The latest auction item is up! Last week for our drawing prompt over at Bobbledy Books, we asked kids what their favorite food is. We got some great responses in, so check them out OVER HERE. Clearly we all need to spend some more time enjoying our food.
I drew some baby birds, waiting eagerly for their next meal. Too bad it’s probably not going to be mangoes or ice cream:
Go on and put your bid in for these tragic little birdies over here.
And: if you’re interested in getting auction notices by email, SIGN UP FOR AUCTION ALERTS HERE.
A new auction is up! This week’s auction was the writing prompt for folks over on the Bobbledy Books blog. To get a full run-down of the responses, have a look HERE. This is the illustration they were writing about:
We had a couple of entries by non-kids. Both authors suggested that perhaps the subject matter isn’t appropriate for everyone, though I beg to differ. But JUST IN CASE, I’m posting them here, on the Idiots’Blog, where no one is ever offended by anything. And so, here you are:
“Bad Bunny” by Don
He has a devilish look in his eyes, our Bad Bunny. Why does he play the recorder? His answer might surprise you.
“Bad Bunny, why do you play the recorder?”
“To lull the snakes to sleep,” he replies. “For the snakes want to eat me, and I want to stay alive.”
Ah! A valiant reason. However, Bad Bunny is lying. There are no snakes.
Bad Bunny, you see, couldn’t help himself. He had the carrots with the maple-butter glaze, which were so delicious. And he dived into that salad with the rich balsamic vinaigrette dressing, which took him to new heights. He knows, our Bad Bunny, that garden-fresh is the right way to go, but he just couldn’t help himself.
And now, that maple-butter glaze and that balsamic vinaigrette have made their way through Bad Bunny’s little bunny digestive system. So he plays the recorder not to lull any snake, but to cover up the other melody he is producing out of his rear. See the way the tail is off to one side? A warm wind has pushed it there. The one solitary note is not the refrain of a recorder song, but a hiney note. And the legs, they are crossed as legs can only be crossed when there is pressing business in the near future.
Bad Bunny. Stop eating our food and disguising your gas.
I doubt that there is a child out there who would be offended by a story about farts. In fact, those are the only stories that get any traction around here with the 5-and-under set. I particularly like the cover up of lulling snakes to sleep. It’s bad enough Bad Bunny is trying to claim innocence, but even worse that he’s pretending to be a hero at the same time. Bad Bunny indeed.
Strangely enough, our second entry followed the same basic storyline.
“People vs. Rabbit” by Stu
Official Transcript, Kent County Circuit Court, People vs. Rabbit, p. 47.
“And do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, & nothing but the truth?”
“Please state your name, title, qualifications, & strangest hobby.”
“I am Dr. Lapin, Chief Criminal Animal Forensic Corporeal Behavioral Analyst, Chestertown Police Dept. I hold a Master’s Degree from la Sorbonne on Semi-representational, Two-dimensional, Mammalian Art & a Ph.D. from Williams College in Criminal Psychology. I whittle dill gherkins into figurines, take time-lapse photos of them as they wilt, & edit them into full-length, feature films about aging & death.”
“Thank you, Dr. Lapin. Now, have you seen this image before?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Let the record show that Dr. Lapin is indicating his familiarity with the image previously entered into evidence as Exhibit A. Dr. Lapin, have you had time to study this image closely?”
“And were you able to draw any conclusions from your analysis?”
“Yes. In my opinion the music depicted in this scene is not emanating from the mouth of the subject’s clarinet but from a point several centimeters south of his fluffy, white tail.”
“But, Dr. Lapin, the Defense would have us believe that the very opposite of what you say is true. Upon what evidence do you base your conclusion?”
“I base it upon the entirety of the visual evidence. There are specifically six key clues, none of which may be overwhelmingly damning on its own, yet — taken as an aggregate – all point unerringly towards the sole conclusion I’ve previously stated; that the bunny in the picture is not a clarinetist, nor even a flautist, but a producer of flatus.”
“Would you be so kind as to enumerate & elucidate those for the members of the jury?”
“Certainly. I will start at the bottom & work my way upwards. #1. The subject’s feet. Note that one foot is crossed over the other, a universally recognized mannerism indicating embarrassment. #2. The ambiguous positioning of the sound bubble. While one’s first assumption, given the clarinet being fingered by the subject, would seem to be that the audience is being treated to a musical performance, a closer inspection shows the point of origin of said bubble pointing more towards the gluteal area of the subject rather than towards the bulb of the instrument, as initially expected. #3. The color of the speech bubble. While some shades of green could perhaps be construed as denoting, for example, the verdure & freshness of Spring, the bilious hue here clearly represents something noxious. #4. The musical note. See how it has six distinct bends in it? While we can’t rule out that the illustrator’s hand was jittery from having recently imbibed an espresso drink called “Italian Rocket Fuel” at the gluten & caffeine emporium contiguous to her domicile, it seems far more likely that the squiggly note she rendered is instead indicative of a noise that is far from melodic. #5. The dual focal points of the subject’s eyes. Note how the subject’s right eye strains to stay on his instrument while the left drifts inexorably towards the offending bubble. He’s clearly appalled by his faux pas, yet can’t resist checking on the damages. Finally, #6. The ears: one up, one down. The mixed signals being sent here, much like those conveyed by the eyes, are clearly the result of the subject trying desperately to maintain a façade of probity whilst all too aware of the olfactory devastation spreading around him. And the sheepish, downward-trending ear, where is it pointing? Straight at the ‘musical note.’”
“No further questions, Your Honor. Your witness…”
Frankly, the evidence is all there. I’m not even sure anymore whether I meant for the offending note to be coming from the instrument or from the rabbit. I suppose it’s up to you, the Idiots’ jury, to decide.
Guilty or not, Bunny Toot Toot is now on the auction block until Monday, April 29 at 12:30 EST. Go put your bid in here.
Also: if you’re interested in getting auction notices by email, SIGN UP FOR AUCTION ALERTS HERE.
We spend a lot of time coming up with ideas. Some are good and useful, and a lot are really bad and should be immediately sent to the Death Star dump. It turns out we do our best brainstorming in the car, when we’re supposed to be enjoying time away from the studio. Apparently, “enjoying time” means “thinking about work.” So be it. We’re not going to fight it. So, on last weekend’s trip to the zoo, we brought along the manuscript for our next Bobbledy Book. Matthew drove while I sat in the passenger seat with my red pen and the next book, titled (at the moment), The Imaginary Dragon. Spoiler alert: it’s about a dragon. Matthew usually writes ideas for illustrations into the manuscript, some of which I agree with, but a lot of which I don’t. This makes for some good red pen action.
But even the ones I agree with need some tweaking, so we talk about each little section and I take notes, so I can remember what we talked about when it comes time to draw. We also talk about refining the writing, so there is definitely some moving around of text and some very red-pen-appropriate demands for rewrites.
I always do the note-taking at this stage, because I need to be able to make sure that the ideas that we have during the brainstorm are the same ones that pop into my head after reading the notes. I have such a terrible memory that even sometimes just writing, “Draw the dragon standing on the mountain here,” isn’t enough. So I end up with weird little seemingly cryptic notes and pictures that look like this:
but that generally do the trick when it comes to remembering. You wouldn’t know it, but those little pointy lines coming in from the left are spears pointed in the direction of the dragon, who is that sideways lightbulb-shaped thing on the right, and the little bunny ear with the scribbles around it in the top right hand corner is supposed to be a bunch of burning trees. At least it’s clear that the king with his crown on is poking his head in from the left. Clear as a bell.
Matthew saves everything that we do, even if it’s a bunch of indecipherable doodles on the edges of a manuscript. So he was not pleased when over the course of our trip to DC some sort of sticky drink was spilled on the manuscript and stuck all of the pages together. The pages then needed to be surgically separated, and given the fact that neither of us is really a surgeon, the outcome was not ideal.
There were very few doodles hurt in the process, though, so we’ll chalk it up as a success. The manuscript will go at the top of a giant pile of such Idiots’ detritus, and we’ll just hope it doesn’t stick to whatever things get piled on top of it.
And now that that important part of the process is done, it’s time for me to get to work.
Hello readers. Here’s some information that you may or may not find interesting.
For a long time, the Idiots’Books blog has been our catch-all destination for blogging about everything that we do: making books, raising kids, jumping over monumental structures, etc. But now that we have the Bobbledy Blog, we’re going to start moving some of the more family/kid-related stuff over there. We tell you this because we know that some of you are more interested in that sort of thing than you are in the making books/jumping-related content, and we don’t want you to miss out.
From time to time as we make this slow transition, we’ll remind you of what you’re missing. For example, the Bobbledy blog currently features a fairly epic post about this past weekend, which includes such highlights as Robbi’s breaking a board with her foot,
Kato bringing major attitude to a gardening session,
and August confronting the wonders of the animal kingdom.
But the full story is here.
As for the Idiots’Blog, it will continue to feature pictures and stories of the kids, if fewer than before, but increasingly, the main thrust will be our lives as makers and publishers of books, glimpses into process, referrals to others whose work we admire, etc. And me jumping over stuff, of course. Unless it’s me jumping over a kid, in which case I might put it on the Bobbledy Blog. This fuzzy line is a work in process.
We hope that both blogs can be interesting and funny and full of the same intangible something that has persuaded you to join us so far.
Whatever that is.
As you’ve probably noticed if you check in here regularly, we’re back to posting a weekly auction item. The idea is that every other week one will be more kid-oriented (Bobbledy) in nature and one will be more tuned to the sensibilities of the Idiots’ crowd. But I’ll post the kid illos here too, in case any of you 1) are kids, 2) have kids, 3) have a kid-like sensibility. We suspect that a good chunk of you must fall into category three or else you would have given up on this blog long ago.
Plus, Robbi’s twisted creative leprechaun is such that even her stuff for kids is seldom purely sweet or affirming. As in the case of this week’s auction item.
The illustration was created as a prompt for our biweekly Bobbledy writing prompt series, in which we ask kids to name an illustration and then write the story that comes to mind when they look at it.
Here is the post with all the kids’ stories (if you don’t know, kids have amazing, odd brains), but here is our favorite of the batch, by a kid named Simon.
Somebody Bent Him
He’s being sad all day long. The pizza’s name should be Peter Sam. It does have a family: the family always is happy. The mommy, the daddy, two brothers, and four sisters. He’s sad because he’s bent. Somebody just bent him.
If you are inspired by Robbi’s bent, demoralized pizza, it can currently be had over on Ebay for only 2 cents. Perhaps the bidding will heat up at some point, but perhaps not. Perhaps this pizza is just too sad.
We have been neglecting you for the past few days, it’s true. We’ve been lost in the maelstrom of planning and packing that precedes every book show or convention we attend. Tomorrow morning we head north for our biggest show of the year, the three-day Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference, which is being held in Boston this year.
At most shows, we have a six-foot table. At AWP, we have a 10′ x 10′ booth. This means more space to fill, more books to make, and more signage to design and produce. This year, we have the added challenge of trying to fold Bobbledy into the Idiots’ space, somehow trying to create a booth that is able to accommodate both children’s books and stories that touch on such heady subjects as farting chipmunks and nose picking nuns.
To introduce Bobbledy to the literary set, we decided to go big, literally. Robbi designed a vertical banner, and we had it professionally produced.
But wait, there’s more. People approach our booth from two directions, and so we created another banner for the other side of the stand.
Robbi has promised that she’s going to stand by the banner just like that for all three days of the conference. In a cherry red bikini. If people try to talk to her, she’s going to pretend she knows only Swedish.
Although I wrote most of the copy on the banners, I cannot take credit for the “hay, hay, hay.”
That was all Robbi.
We also got a Bobbledly red table covering…
To complement the Bobbledy purple table runner Robbi designed and we had printed.
We think we’ll set up the Bobbledy table a little something like this.
Yes, there’s a sneak peek at the cover of the next Bobbledy book, Archipelago, which we had printed in time for AWP, but which won’t be going out to club members until the first of April.
Getting ready for these shows is a huge pain in the apple. Our studio becomes an open sore of boxes, bins, stacks of paper, assorted plexiglass stands, and the sundry bits and pieces that must be organized and packed before we hit the road.
Every year, Robbi has the fun yet tiring task of designing and producing new signage. She prints it on oversized watercolor paper and mounts it on foamcore.
The texture is pleasing and the colors are rich. Here’s our Bobbledy display. Robbi is frowning because she just spent 15 minutes putting it together and the panels are reversed.
But look, she is now happy because the panels are in their proper place.
And here is our display for the baby trilogy and onesies. There’s so much to look at in the conference hall. We have to compete to catch the eye.
Here’s the current state of affairs, the growing pile of boxes by the door downstairs. First thing Tuesday morning, we’ll pile them in the car and set out for Beantown.
For now, it’s time to sleep.
I recently went through the spam folder for our comments over on the Bobbledy Books blog. Our spam filter actually does quite a remarkable job keeping the baddies out.
I had to chuckle, though, at some of the robotic attempts to make the comments appear not to be spam:
OMG! They think I’m so cool!! And they think I’ve had “some original thoughts on this topic” – awesome! (Note that “this topic” is “Some Awfurs are Bad”. I’m not sure that anyone in the history of man before us has had any thoughts on this topic, so I suppose I have to concur with the assessment). I also appreciate the compliment (backhanded though it may be) that this website is “some thing which is needed on the web” (just “some thing” like a hat, or a boot, or a giant rock) – “an individual having a small originality.” Ah yes. But haven’t you heard that SIZE DOESN’T MATTER?!!
“Some Awfurs are Bad” really got people’s steam up, it seems. There was also this comment:
We’ve clearly got our hooks into the scientific community. Or, at least, into those scientists who happen to be looking for data regarding Awfurs (the Bad ones).
Most of the comments were like this. Generally complimentary, but clearly just a little bit off the mark.
Though this one seems friendly and generally supportive, the idea that there was “information” in this writing prompt post about my Bird and Triceratops painting is a bit of a stretch.
My favorite might be this charmer:
So positive! So complimentary! Such a friendly-seeming voice -HaHa! And, though I totally already recognize that I had put a new spin on a topic that’s been written about for years (yes, it seems like Phoebe has been getting an early start on lunch for like forEVER!) it’s really great to hear it from someone else out there in the blogosphere!
Sifting through the 87 spammed comments, there was only ONE that accidentally slipped through our spam filter that clearly wasn’t spam.
Wow. You said it, JJordansOutletforCheap! Well, I have to sign off now, and get back to my whining and searching for attention. It’s a tough tough job, but as they say – somebody’s gotta do it.
This is to say that the latest auction is up.
The Bobbledy kids wrote some funny stories inspired by this painting. Have a read.
Holly was not the only non-kid to enter the Gorillas in the Kitchen contest. Nor was she the only one to wow us with feats of imagination and furious industry. Behold, Tiger Slippers, the entirely unique and utterly wonderful creation of Dora P, whose wonderful, weird story would have charmed us on its own, but whose careful and persistent application of faux fur on nearly every spread has placed her forever on our list of favorite people.
I wish that we could have carefully scanned each page that you could have appreciated every sumptuous detail, but alas, faux fur does not scan well, and so these photos will have to suffice. Be sure to click on the images if you want to see larger versions. And be sure to give Dora a high-five if you happen to run into her on the streets of Chestertown.
And now, it is my honor to present…
Here’s a closer look at Dora’s self-portrait.
Dora, we are pleased to know you and honored to have you in our midst. Thanks so much for this wonderful production. Please never stop making books.
Today, over on the Bobbledy Blog, we announced the winner of the Gorillas in the Kitchen “Make Your Own Book” contest. That author/artist extraordinaire is named Spencer Nichols. At the tender age of six, Spencer managed to write an interesting, funny story with a lively plot and a surprise ending AND managed to draw interesting, consistent, fun illustrations throughout. The kid is really amazing, and we’re so glad that he sent us his book.
Obviously, the contest was for kids, and so it makes sense that a kid was the winner. But, that doesn’t mean adults were barred from entering. And boy, are we glad that they didn’t hold themselves back.
It is now my distinct pleasure to announce the winner of the Gorillas in the Kitchen non-kid bracket, won in a landslide by the talented, smart, and hilarious Holly Kohler of The League of Lost Causes fame.
Holly’s version of Guerillas is playful, irreverent, and brilliantly illustrated. If you do nothing else, scroll down and check out her drawings. But if you have time, it’s well worth your while to read her delightful story.
Amazing. I do love it when people use their imaginations. It’s a shame that we’re so often discouraged from doing so once we hit middle school.
The Gorillas in the Kitchen contest was everything we had hoped it would be, and much more. Thanks to Holly for refusing to let the kid in her stand by while the actual kids had all the fun.