Sunday, December 9, 2007

fun with mad libs

the brat stop

Yesterday, I drove thirty miles south to Kenosha, Wisconsin to have lunch with Matthew Cordell, an author and illustrator from Gurnee, Illinois, and a fellow contributor to this year's Robert's Snow: For Cancer's Cure, at a place just off Highway 94 called The Brat Stop. As you may or may not be aware, the frequency with which bratwurst is consumed in the upper Midwest is alarming, hence a restaurant named for the sausage, and this picture I took in a gas station parking lot last summer:

But I digress.

Matt and I had a great time talking shop (which I don't get to do nearly enough). You can check out some of his fantastic work here.

Friday, December 7, 2007


night of the living great shroogly-dunk giveaway

I've been away. We'll get into it later. Or not.

At any rate, I'm back, and I want to give you two Shroogly-Dunks.

What are Shroogly-Dunks, you ask? Well, once upon an altered reality, they were known as Shrinky-Dinks. But there incident, and now they've always been Shroogly-Dunks. It's a long story. All you really need to know is that they're little plastic chips with drawings on them.

In order to receive said Shroogly-Dunks, you must be the first person with a valid mailing address to send an e-mail, with the subject line "dink", to You must not be someone who could describe my face to a police sketch artist without referring to a photograph, or someone who's won this contest before (thanks for the reminder, Kyle). If this turns out to be you, then two weeks after your email is received (longer if you reside outside the United States), an envelope will arrive at your residence. Whatever you do, do not open this envelope. The following day, another envelope will be delivered. That's the one carrying your Shroogly-Dunks. You'll know you've opened the wrong one if you explode.

Newmanpicturesblog is in no way affiliated with Shroogly-Dunks or K & B Innovations, Inc., and does not account for the aesthetic tastes of any potential entrant when crafting prizes.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

sesame strip 2

pickle with powers

With a heavy heart, Newmanpicturesblog presents the final part of the most exhaustive collection of stories about dogs and pickles and t-shirts ever commited to paper, then commited to Photoshop, then commited to the Internet. It's been real...or has it? Kaden's "Pickle With Powers" has me wondering...

Saturday, October 20, 2007


my new favorite song

"Still Alive", by Jonathan Coulton, from Valve Corporation's recently released video game, Portal. I'm being so sincere right now.

Friday, October 19, 2007

a year of reading

So, about my Robert's Snow snowflake...actually, all about it, along with some little known facts about the origin of Hippo! No, Rhino, a plot description of The Boys, and even a word or two about my hairstyle fixation, can be found today at A Year of Reading! Many thanks to Franki for hosting me, and for the very, very complimentary words about my work.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and tell myself I'm worthless for the next hour, just to even things out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


"you don't ever do that!"

A couple of Halloweens ago, my then-girlfriend asked me if I wanted to go to a haunted house with her. I agreed, but with reservations. Haunted houses, and we're talking about the temporary kind that advertise in the local paper around Halloween, scare me. They might even scare me more than actual haunted houses, because, unlike ghosts in an actual haunted house, the residents of "Mister McFright's Terror Mansion," are paid (or, much worse, volunteer) to freak you out. I told her as much.

"Don't worry," she said. "I promise to protect you."

And foolishly, I believed her.

It was only a week later, while being stalked by fake monsters in a formerly abandoned South Milwaukee office building, that I realized her promise meant squat. Not only did she fail to intercept any incoming frights, but she eventually got tired of me trying to use her as a human shield, and ditched me in a dark hallway all by my lonesome.

The hallway was little more than two enormous pieces of plywood propped on their sides, and a third, smaller piece of wood, about five feet square, that had been grafted onto the left wall at the far end of the hallway. I was under no illusion that it was anything other than a trap, that should I walk by that makeshift door (and I was certain that it was a door), it would burst open, and a surgeon with a bloody, rubber saw would pounce on me. But I had come too far to go back. I had to go on. So, I did what any half-insane, borderline feral man-child would do. I ran to the door as fast as I could and slammed my entire body up against it.

I immediately felt someone (or something?) push at the door from the other side. I didn't budge. The longer I held the door in place, the more insistent the pushing became. Still, I held my ground. I was not going to let this happen. I was not going to allow whatever wanted to get out, to get out.

Then came the sounds: a muffled roar of fury, followed by shrieks and curses the likes of which have seldom been uttered this side of Hell. The pushing gave way to a pounding. The door creaked under the onslaught of beating fists (or hooves?). I stood, paralyzed with fear, desperately wanting to run, but unwilling to move lest the terror behind the wall escape.

Suddenly, and at great odds to my current predicament, a calm swept over me, which I understand now to be the sense of peace that coincides with one's acceptance of inevitability. No matter what choice I made, I was doomed. I was just one man. I couldn't hold out forever.

Wearily, I peeled my sweaty back from the door, and turned to face my executioner.

The door exploded outward, revealing, as I'd expected, a pitch-black cavern that undoubtedly led to the Fiery Chasm itself. And from its depths marched a four and a half foot, sobbing teenage boy in a plastic demon mask and a brown velour track suit. He raised a shaking finger at me.

And this is what he said:

"You don't EVER do that!"

The next day, I broke up with my girlfriend.

Monday, October 15, 2007

amazing dog

We've reached the penultimate chapter in the dog-pickle-t-shirt anthology, Auralea's "Amazing Dog". Or as I like to call it, "Merely Helpful Dog Without a Pickle or a T-Shirt as Should Have Been Included as per the Assignment Parameters."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


the cat voice

I'm not a traditional blogger, in the sense that I don't use this blog as a personal diary. The reason for that is because I find my day-to-day experiences mostly dull, with the occasional weird moment thrown in to keep me from hanging myself in the shower (sorry, kids). So, I try to stick to making new things (drawings, stories, so on) based on my experiences, rather than reliving them blow by blow.

Since the beginning of October, as you may have noticed, I have not produced a single post. That's because real life has been happening way too much. For instance, last Wednesday:

Which got me wondering a) how long I could live on my savings, b) how I could possibly find such a sweet job stuffing envelopes ever again, and c) if the five-second rule applies to a hamburger dropped in a garbage can. But I didn't want to write about that, because how is that interesting in any way, and why the hell would I want to dwell on it?

And then, the next day:

For the record, this wasn't for anything felony-related. I was two days late with a tax installment payment. Apparently, this grants the government the authority to kill you.

Fortunately, I cried and got them to take pity on me. Unfortunately, I didn't stop crying for three days, and that made it difficult to want to do anything except watch Beauty and the Geek and eat Bugles and talk to the cat in the cat voice.

But I'm feeling much better, now.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

gunpowder city

Gunpowder city went kabloo
In the year of our Lord two thousand-two.
O, what a sight it was to see
Blessed be, artillery.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

the dog that wondered which is the real pickle

The nineteenth story from the Omro Elementary second-graders is Max's "The Dog That Wondered Which is the Real Pickle".


It's not the black one.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007


As I was telling Missy over at The [fill in the prefix]est thing I saw today, I witnessed something this morning that's right up her alley: an unattended boombox on top of a newspaper stand in downtown Milwaukee, cranked all the way up, and playing "Promises, Promises" by 80's greats Naked Eyes. And just below that: an empty coat on the sidewalk. God, this is a cruel world.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

robert's snow

If you're looking to help out a worthy cause, and take home an original holiday ornament from one of your favorite picture book illustrators, please visit Robert's Snow: For Cancer's Cure, an online auction supporting The Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Bid on one, bid on many, but keep in mind that my snowflake is the only one to feature a Christmas tree-styled hairdo. I'm just saying, is all.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I don't know who wrote this, I don't know what it's called, but I'll tell you this much: I could really go for a knish. While I look for a kosher deli, please check out Untitled's "Untitled".

Thursday, September 13, 2007

steven l. 8

number two

I've got this thing on my blog called Site Meter (if you blog, you've probably got it, too, or something like it), and it lists, among other information, all the URLs through which people link to this site. It seems that several visitors have found it by Googlin' the words "pickle dog", which, I think you'll agree, is kind of a weird thing to search for (though perhaps less weird than "smell of boobs", another search that has led one or two folks to this page). So, today, I did some investigating (by which I mean I typed two words and clicked a button), and found that Newmanpicturesblog is number two in Google search engine rankings for "pickle dog". Number two! I don't know what that means, but I am honored, nonetheless.

Thank you, people probably looking for this, the number one ranked "pickle dog" site, or perhaps some savory tubed meat, for giving Newmanpicturesblog its moment in the sun.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

next stop

Thanks to my awesome wife-to-be, I'll be attending the thirty-first Keene State College Children's Literature Festival at the end of October. I'm really excited to get back to the East Coast to see some family and friends, visit with other authors, illustrators, and picture book enthusiasts, and check in on my owl. If you've got some extra cash and live in the area, come on down. We'll do lunch.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

jeff and the dog

Outside of a few Pagan ritual mishaps, bone fires are responsible for approximately zero deaths throughout history. Lest we grow complacent, however, comes Will with a reminder that we can never be too scared of things that will probably never happen. Here's his story, "Jeff and the Dog."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

sneak peek

Here's a sneak peek at a finished illustration from my next picture book, The Boys:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

the dog show

No dogs were made to jump through a flaming hoop in the making of Marissa's "The Dog Show." What a gyp.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

hot poop

Jodi and I have been discussing starting our own celebrity-centric Internet show for a while now, and tonight, we finally got down to business. Volume fluctuations and frequent use of the letter 'p' aside, we hope you enjoy the first episode of Hot Poop.

hot poop

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Thursday, August 2, 2007




Last night, my brother called me all bent out of shape. Seems someone turned his parked Vespa ninety degrees (so that it was perpendicular to the curb, instead of parallel to it) in order to make more room for a Cadillac. Naturally, he called the police. I thought better of telling him he was overreacting, because he's perpetually stressed out and, as this incident illustrates, liable to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation.

Instead, I recorded part of our exchange for my first attempt at audio blogging. Click on the link below to hear my response to his account.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

in the woods up north

Both hunters and hunted alike agree: Taylor's "In the Woods Up North" is "the most explosive story of the summer (Dead Squirrel, Dead Squirrel in a Stew Pot Monthly)", and "a real trip...pack your bags (Eustas X. Jones, The Crazy Old Hermiter)!".

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

jeff goldblum hurt me in a way i'm not prepared to talk about

For the last time, Nanny: I don’t want to talk about it. We’ve put the whole thing behind us. What? No. Forget it. I just finished telling you how painful it was, and now you want me to relive the entire excruciating ordeal? I’m not the one who brought it up! Forget it. No. Can we please change the subject?

What's that supposed to mean? Sure, Caitlin's fine. Of course she’s fine. Because she's my wife, Nanny. Why wouldn’t she be fine? Everyone’s fine. Everything’s perfect. The neighborhood is perfect. The new house is perfect. White picket fence. We love it. Yes.

Who told you about that? It’s nothing. Why would he tell you about that? It’s nothing. I can’t believe he’d tell you about that. Why does he care? It’s a gap. There’s a gap beneath the back door that’s letting all these flies into the kitchen. That’s it. Someone’s coming to take a look at it next week. End of story.

Why would you say something like that? It’s not ironic. It’s a coincidence, at best. Irony is...hold on...a literary or rhetorical device, in which there is a gap or incongruity between what a speaker or a writer says and what is generally understood, either at the time, or in the later context of history. What’s that? How does the reliability of Wikipedia pertain to this conversation? How do you even know about Wikipedia? What were you doing in a chat room for Dungeons & Dragons?

My point is, why would you go out of your way to say something like that? So what if everyone was thinking it? I can’t stop people from thinking things. You’re right, I can’t stop people from saying things, either, but I can hang up the phone. I’m entitled to hang up my phone. No, it’s not a, it’s not not a threat according to Wikipedia. Damn it, Nanny, it doesn’t matter that Jeff Goldblum was in The Fly! It matters that you’d feel the need to say that he was in The Fly, and that it’s ironic that we have a fly infestation in the kitchen, which it isn’t. It’s a coincidence, at best.

Because it’s cruel. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Beef Stroganoff. Yes, it is.

I’m upset because you won’t drop it. What do you want me to say? You want to hear how I can’t even watch Independence Day anymore without getting sick to my stomach? Nanny? You know how much I love Independence Day. Every time I hear Bill Pullman’s final speech to the Air Force, I feel like hijacking a crop duster and crashing it into an alien mothership. Besides Tootsie and Solarbabies, there aren’t too many movies that can make me want to to kill extraterrestrials.

Say again?

Yes, he was good in Spaceballs, too. No, not Spaceballs 2. They never made Spaceballs 2.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

the dog with a black shirt with a pickle

Put your fingers together for "The Dog With a Black Shirt With a Pickle", by Talia. Can you dig it?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

the dog who found a pickle and shirt

I applaud the author of our next story, Derek, for coming clean about his addiction to performance-enhancing drugs, albeit in a "fictional" work titled "The Dog Who Found a Pickle and Shirt". It certainly explains why he was able to kick seven home runs in the fifteen minute kickball game I participated in during my visit to Omro Elementary.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, July 9, 2007

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007

the pickle stealer

Based on circumstantial evidence presented in tonight's story, Spencer's "The Pickle Stealer", the dog was sentenced to three years hard time in the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin. Fortunately, the prison transport bus overturned on an icy road, allowing him to escape and, eventually, track down the real culprit behind the pickle larceny, Ryan. Before Ryan was carted away, post-arraignment, he was heard to shout "I'll pickle steal you Hell!" Authorities are still unclear as to the meaning of the threat, but remain vigilant.