Author Appearance Schedule for "Sergio Makes a Splash!"
I'll be doing a series of talks, book signings, and readings of my new children's book, Sergio Makes a Splash! The Children's Museum of Manhattan date will also include a drawing demonstration. The schedule is below, hope to see you there—bring the kids! Thanks for the nice responses to the book. I've even heard from some adults that are still afraid to swim. Maybe I've struck a chord. A kids' book with a built-in adult audience!
Here are the current author appearance dates, more events may be added over the Summer:
Tuesday, April 19 - Princeton, NJ 4:30 PM Barnes & Noble 3535 US Route 1, Princeton, NJ 08540 (609) 897-9250 ---------------------------------------------- Saturday, May 3 – Morris Plains, NJ 11:00 AM Barnes & Noble – Storytime Event 1940 Route 10 West, Morris Plains, NJ 07950 (973) 644-9482 ------------------------------------------------ Saturday, May 17 – New York City 11:00 AM Children’s Museum of Manhattan 212 West 83rd Street, NY, NY 10024 (212) 721-1223 (Reading/drawing demonstration will take place in the PlayWorks Exhibit for Early Childhood) ------------------------------------------------ Thursday, July 10 – New York City 12:00 PM Barnes & Noble – Summer in the Square 33 East 17th Street, NY, NY 10003 (212) 253-0819
This is the first time I’ve both written and illustrated a kids’ book. I started working on the story about five years ago when I noticed how funny and hesitant kids were about swimming and jumping into pools. The entire book is printed in three color Pantone inks which makes the colors really pop. I’m very happy with the way the printing turned out. There is more information below, along with a few reviews which give a good idea of what the book's story is about.
Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review): "Sergio the penguin isn't afraid of all water—just “the very deep kind.” But with the help of floaties, a snorkel, a life preserver, he discovers that taking the plunge isn't so bad after all. A penguin with a fear of swimming is both a comic and a useful premise—plenty of similarly haunted readers will want to laugh at Rodriguez's (Float Like a Butterfly) sympathetic presentation, and his illustrations guarantee that they'll be able to share the fun, too. Rendered in a minimalist, three-color palette (aqua, midnight blue and orange), these mostly full-spread images each pack a poster-like punch (Rodriguez is an acclaimed poster designer as well as a former Time art director). He finds occasions for jokes (on the walls of Sergio's bedroom hang framed portraits of other black-and-white creatures: cow, Dalmatian, panda, zebra, soccer player), creates dynamic vignettes and makes even Sergio's back look expressive. One of those rare books that doesn't sacrifice child appeal in its embrace of up-to-the-minute visual techniques. Ages 3–6.
Kirkus Reviews: "Sergio the Argentinian penguin loves drinking, splashing and playing with water, but he can't swim-which makes for some anxious moments when his class takes a field trip to the ocean. Screwing his courage to the sticking place after agonies of indecision ("It's scary!" "It's just water!" "It's dark!" "It's clear!"), he tumbles clumsily down the cliff and with a huge splash disappears completely. Using pale, thinly applied woodblock inks and digital media, Rodriguez creates very simple-looking scenes featuring a tubby, long-beaked penguin (outfitted with snorkel, goggles and floaties on both wings) diving into a glassy turquoise sea. Eventually Sergio rises with another mighty splash and proceeds to have a ball. Maybe next time he'll leave off the floaties? "Sergio will have to think about that . . . ." Sergio comes with his own website, but a celebrity like Olivia he's not-more of an everypenguin, whose angst in the face of new experiences will strike a chord in many young children."
School Library Journal: "A young penguin loves water-to bathe, drink, and splash in-but he does not want to learn to swim in the ocean. When his class takes a trip for their first lessons, Sergio has his floaties, mask, and snorkel but still fears to take the plunge. With the supportive encouragement of his friends, the little creature finally makes the leap and, in the satisfying conclusion, finds that he quite enjoys himself. Beginning with the stylized goldfish on the endpapers, the simple woodblock and digital art is stunningly rendered in bright orange, stark white, and cool aquamarine. Rodriquez uses bold graphics, lines, and angles to create a sense of play and space that draws in readers. The text is great fun for storytimes or for reading alone. Kids will take to this visually pleasing tale like ducks...er, penguins, to water." -Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha Public Library, WI
Shelf Awareness Review: "What does one do with a bird born to swim who won't? Why, encourage him to overcome his anxiety, of course! As Sergio's penguin peers coax him to come on in, the water's fine, youngsters will feel the lure, too. A palette of just four colors--black and white, naturally; a blue that children will instantly recognize as the chlorine-tinted color of their backyard and neighborhood pools, and life-preserver orange--lends the tale a retro feel despite its timeless topic, and suggests that this has been a struggle for generations of timid swimmers. In the first picture book he has both written and illustrated, Rodriguez (Oye, Celia!; Float Like a Butterfly) gets the pacing just right, as he shows the penguin's pals enumerating the things he loves ("fishies, . . . a cold bath"), all of which may be found in the depths of the Antarctic Ocean. In the tense moment after Sergio takes the plunge, the penguin hero is completely submerged, with nary a bubble as evidence of his presence on the full-bleed spread of pristine pool-blue; only a small orange sun in the upper right corner presides over the scene (as, offstage, "Sergio's friends and Mrs. Waddle watch and wait"). In the next spread, Sergio surfaces in a cascade of froth. Children will identify with the hesitant penguin's fear and cheer him on as he conquers it in triumph." --Jennifer M. Brown
Sergio has been getting a lot of great support from the editors and publishers at Little Brown. They selected him for the cover of their Spring catalogue!
The crew at Little Brown even printed little bath stickers to give out at events.
Sergio in Italy! This is my editor Alvina Ling at Little Brown's booth in the Bologna Iinternational Children's Book Fair. Sergio is being published in several languages, the book has been picked up by publishers in Korea, Japan, Holland and France.
Sergio and Edel were featured in The Miami Herald. Read the full article online here.
This is for an Op-Ed in today's New York Times. The article is titled "Our Neighbor, the Pope", a Roman's reflections on living in the same town as the Pope. How the Pope has come to be seen as another person in town, not as grand or special as he is when he travels abroad. I thought I'd draw him walking back to the Vatican from another trip, with his suitcase in tow. The article is online here.
'Celia the Queen' Selected for The TRIBECA Film Festival
Poster, printed at 24" x 36". Image was selected for the upcoming Communication Arts Illustration Annual.
I'm very happy to announce that the film project I started working on last year, Celia the Queen, was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival, from over 2,300 entries. Congratulations to the guys at KIE films. They've been working on this documentary for many years and it's great to see it get the play it deserves. I haven't seen the film yet. My dad and myself were interviewed for it, and I hear that dad's segment gets some good play. I'm flying him up to New York City from Miami for the big premiere party on April 26th! He can't believe this is happening. The premiere is sold out, but you can get tickets for the other dates at the Tribeca Film Festival website here.
SCHEDULE OF SHOWINGS:
Saturday, April 26, 9:30pm, (premiere, sold out) AMC 19th Street, 890 Broadway,
Sunday, April 27th, 2:30pm, Tischman Auditorium at the New School, 66 West 12th Street.
Thursday, May 1, 4:30pm, Village East Cinema 7, 181 2nd Ave (12th Street)
Sunday, May 4, 4:00pm, Village East Cinema 5, 181 2nd Ave (12th Street)
From Tribeca Film Festival website: "This touching documentary pays tribute to the work of a stellar performer who brought the sound of salsa to the whole world. As a teenager in 1940s Havana, Celia Cruz found her audience in the local canteens. But her real start came when, pressed by her family, she entered and won a local radio contest. A few years later she was signed by one of Cuba's most popular orchestras, and her sultry, gravelly voice became Cuba's most adored. Her trademark cry ¡Azúcar! became known across Latin America. And when she fled Castro's Cuba in 1960 and eventually arrived in the United States, she started a second even more successful career fueled by her partnerships with salsa greats Tito Puente, Willie Colon, and Johnny Pacheco. Ironically, while she became known as the voice of Cuba around the world, her once beloved music was banned in her home country. Up until the time Celia died in 2003, she was still performing. She even made a turn in a video for Wyclef Jean's remake of the song she made famous, "Guantanamera." When she passed, she was mourned everywhere from England to Argentina. Directors Jose Cardona and Mario de Varona use archival footage of both Celia and her loving husband, Pedro Knight, to tell the inspiring story of a little girl from Havana who became an international diva. Fans from David Byrne to Andy Garcia weigh in on this fabulous woman's influence on their lives, and an intriguing segment explores the cult-like status that Celia's music enjoys in Japan. Foremost though is the presentation of Celia as the warm, strong, free spirit who adored her fans and earned without question her title: "the Queen." --Genna Terranova
I'm organizing things and found a sketchbook from last Summer. Here are some drawings from a trip my family took to see Staake in Chatham, Mass. Leo and R. Goldberg dropped by and we all drew some things in the sketchbook. I enjoy drawing on the same paper with other people and seeing what happens. Covering up Leo's exquisite line with my sloppy blotches was kind of fun. The whole trip was great. Staake showed us around Chatham, a very beautiful place. Bob, Summer is coming up!
Espinosa, Rodriguez, Rag, Ryan Staake. Markers and charcoal briquettes!
Mother Jones was doing an article on how the Evangelical church has been inflating the numbers of its flock in order to appear more influential than they really are. They claim that they are 7% of the U.S. population when the numbers are much smaller than that. Some churches are having problems getting people to the pews on Sundays. This is the final art, some other sketches are below.
This is the final line drawing, which I scanned. I added color and the bright ray of light digitally. It made sense to me to do something very flat and graphic with the color in this image.
Yesterday, around 2:30pm, I got a call from Brian at the Times Op-Ed page. He said something that sounded a lot like "MugabeZimbabweFrailOldbutStillDangerous—and I need it by 6pm!" O.K., I thought, I guess I'm not watching Oprah this afternoon... I read the full article, grabbed a brush, some ink, and went to work. The writer noticed, while she interviewed Mugabe, how he had aged and seemed like a frail old man. However, there is still a sense of danger about Mugabe because he could turn Zimbabwe into hell by just making a few calls. I had this image of a frail old person sitting on a rocking chair, which happens to be a skull. More of the sketches are below. The article is here.
Quickie thumbnail. Brian gave the go ahead based on this thing!
Another sketch idea
Another sketch, wove in some of the things from other recent drawings.