Archive for December, 2018

“Pango Noel” or “A Pangolin Perhaps?”

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018


Pango Noel (2018)

The Klein Family Christmas card, and the subsequent Behind the Art Back Story that always accompanies the illustration, has an actual “story” behind the story of the card. Or, to be more accurate, an original children’s picture book story behind this year’s card.  A story that actually began January 29, 2016, when i was invited to do an  interview on a local morning TV show and i met a guest that, literally, changed my life.  A Pangolin.  

Instantly i became obsessed with “the most endangered animal no one has ever heard of” and wanted to do something to bring it to broader attention.  And i almost had the opportunity in June of 2016 when i received a manuscript that had, as its main character a pig. The nature of the animal had little to do with the actual story so i wrote a proposal suggesting we change the Pig to a Pangolin. The story remained the same, i just thought a Pangolin would give it an added dimension. And i wanted to draw one!

Creative decisions went on hold while the publisher waited for the author to sign the contract, but the schedule remained the same and i got nervous that i’d suddenly 

get the Go Ahead with no time to do the work. And since things were a little slow (and i’m a bit OCD) i went ahead and did all the rough sketches for the story using my proposed Pangolin character. Then, just to be safe, i did the entire book again using the Pig. Unfortunately, the author made so many contract demands that by December the publisher decided to just cancel the project. But when one book closes another opens.  

January 2017 the brilliant and talented Lori Schildwachter (who had long become a PangoPal) and i decided to collaborate on our own Pangolin themed children’s book. Inspired by a description that suggested a Pangolin was “a cross between a dragon, an artichoke, a pine cone, a tiny dinosaur and an armadillo” A Pangolin Perhaps? was born. So sandwiched between other art & illustration projects (and a hurricane) i began doing the pencil roughs and by the end of the year our book was ready to leave the nest. 

Our first publisher submissions went out in January of 2018 but even while our little book was making its rounds Lori and i were revising the story, and the illustrations, for submission to the “2018 Key Colours International Award for Best Picture Book Concept” contest held in Belgium in July.  I had to redesign the pictures to fit the competition format but actually wound up liking them better and was excited to ship the original pencil sketches off to Europe at the end of June.

August 29 we heard that out of 243 submissions, a jury of professionals had selected 44 books to be exhibited at the Het Stadsmus Museum in Hasselt, Belgium.  Our little Pangolin was one of the 44 books chosen.  We did not win the Grand Prize but as far as we’re concerned – it truly was an amazing Honor just to be considered. Today our book continues to knock on publishing doors while Lori and i start work on our next Pangolin Project.  3 years, 6 notebooks and TONS of sketches, with more to come, a Pangolin has become a part of my life and i could think of no better way to share the obsession. Besides, nothing says Christmas like an animal that looks like a pine cone, can hang from a tree like an ornament, and curls up like a wreath!                   LAK  2018   

Pangolin Portrait (2018)