Monday, December 2, 2019


WELCOME TO DECEMBER CRAZIES!!!  And with that, welcome to the Christmas Season!  I know, it's been Christmas at every department store since October, but now it's okay to proudly display that ugly sweater with the light-up snowman you have hidden in your closet!  You wanna know what goes good with an ugly Christmas sweater?  A funny Christmas book!  And I just so happen to have one now available on Amazon!  Yup!  I have officially crossed over into the realm of picture books with my first offering, the hilarious Wendy's Christmas Chaos!  Peppertown star Wendy had been in hiatus long enough, so last year, she leapt from the comics to the pen and ink drawings of my ill_advent theme.  Well, actually, it goes a bit deeper than that.  You can say it all started back in 2016...

I had never taken part in anything like Inktober or illo_advent before, so this year marked a first.  For those not in the know, both take place on social media platforms, usually Twitter and Instagram, and you just post a drawing a day throughout the duration.  Both have themes, but some, like me, just do our own deal.  Since I was new to the concept, for ill_advent, I just did a bunch of random Christmas scenes involving the CRAZYVERSE characters.  One such drawing had Wendy eyeing a gift she couldn't open yet (See above image).  Two years would pass and I just kept coming back to that image and it always felt like more could come from it.  Fast forward to 2018 and suddenly I have a revelation: EVERY page for the 25 days of illo_advent would be part of a story!  Far from groundbreaking as many people have done it already, but this was a breakthrough for me.  I'd longed to get back to drawing Peppertown, but time just wasn't on my side, and this seemed like a good way to at least get little Wendy back out in the open.

In the end, I had a blast drawing it!  The art and story got a great reaction from the Twitter CRAZIES and generated a lot of interest in seeing it as a book.  A few days after Christmas last year, I took a good long look at things and agreed I did have something there.  In addition to posting art, I'd also posted a rhyme with each piece of art that I'd tweeted out and found that to be enjoyable too.  So the decision was made: Wendy's Christmas tale was gonna be a book!  But first, some things needed to be fleshed out a bit...

Funny as it was, 25 pages wasn't going to be enough for this tale.  Granted, it didn't need to be much longer than it already was, but some gags did require some setup pages, particularly the beginning.  If you go back on Twitter, the story literally just starts right before the madness ensues!  So the work began and new art and rhymes were created!  The above art, for example, was not originally in the illo_advent feed.  With everything drawn and corrected, all that was left was to put it all together and publish it!  That's a story I'd rather not talk about though.  It was a learning experience to say the least, but I'm through it now!

All in all, I could not be happier with the book!  The colors are great, the action is fast paced and the rhymes are pretty darn good if I do say so myself!  The above and below pics were illo_advent originals that have now been colored and polished and look even better on the printed page!

For those who aren't on Twitter, the Cliff Notes version is Wendy's not patient enough to wait until Christmas morning to open her presents and gives in to peeking, only to learn that her gifts have been charmed by elves to prank her any time she tries to peek early.  After catching the elves, she tries to trick them by disguising herself as Santa Claus, leading to disastrous results from the clearly-not-buying it elves!  What follows is a cat-and-mouse chase that culminates in a harsh but earnestly learned lesson about patience and karma!  It's a fun tale for any age, even the grownups!  So be sure to pick up a copy!  It's now available on Amazon and even qualifies for FREE shipping with a certain purchase amount!  Not a bad deal eh?  So pick up you copy of Wendy's Christmas Chaos today!  It's the perfect counter to the sappy Hallmark holiday specials!

Before I end this week's post, a HUGE thanks goes out to Joshua Hauke and Warren Frantz for their help as I created this book.  Both gave me a ton of advice throughout the whole process, especially on the cover art and Warren, being a Kindergarten teacher, tested it out on several grade levels at his school.  It was a huge relief when he reported back that the kids loved it and wanted another story!  Tell the Kindersmurfs that I'm happy to oblige, Warren.  But they have to take a lesson from Wendy and be patient!  I'm blessed to have such great pals like Warren and Josh.

And that's all for now folks.  Posting a bit earlier than normal this week so that I can get the marketing machine up and running, hence the reason you're seeing this on Monday.  We'll be back next week on our normal Wednesday schedule with some more Holiday fun!  As always at this time of year, try to think of others.  There are many out there who won't have such a merry Christmas without a little help, so please donate to food, toy and clothing drives,  Even some spare change in a Salvation Army bucket can make a world of difference for some.  Share the love this holiday!  Anyway, take care and I'll catch y'all later!

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