Friday, September 30, 2011

Oh, Canada

Just returned from a week-and-a-half-long trip up to Prince Edward Island to spend some time at the little house my parents built this spring/summer. Of course, while I was there they put me to work...

The kitchen cupboards were done pretty hastily and will require another trip to finish. And no, of course I didn't plan it that way. >_> What would make you think that?

We also made the obligatory trip to Green Gables, and to Lucy Maud Montgomery's birthplace. It was nice to see it not blanketed with three+ feet of snow, as has been the case every other time I've visited Canada. I'm already excited to visit next summer, and hopefully to get a set of the 'Anne' books for the cottage. It's a perfect place to curl up with a book and read!

Monday, August 29, 2011


Dummy book, finally!*

*It still needs massive work, obviously. Things I want to accomplish this week: 1) buy some magenta paper to serve as end paper to bind the whole thing together. 2) reprint and re-tape EVERYTHING. 3) Figure out if I want to go bright or retro with the colors and do two finals.

I put this project aside for several months, as I was starting to second-guess everything. Upon recent inspection, I'm only second guessing every other thing - progress! So now it's time to fix the things that bug me and make all necessary corrections. But it does look rather nice and semi-professional sitting here on my desk, which makes me happy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mr. Boddington's

I've been slacking off on applying to graphic design jobs lately, as I finished an awesome freelance job (more on that when it debuts in the fall) and felt like resting on my laurels a bit. But when I saw an advertisement for a graphic design position at Mr. Boddington's Studio, I started sketching right away. I've seen some of their stuff before, at Style Me Pretty, and while I'd love to work for any stationery design studio, I feel like my style is particularly suited to this job.

I'm so happy that they asked A) for applications to be mailed and B) for a bit of design work specific to their studio and style. Here's what I ended up with.

The advertisement asked for applicants to create a moving announcement for the studio, as they've recently relocated cross-town to Chelsea.

The liner, which may be my favorite part. It was much easier to make than I'd imagined - definitely something I want to start doing for myself. The pattern is one my best friend Meghan would doodle on notebooks when we were in high school - I totally stole it and have used it for different projects since. Meghan is *so* getting a credit in the first book in which I use it.

The front and back of the announcement. Originally, I was going to make the map the front, but as it became so graphic heavy, I decided to move most of the text to the other side.

I also included samples from other, relevant jobs, including this Save-the-Date I designed a few months back. It features the couple's cats - I did several different designs, but I love the one they picked for the final. Just super sweet and pretty.

And hurrah for triple checking my work, as somewhere in the process, I'd managed to write down the wrong zipcode and had to reprint/rewrite everything twenty minutes before leaving to mail it. I ended up losing the sailor's knot on the envelope. I loved it in theory, but in practice, it wasn't quite what I'd hoped.

Also, as I was working on this, my color palette was influenced by another project I've been working on - painting the apartment! My roommate had kitted out our bathroom when I went to visit my parents a few weeks back, and I love the shower curtain she picked out (it doubles wonderfully as a photo backdrop). We wanted a color that would compliment it, but wasn't exactly the same. I pulled several paint swatches that worked, and from there we decided on a favorite - shark!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


*Finally* made it to the McQueen exhibit! My friend Liz was in town from DC, and the whole day worked out perfectly, in the end. After a trip that usually takes 2 trains and 45 minutes (but took 4 trains and an hour and a half yesterday - yay, weekends), the line to get into the building was moving pretty quickly when I got there. Liz was already in line for the exhibit, so after about 45 minutes of running around the museum (literally, a few times - which I'm embarrassed to admit was much more fun than it should have been), looking for stairways or elevators that had not been blocked off, we met up. From there, it was about a half hour wait, and we were in! We looked, we oohed and ahhed, we sketched...

As Liz said, after waiting in line for so long, and shuffling through the crowded first room, the second room was like walking into the grown-up version of Disney's haunted mansion. But after the rather disappointing display in the first room (some mirrors would have helped), the staging of the exhibit was pretty great. LOVED the masks by Guido Palau, though I didn't include many of them here.

We went at a very leisurely pace, and I ended up seeing things I probably would have missed otherwise. Like the angel/Nike (the goddess, not the swoosh) heel on a shoe I otherwise didn't care for.

LOVED the pieces from "It's Only a Game" (inspired by the wizard chess at the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone!), the British and Scottish-inspired "The Girl Who Lived in the Tree" and "Widows of Culloden" (respectively), and everything involving religion, history, art history, or a mix of all three. Which was pretty much everything...

By the time we got out (around 11:00), the rest of the museum was closed. After peering round a corner into an empty hall, we both arrived at the same conclusion - time to 'Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler' it! Of course, being responsible adult-type, not-wanting-to-be-arrested people, we walked over to Third Ave. to compare notes over drinks and sushi instead. After all, there's always next time.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Drew this last October, but it seems appropriate to post it now, after getting to see Real Madrid play in Philly this past weekend. Had a great time, needless to say.

As an artist, I've always had more fun drawing girls (hair! dresses!). So it took me by surprise when, shortly after moving back to Brooklyn, I showed my new roommates what I'd been working on for the past six months and one of them commented, "Wow, so you draw a lot of guys."

And it's definitely true, at the moment. Specifically, little cartoon soccer player guys. Hopefully, I'm going to branch out and draw some of the women's players soon as well. Also, you know, finish my own projects that are so close to completion. But for now, boys, boys, boys...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Game of Thrones

Long time, no post. I'm currently drowning in a deluge of Etsy orders (yay?!), and packing for a long weekend at home. But a certain fantasy drama is eating my brain...

I bought the first book to read on the bus to DC. I wouldn't be surprised if I picked up the second for the return trip.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

High Seas

I decided to do, and finished-ish, this Illustration Friday piece about two hours ago. I'm feeling pretty adrift myself today, so this picture started as a mouse in peril. It wasn't until I finished coloring in the Hokusai-inspired waves that I sat back and went, "Oh." I'd started with one story and ended up with another entirely.

Safe travels, little mousie, regardless of your home port or your destination.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011


From a song my maternal grandmother used to sing to me. I can actually vaguely remember either her or my mother explaining to me what the word "cultivate" meant.

I'm a little prairie flower,
Growing wilder every hour.
Nobody cares to cultivate me,
'Cause I'm as wild as wild can be.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Under the Tuscan Sun

I'm so close to finishing my dummy book. But I'll post about that later. Right now, I'm cleaning up my picture folders - I'm trying to keep up with that on this computer - and I came across this watercolor sketch.

It's tucked in an edge of the mirror on top of my chest-of-drawers at home, but I had my brother scan it and e-mail it to me last month to use as a sample for a job I applied to. (Thanks, Ross!) I'm looking forward to warmer days, and in that spirit, this just felt like something I wanted to share. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

American Gothic

I hope I'm not alone in the following: on occasion, for whatever reason, I'll look through a full or almost full sketchbook and think, "You know what? You're pretty marvelous. You should really do something about this." And I promise to share my brilliance with the world, and go to sleep happy. And then I inevitably oversleep, or have to run six errands before lunch, or I look through the same sketchbook again by the light of day and think, "Ugh.", and the brilliance-sharing gets put off for another day.

Anyway, one such session prompted me to scan a few of my favorites from the latest almost-finished sketchbook, and I'm glad I have them on hand to share after Children's Illustration's latest link on the resurgence of Edward Gorey (did he ever go missing, really?).*

See? I'm timely, and have been for years. And if the New York Times doesn't prove it, check out my new Tumblr, in which I one up the trend of mocking hipsters by secretly wanting to fit in with them. (Ho-ho!)

*I have a feeling this post is fairly insufferable, so let me add that I love Gorey for the media he used, for the subject matter, for working small, and for the Masterpiece Theater Mystery! intro. Though maybe watching too much public television as a kid is what makes me write posts like the one above today...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love on Wheels

Starting a new project, yay, which also inspired me to get down an idea I had for some super twee wedding stationary...

It could still use some work (and some other pieces), but I had fun drawing roller skates. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Valentine's!

A) I have yet to finish the Nutella, but I've been hired as a part-time (*very* part-time) tutor. Yay?

B) I also applied for another illustration job, the kind that only comes along every two months or so. If I could pick between winning the lottery and getting this job, I'd choose this job.

C) Every different position I apply for, I see an area where my portfolio is lacking. So I've been doing lots of 20-minute projects - finishing some, still working on others. In that vein, here are some Valentine's Day postcards. Click on them for a LARGE version. Please use, share, print, etc.!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In the past couple of days I've...

Gotten reacquainted with the finer points of Illustrator.

Finished another sketch for the dummy.

Linked my tumblr on an internship application. (Whut? IKR?)

Made a new team charm bracelet that I can't wait to put up on Etsy.

Walked to the Court Street Barnes & Noble to deliver a job application, and on to the Brooklyn Promenade with my roommate, Lis.

Tanked in fantasy football and still moved up a slot.

Didn't slip and break my leg, despite its best efforts, on my way back from getting groceries.

And did a few navel-gazing cartoons, such as this one:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Bookshelf, shelf 1

I've been meaning to do a post on my favorite children's books for ages. Having just moved back to Brooklyn (yay!), I had to take a good look at my library and pare it down to what would fit on a single shelf. I ended up bringing mostly shiny, new books - some of my old books are too precious to travel, and a few books I had packed didn't make the journey (Miss Rumphius, OMG, WHERE IS MISS RUMPHIUS?). But here's a look at my bottom shelf...

1. Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, bought during college. Let me know just how vastly I was undercharging people for freelance work my first few years out of school.

2. Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market, bought at the Green Valley Book Fair (herein referred to as GV) in mid-2010, at a considerable discount. Another great resource.

3. The Little Blue-Eyed Girl, one of the two books I illustrated for Joan Houck. Go! Buy it!

4. Where the Wild Things Are. You'd think this is a classic every child would own, but I did not. I bought a copy to read to my kindergarten art students in preparation for a lesson, and fell in love with the rhythm of the story as an adult, reading it aloud for the first time.

5. When Jessie Came Across the Sea - a GV buy. A story for older children, or for more attentive younger ones during quiet time. The illustrations are lovely - less stylized than I usually go for, but beautifully done. A story of an immigrant girl coming to New York, and a love story, in more than one way.

6. The Wolves in the Walls. Neil Gaiman does children's books? I had to buy this one (again at GV), and the illustrations by Dave McKean are wonderfully raw and spooky, while conveying a level of mystery and forboding appropriate for kids who love scary stuff (as I did).

7. Supersister: as mentioned here!

8. Swan Lake. Actually a chapter book of the classic story, punctuated with illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg. You know, *the* Chris Van Allsburg. This is a gorgeously made book, and the illustrations are perfect - the light, color, shapes, form, texture - everything people love about Van Allsburg's illustrations in a tale for older children. (From my grandmother.)

9. Nutcracker (it's honestly a shame there are no images from this book online, that I can find). Similar to the last book in many ways - a longer story, a ballet, rendered in amazingly beautiful pastels. But while Van Allsburg's pastels really show his architectural background, Carter Goodrich's are candy confections. The lines, forms, and color are flawless, but softer, sweeter, and infused with golden light. He also effortlessly depicts specific expressions, which I find nothing short of a marvel with such a soft medium. (From my aunt.)

10. I hadn't read Eloise until my mom brought it home late last year, which I think might be a mortal sin for an aspiring children's book illustrator. Of course I was familiar with the character, but I was delighted with the fold out pages, the limited color palette, the character of Knight's lines, and the *humor* - is it possible this book was published in the 50s? On the other hand, it was probably a good thing I didn't read this book as a child. I pity any teacher - pardon me, private tutor - that has to instruct this entitled, unruly, woefully lonely little girl.

11. Larry Gets Lost in Seattle. I'm a bit loathe to admit I own this book, as I've been working on a similar idea (both title and story) for years now. But I'm a sucker for children's travel books, and this one is nicely done, with super-stylized, retro-esque illustrations. A nice souvenir of a trip to Seattle.

12. & 13. The Thread of Life and Pockets, both books by Mary Grand Pre. Neither story is amongst my favorites, but I fell in love with Mary's artwork as most of America did - on the cover of the Harry Potter books. Another artist who uses pastels (seeing a trend here?), I absolutely idolized her in college (OMG, she lists Marc Chagall as an influence? I LOVE Chagall!!1), and I think some of my work still shows the influence of her "soft geometry".

14. Alvie Eats Soup. I love this book. An author-illustrated tale about a boy who, you guessed it, only eats soup. I love this book because it's relevent - with my younger brother, it would have been chicken nuggets, but how many children can relate to only eating what they know, love, and want? The author, Ross Collins, is Scottish, and I think it shows in his sense of humor. I loved the illustrations when I first saw them, because they felt kindred to me. The lines were my sort of lines; I saw my own style in the use of watercolor and colored pencil. I love how the text is integrated with the story almost like a comic book, and I love how when you reach the end, you want to read it all over again.

15. & 16. The Legend of Mackinac Island, and The Legend of Sleeping Bear. Souvenirs from this summer's trip to Michigan. Using beautiful form and color, Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen acheives what I admire about the best pastel illustrations while using what looks to be acrylics. The vibrant colors leap off the page, and make the stories based in legends about nature come to life. NGL, the first time I read the Legend of Sleeping Bear Dunes, it made me teary as The Giving Tree.

17. My Penguin Osbert, another GV buy. Guess what medium this is done in? I think I suffer from pastel envy, but the adorable drawings and cool tone (even when using reds and pinks) set this one apart. This is another story I incorporated into Kindergarten lessons, usually right after Christmas. It's a great story about how sometimes when you get the thing you think you want, it turns out differently than you'd hoped. But with the humorous tone and the cute ending, it's a tale kids definitely enjoy.

18. When my mother brought home Barack Obama's (wonderfully crafted) children's book, it bugged me that I couldn't place the illustrator on the spot. Five minutes later, I rushed to my room and produced this book. Another GV book, my mom picked this one out. It's the story of a lonely little girl who moves to New York and finds happiness and (appropriately enough, I think the word I'm looking for is) sanctuary at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, during the Feast of St. Francis and the procession of the animals.

19. A Time to Keep, a Tasha Tudor classic. When other kids brought frogs and insects to nature camp, this was my show-and-tell. I have to give props to 7 year-old me, for recognizing how precise the illustrations of flowers and animals really are, while retaining their soft, old-timey charm. And what little girl doesn't want her blazing birthday cake floating down a river towards her, while she wears a crown of flowers? Simple times, yet magical.

20. I bought this book at Winchester Book Gallery after a successful show of my work produced a little cash. But let's back up about 20 years, to when I had my life together, and was a library aide after school. This was one of my favorite books in the most OCD-elementary-schooler way. The incredible detail Peter Spier puts into all his books - but especially People - is mind-blowing even today. I would pull this book off the shelf almost every afternoon, and examine a page or two. The section on people's dwellings especially fascinated me. Some of the pictures and information are a bit dated, but over all, this is the important, timeless story about appreciating and embracing our differences, while recognizing the things that make us all the same. Religion, wars, and death may be heavy stuff for a children's book, but it's presented in a natural way that leads to the inevitable conclusion that every person is valuable, because we are people.