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Happy Back to School

by abby on August 31, 2012 | Comment

back to school quote

With the passing of Labor Day weekend,New York students and teachers had back to school next week. There may be some grumbles, but the start of school and Fall offers a unique opportunity—the chance for a new beginning!

For me I’m pushing myself to be brave and start projects that have been on my to do list for waaaaaay too long. I’ve been scared to fail at them. But fear should not decide my future. It’s time to push fear aside and take hold of my goals. I might stumble and fall, but I will be moving forward and learning from each step! I rather try than do nothing. I’m using the fresh start of the school season to jump on these projects. Once a little progress has been made I’ll share what I’ve been working on.

Happy Back to School!

New Fiction: A World Away

by abby on August 28, 2012 | Comment

new YA fiction

Books take years to publish, so I was extra happy to finally see one of my first freelance book design projects sitting on a shelf at my local Barnes & Noble! Hooray! This new young adult book is called A World Away. It’s published by Hyperion Books. To publish a book it “takes a village”. There are authors, artists, editors, copy editors, art directors, cover designers, and production coordinators just to name a few. For this project, I was the interior novel designer.

YA book designer

As an interior book designer, it’s my job to be sure the voice of the story is conveyed through the styling of the text fonts, chapter openers, and all the front matter—pages like the title page that appear before the start of the story.

book typesetter

I believe its so important to read the manuscript before I start to design! And let me tell you this is a great story about a teen Amish girl who becomes a nanny for a Chicago family living in the 21st century. Imagine making your first phone call, seeing your first movie, or having your first photo taken at age sixteen! A World Away is an engaging story of finding out where you belong and self discovery. Oh and there are a few twists and turns on the journey! Be sure to check this book out at your local book store or library.

What piece of new fiction are you excited about?

Cape May Sketches

by abby on August 24, 2012 | Comment

victorian beach town

I’m back from a great week at the beach! D and I had a wonderful vacation at the Victorian seaside town of Cape May, NJ. It’s one of my most cherished spots in the world.

I do love the beach-really at any hour, but mornings on the beach when the light is soft and it’s just you and the ocean are my favorite. One morning I brought watercolors and a few scraps of cold press watercolor paper with me during a stroll in the sand. D was kind enough to sit and let my creativity flow. He was sneaky and snapped a few photos of me “in the zone”!

AbbyDora Design watercolor

I sat near a lifeguard chair and row boat. It was fun just to combine the pencil and loose watercolor washes. No pressure, just letting the paint flow.

watercolor illustration

D got a little closer!

en plain air watercolor

I look so serious, but I truly had a blast painting in the sand! For my last watercolor sketch I looked down the beach to all the emerging beach goers and beach gear. I focused on the pops of color.

watercolor beach sketch

It was so much fun to sit in the sand and paint. I wished I had one more morning to do this again. I did take several photos of the beach and around town. I’m planning on turning a few of those into watercolor paintings too. After this vacation, I feel refreshed and energized to start creating again.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Artist Shadow Magnet

by abby on August 16, 2012 | Comment

art magnets

Have you seen these fun magnets? They are called Shadow Magnets. They have moveable joints, so you can pose them in a variety of positions. It’s like a marionette magnet! I was given the Artist Shadow Magnet, but there are several other characters. Be sure to check them out. Today, my Artist magnet is jumping for joy because finally the week is almost done and D and I are heading on vacation tomorrow!

Have a great week!

Skull Pie

by abby on August 14, 2012 | Comment

hand drawn skull

With only a few more days still D and I take a beach vacation we are getting a little stir crazy. This was evident last weekend, when inspiration hit me to bake a very fun pie. D loves pie. Let me say this again, D LOVES his pie. So as a thank you for all his help with the Park Ave Festival I baked him a peach pie (with local farm fresh peaches…yum). But being an illustrator I can’t ever just leave the pie top blank! So with this pie I drew a skull with some of the left over dough. Pretty cool, right?! We now call this Skull Pie. Skull Pie is quite delicious, too.

How do you decorate the top of your pie?

New Jaguar Painting

by abby on August 10, 2012 | Comment

wild animal watercolor

Last week I shared the color sketch of the baby jaguar and now I’d like to share the finished painting! My client has a little girl who makes this same face every time her mom says “Jaguar”, so I thought I’d capture some of the personality in the little Jaguar himself. I’m quite happy with how he turned out.

A print of this gouache and colored pencil painting will be mounted/sealed in clear acrylic to a ready to hang wood panel. The Jaguar fits right in with the rest of the wild animal series. Be sure to check them all out!

Happy Friday!

Park Ave Fest Thank You

by abby on August 7, 2012 | Comment

Bee Thank You notes
Honey Bee Thank You Notes

What a weekend! With the help of my little bee friend I’d like to personally say “THANK YOU!” to everyone who stopped by the AbbyDora Design booth at this year’s Park Ave Festival in Rochester New York. Even with a Sunday afternoon thunderstorm the AbbyDora Design had a great weekend!

AbbyDora Design artwork
Park Ave Festival 2012 booth

The AbbyDora Design booth looked fantastic once again. I decided to hang a whole lot more of our prints and panels and I think it made the difference. Plus, I just love that bright green! It truly draws people into the booth. The one word that came to my mind to describe the booth was “Charming”. Yay!

The 2012 Park Ave Fest was the last of our major festivals this year. No worries though, all of our artwork, prints, and cards are available at our on-line store. I hope you have a wonderful end to your summer too. I know I’m looking forward to a little beach relaxation in a couple of weeks!

What are you doing to mark the end of Summer?

Candlewick Believes in Picture Books

by abby on August 3, 2012 | Comment

picture book campaign

Candlewick Press, one of my favorite children’s book publishers, is starting a FANTASTIC book campaign at the end of August. Picture book supporters everywhere will rejoice! Candlewick Press is starting the “WE BELIEVE IN PICTURE BOOKS!” project. It’s a year long celebration of the picture book told through videos by authors, illustrators, teachers, Candlewick staff, other supporters of this treasured format.

Here’s the trailer for this very special campaign:

Like the video above, each “We Believe in Picture Books” video will be short and informal as contributors share what the picture book means to them and share their favorite stories. I’m excited to see inside a few of the illustrators studios too!

As a children’s book designer and aspiring children’s book illustrator, picture books are close to my heart. One of my all time favorite picture books is: Brave Irene by William Steig. I remember my mom reading this book to me over and over again before bed. To this day, during very windy winter snow storms (and Rochester get a few) I always recall brave Irene. I hope this year you’ll celebrate picture books with me and with Candlewick Press!

What is your all time favorite picture book?