Posts tagged ‘Illustration’

The cutting room floor…

I don’t think most people realize how many versions a book cover goes through before it becomes the final product they see on the shelf. Designing a book cover is a very collaborative process, and though it can also be a very challenging and loooong process at times—it’s always fascinating to see the evolution. Often, a designer’s best or favorite concepts are not the ones that make the final cut, so it’s fun to share what was left behind.

Here’s a recent cover I did for Egmont. Another opportunity to mix my own illustration and lettering into the design, I dove right in and really enjoyed hammering out these first comps.

GetHappyCOMPS

Ultimately, the publisher preferred a more commercial photographic approach, but I was still able to incorporate a whimsical illustration into the final cover:

GetHappy_CVR_HR

This is Mary Amato’s second YA novel, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

 

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MATS round up

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.

ScrapbookSK

WEEK 3: Sketches inspired by vintage cameras & typewriters

LiveYourStory

WEEK 3: SCRAPBOOKING Create a page of art to be applied to various scrapbooking materials, based on the theme of old-fashioned communication

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WEEK 4: EDITORIAL Create a map of your current city

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WEEK 5: Folk art inspired sketches

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WEEK 5: PARTY PAPER Create a paper plate & napkin set based on folk art motifs

MATSroundup

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!

 

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Happy Halloween!

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

 

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Hand-lettered blog header

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Skull background pattern

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Week 1 Challenge: What Lives Under Your Bed?

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Week 3 Challenge: What’s your favorite horror story?

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Week 4 Challenge: Illustrate a random phobia

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Halloween Challenge: Illustrate a favorite Halloween Memory

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Hershey’s Ad campaign

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!

 

HersheysBlissisms_FBcvr_FINAL_A HersheysBlissism_Diamonds

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Letterpress Fun

I’ve always loved letterpress. It just feels like the perfect medium for all the things I love most about both illustration and design——delicate linework, texture, graphic shapes & color, beautiful typography and a vintage, tactile quality. About 5 years ago I took a semester of Letterpress 101 through SVA’s Continuing Ed. program with the amazing Dikko Faust (founder of Purgatory Pie Press, and a master in the art of letterpressing). I immediately fell in love with the whole process, though it was a fairly large class and with a full-time job it was hard to get into the studio for press time during out-of-class hours. So I only produced a few projects and lost access to the studio once the semester ended.

But ever since, I’ve been itching to get back to exploring it a bit more. I only recently became aware of The Arm in Brooklyn—a public access letterpress studio run by Dan Morris, who, along with the other staff there are all-around awesome & super helpful guys. I took a day-long intro workshop there a few months back, and now am able to book time to go in to print my own projects.

Last night was the first time I was able to get in the studio and spend a few hours on the press. I got a couple plates made of some lines drawings from awhile back and experimented with different paper weights and 2-color printing. I was in heaven! Felt so good to be away from a screen and get back to getting a little down and dirty making some stuff with my hands—Super excited to go back for more!

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Crawfish_compare

This was a drawing I’d revisited from my Month of Love sketches, after a woman contacted me about using the image on her New Orleans wedding save-the-dates.

CrawfishLove

2-color print on Cranes Lettra 110 lb. cover stock in pearl white

Angel

Revisited a hand-lettered piece I’d created after the Sandy Hook shootings—I love this beautiful quote. Printed on Cranes Lettra 220 lb. cover stock in pearl white

Angel_Detail01

Detail. Loving the deep impression on the 220 lb stock!

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Some fun experimentation

I’ve been thinking about process and development a lot in my work lately.

A couple months ago, I had my portfolio reviewed by Charles Hively (Art Director and Publisher of 3×3 Magazine). His great professional feedback, and just having a fresh eye look at my work, was a re-energizing experience for me. I think it’s easy for anyone to lose sight of their work and the direction it’s going if there’s never a moment to reflect on it or consider it from a more objective angle. I think for me especially—since I juggle a creative full-time job where I design and art direct illustrators every day—what I am doing in my own work can feel clouded and even over-influenced by what I am constantly surrounded by. And the pressure I put on myself by comparing what I do to what I see, and trying to “speed up” to get to where I really want to be in my career, has created a lot of burn out and frustration for me.

Mr. Hively’s feedback suggested that I spend (a lot of) time figuring out how to allow more of my personal voice to shine through, as any artist has to do to really improve: Try new mediums, palettes, and/or subject matter; Study non-illustration & design work; Look at European illustration; Tap into the things that most interest & inspire me on a personal level—and let all these influences find their appropriate place in my work until that day when I “get goosebumps” because I’ll just know I’ll have found that really special thing in my work that sets it apart from everything else.

I agree that growth comes from stepping out of the “safe” zone, and I’ve been trying to slow down in a way —thinking less about “finished pieces” when I make new work and get more involved in my process. I took advantage of the extra time away from the office grind this long holiday weekend to experiment a bit with medium and process.

I love music and also love illustrating & hand-lettering quotes that inspire me. These words by Bilie Holiday seemed especially fitting for the things I’m thinking about at the moment, so I decided to revisit this drawing I’d done awhile back. Here’s some shots of  my  process:

Transfer

Original drawing and inkjet transfer to toothed paper

Colorblocking

Blocking in color with watercolor & goauche

WIP

Final art with inked line

Bille_HR

Digitized art

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Fun Food Illustration

Had a really fun assignment last week for a feature article in Time Out Chicago about a local “DIY” Burger joint. The art director wanted to “build” the shape of a burger out of hand-lettered ingredients. Loved the idea, and definitely got a little hungry while working on it! 🙂

It’s included in this week’s issue, and you can see the full article online here.

Burger_PORT

Many thanks to the AD, Stephanie, for the super cool project!

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New book cover design & Illustration

Very excited that I can finally share a project I worked on last year—a book cover for Lindsay Eland’s new middle-grade novel for Egmont Books. I love projects like this, where I had the opportunity to create the whole package: design, illustration, and hand-lettering.

This is the story of Sunday Fowler, who’s feels she’s always overlooked in her family as the third of six kids. So she’s determined to spend the summer finding a way to make herself stand out, and may have just found it in the mysterious letters she finds in a silver box in the basement of the library her parents are renovating. She’s determined to find out who wrote them, in hopes to unveil to the world what may be a lost novel—and become famous!


Summer of Sundays book cover

I tried several different approaches in the sketch rounds, but ultimately we decided to focus on conveying the sense of mystery as well as Sunday’s determination.

Summer of Sundays Sketches

I previously worked on Lindsay’s debut middle grade novel, Scones and Sensibility. It’s such a joy to work on her books—her writing is delightfully sweet & fun. A Summer of Sundays pubs in July and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

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Spoonflower winner!

I was so excited to find out last week that the pattern I designed and submitted to Spoonflower’s Mardi Gras-inspired fabric-of-the-week contest won! That means that the design is now available to the public for sale as fabric!

SpoonflowerMardiGrasFabric

I have looked at Spoonflower’s site for awhile, always wanting to become part of the community because I find it so inspiring! And as I’ve gotten more interested in pattern-making, it seems like a natural place to apply my work. But I never expected to win one of the contests—especially not the first repeat pattern I ever made!

Thanks to the Spoonflower community for voting! Can’t wait to contribute more designs!

Click here to order!And HAppy Mardi Gras, all!

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