Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's been six months since my last confession...

"Where the hell have YOU been," you might ask? (Photo by David Nevin)

When last we met, I was announcing a show of drawings from my Graphic Novel NARCISSA at Rutgers University, and a signing\slideshow presentation in New York of THE BOHEMIANS anthology for which I created illustrated biographies of Claude McKay, Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus... I thought for sure that I'd be there in the flesh for both last spring, but an unscrupulous lowlife publisher (who shall remain deservedly nameless) put a kink in my plans by deciding to play fast and loose with the money they owed me for a recent book. And this, after working so well together our first time around. (...sigh...) Blindsided by this, I had to cancel my trip home, which wouldn't have been so bad, had I not been forced as well to miss my nephew Sean's graduation from art school in May. (Boo hoo, I know... but for me that's going to be pretty much unforgivable.) I'm glad to report that all events and affairs went off without a hitch for my fellow learned participants, but its finally dawned on me that I've spent the last several years putting my spin on other writers' vision, for modest return, and another Graphic Novel that I can truly call my own is long overdue. So...

I've mentioned THUG MIDWIFE before, but now it's really taking shape. I'll be posting regularly again and if you're interested... it's going to be an unforgettable story, I promise.
Over the last few months, I've found time to continue drawing my THELONIOUS MONK bio, written by David Berger for Duke University Press, and to illustrate a graded reader for Cambridge University which happened to be written by the very talented Nicola Prentis. A couple of color (sorry, colour) pictures follow from that.

 I'll let you know where to find it when it arrives... they thought so highly of my work in England that they graciously refused to credit me for it on the cover!

I'd like to share a couple of Lancelot-Links with you before dashing back to work... 
I illustrated the already quite vivid poetry of Gwyneth Box and her must-have ebook AROUND THE CORNER FROM HOPE STREET. Check it out while you've got a minute!
Deborah Cowell, the most capable Editor I ever worked with, not to mention the person most responsible for NARCISSA ever seeing the light of day, posts @ MEDIUM occasionally, in addition to writing beautiful prose elsewhere when it strikes her fancy... 
Some art from my ill-fated adaptation of Octavia Butler's masterwork, KINDRED has found its way into NEAR KIN, a collection of poetry and prose inspired by the works of one truly magnificent author.
I also generated a few images for the exciting MUSIC LIBRARY site, so please check them out too! You'll find the musical content there to be pretty amazing and, no me digas... their site's bilingual!
Hey, I've been Pinned HERE and HERE, whatever that means!
Hope you're having a great summer so far! Watch this space... It's about to get hotter!
Lance Tooks
Happy Birthday, Pop!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rutgers Reception on the 29th!

Narcissa admirers (and art lovers in general) should drop by Rutgers University to check out an amazing 4-month group show that I'm a part of. In addition to never before shown original art from my 2002 Graphic Novel, there are planned screenings of my recent work as an actor in Spanish short films. I can't attend the January 29th opening but will most definitely be there for at least one of the Third Thursday Public Receptions between February and April. Can't wait to see you!
Publishers Weekly shares a bit about the event HERE, while Rutgers chimes in HERE at their site.
Happy New Year,
Lance Tooks

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Minton's Jazz Greats...

Monk may be the star of the next book I'm working on, but a few other giants turn up for a visit too!
(Click image to enlarge)
Lance Tooks

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 2013...

Still hammering away, folks... coming soon will be a pair of dueling divas in the short piece by Aesop, The Tortoise and The Hare... raise your hands if you THINK you know how this one goes!

The Lion in Love, The Fox and The Grapes and The City Mouse and The Country Mouse are all done... with a lot more to come next year! Can't wait to hear what you think... hope you like them!
Cover of the projected collection, watch this space for news.

I spent last Saturday night helping my friend, storyteller Miriam Lyle create these "story cards" for kids, and for her wonderful Story Factory Project in Spain. Click here for details!

And finally, I'm chipping away at the monster that is MONK... Thelonious, of course!
Here's another image to hopefully pique your interest... it's going to be a fun read!
Thanks again for your support!
Lance Tooks

PS... in Memorium, Beverly Coleman... beloved mom to my lifelong friends, The Sims family
(I love you always and I'll miss you.)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What happens in Jersey City...

From Aesop's Fables, coming soon...
This time last year I was back in the States for an expedition. Among my many savage adventures, I spent time in a heretofore uncharted patch of jungle known as New Jersey. There I encountered a coven of thankfully uncivilized cartoonists indigenous to the area, that gathered weekly to drink beer and foment wicked magic using the medium of comix. As all evildoers do, they record their exploits in an online blog, @
For your benefit, (or perhaps for mine) I'm sharing a few of the improvised jams I participated in... as you'll see when you follow the link, nothing is sacred in New Jersey.

Thanks to Geoff Mosher for letting me tag along, and to the rest of the Jersey City Tribe for not tossing me into a pot!
Happy Halloween, Lance Tooks

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

8-Track Flashback!

Here, for entertainment's sake, are a few moldy oldies from the days of Alley Oop! 
A lot's happened since 1980, when the photo above and the drawing below were committed to paper... most of it good. (Thankfully!) The photo's by my dad, Ed Tooks (with a slightly defaced Mort Drucker gem attached) while the following illustration (and accompanying poetic snippet) inspire me to hope I've grown up a bit in thirty years. (I've heard that it springs eternal, anyway.)

The rest are from a 1983 sketchbook, a variety of comix that lay bare my preoccupations of the moment. The next one for example, has proven to be more prophetic than I care to admit!

And now, a bit of satire in honor of the Nassau County Mounties 
and their timeless credo of "injured before proven guilty."
 Nothing was funnier in 1983 than Buckwheat. Really, you had to be there.

The Angry Alligator was a recurring character in that particular sketchbook, and the Ewoks had just ruined a perfectly good bit of summer escapism, so their encounter seemed inevitable. 
(If not all that memorable.)
 Here are a few random thoughts, strung recklessly together... at the bottom of the first page are 
caricatures of my brother Eric's Laurelton, N.Y. hangout crew, circa 1983.

 "EVA" was a friend's ill-fated Vampire story that I provided a few production sketches for. I'd say that  85% of the projects I've been involved with over the years never saw the light of day for one reason or another. I consider it a victory every time one does, though... so I keep on trying.

 Back in the Reagan Years, I worried a bit that politicians would guide us to apocalypse someday... 
but we know THAT could never happen!
I know it aint much, but hey... what were YOU doing thirty years ago?
Hope it was something fun!
Lance Tooks

(PS... here are two images from today... The protagonist of my adaptation of Aesop's The Lion in Love, and a couple of very pissed-off church deacons who've got a bone to pick with him. LT)

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Day in the Life...

Here's a step by step set of images from yet another work in progress, 
detailing how I sometimes tell a story. Just click to enlarge.

It's going to be a four-page introductory chapter for a long gestating project called SHALOM.
I'll post it here soon, when the last page is done.
Best, Lance Tooks