My buddies, Osmel, Cristobal, Yeyo, me, William and Osledys on a visit back to my hometown in 1999
On New Year's Day 1959, the Communist revolution took over Cuba. Tonight will mark 50 years of Communist rule over the island. I miss my friends and family that are living there and hope that the new year will bring much needed change to all of us. "Guantanamera" is synonymous with Cuba and it's people. I've already taught our kid the lyrics and it breaks my heart everytime she sings and dances to it. Here is a beautiful performance by Celia Cruz, who left the island as a young woman and was never able to return before passing away a few years ago. Her music was officially banned in Cuba after she defected in 1960.
Yo soy un hombre sincero
De donde crece la palma
Y antes de morirme quiero
Echar mis versos del alma
Guantanamera, guajira, Guantanamera
I am a sincere man
From where the palm tree grows
And before dying I want
To share the verses of my soul.
Mi verso es de un verde claro
Y de un carmín encendido
Mi verso es de un ciervo herido
Que busca en el monte amparo
Guantanamera, guajira, Guantanamera
My verse is light green
And it is flaming crimson
My verse is a wounded deer
Who seeks refuge on the mountain.
Cultivo una rosa blanca
En julio como en enero
Para el amigo sincero
Que me da su mano franca
Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera
I cultivate a white rose
In July as in January
For the sincere friend
Who gives me his honest hand.
John Hersey came up with the idea of designing a piece of wrapping paper with work from all the members of Picture Mechanics and sending it out as a gift to our client list. We all sent him a piece of art and he did a brilliant job of designing the wrapping paper and making all of the varied work mesh together. It's printed in red, black, white and a metallic gold ink. The package contains two pieces of wrapping paper, I'm using one for a gift and framing the other one! Some closeups below:
Happy Holidays from Sergio, international superstar!
A lot has happened with Sergio since he popped on the scene back in May. Sergio Makes a Splash!has been picked up by four international publishers. The book will be published in Japanese, Korean, French, and Dutch and will be available in those countries in the Spring of 2009. The English version is available here at Amazon. I’m really looking forward to getting copies of the book in Japanese!
Sergio was selected for the Book of the Month Club and was a premiere selection of the Junior Library Guild. He has also garnered some nice reviews from a number of places including The New York Times Book Review. I got a kick out of seeing that one, first time my writing has been reviewed there.
There have been a lot of events and book signings since the book came out. The staff at Little Brown has been wonderful, they have done a great job advertising the book, they did a number of Sergio animated gifs and placed them around the web (I’ve added some here). They also sent me out to Los Angeles for the American Library Association conference to meet with librarians, attend the Caldecott awards, and meet with a large group of kids at a reading and writing Summer camp. Some of those pictures are below, along with a scan of this article about Sergio and my time in Miami for The Miami Herald. All the images from Sergio’s election stint for The Washington Post are also below, and can be seen on the web here.
Another neat thing I was able to do over the Summer was to put together a Sergio float with my daughter for the annual Children’s Day Parade. She wanted to dress up like a fish in the water and we put Sergio at the top looking down at her. We had a blast painting that little float, and she loved waving at the crowd as I pulled her along. There were dozens of small floats in the parade. Over the Summer I also finished writing and illustrating a second book, Sergio Saves the Game!, which will be published in the Spring of 2009.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday. Thanks for the inspiration and laughs over the past year, it's been a fun one.
This is a new image for Plansponsor. Soojin didn't have an article yet, just said that it was to be a story about avoiding conflict. I tried a few different ideas with thumb wrestling and such, but we ended up going with this one, which I preferred too. Some sketches and details below.
I'm a basketball fan so I had a fun time working on this portrait of the Celtics' Paul Pierce for the Boston Globe. Here's some background info on him from wikipedia:
(born October 13, 1977 in Oakland, California), nicknamed The Truth, is an American professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics of the NBA. He earned First Team All-America honors in his junior year at Kansas, and has been a starter every season since being selected by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. He is a 6-time All-Star and led Boston to an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002 and the 2008championship. He was named the 2008NBA Finals MVP in his first trip to the NBA Finals. On September 25, 2000, Pierce was stabbed 11 times in the face, neck, and back while at the Buzz Club, a late night dance club in Boston's theatre district. He had to undergo lung surgery to repair the damage. Nevertheless, Pierce was the only Celtic to start all 82 games in the 2000–01 season. His nickname, The Truth, was accorded him by Shaquille O'Neal. After a Lakers' victory over the Celtics in 2001, O'Neal pulled a Boston reporter over and gestured toward his notepad. "Take this down," said O'Neal. "My name is Shaquille O'Neal and Paul Pierce is the motherfucking truth. Quote me on that and don't take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn't know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth."