Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

And in the spirit of the holiday season, I wanted to share an email I recently received. It made my day!

Dear Mr. Wu,

I don’t know if you intended to portray a Chesapeake Bay Retriever in “A Dog’s Life” ... but your funny, goofy, adorable canine hero is the image of our Betsy (a Chessie). Betsy performed all the chores you illustrated and more (cleaning up around, under, and on the highchair).  The story is wonderful, but it’s your endearing illustrations that totally make it perfect.
We lost our Betsy a month ago.  We bought the book for our little granddaughter, who adored Betsy; but it put such a smile on our faces ... I think I’ll have to buy another for us!

She also included a couple photos of her dog. Anyway, I wanted to share this because it really put a smile on my face. Every once in a while, it hits me, my job is pretty cool. Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Come Early

Yay! This just arrived at my doorsteps today.

This will be my very first Cintiq. Having been a fan of wacom products, I've only ever worked with your more traditional tablets(intuos line). When I heard this latest cintiq was released, I thought this was the best time to take a plunge. Along with the allure of a more natural feel when drawing, the other big draw will hopefully be the mobility this will give me. Hopefully, I'll be posting my review of my cintiq once I put it through it's paces. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

No Shortcuts Indeed

Just received my copy of the November issue of Clubhouse Jr, and in it is a spread I did for the magazine.

One thing you'll notice in the spread are the little pictures that go with all the various characters and objects in the story. The reproduction size of them are actually quite small, about 3/4 of an inch to exact, so I knew they really wouldn't require much detail.

But I thought to myself, since I was given the opportunity to design these characters, I might as well make the most of it. And since I don't get many assignments that star anthropomorphic animals, I really wanted to create characters that I could potentially use to beef up my portfolio, plus I certainly knew I could use the practice. So what I ended up doing was rendering these characters all out as if they were to be reproduced at something more like 5 inches instead. Here they are:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

15 Minutes...

Check out this interview I did for Kathy Temean's Writing and Illustrating blog; Illustrator Saturday

Also, I was recently featured as an Illustrator of the Day on Children's Illustrator on Fire; Illustrator of the Day

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Cast of Characters

Here are some color sketches of characters for a new book I just started working on. The story is about the boy with the guitar and his family.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Is it That Time of the Year Again?

Even though we are still months away from the official start of the holiday season, I actually took it upon myself to be proactive this year. And NO, I'm not talking about pre-shopping and scoping out all the big deals and sales, or figuring out what presents to get family and friends, oh no, but more importantly, I just finished my last promo piece of the year early!

And that is a far cry from my norm, which is to procrastinate til the eleventh hour and then in a state of panic, try to whip up something that looks halfway decent. Anyway enough talk, here's the art.

Here's my initial sketch. Not much was changed from the final except for the addition of the ornament on the reindeer's nose. I thought it was a nice touch. Rudolph would be so proud.

This is the inspiration behind my illustration. Really early on, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted to approach my color palette. I came across this illustration by Scott Gustafson (one of my favorite illustrators) and was enamored by the contrast in the warm light against the cooler moonlight. He was able to create a night scene with such warmth and richness to it, I really wanted to recreate some of that same feel in my own illustration. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

At the Show

This past Friday, I attended the opening reception for the CCA Faculty/Alumni Illustration Show. There was a lot of really amazing artwork on display, about 50 pieces, so it was a big show! I was honored to be invited to contribute my work. The show runs til the 27th of this month, and is open to the public...definitely worth checking out!

For the show, I had a print made of my possum illustration!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

When Worlds Collide!

I have two main hobbies in my life. One is illustration(well it's a bit more than a hobby) and the other is dragon boat paddling. Rarely, if ever, do these two worlds intersect, however this past weekend at the San Francisco Dragon Boat Festival, these two did in a rather serendipitous way...

Inbetween races at this two day event, there was some downtime, And so, we had a bit of free time to explore the various vendors at this festival. And when my wife mentioned that there was a children's book publisher selling books, she insisted I go and check it out, an so I did.

That publisher was Immedium ( So there I was, still sopping wet from being just out in the water and I found myself talking shop with Oliver Chin, who authored several of the books on display. He was a really nice guy and we bought a couple autographed books for my son. I even got a chance to show him some of my work and passed along one of my postcards.

Moral of my prepared and keep your eyes open, cause you never know when an opportunity will present itself.

Here I am with Oliver Chin, the author of Timmy & Tammy's Train of Thought. He was gracious enough to sign us a copy. It was a big hit with my son who is obsessed with trains!

Monday, September 9, 2013

CCA Biennial Faculty/Alumni Illustration Program Show

I was honored to be invited to participate in this show celebrating the CCA Illustration department. I'm finding it a bit surreal to not only be asked, but to find myself back where it all started, a decade later. Nevertheless, I'm really looking forward to seeing all the wonderful artwork. If you find yourself in the city on the 20th, please come check out the show!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I was saddened to hear of the untimely passing of my friend and fellow illustrator Wilson Williams Jr. Not only was he talented, he was a champion for other fellow illustrators. We first became friends on the SCBWI forums, sharing our experiences and gripes about this business. Wilson was a co-creator of the site Once Upon a Sketch, a tremendous resource for other children's book illustrators. When he asked me to contribute to his site, I couldn't have been more honored. He worked tirelessly to promote children's illustration, always thinking of others before himself. Fitting that in our last conversation, I had just returned from my conference and he wanted to know how it went. That was the kind of guy Wilson was. A gentle soul, a kind heart, a talent, and a true friend. He will be missed tremendously. 


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The LA Experience...SCBWI Style

What a long weekend it has been! All I can say was a true LA experience! We had all the cliches; the glitz, the glamour, the fancy award ceremonies with shiny trophies and acceptance speeches, a black & white gala, and of course,  no LA experience would be complete without your celebrity sightings!(though it was only Richard Simmons, so actually no not really)
Luckily for me, in between all this debauchery, I managed to squeeze in some very productive workshops and listen to some wonderful speeches given by some prominent people in children's publishing. Most were both inspiring and informative. Being my first time at an event like this, I wasn't sure what to expect, each day started bright and early and lasted throughout the day. SCBWI tried to pack as much as they could in these days, and so, it was pretty much non-stop. The big advice I received from people who had attended these conferences before were to pace yourself, talk to as many new people as you can, and have fun! And I think I did my best to do just that.

When I first decided to attend, I was really excited to meet two people for the first time, my rep Mela, whom I had been working with for over 5 years, but have never meet in person. The second was David Wiesner, a longtime fan and an admirer of his work.

Hmmm...What's there to say about Mela Bolinao? As an agent, obviously I think she's great. I liken her to a mini-dynamo, a whirling dervish, constantly on the move. From giving advice, critiquing portfolios, and presenting at workshops, all weekend she was bouncing from one thing to another. I suppose it might be a New York thing. Before this weekend, our relationship had been solely a business one. We communicated through emails, and most of our conversations consisted mainly of "are you interested in this job", "I need more work", "please fix this face", "please fix this color" and "this only pays WHAT and they need it WHEN". So it was really nice and refreshing to finally be able to interact on a more personal level. She got to meet my wife and son, and we got to hang out and talk shop and to also not talk shop. I found her surprisingly easy to talk to, even joke around with, something I'm not always the best at. I'm looking forward to our next encounter.     

Yes I assure you, that is my rep, Mela Bolinao on the screen there.

Hmmm...What's there to say about David Wiesner? As an author and illustrator, obviously I think he's great. A real master of his craft. You can really sense his passion and the love for what he does and all that really shows up in his work. The level of detail in all aspects of his picture book making process was nothing short of awe inspiring. It was both humbling and a privilege to get some insight into the way he creates. I now know what it takes to get to that next level in my own career and I am determined to work at it to achieve that goal.

David Wiesner presenting in one of his workshops.

An illustration from Art & Max by David Wiesner.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Just managed to finish this new promo, the theme "Fun for Kids". Things are coming right down to the wire. Portfolio check. Postcards check. Just need to finish putting my dummy books together and I should be ready for the big conference next week. And then I can actually focus on finishing up this  illustration assignment that's due at the end o the month! much left to do!

Monday, July 8, 2013

New MB Artists Promotional Catalog

MB Artists latest promotional catalog was just released! You can check out our new Family Catalog HERE!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sketch Dump

 Been awhile since the last time I've shown some art, so I thought I would post some random sketches.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Podcast Discussion

I had the privilege of being invited by the wonderful folks at Once Upon a Sketch to participate in a roundtable discussion. The topic of conversation was Adobe's announcement that they would be transitioning into a subscription-based service for it's Creative Suite software. 

Though many people in the creative business seem to be up in arms, and understandably so, I myself feel it's still a bit too soon to see exactly how things will play out...

Here's the link to the podcast:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

SCBWI Illustrators Meeting

I recently attended an illustrators meeting hosted by the local chapter of the SCBWI.  The meeting featured a very informative presentation by Kristine Brogno, Art Director at Chronicle Books. I thought she was thoughtful and engaging. She gave a talk about words and pictures, and the different ways these two things work together to create a more interesting children's book. Picked up a couple new perspectives on how to approach a story idea. Hopeful, I can put it to some good use...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2013 SCBWI Summer Conference

I officially signed up for my very first big SCBWI(Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) Conference this August in Los Angeles!

SCBWI link

I'm looking forward to getting some insight from some very interesting speakers, especially multiple Caldecott winning author and illustrator David Wiesner. 

I'm also really excited to meet my rep Mela Bolinao (MB Artists) in person for the first time as well. She was invited to be part of the faculty and looks like she will be giving a workshop.

If anyone has been to one of these, I'd love to hear what they thought of their experience. I'm not exactly sure what to expect be I'm thinking it will be fun and exciting! But more importantly productive!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Creature Comforts

I recently saw the animated film The Croods. It was a pretty entertaining movie and the production was done well. What really stood out were all the creatures the design team developed for the project. And so, I was inspired to come up with some creatures of my own. Fun stuff!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A New Addition

I'm back with the finished illustration!

While I was adding my colors and rendering things out, I decided to make a couple adjustments from the sketch because I didn't like the way the possum drinking was sitting on the mom's head. So I ended up moving that guy over to top right since I felt that space needed to be filled anyway. And in his place, I made this little guy a new addition to the family...

I thought it was a nice touch...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

One Happy Family

Just finished up a new sketch for my next promotional illustration. Should be fun taking it to color. The

Monday, March 18, 2013


Some new sketches I recently completed. Kind of random stuff, used a toned surface this time, and I must say, I'm a fan!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Books Released!

I'm excited to announce that my 2 new books have just been released! Both books are authored by Dandi Daley Mackall. You can pick up your copy of I Love You Mommy and I Love You Daddy at any of your major book retailers.

Amazon Link
Amazon Link

Monday, March 11, 2013

Jot Touch-y

After only using my Jot Touch for about a month my stylus decided to stop working. Luckily, I contacted the manufacturer and had it replaced. So after about a two week interruption, I was able to finish this sketch I was working on.

Along with simply getting more accustomed to sketching on my ipad, I've been trying to focus my attention on proportions as well as explore and push some new styling cues. Some are more successful than others. Animals are definitely fun subjects to draw, hardest part was deciding which kind of animals to draw, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Anyways, will keep at it...long as this new Jot doesn't decide to crap out on me like my last one.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Right Kind of Ragged

Trying to figure out some character designs for an assignment I am currently working on. The story is obviously about a teddy bear. But oddly enough, this won't be my first time working with a stuffed bear, this will actually be my third. And so I wanted to make sure this guy looked different. Plus I have the added challenge of making sure he looked like a well-loved(worn and ragged) toy.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Let's Face it!

Done in ArtStudio with a Jot Touch.
I'm back with a quick new sketch I just completed! What made this sketch a bit different is that this all these faces were drawn on my IPad! We all know how versatile the IPad is, with all the available apps for the device, there's a myriad of things you can do with it to help you stay productive(or sometimes nonproductive). So I wanted to experiment with some drawing/painting apps and see which one I can incorporate it into my workflow.
I played with a couple of the more popular sketch/drawing apps out there(Procreate and Sketchbook Pro), and out of all the ones I have tried so far ArtStudio clearly stood out as my favorite for sketching. For someone like myself, who works mainly in Photoshop, Artstudio shares a lot of the same features, which made for an easy to transition. With the key features being the lasso tool and the ability to transform and distort, the biggest hurdle was actually getting reacquainted to drawing directly on the surface.
So far, I'm really happy with the results I am able to achieve. I can see this being a great on-the-go sketching tool...well when I'm not on Facebook or YouTube or Words with Friends or...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Artist Apps

I wanted to share a couple useful artist apps I discovered for the iPad.

For you anatomy buffs, this app is for you. This app gives you the ability to rotate and zoom a fully rendered three dimensional anatomical figure. A very useful tool for when you need to reference the human anatomy.

This is a very cool artist reference tool that allows you to rotate and light a 3d hand in a variety of poses. Though I wish this app would allow you to pose the hand yourself, nevertheless, there is still enough preset poses to make this more than worth it. A very "handy" tool indeed.


This app allows you to pose your classic artist's wooden mannequin to create your own scenes in virtual 3d space. With the abilities to move your camera and light, this can really help you explore and play with different compositions.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fairy Tale Promotional Illustration

I'm back with the finished illustration! I really had fun working on this piece! Below I'll quickly share my process:

As usual, I wanted to quickly establish the basic color scheme of the illustration. Because I hadn't settled on a color or look of the jellyfish at this point, I decided to ignore them for now and concentrate on the elements I had a better grasp on. I was hoping that once I had some sort of color down, it would give me a better idea for them later on.

Here I made my first big pass on my mermaid character. Once I had her in pretty good shape, I went back and continued to pull out the rocks in the background as well as the coral in the foreground.

Next I added the sack for the dolphin. After that, I made another pass to the coral and cleaned it up further. The purpose was not only to tighten up the area but I also wanted to create more illusion of depth.

At this stage, I finally felt comfortable enough to add the jellyfish...WELL ACTUALLY, I simply stalled as long I could and I simply ran out of other things to work on.

Here is the final piece again. With all the main elements worked out, all that was left was to tie everything together. I gave the illustration a blueish tint, since we are underwater afterall! Along with that, I focused my attention to the composition and added some final value adjustments. And with a couple touch ups as well as some finishing touches to amp up some of the fantasy and the drama, this one was a wrap!