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 Amazon.com 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:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Learn Spanish: Band


a group of musicians

Spanish: la banda (BAND-ah)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Introducing "The Best Mariachi in the World"

From Raven Tree Press:
Everyone in Gustavo’s family is in a mariachi band . . .

Everyone except Gustavo, that is. They all play violines, trompetas and guitarrones. They all make wonderful music in restaurants and at wedding parties. Gustavo would love to join the band, but he can’t play any of the instruments. What’s a wannabe mariachi to do? Follow Gustavo as he finds his place in the family mariachi band.
Three versions of this book are available:
  1. Bilingual version, presented primarily in English with key concept words in Spanish.

  2. Spanish only version

  3. English only version

About the Author:
Educated at American University, the University of Chicago, the University of Houston and Carleton University, J.D. Smith is adept at writing in various genres. He has published fiction, essays, op-eds and reviews in a wide variety of publications in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. He lives near Washington’s Southwest Waterfront with his wife Paula and Roo the Rescue Dog.

J.D.’s interest in the Mariachi book’s subject stems in part from growing up in Aurora, Illinois, a Chicago suburb with a large Hispanic population. He began to study Spanish in high school and continued his studies as an undergraduate and graduate student, complementing his formal instruction with travel in Mexico, Spain, Guatemala and Venezuela. His work, as well as his studies, has involved Latin American culture. J.D. has taught English as a Second Language in his hometown and has analyzed Latin American markets for products including candy, cleaning products and mayonnaise.

About the Illustrator:
Dani Jones is a full-time illustrator. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Before she began illustrating children’s books she did spots for children’s magazines and some educational work.

Dani, a triplet, was born in Seoul, South Korea. She and her sisters, Nicole and Shannon, were adopted and all moved to Michigan when they were six months old. Dani’s family grew up all over the United States and they have lived in six different states and 15 different houses between 1983 and 1998. Dani and her cats, Melon and Harry, now call Keene, NH home. She is still very close to her family and one of her favorite places in the world is wherever they happen to be.

Visit www.danijones.com to see Dani's full portfolio of work.
Bookmark this site or subscribe to the blog's feed for more news, info, behind-the-scenes work, and activities for The Best Mariachi in the World!