It’s out!  May 23rd was the release date for I Got a New Friend, my second author/illustrator picture book with Knopf.

I worked once again with Kelly Delaney, Associate Editor at Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, and Isabel Warren-Lynch,  Executive Art Director at Random House Children’s Books, the team behind Fly!

This is a simple story about the stages of building a new friendship. Initially, there is some apprehension, maybe a bit of shyness, and then we begin to test this potential relationship through interaction and shared experience. Is it a good fit?

No matter your age, the process of making a new friend is essentially the same.


Both are a bit wary at first.




A bit shy too.

But things improve and a strong friendship develops.

The reviews have been good and I’m so happy for that. Here are a couple:



Like most of my blogs, it’s the process of the process that I find most interesting. The story came one morning when I was thinking about old friends and what a good friendship is based on: mutual acceptance of each other's flaws and strengths.

I honestly don’t know what the characters look like until I begin my initial sketches on either paper or the WACOM. 

Working with only two characters, it didn’t take long to see the direction this book was going. Here are some initial sketches of the puppy and the little girl.



A tad tighter in my line and proportions, but still exploring and getting feedback.


The puppy is major part of the story. She is female, young, and cute, so how should she look? Here are some early developmental sketches and eventually the shape of the final character begins to show itself.



Then I switch gears and play with medium and color. Should I work in conte, pencil, ink, watercolor? Time just to try different techniques.



The line art was Initially drawn with an 8B pencil and scanned.


Once scanned, that pencil line can be manipulated by altering the contrast in Photoshop.


I print that out on 100% rag paper and then tint it with watercolor.


The text is simple. The wording is intentionally ambiguous. For example:


Friend noise.jpg




So, who is the narrator and why is this friendship so special? 

Just ask Leo.