents.

Two Picture Books I’d like to Recommend

An illustration by Jez Alborough for Duck in the Truck. Notice how the muck spills out of the panel?

My youngest daughter brought home a book the other day titled Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough.  Here it is on Amazon.  Look at the preview and you can see some of the images.  What I like about it particularly is the way he laid it out.  The illustrations themselves are great, energetic, expressive scenes worthy of admiration on their own.  However, the layout is what struck me.  See, he laid the illustrations out in panel style a bit like a comic strip.   The text is in the white space underneath each panel, which is very easy to read (I always appreciate that).  But what I liked best is that as it gets further into the book and things get hard and messy and chaotic for the characters, the scenes start to spill outside of the boxes.  They don’t obscure the words at all.  Those are still in white space, but the panel boxes seem unable to contain the action and muck.  Then when things calm down, they scenes are neat and in their boxes again.  I just really like how the illustrator did that.

My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World by Gilles Bacelet. The twist is that it’s not a cat.

And while I’m mentioning other illustrator’s work that I admire, I’d like to mention My Cat, The Silliest Cat in the World by Gilles Bachelet.  Here it is on Amazon.  It’s another one that my daughter brought home from school, but this one came home last year sometime.  Anyway, this story would be really inane without the illustrations.  It’s this guy just talking about the normal, weird things his cat does in a day.  But the twist is that the illustrations aren’t of a cat at all.  They’re of an elephant!  That makes all the difference!  So, it’s like this guy doesn’t know that his cat is really an elephant.  I think the elephant thinks he’s a cat too.  It’s really funny to see the elephant doing all the things ascribed to the cat.