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Send Smiles and Love

by abby on January 31, 2014 | Comment

watercolor hearts with hand written text on them about love
{New valentine cards!}

I’m pleased to announce that I have NEW cards in my Shoppe!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I have created 2 new Valentine cards sets that feature playful watercolor heart patterns. The first I’m calling Colorful Hearts.

Set of 8 red, yellow, orange watercolor heart valentines
{Colorful Hearts Valentine card set}

interior of card says happy valentines day in pink handwriting

This card design was inspired by the heart shaped candies with little messages on them. It’s a perfect set for both friends and family. Send smiles along with thoughts of love. Oh AND, in this set you get 2 additional cards for a total of 8!

For the second set I wanted to create cards that passed along positive, heart-warming thoughts. You know, something like a mailed hug. I simply called this set Heart-Warming.

red, orange, and yellow inspirational heart valentine cards
{Heart Warming Valentines}

interior of card shows red cursive type saying happy valentines day

I layered a several warm tones of paint together to create the heart patterns. I then placed inspirational text inside a heart on the cover. The heart messages say: “Hello beautiful soul”, “You make my heart soar”, and “You are so loved”. I hope these thoughts touch your heart and encourage you to share them!

For this set of 6 cards, you will get 2 of each card design. Of course, you can request a single design for the entire Heart Warming set if you prefer it.

It feels so wonderful to be creating art again! I plan on doing more of this watercolor style card in the future too.

Happy Weekend!

And the Winners are!

by abby on January 28, 2014 | Comment

children's book cover brian floca

{2014 Caldecott winner}

It’s a big day in children’s publishing. Today the American Library Association announced the winners for the Caldecott and the Newbery medals. This year both books actually featured illustrations too. YAY! You also might recall the names of the 2 books below from my November 2013 posting about the “Best Children’s Books of 2013”.

Brian Floca’s picture book, LOCOMOTIVE, won the prestigious Caldecott medal, the award “given to the artist who had created the most distinguished picture book of the year”. This book is for young readers who love all things machine and their sounds. The book follows an 1869 trans-continental train, its crew, and a family traveling coast to coast through American’s mountains and plains.

train illustration

Mr. Floca’s illustrations bring the thrill and strength of train travel alive. Paired with beautiful animated type and you begin to hear and feel the mighty locomotive.

book cover of train illustrated by brian floca

Each year, the Newbery medal is given to “the most distinguished American children’s book”. The 2014 medal was awarded to FLORA & ULYSSES written by Kate DiCamillo, the new ambassador for young people’s literature.

book cover middle grade novel called Flora and Ulysses
{2014 Newbery Winner}

FLORA & ULYSSES begins when comic-reading, Flora, recuses a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner using her lessons learned from the comic, TERRIBLE THINGS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU! She is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates super hero powers after being revived.

black and white book spread featuring drawings of a girl and her squirrel

The lively story is paired with equally fun black and white graphic novel style illustrations by K.G. Campbell. All in all a delightful book for a middle grade reader.

Happy reading!

The Wow Effect

by abby on January 23, 2014 | Comment

There are three responses to a piece of design—yes, no, and WOW! The wow is the one we aim for. by Milton Glaser
{mailbox surprise}

Amen Milton! Last week I received this fun promotional card from HOW Design. Inside there was this FABULOUS quote from Milton Glaser, one of the design greats of the twentieth century.

The Wow Effect is my goal, too, in my design and in my artwork. I want to make an emotional connection with my audience that perhaps surprises or delights their eyes and mind. I might always get there, but I strive for it every time.

Happy Weekend!

Silly Little Red Valentines

by abby on January 20, 2014 | Comment

2 red birds painted on a valentine card
{They are back!}

Gray and white. That’s what is looks like out my studio window. How am I fighting this? I’m thinking of Valentine’s Day R-E-D!

These fun little Red Bird Valentine cards are back in my Etsy shoppe. You can order the variety set or send me a note with your purchase for a single design for all the cards. I’m here to please!

set of 3 red bird valentine cards
{3 different designs}

The cards are blank on the inside too, so you can use them beyond Valentine’s Day. Send a little love note, thank you, or just bright up someone’s winter mailbox with a little touch of red!

How are you adding in color to your life?

Did You Know

by abby on January 17, 2014 | Comment

orange and purple watercolor washes with words You are enough handwritten

The past couple of weeks have been a struggle for me. My foundation has been shaken by a death in our family and I’m trying to find my strength and get on my path again. When you are full of grief it’s hard to be creative. I’ve managed to keep my book design going, but the art side of things has been slow to flow again. I’ve been racked with guilt over this too. Shouldn’t I want to just sit down and turn my mind to something else?

But the universe is a marvelous thing, because the message I keep hearing from friends, yoga, articles and blogs is that, “I am enough”. I am enough, just how I am. I shouldn’t be too harsh on myself. I’m in a healing process and my art and creativity is still there.

This is such a great message that I wanted to repay the favor and pass it along.
You are worthy. You are enough!

Nurture your soul with small joys. For example, I did sit down recently and created a few abstract watercolor washes and I have to say it felt wonderful. No pressure, just the simple pleasure of dipping my brush into paint.

Need a laugh?

by abby on January 13, 2014 | Comment

cover of picture book called Grumpy Groundhog
{new picture book!}

I know I need a smile of late and this new picture book I designed for Amazon Children’s Publishing is sure to give you one.

Grumpy Groundhog is about, you guessed it, a grumbly groundhog who won’t get out of bed on Groundhog’s Day. But don’t fear, the towns people all have great ideas on how to change the mood of Mr. Groundhog. The light-hearted rhyming text and whimsical illustrations make this a delightful read aloud book.

Parents and grandparents take note: this is a wonderful book to introduce Groundhog’s Day to pre-schoolers!

What is your favorite read aloud book?

Imperfections Are Beautiful

by abby on January 6, 2014 | Comment

blue watercolor wash with script reading Where there is perfection there is no story to tell Ben Okri

I’m starting off the year with a confession. Ready? I’m a total perfectionist. Yep, I’m Type A and a perfectionist and an artist. This combo definitely drives me to achieve high goals and pushes to do my best daily, but it also can weigh me down a little when everything has to be perfect . Sometimes my fear stops me from trying a new technique or starting a project. So this year, I’m focusing on trusting myself and my abilities and just take the plunge into new art projects, new dance moves, new life adventures without over thinking things. More doing, less judging.

I have to be prepared that some of my paintings and drawings might be ugly or wonky, but in all those extra creative moments I experience I’m sure that will be bright spots! Besides, little imperfections are beautiful, right?. They make art and people unique and amazing. One of the reasons I love watercolor is the fact that you do have to let go a little and let the water and pigment take over.

Honestly, I’m a little scared, but I’m determined and ready for change.
Here I come 2014!

What is your new year’s goal or resolution?