I recently had the great opportunity to work with Sleeping Bear Press on a new middle-grade book series, “Stage Struck” by Anya Wallach. I designed and illustrated this cover for the first book, including the hand-lettered branding that will be carried over to future books in the series. The series is closely based on the real-life experience of Wallach, who began a summer theater “camp” in her parents’ basement when she was just sixteen years old and formed Random Farms, which has launched the careers of many of today’s youngest stars on Broadway.
Many thanks to AD, Jennifer Bacheller, for this fun project!
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: