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Brian Wonders:  The Making of a Children's Book

BRIAN WONDERS NOW AT THE RECKLESS UNICORN

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It's Twinklebolt!

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I've loved this shop ever since I saw their awning and unicorn shingle go up in the heart of Los Feliz.  And I love it even more now that I got a chance to meet the owners, Annie and Derek.  There's a whole story behind their shop -- the story of Twinklebolt, the reckless unicorn.  It's a story as universal and unique as the gifts they curate.

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I wanted to give a huge hug and shout out to them and thank them for being the first in boutique in LA to show me some love for carrying my Brian Wonders Storybook Stickerbooks.  I am hoping to do a cool signing party this summer, so stay tuned.

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In the meantime, go check out their shop.  It's the perfect spot to find a cool gift for that special niece or nephew's birthday you've got coming up.  And after you shop it's an easy walk over to Little Dom's across the street for a celebratory mimosa. The Reckless Unicorn -- the sparkliest shop on Hillhurst -- can't miss it. 

by Victor Robert

Making-of the stickers

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This swim cap lady emerged out of a dream.

She had on a glittery red swim cap like a headdress.  She opened her mouth and balloons wafted out.  I sketched her out without questioning the reasoning and this was the end result.  She ended up being my favorite of the new characters appearing in this stickerbook edition.

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Here's a little before and after -- the sketch followed by acrylic/guache rendering.  

 And here's the final illustration with some other scattered about. 

And here's the final illustration with some other scattered about. 

 The final printed sticker!  I couldn't help create illustrations of tiny divers using her nose as a diving board.

The final printed sticker!  I couldn't help create illustrations of tiny divers using her nose as a diving board.

by Victor Robert

The Making of Luna

Luna is Brian's inflatable horsey.  I'm bringing her to life.  

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by Victor Robert

How to use the Brian Wonders Stickerbook Storybook

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to use the Brian Wonders Stickerbook Storybook.   

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Step 1

Flip!  Flip!  Flip!  

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Step 2

Pause.  Imagine.

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Step 3

Give in to the inspiration.

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Step 4

A birthday cake on wheels --

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Step 6

-- now rides a balloon roadway.  

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Step 7

 

A hungry diver swans into the birthday cake.

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What will you dream up?

$45
by Victor Robert

BRIAN WONDERS Mini Sticker Edition

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Super excited to announce the

2nd printing of the Brian Wonders Storybook! 

This new edition will be a super compact version of the original storybook and will include a 4-page set of colorful new illustrated stickers.  I’ve been working on these for a while now and am excited to start sharing some of the work that went into this new batch and to finally start rolling these little guys out!  Pre-selling here.  These were supposed to release over the holidays, but I think it has been worth pushing their release… I can be a little obsessive about details and it took me a while to get those just right.

 

Q&A with Victor Robert the Illustrator Creator

 

 This is the dust jacket proof, which will be French-folded onto the hardcover.

This is the dust jacket proof, which will be French-folded onto the hardcover.

Q:  Victor, you already released a Brian Wonders Storybook, why are you releasing a second batch and doing it all over again?

VR:  Good question.  I couldn't help it.  With the First Edition Brian Wonders I printed a micro batch of 250 copies -- each storybook came individually signed, numbered with a custom-made slipcover, and for a bunch of reasons they went out to a very limited audience of family, friends, and collectors.  But I love these books so much that I really want to see them in more people's hands.  So I decided to run a 2nd printing, this time printing 1000 copies.  As an independent artist, I had to change a couple of things in order to make this 2nd run feasible.  This 2nd run of storybooks have been repackaged and streamlined and I hope they do reach a wider audience.

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 Actual sticker

Actual sticker

Q:  Aside from the number of copies, did anything change from the First Edition to this Mini Sticker Edition? 

VR:  Yes -- as the name implies, this Mini Edition batch is super compact and smaller in size -- the original storybooks are 12" square, and these new ones are 7" square.  I also went through and made a few adjustments to the illustrations... couldn't help it... though most illustrations remained unchanged.  This new batch will also include a set of super cool stickers!

 

 Brainstorming sticker ideas...

Brainstorming sticker ideas...

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Q:  Oooh!  I love stickers.  Tell me about them.

VR:  These stickers are special -- they are spot illustrations that I designed to work into the pages the storybook… they are a little bit magical because once they are dropped into the illustrations, their edges magically disappear and they become part of the illustrated spreads.  I loved stickers as a kid and thought these would be a cool way of making the storybook interactive.  Each storybook includes 4 sheets of stickers, totaling over 50 stickers; they are non-permanent and can be reused.

 

Q:  Did you add words to this new edition?  Or is the storybook still a book without words like the original?

VR:  I love the idea of a storybook without words where kids can imagine, tell, or write their own stories, so I kept this edition without words as well.  Maybe in the future, I will release an edition that includes words here and there.

 

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Q:  Are you having a launch party for this?  

VR:  Yes, but that’s in the works.  Probably a summer time thing.  At the moment the storybooks are pre-selling online here.  I’m about a month out from starting to ship.  

 1 of many many color proofs working with my brilliant printer in MN.  

1 of many many color proofs working with my brilliant printer in MN.  

by Victor Robert

Brian Wonders World-Wide Launch

Brian Wonders Launched its debut collection last Wednesday, December 7th 2016. 

Big hug to Emmanuel Renoird and Nicolas Libert from Please Do Not Enter for hosting the event and trusting me to float a giant pink fish in the middle of their showroom.

For the launch, Pinky the Fish was suspended from the ceiling and lit up like a giant disco ball.  

Photos by Kent Seki

by Victor Robert

Blowfish: How-To

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For my launch I'm bringing the storybook world of Brian Wonders to life by creating a giant pink blowfish of course.  Here's a bit of a how-to for anyone who wants to create their own at home. 

Step 1 -- get your hands on a giant balloon.  This will be the main body of the fish.  Apparently an 8 foot balloon can lift up to 15 lbs. when filled with helium.   

Step 2 -- Get your hands on some sequins.  I headed to the Fashion District here downtown and found this cool shimmery fabric and thought it would be way too much disco, but then I decided that was a good idea.  Sequins are notoriously heavy as many of you know and the yardage required to cover this fish may force me to rethink the helium angle... she may be too heavy...  still, she needs to be suspended...  

Step 3:  Bring on talent.  This is Jonathan, he is a fashion designer and an expert pattern maker and normally he creates elaborate wedding gowns for celebs.  For this project, he's creating Pinky's sequin 'skin'.  I told him a good starting point would be to pretend he was creating a wedding gown except instead of a celebrity it would be for an 8 foot blowfish.

Step 4 -- Foam.  Lots of foam.  Here I'm using long strips of it to create top lip and figure out proportions and placement.  

Step 5 -- Schematics.  This should actually be closer to step 1.  Here's how I broke down the fish into basic shapes before cutting the shapes out of foam.  The tall long one represents the foam shape for the lips.  The rhomboid shapes are my guides for the fins.         

Step 6 -- Get a room.  It got a little tight in the studio so we shifted to an empty retail space on 5th Street.  You can see the foam has been sculpted into crude fins and we are laying out their position.  Jonathan will then take measurements and make a pattern of the whole thing once we finalize their placement.  

Step 7 -- Get some sleep or you'll find yourself doing the dance of the seven veils.  You can see Pinky in the background taking shape but much more work is still ahead.  More to come... In the meantime RSVP to my launch downtown don't miss Pinky's debut.

by Victor Robert

THE SUBMARINE

Just wanted to share a little bit of this work in progress.  It's one of my favorite illustrations in the storybook, and I'm making it my first limited edition print.  Am feeling a little bit OCD because I started going back into the illustration and making adjustments to the original, but couldn't help it.  It's therapeutic.  

These are a few of the colors I'm using... mixing Winsor Newton gouache with Liquitex acrylic paints with Acryla gouache.  A pinch of that opera pink really makes things pop.   

Here you can see the comparison... a few of the adjustments I've made...  I addded more blond hair creeping into the nearby porthole and have been refining the image overall with accents.

by Victor Robert

PINKY!

Been experimenting with this guy and bringing him to life through these animated gifs.  His name is Pinky the Blowfish and I'm working on a toy version of him as well.  

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by Victor Robert

ANIME EXPO Los Angeles 2016

You can always tell when The Anime Expo is in town.  Color and manga magic fills the streets of Downtown LA.  Naturally I'm drawn to this... I brought my camera with me and snapped a few pictures.  I'm using a special Brian Wonders lens which adds more magic and sparkle to each image the longer the shutter is held open.  I'm still playing with the settings, but here's a few of my favorites.  

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Got a little starstruck it's Hatsune Miku.  If you don't know who she is click on her link, it'll take you to a youtube.  Basically she's a giant anime hologram singer who sells out concerts all around the world.  She's rendered real time, dances and flips her twintails on stage... sort of in the world of Gorillaz.  Fantastic.

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 I think his name is  How l.

I think his name is Howl.

 Character overload.  I don't know who she is but I like it.  

Character overload.  I don't know who she is but I like it.  

 Calling all  Asuka Langleys

Calling all Asuka Langleys

If you appear in these pictures and/or would like credit or have comments, please send me a note!

by Victor Robert