More Library Show! I couldn’t be happier with having my illustration Show in the Children’s Library in this fabulous building in the center of a metro area of two million. The show runs all summer long. Having a show in such an openly public venue, especially a library, is perfect for this work. I focused on the kids books and hung them at 50” centers so the kids could see them easily. Photographing the show was tough- I used my phone, which was not adequate, but through the magic of photoshop I salvaged the exposure somewhat. I had to shoot them at knee level... I'd like to thank Librarian Robyn Green and Assistant Librarian Tressie Rollins for all their help in making this possible, and for hanging all the pictures- no mean feat. It's a real honor to be here. This is the hub of urban life in Salt Lake, the center of the city. And, as we open, the Pride Festival is just outside in Washington Park. Utah. Wow.
One of the most fun parts of my job as an Author/Illustrator is reading to kids in schools and libraries. The Greater Salt Lake Library system sent out a call for artists to hang shows in their many libraries across the Wasatch Front- I sent them a link to my website and here we are- the children's section of the main library in Salt Lake City. It's a remarkable piece of architecture, and a community center for a growing metropolitan area of over two million people. The show will be up all summer, June 4th to mid August. So this is a big thing. I've concentrated on my thirty plus kid's books, but, having been an outspoken editorial illustrator for a lot of years, there's a lot of that too. Robyn Green, the head librarian, said: "Good. It'll make 'em think."
Below are some pictures of the framing process in my studio. My framing is done by Mary Schawb of Avenues Frames- a to the trade framer in our old 19th century neighborhood in Salt Lake. For the show we found some very affordable ready mades from Dick Blick and Mary cut mats- a lot of these are digital and were printed on my Epson 1430 on heavy matt paper.
We framed north of sixty illustrations.
Our Book, Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing is up for the Texas Bluebonnet Award from the Texas Library Association. This is a big deal- Penguin Random House flew us in and we signed hundreds of books for schools and libraries all over Texas, from Houston to North Zulch (yes, real). Much graciousness and southern hospitality in Dallas. The final award winner is chosen by the kids from among a short list of children's lit that they read and review over the coming year. Very honored and excited to be on that list! Much thanks to Jessica Garrison , Rachel Wease & Vanessa Carson from Penquin for all their help.
We gave a talk to two hundred selected Texas librarians and donated a few hundred books to school and public libraries.
Jessica, Penguin, Leo Espinosa and Junot Diaz's Island Born... thousands of bookies were about to flood in.
I"ve been working with Trent on Opera News for a few years now. Most of the projects entail a full page or spread with a spot or three. Some of these articles are pretty intellectual, after all, it's opera. The latest published piece is about the morbid introspection of Contemporary American Opera. In the past, Opera would take on the classic themes of morality, good and evil, love gained and lost, greed and betrayal, redemption. Generally outward looking. Contemporary American Opera is much more morally ambiguous, introspective, blurring the line between good and evil. Here are the sketches and the final layout:
This one is adventures in Trumpland; how small opera companies will be decimated by his regime.
The following are spreads for a piece on The Flying Dutchman:
This image was for a piece on being gay in the theater during the Eisenhower Administration:
Three cards, two for me, and one for the Global Family Research project. Guess which is which...I had fun with all! Merry Holidays!
I draw for the Your Money column by Ron Lieber in the paper most Saturdays. We've been exploring what the hell happened at Equifax and how to deal with it. The following drawings are from various recent columns addressing the issue. I've included sketches too, as they're often funnier that the ones we ran. Remember, kids, freeze those credit reports.
Space Boy and the Snow Monster is the third in a series of graphic novels for kids written by Dian Curtis Regan. We're published by Boyds Mill Press, Mary Colgan editor & Tim Gillner art director. These were big fun to do- I grew up on comics of every description and was very interested in doing a graphic novel. To get to do three was a real treat. There was an evolution in technique, going from pencils to Wacom tablet, then finally wholly on Cintiq. The second book, Space Boy and the Space Pirates won the Crystal Kite Award 2017 from SCBWI and is a finalist for the 2017 Colorado Book Award. I won that in 2013, Children's Literature, with Jean Reidy for "Time Out for Monsters." This just came out, October 2017...
I had a lot of fun with this one. David is a V.P.
King Louie was a very BIG king in all ways but one: He was five-feet-four-inches short. So Louie and his royal cobbler cooked up the perfect high-heeled solution to help Louie appear taller. But after an embarrassing tumble (on the dance floor, no less!) Louie learned that his subjects were loyal no matter how big—or how
My new book! Our brother and sister team from Winter is for Snow are facing the dreaded fall season and...
School Library Journal
“Fall is for school!” a jubilant girl shouts while her older brother mourns the loss of summer vacation. The boy whines that school is uncool and too hard, it’s full of teachers and homework. But his sister extols the virtues of nice teachers, fascinating projects, recess, and Halloween parties. Eventually, the boy changes his tune as his sister exclaims, with grown-up wisdom, “We’ll learn, and we’ll be clever
This was an amazing opportunity. It just came in, another commission. The publisher chose me out of all the illustrators on the planet without knowing any of my shared history with Keith and his era. It was pure joy to work with Keith's sister, Kay Haring, and her loving manuscript. We worked closely with the Haring Foundation to showcase Keith's art, under the excellent guidance of Lucia Monfreid, editor, and with the deft art direction of Jasmin Rubero.
The task was to seamlessly combine my illustrations with Keith's drawings and paintings to tell his life story. It was tricky to showcase the art without cropping or retoucing anything. And we did the best we could respecting Keith's work. I got the advance copy last week and it came out magnificently. Many, Many thanks to Dial Books for making this possible, and to my lovely agent, Linda Pratt.
From Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Random House):
This one-of-a-kind book explores the life and art of Keith Haring from his childhood through his meteoric rise to fame. It sheds light on this important artist’s great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world. Reproductions of Keith’s signature artwork appear in scenes boldly rendered by Robert Neubecker. This is a story to inspire, and a book for Keith Haring fans of all ages to treasure.
“Neubecker’s colorful illustrations capture the energy with which Keith [Haring] lived his life, and cleverly integrate some of the artist’s original works… Always upbeat, this story is a celebration of art and life.” — Booklist
“Neubecker neatly incorporates Haring’s real pieces into these zesty, bustling, digital-and-pencil illustrations…. Haring’s work pops; Neubecker’s compositions and enthusiastic crowd scenes do it wonderful credit.” — Kirkus
“An enlightening look at the merits of street art and how it allows those who may not ordinarily venture into a museum or gallery to experience and enjoy art….Children will relate to young Haring’s drive to pursue his calling despite naysayers.” —School Library Journal
“Cheerily energetic….Schools with “Picture Person” programs, as well as primary grades art teachers, will want to share this appealing title.” —BCCB
About Kay Haring:
Kay Haring is the younger sister of Keith Haring. She is a wife, mother, writer, hiker, lover of art and the wonders of nature. Kay has spent many years both working and volunteering for nonprofits, in management and fundraising capacities.
Published by Dial Books
Feb 14, 2017 | 40 Pages | 9 x 11 | 5-8 years | ISBN 9780525428190
Last spring (2015) marked 40 years as a professional, having had my first illustration commissioned by Steve Heller for the New York Times letters page in 1975, while I was a student at Parsons. Over the years the publishing industry has changed, it's grown and diminished, the web has shown great promise and disappointment, magazines have risen and fallen- My career has been remarkably consistent, I think because my emphasis has always been
Below is a picture from each decade, followed by a bunch of recent work, which was my original intention to post in the first place...
In the last few months I’ve been all digital. For much of my
As always, everything I
That’s my editorial approach. Of course, doing a picture book, if the story calls for full blown watercolors, throw the computer out the window and get out the paints.
Slate was founded by Bill Gates at Microsoft in the mid nineties. Gates wanted to prove that a first rate
His first step was to hire Michael Kinsley as our editor- in- chief. Mike had been editor of The New Republic and is best known for his run on CNN’s crossfire opposite Pat Buchanan. Mike assembled an outstanding staff from The New Republic, the Washington Post and jeez, half the Harvard alumni that I’d have to do actual research to list. The following tale is how I remember it unfolding in the spring and summer of 1996:
Patricia Bradbury was the art director who started it all so I’ll just quote her:
“In 1995 I was hired by Microsoft to go to work on MSN, the fledgling online news service. I'd gotten Newsweek Online up and running, so I was hired to work as a contractor on MSN. After close to 9 years at Newsweek, and 20 years in NYC, I was ready for a change, to head back to Seattle where my family still lived, and lots of friends still lived, and to work on something entirely different.
I was working in my office, and one day this guy moved in across the hall from me who looked very familiar, but I wasn't quite sure who he was. After some phone calls to Mickey Kaus, I found out it was indeed the famous Michael Kinsley, and that he was starting an online magazine for Microsoft. I immediately went in to ask Michael if I could work on it with him. I proposed that I help get the thing going, along with some other Microsoft art directors and designers. They had me gather a group of illustrators to choose from, and knowing how great and how fast your work was, I pitched you, Mark Stamaty, and Philip Burke as prime illustrators for Slate. I don't remember why Philip didn't get a contract, but I was really happy that you and Mark got to work on Slate. I was a believer, but I really wanted them to not be idiots, and to do it right. They did.”
Meanwhile, I, (Neubecker) was working in watercolor and pen, but I’d been experimenting with bare bones brush and ink drawings as a personal project. Living in lower Manhattan, I hung around with some of the political artists from COLAB like Becky Howland and Kiki Smith. I got interested in exploring the relationship between political cartooning, illustration, and political art. I started by stripping drawing down to
Patricia bought a few of these drawings and, when they were developing a look for Slate, showed them to Mike and the Slate editors. The idea was to use simple black and white drawings that could download quickly on the old, slow, dial up modems. I had newspaper experience, and had worked extensively with Patricia when she was design director at Newsweek, so she knew that I could produce on short deadlines. So far so good. But, then the Microsoft people suggested, why couldn’t we just hire a high school kid who could draw, pay him peanuts, and come up with our own cartoons? (
Patricia went to bat for me then and all summer long. First, I said, go ahead and get the kid. I’ll work for two weeks, and if you like the kid better, hire him and you don’t have to pay me. The kid disappeared. She then hired Mark Alan Stammaty and myself as Slate’s first illustrators, in the spring of 96.
I’ll quote Patricia again: “The great thing was that finally I got Microsoft and MK to agree that the kid just wasn't up to it, and that they did need someone like you and Mark to help give Slate the look it needed to have to be taken seriously.” And I’ll add; wow, they
The next hurdle was the contract. It was about what you’d expect from Microsoft, without the stock options. I based my fees on The Wall Street Journal because there were no
I worked with Ian Adelman on the day to day illustrations for a few years. I did the drawings big, xeroxed them, and faxed them. We liked the graininess. Ian went out on his own and was replaced by Kathleen Kincaid as AD and Lori Johnson as assistant. Over this period, the technology improved, and I began scanning and e-mailing artwork. I put in for a raise and Kathleen said, “Sure, but can you work in color?” well, of course. The website continued to improve with technology, becoming more interactive with live links all over the cover. This really junked it up, to my horror, but I’ve gotten used to it now. In the old days it had a very elegant, spare cover…, that I’ll try to find a screen grab of if I can only find a zip drive…
Microsoft sold Slate to the Washington Post in 2005 and the offices moved to New York. I miss the thoughtful retreats that Microsoft used to throw for the staff at Cascade Mountain resorts… It was great meeting everyone that I have worked with- something illustrators rarely do today. I was pretty tongue tied around Mike
It is such a pleasure to work with these people. Mike stepped down in 2002 when Jacob Weisberg took over as editor. Jake is best known (among us low brows) as the originator of the “Bushism” series
Slate has continued to evolve, adding Nina Frankel and Charlie Powell to the regular illustrators, and Rob Donnelly
One of the big questions we all have as illustrators are where will we be in ten years? I see more and more illustration being used on the web. There was an explosion of illustration being used online in ’99 and ’00 before the tech bubble burst. This is gradually coming back and with the advent of the
I've won a lot of awards for the Sideways poster, AI, Society of Illustrators, and the Key Award- poster design's Oscar- for best comedy poster. There's a story behind the making of this. The funniest part is that they used one of my sketches for the final art. I had no idea until I saw it. When the job came in from Stephanie Allen at Fox Searchlight, I was delighted, of course, and determined to land this one for illustrators everywhere. It's been a long time since we've seen illustrated movie posters like this - I am referring to the simple graphic posters of the late 50's and sixties by people like Tommy Ungerer and Saul Bass. So I did dozens of sketches. The director, Alexander Payne, had seen a cover that I'd done for the L.A. Times Magazine about alienation in Southern California and wanted to capture the same feeling of anger and malaise. It did help that I had Paul Giomatti as the star
Christian Struzen, my designer, turned the bottle on