Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Timmons and the Lumpy Bumpy Monster

Doing some backups, I stumbled across a group of pages from around 1997 which were on one of my old archive drives.

NOTE: Several years prior to this story, I tried to do another children's book.
After my uncle passed away from his bout with Leukemia, he became the inspiration to my first children's book idea, Bobby's Biggest Bubble. I poured all my time into making that story get published back in 1994. But after years of receiving rejection notices, I told myself that I would one day go back and do that book again. (But that's another story.)

Jumping forward to 1997: At the time, I kept on creating more stories in my head. The story ideas came fast, but developing the characters that would fit into those tales took a long time.

Page three of Timmons and the Lumpy Bumpy Monster

Above is one of the first pages my story about a boy named Timmons, his pet hamster Hairy and the magical monster that was in his bedroom closet. I worked on this for years as a side project in my spare time. I also wanted to generate a series of stories to go with these characters, so I wrote ten stories; creating fuller and deeper personalities and background history.
Original pencil sketch
Digitally Inked and Color Testing

For years I kept working on these characters, mostly on my train rides to and from work in NYC, drawing hundreds of sketches, fleshing the major characters out until it they had the right look I wanted. Once I knew these were the characters for my story - I started sketching pages for the first book. It was a slow process, but I felt the changing and development of the characters and story were improving. Taking time developing these characters over the year seemed to be a good idea . . .

That was until Pixar came out with Monsters Inc. in 2001, my concept of a monster that used transportation doorways was now part of a major successful film. If I did my book and showed it to the publishers in 2001, they would say I was copying the Pixar's film. Even though my monster and stories were totally different, too much of the story was parallel with Monsters Inc. This truly deflated my motivation to go forward . . . because this wasn't the first time I had similar concepts prior to Pixar releases. (see Home of the Brave  for another example and I will tell of my 3rd Pixar conflict in a near future posting.)
Fast forwarding to today, I've my first kid's book on the way this year. Special thanks to all the great people who helped with the KickStarter Project.

It feels like my stories will finally have a chance to be made. Enough years have now passed that I don't think my story would be directly tied to the Monsters Inc. concept anymore.  The chance for Timmons and the Lumpy Bumpy Monster to see print seems better and better . . .