Had SO much fun meeting the fantastic kids and educators at Lansdowne Friends School! So many great questions and comments about the sea, pollution, writing, helping, and accidents. Teacher Steve (Teare) was all-around awesome bringing me in and co-facilitating all day - and today he has me ded because he sent his classes’ Crab art and my heart has exploded.
photos © Lansdowne Friends School
even more events coming up:
(to the tune of “making christmas”)
CRAB CAKE had two distinct phases - which are slightly more confusing than simply splitting them into Writing and Illustrating because I write by drawing. I mention this breakdown because sometimes folks ask if the words come first or the pictures? And in the words of the immortal Pillboi:
1) Figuring out the Story:
Some of the many Crab Cake doodles & sketches:
which then progressed to making thumbnails (and sometimes dummies) in consultation with my wonderful editor, Kate O’Sullivan and with the help of my delightful agent, Stephen Barr. Many many drafts of the pencil dummy happened until the story was ready to illustrate (you can see from the first set of thumbs that the layout changed a lot:)
2) Making the Final Illustrations: So the rough pencils were set, the text and rough speech bubble placement were set - and this was the point were I briefly freaked out about drawing rocks. It doesn’t matter what I’m working on - I will find a way to get nervous about coloring something - and underwater scenes presented an interesting challenge. I mean, the light is completely different from dry land, creatures move through the space differently, things in the distance look different, so I started by pulling together a big reference file of fish, reefs, and screenshots from documentaries.
Next step: printing out the rough pencils as light blue lines, then “inking” over them with very dark pencil. I scan these inks and use a Photoshop action to erase the blue and separate out the linework.
When I was sussing out how to get a feeling of transparency with the seaweed, friend & cartoonist Molly Brooks pointed out how I’d used layered outlines in another piece to get the same effect. So: tracing paper:
Next: I scanned in gouache, watercolor, and other marks to use as textures:
Then it was off to the Photoshop races! At this point, my computer suddenly died and my brilliant spouse, Alexander, loaned me his while he took mine apart and rebuilt it.
Color flatting speeds up the coloring later.
And that’s how I finished Crab Cake!
all with the help of the intern, of course:
Here’s how this works:
1) Pre-order CRAB CAKE from either:
2) Email me the receipt + your mailing address at: me(at)andreatsurumi(dot)com.
3) I will mail you the swag! In February 2019, the store will ship you CRAB CAKE!
What is the swag, you ask?
The first 10 people to send me their preorder receipt will get:
a) a signed original drawing of Moray Eel
b) a signed bookplate
c) a Crab Cake sticker
After that, everyone else will get:
a) a signed print of sea lion
b) a signed bookplate
c) a Crab Cake sticker
What is Crab Cake about?
“Life under the teal Tsurumi sea is abundant, busy, and seems pretty much by the textbook: “Spiny Lobster looks for a new home. Parrotfish crunches coral and poops sand… Lionfish does whatever she pleases.” But one serious outlier, Crab, bakes cakes, cupcakes, and more—frosted peach and green confections studded with shells and seaweed. Crab’s fellow inhabitants both indulge in the treats and find the baking behavior a little perplexing. In one drawing, Tsurumi shows the classic ocean food chain, with Crab proffering a cupcake to the last and smallest fish. Then, one night, a literal boatload of junk crashes into the ocean; the once-limpid water turns dark, and everyone is at a loss (“Dolphin freezes. Manta Ray freezes. Even Lionfish freezes”)—except Crab, who determinedly bakes a cake. This act of defiance and resilience coaxes the shocked schools out of hiding to nosh, comfort one another, and find a solution. Fans of Accident! will be happy that Tsurumi’s mastery of detail, humor, and clear-eyed empathy continues in this wholly original and moving affirmation of one crab’s power to bring a community together.”-Starred PW Review
How many chickens? SO MANY CHICKENS! Can’t wait to work on this book!
Nov. 28 was …. you know it: CAKE DAY! (I mean, every day is cake day, but still) so I made a cakeish trailer for CRAB CAKE to celebrate.
The CRAB CAKE copies are here! It’s a real physical book! #crabcake #crabcakebook