I’m thrilled to share a recent book cover series I art directed at Simon and Schuster. It’s always really fun to get to re-imagine a classic and give it a fresh new face—and this one was extra special to me because the Anne of Green Gables series is a personal childhood favorite, as my Grandmother always loved these books.
There’s always countless editions of classics like these, but the Anne books all looked so similar to me—traditional images of Anne with her long red braids. So I knew I wanted to do something very different. I adore the work of Coralie Bickford-Smith (who doesn’t!) and felt super inspired by her fresh designs for the Penguin classics (maybe it’s the Penguin-alum in me!) So, I got to thinking how I could approach this series with something more graphic, but still classic. Then I found the gorgeous work of Julene Harrison , who creates beautiful and detailed papercut illustrations—and I knew this was the solution! I was thrilled that my team at Aladdin books was whole-heartedly behind my pitch for this direction, and I really had a wonderful experience working with Julene on these. Each book in the series will feature specific elements from each story, following Anne’s adventures through the years.
These editions will print both as paperbacks and jacketed hard covers, on uncoated stock with spot UV. These new designs will roll out beginning in early 2014.
My 5-week Make Art That Sells online course with Lilla Rogers came to an end last week, and though it was hard to keep up with updates as the class was in-progress, my experience was too great not to share a bit in hindsight!
The course covered a different market each week: paper goods, baby apparel, scrapbooking, editorial, and party paper. Lilla created a fabulous “classroom” environment with her daily blog posts, interviews, videos, and a private Facebook group for all participating students to connect and share work in. She shared invaluable insight and tips for each market, and gave challenging assignments & constructive critiques each week.
I’ve already shared my assignments for week 1 and week 2, but haven’t been able to catch up with updates since! Our scrapbooking assignment was based on old typewriters and cameras—a personal favorite! For the editorial piece, each artist was to create a map of their current city. And the party paper theme was folk art. All super different and fun—was so great to explore such varied themes and markets! Some sketches and my final pieces included here, as well as a roundup of projects from all 5 weeks.
WEEK 3: Sketches inspired by vintage cameras & typewriters
WEEK 3: SCRAPBOOKING Create a page of art to be applied to various scrapbooking materials, based on the theme of old-fashioned communication
WEEK 4: EDITORIAL Create a map of your current city
WEEK 5: Folk art inspired sketches
WEEK 5: PARTY PAPER Create a paper plate & napkin set based on folk art motifs
Round up of all 5 weekly class assignments
It’s fun to see my growth as I look at my body of classwork. Coming in with nearly 10 years of experience doing illustration & design, mostly in publishing—I loved the challenging assignments & learning about new markets. Most of the themes were new subject matter for me, and the approach of working with icons to make versatile pieces that can be applied to a range of products was definitely very different for me. And, the community of artists from around the world who participated was invaluable—encouragement, feedback, and just seeing so many different styles & takes on the same assignments each week really inspired me to strive for better work each week. It really was like being back in art school!
I’m really excited to take what I learned and further develop my portfolio for licensing and surface design. I surprised myself a bit with what markets I was most drawn to, and my brain has exploded with new ideas and subject matter to dive into. Plus, as a special gift to her students, Lilla offered a free 6-month membership to MOYO—an online directory of artist specializing in surface and pattern design. Please stop by to give my portfolio some love there—and stay tuned to see some new work posted soon!
Anyone who knows me, knows that Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday & time of year. So I was thrilled to be invited to participate in “The Month of Fear“—a weekly art challenge created by fabulous fantasy illustrator Kristina Carroll as a follow up to her Month of Love last February.
The blog includes over 20 illustrators, each posting an image weekly in response to a given challenge topic related to fear or Halloween. Kristina also asked me to create the blog header lettering & background image, as I had for Month of Love. October ended up being quite a busy month for me, so I wasn’t able to complete every challenge, but wanted to share a few pieces.
Be sure to check out the blog—there’s tons of fabulous work up! monthoffear.blogspot.com
Hand-lettered blog header
Skull background pattern
Week 1 Challenge: What Lives Under Your Bed?
Week 3 Challenge: What’s your favorite horror story?
Week 4 Challenge: Illustrate a random phobia
Halloween Challenge: Illustrate a favorite Halloween Memory
I’m a bit behind with this post, but still wanted to share my assignment from last week for Lilla Rogers’ class. We explored the Baby Apparel market, which is a new territory for me. My work is a somewhat whimsical and kid-friendly, but I haven’t ever specifically created work for the baby market. Lilla’s also teaching us the importance of creating work from separate icons, which is a bit of a different approach for me. So, in a really fun challenge, we were to create a design and a few coordinates with a “camping” theme that could be applied to textiles and other baby apparel. I tried to push myself to simplify imagery to would read graphically and translate to various formats while still keeping the quality of my natural style. I had a lot of fun with this, especially with color palette and creating the coordinate patterns. A few images here of the process, sketches, and final presentation.
I’m taking Lilla Rogers’ 5-week Make Art That Sells online course. Lilla reps an impressive roster of artists, specializing in so many markets I’m interested in—papergoods, home décor, gifts, baby apparel, and more. Each week, she provides a creative assignment as well as tips and insights on trends, inspiration & resources for these markets, as well as interviews & advice from real-world companies like Anthropologie, Paperchase, Chronicle Books, and Real Simple Magazine. She takes time to look at every assignment submitted, and chooses several pieces from the class for an in-depth critique each week.
She offers this course in 2 parts—the first which was offered this past summer. I was unable to fit Part A into my schedule, but jumped on board for Part B as it covers specific topics I’m really interested in. I looked forward to starting “class” for months, and this was our first week. We covered the papergoods market—and our assignment was to create 2 holiday cards. Before being given the assignment, Lilla assigns a “mini” so we can spend a few days exploring the subject matter. She urges us to create work from separate icons/elements so that they can be multi-purposed and potentially used for entire product lines, which is common in these markets. This is very different from the way I have always approached image-making (since most of my experience has been in books and magazines), and proved to be more of a challenge than I expected. But a fun one! The hardest part was letting go of a sketched out “plan” and just allow myself to be open to happy accidents while working out composition. I also pushed myself to try some different things with color, keeping in mind all of Lilla’s fabulous insights.
Here are my drawings from the “mini” assignment, as well as the 2 cards I created for the project:
The latest in my series of illustrations for Hershey’s Bliss launched on their Facebook page this week. These “Blissisms”, or “truisms about life with a delicious chocolate twist”, are part of a social media campaign, and this is my third piece for the project.
This was a perfect opportunity to marry my hand-lettering & illustration and the creative team at W2O Group was fantastic to work with, making this one of my favorite assignments. Plus…who doesn’t love chocolate!
You can stop by and “like” the image on their Facebook Page, as well as check out the other images that are part of the campaign. I created their Facebook cover image as well as another “Blissism” (here), and am in great company with the other illustrators commissioned to be part of this fun campaign.
In my nearly 10 years of living in New York City, Autumn has become my favorite season. The slight chill on a sunny day, the crisp evening air, and the bustling people out and about fills my whole heart with excitement—almost like I am seeing the city with fresh eyes each September. I created this little image as a new promotional piece for my Facebook artist page, and as an opportunity to experiment a bit with technique. I played with watercolor and gouache washes with my line work, and old linocuts to overprint the leaves. The hand-lettered text come from the lyrics to one of my favorite Billie Holiday songs—a classic, celebrating this amazing time of year.
I love this quote by Helen Keller. I came across it a few years ago, in one of those books of inspiring quotes, and it really resonated with me. So, I tacked it up in my work space and it’s served as an inspiration ever since.
I have always believed that life isn’t something that happens to you, rather, it’s something that you make happen. And, though you don’t always have control over which paths present themselves to you & when, you do always have a choice of which path to follow. When your sights are always set on achieving your absolute best and constantly growing and evolving as a person, it just becomes impossible to be content with being content.
This perspective has guided me through my life in every way. It’s what made me choose art as a career, what made me change art schools 3 different times, and what made me leave everything I knew to chase a dream in the crazy & wonderful chaos that is New York City. The paths that have sprung from that leap 10 years ago have been unforeseen and unexpected—insanely difficult at times, but all leading to people and experiences in my life more amazing than I could have dreamed.
I’m incredibly lucky to have spent the last 10 years as a full-time designer in big publishing houses. I’ve learned an invaluable amount about design, art direction & creative collaboration, refined and broadened my skills, and developed a lot of really great relationships. Plus, I absolutely love making books and all the people I’ve been so lucky to work with! But, a few years ago, my heart began to tell me that wasn’t enough. That I had never let go of the desire to work for myself and more fully explore all the avenues that I can apply my skills to. And my body was beginning to tell me that I’m getting a little too old to pull all-nighters, cramming in freelance projects that I love too much to pass up.
So, I’ve made a really big decision to start a new chapter in my life by leaving the full-time corporate world to pursue my own design & illustration business full-time. I’ll of course continue to design book covers, but will also be able to devote more time and energy to growing other aspects of my career. It’s a huge decision, and I can’t help but be reminded of the New York street corner I stood on years ago, accepting a job offer that I knew would change my life. It was terrifying, but also exhilarating, to dive into unknown waters. I’ve spent years since, preparing to again jump into the unknown—and now the time has finally come. I’m very, very excited to see where this new chapter leads me & the growth it will allow, both personally and professionally.
I’m excited to finally get to share a very cool project that’s been in the works for awhile!
I’m one of several artists from around the world commissioned to illustrate a series of “Blissisms”—or “truisms about life with a delicious chocolate twist”—part of a social media campaign for Hershey’s line of Bliss chocolates. Each week, new images will be featured on Hershey’s Bliss Facebook page, encouraging their fans to submit their own creative sayings.
I’m thrilled to have my work be included in the kick-off for this fun campaign. I absolutely loved creating these first “Blissisms”, and in the upcoming weeks several more of my pieces will be featured. You can “like” them on Hershey’s Bliss Facebook page.
Thanks to the fabulous team at W2O Group for such a fun project!
Artist rep Lilla Rogers has launched a competition to find a new artist to add to her stellar roster of illustrators, and I jumped on the chance to participate! Her agency specializes in licensing work for surface design, and the winner will get representation for 2 years, as well as licenses for several products with top companies in the industry. This is an area I’ve been really excited about exploring in my work–so I couldn’t pass up this incredible opportunity!
The competition is judged on real-world assignments, and the first round was to create a journal cover for Paperchase—a stationery chain with really gorgeous product lines. The theme was “vintage playground” and was left very open to creative interpretation. I loved the subject matter, and worked through alot of sketches and ideas to find an approach that really felt like my voice.
This first round will be narrowed down to the top 50 to continue on to the next rounds. I had so much fun creating this, though the timing was a bit of a challenge for me. There were 3 weeks allowed for completion of this first assignment, but because of some travel-abroad plans I had, I only had about a week to create mine. It also seems there’s an incredible amount of competition, with hundreds of really amazing submissions. So not really sure what my odds are—but regardless, I totally enjoyed diving into this assignment and felt like I really came to a good place of understanding how my work could be applied to the kind of product.
Super excited to see the outcome and all the fabulous work that makes it to the next round!
Lilla also teaches an online course, “Make Art that Sells“, to guide illustrators through building a licensing-geared portfolio. The course is offered in 2-parts, the first of which ran in June. I was disappointed that I was unable to take part 1 due to my schedule with freelance projects, but I’m really hoping to take the 2nd part which begins in October.