Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Book!

The Mariachi books are printed! I've recently had the pleasure of seeing the book for myself for the first time. So exciting! Here's a small preview:

The time's almost here! The book should be officially released in the beginning of October. Remember to put in an order with your local bookstore, or with

Monday, September 22, 2008

Learn Spanish: Art

Spanish: el arte (AR-tay)

Spanish: el ilustrador (ill-UH-struh-dor)

Spanish: dibujar (dee-boo-HAR)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Layout Sketches

Here is a behind-the-scenes look into the making of Mariachi. This is what the book looked like early on, while I was planning out some of the scenes from the story.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Learn Spanish: Writing

Spanish: el libro (LEE-broh)

Spanish: el escritor (es-KREE-tor)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Review by Criticas

"Gustavo was born to a family of Mariachis who play great music at weddings and parties. He wishes he could be part of the family band, but he can’t play any of their instruments and this makes him extremely sad. One night, he goes to the desert and sings a melancholy song to release his frustration. And it turns out, he has a beautiful voice! Ecstatic, he goes back to town and begins to sing at the top of his lungs. Little by little, the lights in all the houses go on and the whole neighborhood cheers him from balconies and windows. Finally, Gustavo is admitted into the family band and even told that he is “the best mariachi in the world.” Beautifully illustrated with bright, vibrant colors, this is a charming tale about finding one’s own talent, which also incorporates the cultural tradition of the mariachis. Available in Spanish, English, and bilingual (English text sprinkled with Spanish terms) editions, this is a great addition for public and school libraries, as well as bookstores."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Review by Washington Parent

"Gustavo wants to be in the family mariachi band, but he can’t play the violin, trumpet or guitar. He feels left out and unskilled. Many young readers will relate to Gustavo’s feelings and to his yearning for a unique talent. The vivid illustrations show the boy, accompanied by his canine buddy, visiting the desert near his home in the early mornings. Gustavo finds the cacti and the sky’s “black bowl of stars” so beautiful that he just has to sing – and in so doing, recognizes what he can best contribute to the band. Written in English, with concept words in Spanish, this charming story introduces young English speakers to another language and culture, while the simple vocabulary and short sentences will help young Spanish speakers develop a better understanding of English.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Learn Spanish: Languages

SPANISH = Español (es-pan-YOHL)

ENGLISH = Inglés (in-GLAYS)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Learn Spanish: Dance

Spanish: bailar (bahy-LAR)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gustavo's Daydream

In one of the pivotal scenes in the book, Gustavo dreams of what it would be like to be in his family's mariachi band.

I sketched out this spread early in the making of the book. It is a big doodle made with a ballpoint pen, filling a large page in my sketchbook. This was one of my first drawings I ever made of Gustavo and the rest of the characters.

A refined version:

When I painted the illustration, I did it in pieces. First, I made the "daydream" portion of the image.

Next, I painted Gustavo and his dog.

Using the computer, I placed them together to create one picture.

To finish, I added a little bit of texture onto the paper to make it a little more interesting.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Learn Spanish: Singing

Spanish: cantar (kan-TAR)

Spanish: la canción (kan-see-OHN)

Spanish: el cantante (kan-TAHN-tay)

Friday, August 15, 2008


A behind-the-scenes look into some of the scenes from the book:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Learn Spanish: Cowboy

Spanish: Vaquero (vah-KAIR-oh)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Learn to Draw Gustavo

1. Draw a circle.

2. Draw guidelines.

3. Make circles for the eyes.

4. Add nose, eyebrows, and mouth.

5. Add hair and ears.

6. Fill in the details.

7. Shade your drawing.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Learn Spanish: Family

Spanish: Padre (PAH-drey)

Spanish: Tío (TEE-oh)

Spanish: Hermano (air-MAH-noh)

COUSIN (male)
Spanish: Primo (PREE-moh)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mariachi on AmazonConnect

I have just created an AmazonConnect account, which means you can now view news and updates for the book directly on Mariachi's pages.

You can view my profile here or go to directly to my Amazon Blog page here. Subscribe via RSS or use the site's own service, Amazon Daily.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Learn Spanish: Cacti

A prickly pear cactus

SAGUARO (sah-WAH-roh)
Large, tree-sized cactus

Friday, July 25, 2008

Getting to Know the Characters

The main character in the story. His greatest wish is to play an instrument in his family's mariachi band.

A loyal friend.

Plays the guitar in the family band.

Gustavo's brother, who plays the violin.

Plays the trumpet in the family band.

Play the trumpet, the violin, and the guitar.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Learn Spanish: Clothes

The colorful costume traditionally worn by mariachis.

SOMBRERO (sum-brAIR-oh)
Wide-brimmed hat.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Learn Spanish: Instruments

Spanish: el violín (vee-oh-LIN)

Spanish: la trompeta (trawm-PET-ah)

Spanish: la guitarra (git-ARRRR-ah) Roll those r's!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The History of Mariachis

Mariachis have been playing music since about 1880. Some people believe the name mariachi was a kind of tree used to make stages and musical instruments that mariachis play. Most mariachi bands have the Spanish guitar (guitarra), a small bass guitar with a rounded back (the guitarrón), a high-pitched guitar with five strings (the vihuela), violins, and at least two trumpets.

In addition to their instruments, mariachis are known for their unique clothing. The traje de charro (cowboy suit) consists of a close-fitting jacket and pants with brightly colored trim, and a wide sombrero (hat) with bright embroidery. At first only men wore the traje de charro and played mariachi, but in the last fifty years more and more women have joined them, either in mixed or all-woman bands.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Making of the Cover

This is a rough sketch I created for the cover of Mariachi.

After I had the general idea, I went on to refine the sketch. I started by researching different types of cacti to make a more authentic desert setting.

Next, I refined the designs and poses of the characters.

Here is my finished revised sketch.

Next, I created a few color studies to help me decide how the final cover might look.

The Final Painting: