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Making My Heart Sing

by abby on June 28, 2013 | Comment

photo of lady with smile with beach in the background
{Me super happy to be on an Oregon beach}

Happy Friday friends! I thought today I’d share a few more photos from D and my road trip from Portland to San Fran. These photos are from my 2 favorite spots along the way that truly made my heart sing.

This was my first time on the Oregon coastline and I was super excited. I love beaches anyway, but the Oregon coastline is SO AMAZING! In Oregon Mother Nature gives you these dramatic cliff coastlines paired with smooth flat beaches. When I saw the immense stretch of smooth packed sand at Beverly Beach I just had to…
Photo of lady skipping at Beverly Beach OR

Photo of tiny lady skipping on sand at beach

Photo of lady skipping at Beverly Beach OR
{Hey—I’m still a kid at heart}

SKIP! D and I had a great early evening at the beach. I put my toes into the Pacific Ocean (brrrr!) and I climbed onto a natural log bridge. While D was taking this photo an 7 year old boy walked by and waved to me. Ha! Loved it.

Abby sitting on natural log bridge
{Me happily sitting on a log bridge at Beverly Beach}

That night we camped in a yurt close to the beach. We had our first camp fire together and sipped Oregon wine from our collapsible camp cups. Vacation doesn’t get any better.

Photo of small book necklace with sketch of yurt
{Our yurt}

A couple of days later we had a day to spend at Redwood National Forest in Northern California. It has been a dream of mine to see the Redwood trees and to hug one. Yeah, I know a little silly, but it was what I wanted to do! Thankfully, we hiked through a forest full of them and I got my wish.

Lady hugging large Redwood tree
{Tiny me hugging a HUGE Redwood tree}

D and I both agreed that we absolutely loved Oregon and I know we shall be back. I wouldn’t mind spending a few more nights camping in a yurt close to the beach. Maybe next time too we’ll actually see a whale on our whale watch boat ride!

Have a great weekend!

En Plein Air Painting and Sketching

by abby on June 25, 2013 | Comment

Photo of girl sitting on bench on cliff overlooking Portland coastline
{Me sitting on a lovely wooden bench painting this gorgeous vista}

I’m back! What a trip D and I had to Portland and driving along the coastline to San Francisco! There’s so much to share that I’ll be posting more photos with you on Friday too.

Even though I’ve been an artist for my whole life, it’s only recently that I’ve made a conscious effect to sketch and paint while traveling. In the past I’ve often created painting from photos I’ve taken. This has been fun, but there’s something magical about creating right on the spot that is inspiring you.

Photo of watercolor painting of OR coastline
{Battle Rock, OR}

Stopping along while touring Portland and on our road trip helped to break up the trip. If I saw something that I wanted to paint, I’d ask that we hang out for 20-30 minutes. I’d pull out my watercolors and D would explore locally and snap a few more photos or in one case—nap (ha!). He is so wonderful about giving me the time to create.

Photo of watercolor painting from Japanese Garden in Portland OR
{Bridge in the Japanese Garden in Portland, OR}

With so much beauty in the Japanese Garden it was hard to find the right spot to paint. I finally settled on a view of a curved foot bridge with all sorts of foliage around.

Abby Painting in the Japanese Garden in Portland OR
{Me at the Japanese Garden in Portland, OR}

I love how my own outfit seems to coordinate perfectly with my garden surroundings too (huge grin).

Abby sketching on side of the road looking at ocean
{Me taking a moment to make a quick tiny sketch in my book necklace}

D captured these great photos of me in action painting and sketching. I didn’t even know he took these!

photo of book necklace
{Northern Oregon coastline}

My new sketchbook necklace was so much fun to use. I captured great little moments and thoughts of our trip. I’ll be sharing more tiny sketches and more photos of my 2 favorite spots from our trip—such inspiration!

Where are you planning YOUR vacation?

My Travel Sketchbook

by abby on June 6, 2013 | Comment

photo of watercolor sketchbook and dried watercolors with brushes

Guess what you guys?! D and I are heading out on a great vacation adventure this weekend! We’ll be flying into Portland, Oregon to explore the city for a few days and then we are taking a road trip down along the coast to San Francisco. Eeeee! You can imagine how excited we are.

One of my goals on this trip is to incorporate time to sketch and watercolor. I’m sure I’ll find great inspiration with dramatic coast lines and the amazing surprises we will find along the way.

book necklace from Just Terrific

In fact I have a SUPER COOL sketchbook that I will be wearing on this trip, too. Yes, I said wearing it. It’s a book necklace made by Just Terrific. I met Rachel at a local art and craft fair and immediately fell in love with her book necklaces.

Just Terrific leather bound book necklace

Each book is hand sewn. The cover is made of leather and fastens together with a cord of leather. Her book necklaces are all unique. I chose this one because I liked the length of the chain and the earth-color beads.

photo showing open blank pages of small book necklace

The book necklace pages are blank—perfect for a few words of the moment or a quick sketch, wash, or doodle!

lady wearing small handmade book on a metal chain

Ta-da! I simply adore it. The book is small and not heavy at all. Plus, the chain is long enough for easy on and off, too. I cannot wait to fill it with moments from my travels.

I’ll be back in touch after our vacation and I’m sure I’ll share with you a few sketches from my book necklace. Have a great week!

Where are you vacationing this year?

Interior YA Novel Design

by abby on June 3, 2013 | Comment

photo of YA novel covers of Openly Straight and Rebel Spirits

I received 2 young adult books last week in the mail. It was like seeing old friends again. I worked on these Scholastic book projects last fall (yes it takes months and years to publish a book!) For both, Openly Straight and Rebel Spirits I created the interior page designs. This means I choose the text type, the margins, style the chapter opening pages and extracts, the front matter, and figure out the total page count. It’s a lot to juggle and pull together, but I LOVE it. And since I read all the books I design, I can say that are both very enjoyable stories too!

photo of title page of YA novel Openly Straight
{Title page design}

Openly Straight is about a high school age boy, named Rafe, who is gay and he’s been out since eight grade. In his home town of Boulder, CO he is isn’t teased and he talks about tolerance, but he wants to be a regular guy, not the gay guy. He wants that to be a part of his identity, but not the headline.

image of teen novel chapter opener
{Chapter opener design}

So when he transfers to a New England all boys boarding school, he gets a fresh start and he becomes openly straight. But things get complicated when he begins to fall in love with one of his new friends. This is a smart, funny novel dealing with modern issues.

photo of History of Rafe
{Long book extract explaining Rafe’s story before boarding school. To visually make this appear different from the narrative, the type was set in a sans serif typeface}

With this being a current day story, I wanted to keep the overall design fresh, modern, and clean. The emoticons are a great addition to the jacket and the interior. I really do love how the title page spread turned out.

YA novel title page image
{Title page design}

In Rebel Spirits Lori and her parents just moved into a house in Gettysburg, PA. Lori doesn’t know what she thinks about ghosts, but the town is obsessed with them and the history of the civil war. When she meets Nathaniel, a troubled soul who needs her help, she becomes a believer and starts to fall in love too. Nathaniel was a solider, but he wasn’t killed in battle. He was murdered. Lori begins to investigate and unforeseen clues and secrets are revealed.

photo of teen novel interior chapter opener design
{Chapter opening page design}

With the civil war theme and straight-forward narrative, the design is more traditional. I added a running head and a wood type ornament on the chapter openers to add some visual variety to the pages. I have to say too, I REALLY enjoyed reading this book. If you know anyone who likes a good mystery with historical touches, this is the book for them.

It’s always a great joy to see the actual printed book. Since I only see the jacket front and the interior design when I work, it’s fun to see how the entire book is pulled together. On these books found a great surprise, too—embossed covers!

photo of yellow cover with embossed emoticonsphoto of embossed hardcover of Rebel Spirits

Ooooooooo, nice touch, right?!
If you have a book you want designed please contact me. I work with both publishers and self-publishing authors.

Have you read a good book lately?
Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear about it!