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Trending Now: Bugs

by abby on April 29, 2011 | Comment

It’s finally Spring here in upstate New York! How do I know? Well…
a) I now wake up to birds chirping outside my studio window (yay!)
b) I’m sneezing a whole lot more (thanks to all those Lilac bushes in Highland Park)
c) I’ve seen a few creepy crawlies in our “full of charm” 1920’s apartment.

One of these little visitors was a red ladybug that landed on my studio window sill. Of all the bugs, I don’t really mind ladybugs—must be because they are so circular and lucky! I credit her for the inspiration to create my new line of stationery—BUGS! The first two designs of this series feature bright red ladybugs and golden yellow honeybees.
AbbyDora Design stationery

AbbyDora Design illustration

I wanted to create simply, styled insects that would have strong graphic looks. I focused on color and shape to compose the insects and compositions. Happily the response to my cards has been wonderful on my Etsy shop. Thanks everyone! I’m working on a third bug design. It’s still in the sketch phase, but I will tell you it will be green and flies. Any guesses?

While working on this third bug card, I overheard a book review at the beginning of the week that couldn’t have been more on topic with my artwork. Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart describes the more devilish insects in our world. Even the cover design is menacing looking. Thankfully, I have never encountered these bugs in my house! One insect of interest is the emerald wasp. This mean bug will sting the brain of a cockroach in order to disable the instinct for the cockroach to run away. The wasp can then lead the cockroach around like a dog on a leash until she finds a suitable place for her to lay her eggs in the cockroach’s belly. Craziness!

DON’T FORGET!
AbbyDora Design is offering a Mother’s Day giveaway this week. Once lucky person will win their very own ladybug note card set and a bonus Mother’s Day card. See details below to enter!

Mother’s Day Notecard Giveaway!

by abby on April 28, 2011 | Comment

Abby Dora Design
red ladybug AbbyDora Design
I’ve teamed up with my friend, Rachael, on her style blog: www.rachaelpassingnotes.com to offer a great Mother’s Day gift giveaway! One lucky reader of her blog will win an AbbyDora Design ladybug notecard set and select a bonus mother’s day card from my etsy shop. Be sure to visit her blog to enter.

TO ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY:
1. Visit: www.rachaelpassingnotes.com
2. ‘Like’ AbbyDora Design on Facebook
3. Visit the AbbyDora Design shop and leave a comment on Rachael Passing Notes telling her which Mother’s Day card you would choose!
BONUS: For an extra entry follow Rachael Passing Notes {if you aren’t already} and leave a comment letting her know!

The winner will be drawn on Wednesday, May 4th just in time to surprise your Mom on Sunday!

Let’s Talk About Another Potter

by abby on April 15, 2011 | Comment

On a rainy morning last week, I trekked to Rochester’s Central Public Library with the intention of using their extensive picture file for reference materials. As a lover of printed books I treated myself to wandering through the stacks in the ART section once I had completed the initial task. I love wandering through packed shelves in libraries and in bookshops. I think it’s the chance of finding a treasure that excites me. Thankfully, this moment didn’t disappoint. Kneeling down to view the early 1990’s selections of graphic designer guides, I happened to glance at the shelf over my left shoulder and there it was: a faded, plastic wrapped book in dirty lime green, The Art of Beatrix Potter. Score! The book is a collection of the early works and preliminary drawings of the well-known stories of the lake-district author-illustrator. It even came with an introductory from the infamous New York City public librarian, Anne Carol Moore. Giddy with excitement I took this book home with me.

I had grown up reading these tiny books with their delicate watercolor paintings, but I didn’t know much about the author herself. I learned that Ms. Potter actually was a great lover of animals and had several pets, among who was a large rabbit named Peter! Below is a drawing by Ms. Potter of her sleeping Peter.
Beatrix Potter sketch

Ms. Potter lived on a working farm and she used her countryside and the animals on it as inspiration for characters and settings of her books (makes complete sense!). Of all her books, my favorite is The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Below are a couple of fantastic preliminary sketches. The top one is of Peter’s sisters: Flopsy, Mospy, and Cottontail washing themselves. The bottom features Peter Rabbit with Mr. McGregor in his garden. You can just feel the suspense. Even in sketches Ms. Potter has a wonderful sense of body language to tell more of the action in the story. Language alone should not limit the enjoyment of a picture book for a child.
Flopsy Mopsy Cottontail

Seeing a sketch and then the finished work helps to reveal the creative process of the artist. By comparing the two side by side you can begin to see how the artist starts a project and works to a solution. Below is a sketch and then the finished watercolor painting from Peter Rabbit. This one shows “old Mrs. Rabbit” on her way to the baker’s house.
abbydora design

There were many more drawings and painting to share, but I’ll leave you with one more. Beatrix Potter’s picture books were unique in several ways. The small size of them creates a dramatic impact to the reader (rumor has it they were scaled small to fit the size of a child’s hand). The placement of full color illustrations within the pages was also a novelty during the turn of the twentieth century. Finally, Ms. Potter added colored endpaper to her books! As a book designer, having colored endpapers is like having hot fudge with whip cream on your ice cream. It’s heavenly! Her endpaper actually changed over the years as she added characters. I’ve selected her second version of endpaper to share with you.
Petter Rabbit

This endpaper shows the in-process painting of: Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, and mice in The Tale of Gloucester. The detailing in the drawing is just incredible. Beatrix Potter had the right combination of verbal and visual storytelling. Her books to this day are treasured items and are collected by book lovers all over the world.

The moral of this story: go to your own library!