Wishing Shelf Book Awards Winner!
Shiny medal!

Shiny medal!

“The Wrong Stripes” has been awarded the Gold Medal for Pre-School Picture Books in the 2018 Wishing Shelf Book Awards!!

It's very special to be recognized by these awards because the judges are primary school children, which is the target audience for the book.

The organizer forwarded me this wonderful list of feedback as well:

‘I read this every night for a week with my mum. It’s the best book ever.’ 
-Girl, aged 7

‘I liked this book so much. The zebra was cool.’ 
-Boy aged 6

‘It’s important for children to understand that everybody is different. The children understood the message but also they thought the story was fun. They loved the pics and all the sweet animals the zebra met. Lovely.’ 
-Primary teacher, aged 34

‘A lot of thought went into this picture book. The writing style is perfect for younger children, and the theme is simple to understand but also very relevant to them. My Yr 1 class used this book to discuss how animals – and people – can be very different and how important it is not to judge too quickly. Heartwarming and sweet.’ 
-Primary teacher, aged 52

To Sum It Up:
‘A wonderfully sweet story, superbly illustrated. A GOLD MEDAL WINNER and highly recommended.’ 
-The Wishing Shelf Book Awards


Court Craft featured in Racquet Magazine

“Court Craft”, my photo essay on the Poona Club sand courts and ball boys, is featured in issue #8 of Racquet Magazine - woohoo!!! 🎾🎾🎾

Racquet is a beautiful, print-only tribute to tennis, with gorgeous paper and great design. I've been a fan of this magazine for a while so I’m stoked to be included.

The ball boys were all delighted to receive a copy as well!

Here is “Court Craft” on Racquet’s Instagram:

Thank You for the Love!!

The scariest thing about putting a creative project out in the world is that you have no idea how it's going to be received. Which is why I'm thrilled every time I receive a message or picture from someone that loves the book.

100 Thank Yous

I also received this amazing collection of thank you notes from the students I visited last year. It was so humbling, and I loved how each of them had a unique spin on the the character and story!


The Rudy Report

Young Anneka from Pune created this charming book report on The Wrong Stripes, complete with descriptions of an actual zebra.
From the report, I learned that a group of zebras is also known as a “zeal”. How cool! Thank you, Anneka!

A League of His Own

Support comes in many forms, and I was so touched when my local tennis league team named themselves after the book.
Happy to say that the team finished the season with a stellar record too!


Thank you so much for sharing your Rudy stories and for all your support!



Mapping Out the Story

I’m a big fan of brainstorming on paper. I love the feel of real pencil and paper, because somehow, a piece of paper feels more expansive than even the largest computer or tablet.

A story map

Sometimes, it’s loose, stream-of-consciousness thinking, and at other times, it’s more developed and structured. Both are just ways to break out of that “stuck” feeling that we all go through. Often, these notes are just me writing the story outline over and over again, hoping that I can somehow crack a story problem.

I have sketchbooks filled with notes like this, written on days when I was struggling to get past a creative hurdle or feeling unmotivated. That happens a lot with a project like The Wrong Stripes that spanned a number of years. Each note is like a little pep talk to myself, a little internal nudge asking me to believe in myself and this story. I wish I could reach through one of these notes, like a time machine, and tell myself not to doubt so much, and to just keep going.

Hometown Herd

We partnered with the Children's Book Club and Gyaan Adab Center in my hometown of Pune, India, for a memorable reading filled with lots of curious and energetic children. Special thanks to Ruchi Sharma, the staff at Gyaan Adab, as well as my parents for all the help with the event.

Stories under the Stars

Thank you Lauren Mari Williams and Westwood PTA for inviting me to be a part of "Stories Under the Stars" - what a fun event! The kids get to hear, watch, and perform a bunch of different stories, and get to stay up late too!

Alternate Endings

With the year drawing to a close, it’s time to reflect on a few drawings and ideas that, for one reason or another, didn't make it into the story. I really miss some of these moments, but that's the nature of the process.

School Visit

I had such fun visiting the bright and inquisitive students at a local elementary school. They had great questions about the creative process and even their own book ideas!

Story time in Sunnyvale

Loved sharing The Wrong Stripes with friends and family at Bookasaurus in Sunnyvale!

Pixar Craft Fair

It was special to share The Wrong Stripes with my colleagues at the 2017 Pixar holiday craft fair! Many of them have watched me develop the idea over the last few years, and have given me tons of support and feedback along the way. People loved seeing the finished book, and hearing about all the different versions of the story that I explored. 

Looking forward to taking Rudy on the road and catching up with our South Bay peeps at Bookasaurus in Sunnyvale this weekend!

Oakland launch

We had a tremendously successful launch at Laurel Bookstore in Oakland last week!! Terrific turnout from friends and family, including a very engaged bunch of kids with great questions. Everyone dressed in their favorite stripes and other patterns to make it even more special.

We did a reading of the book, followed by a lesson on how to draw Rudy and some other fun activities.

It felt amazing to finally have the book out there, and to celebrate the occasion with so many wonderful folks.

Thanks to Naren Dev, Andy Grisdale, Kyle Macnaughton and Sahil Rihan for these great pics.

Head over to our Facebook page for more photos!! Looking forward to our next reading in Sunnyvale on Dec 3.

Fan Art

The best part about releasing the book has been connecting with the audience, especially kids.  Here's some gorgeous fan art of Rudy and his crew created by our youngest fans. It's incredibly rewarding to see them connect with the story, and bring their own ideas and perspective as well.

I'll continue to update this gallery as I receive more artwork.

Book Launch & Pre-Orders

I'm delighted to share the details about two upcoming launch events in the Bay Area!


Both bookstores are charming and kid-friendly, and we're thrilled!

RSVP on Facebook for either Oakland or Sunnyvale. We'd love to see you there!

If you cannot attend, you can also Pre-Order your very own signed copy of The Wrong Stripes here - woohoo!! Pre-orders start shipping November 18. They're limited to U.S. only right - international peeps, stay tuned!

Note: if you're attending either event, we recommend skipping the pre-order and buying your book at the event so you can support these fine local bookstores.


Arjun RihanComment
They're making 'em!

I've partnered with PrintNinja to get the books offset printed in China. They've shared some great images of the production process with me:

So many stripes, it makes me happy...

So many stripes, it makes me happy...

PrintNinja crew hard at work

PrintNinja crew hard at work

Fancy machinery

Fancy machinery

Behind the Scenes

I leaned towards a simple, mostly analog process for The Wrong Stripes, so that working on the book felt like a nice break after being on a computer all day at the office.

I usually do all the characters and textures using pencil and watercolor. Then, I'll scan the artwork and add color digitally in Photoshop.

Here's a few examples:

GIFS are awesome! This one steps through the various stages of an illustration.

GIFS are awesome! This one steps through the various stages of an illustration.

A rough and final drawing.

Various sketches of Rudy. I tried hard to make his design expressive and appealing.

Working away, baby in hand.

Even though my daughter probably won't remember it, it felt really special to share part of the process with her.