Facebook Icon for AbbyDora Design

about

Whole-Hearted Living

by abby on January 9, 2017 | Comment

watercolor purple and red heart

Happy 2017! I hope your first week of all the new year went well. At the start of a new year, I like to reflect on where I am in path for my career and my life. So, I recently rewatched a TED TALK by Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability. It’s a worth your 20 minutes, I promise. It’s very inspirational. Brown hits several great points, but there’s one in particular that I latched onto. In this talk she defined the word courage slightly differently than the modern definition:

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”

Please read that quote again.

This view of courage brings its meaning back to inner strength and authenticity to one’s self. This courage is about hearing the whole story. Your story includes your strengths and your struggles. The good and the bad. The joy and the fear.

Another way you can describe these types of courageous people are whole-hearted folks. They live with their full heart and accept imperfections.

I’ve decided that, “whole-hearted” is my word for 2017. I am going to embrace myself whole-heartedly. Will you join me in this mission? Let your entire self be seen and live with a whole heart.

Spread the courage!

Art Heals

by abby on November 15, 2016 | Comment
Mother Rabbit and Daughter Star Gazing | Mixed media on paper

Mother Rabbit and Daughter Star Gazing | Mixed media on paper

Art heals the troubled soul. That’s what I’ve been saying lately. And this week, I’m focusing on preparing for my first holiday show of 2016, the HOLIDAY BAZAAR at the Rochester Science Center and Museum, so I can help make the world a more beautiful and loving place.

 

Holiday Bazaar table for AbbyDora Design

The practice run of our display table.

Our display table will be jam packed with artwork to make you and your child or grand child smile. I promise! Interested in attending this show and support local upstate artists? Here are the details:

2016 Holiday Bazaar

WHEN
FRI November 18th 5pm-9pm
SAT November 19th 9:30am-5pm
SUN November 2oth 11am-4pm

WHERE
Rochester Museum & Science Center
AbbyDora Design’s Table
Main building (bldg #1)  in Space #606, on the Mezzanine
(use the back stairs to reach the mezzanine level)

children's print sale

OH OH OH! There’s more! It’s time for me to clear out space in my studio, so this weekend I will be offering special SALES on select prints and original art! The earlier you arrive the more you are going to save! Oh yeah.

Cheers!

 

A Gift

by abby on September 30, 2016 | Comment

Abby Dening children's art

Happy Friday and Happy Fall!

After a whirlwind month, I’m taking some time off to relax and re-energize. Before I go, I want to share with you a gift I received earlier this week from Mrs. C, who is a major AbbyDora Design supporter.

I’m always so touched when I have clients who return again and again to purchase my artwork. At this year’s Clothesline Festival, Mrs C shared that she has 8 of my children’s art prints in her house! Truly amazing. I am so touched.

AbbyDora Design prints and cards

I know after I sell a piece it goes out into the world to be enjoyed on walls, but I rarely get to see the final framed product. This week Mrs. C graciously sent me several photos of my framed art in her house.

Abby Dening animal art

Didn’t she do a great job at grouping and framing the prints? I love the deep teal painted walls because it really makes the color of my art pop.

What else can I say? I’m all smiles.

Big Thanks!

by abby on September 14, 2016 | Comment

photo of AbbyDora Design booth at Clothesline Festival in Rochester

Wow—what a great weekend!
Thank you to all who came to the AbbyDora Design booth. I enjoyed meeting everyone. There were so many wonderful stories shared with me last weekend about where my artwork is located and enjoyed.

I’m honored to know that my art is in:
classrooms
teacher and administrator’s offices
libraries
bakeries
children’s bedrooms
children’s bathrooms (you know those whales, ducks, and frogs need their water!)
playrooms

It’s just amazing. I’m fulfilling my job by spreading joy and color!

Clothesline 2016 is Coming

by abby on August 29, 2016 | Comment

Memorial Art Gallery art show postcard

Hi all!
I’m happy to announce that this year I’ll be back at the Memorial Art Gallery’s art show, CLOTHESLINE FESTIVAL! I know I’m not the only one who’s hoping for beautiful sunny skies and warm weather for the art-packed weekend.

This 400+ artists art and fine craft show is taking place on September 10th 10-6pm and September 11th 10-5pm . There’s live music and local restaurants and food trucks, too. It’s a great time to transition into Fall and start your holiday shopping.

Our booth will be located in the same spot as last year:
ZONE B: BOOTH 305

(near the University Ave and Goodman Street entrance)

Keep your eyes open for our bright green and blue banner and a tent filled with colorful children’s art (originals and fine art prints) and paper goods for all ages.

children's art prints and note cards

I hope you’ll stop by and say hello!

Cheers!

My New Studio

by abby on May 16, 2016 | Comment

children's book designer's office with bookcases

Happy Spring to all! It’s been a busy last few months. D and I bought a house! (Eeeeeeee!)So our hands and minds have been very busy settling into our new home. I’ve also been creating a new studio.

This studio space wasn’t just going to be “good enough” or “yeah that’s OK”. NO! This one was going to to hit a few of my dream check list items. What items, you might say? Well, first colorful walls, then white bookcases that fill entire wall, and third let’s have a window seat to dream up big ideas. Check, check, check!

The renovation started with refinishing the wood floors, painting all the walls and built-in bookcases to brighten up the space. Yesterday afternoon, I finally found the time to empty out 15 boxes of books to fill my bookshelves with books: that I’ve designed, books I admire, and books that inspire. I also added in pieces of my own artwork and little touches of photos and collectibles that make me smile.

children's book designer's bookshelves

When everything was in it’s place and the boxes were are gone. I toasted the new space with a glass of champagne. Here’s to dreams coming true!

Art Girls’ Road Trip

by abby on March 8, 2016 | Comment

Eric Carle workshop
{Painted tissue paper that our workshop created}

Artists need artists. Last weekend, myself and 3 other wonderful creative ladies took a road trip to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Northhampton, MA!

Our goal was 2-fold: The first goal was to visit this museum whose intention is to share the beauty of the artwork of illustrators of children’s picture books. Carle and his late wife, Barbara, said it best themselves with this quote on the wall when you enter the museum:quote from Eric carle at Picture Book art museum

The second goal of this trip was to take a workshop where we would practice the technique of painting tissue paper to create our own textures in the same manner that Carle uses to create his own art. The art studio was a lovely room with an entire wall of windows. Half the room is open for children and families to come and create artwork all day long. We had a few short leg visitors wander over to our painting tables while we created.

Art Studio at Eric Carle Picture book art museum
{The wall of natural light in the art studio}

art studio
{I adore the twig alphabet in the art studio}

We had an hour to create several patterned tissue papers. There were no rules, it all happened quickly. The decision making of layering the paint was a bit intense, but also therapeutic since you had to make the choice and then move on. We evened listened to classical music, just as Carle does when he creates.

Once the papers were all dry, each participant selected 9 pieces of textured paper to create a hanging window shade. Here are my papers and my final window shade:

pained paper from workshop at Eric Carle Museum

Abby with her painted paper window shade

After the workshop we toured the gallery which had a fun A to Z exhibit of Eric Carle’s collages that described his life. Did you know he as born in Syracuse, NY?! I enjoyed seeing the illustrations in person. In books there’s a separation from the art, but when viewing the art in a gallery you could see the human hand again in the illustrations.

Abby and Kari
{As you can see, my friend, Kari, and I are all smiles!}

Overall, I was delighted to visit this museum and check The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art off my “to-do trip list”. I know I shall be back this Fall for the Robert McCloskey show (think Make Way for Ducklings). It was a happy, art filled road trip with a great group of gals.

The Pages Between Us-Part 2

by abby on February 9, 2016 | Comment

interior book design and artwork by Abby Dening
{I designed the interior of this book and created the interior artwork, too}

It’s today! It’s today! The Pages Between Us officially publishes today. Eeeeee!

This morning, I headed over to my local bookstore and found it on the shelf. It also never gets old to actually hold a book in my hand that I helped to create. It feels like seeing an old friend after several months.

This publication is even more special because I was able to contribute illustrations within the book. Wanna sneak peek at the inside? You got it!

The book design is a combination of set novel type and handwriting along with taped in pieces of paper. Like this:

InteriorSpread-1

Along with those notes and narrative text the girls have doodled in the book. Here are some of my interior illustrations:

interior art for The Pages Between Us

interior line drawing in middle grade novel by Abby Dening

There are more illustrations, but I do want you to pick up the book and see the rest in context. I think it’s a good sign when your own artwork still makes you grin.

I’m so proud of the design and artwork in this middle grade novel. I was even genuinely surprised that during a book review I was mentioned by name!

I hope you will take a look at the book for yourself. It would make a wonderful gift for a girl from 7-12 years old.

Cheers!

Don’t Call it a Dream, Call it a Plan

by abby on February 5, 2016 | Comment

Abby Dening's drawing table covered with sketches and text for her picture book {My drawing table with my picture book in the works!}

I found this quote yesterday: “Don’t Call it a Dream, Call it a Plan”. I’m in love with it! This quote is exactly what I need as my motto for 2016. Does this phrase motivate you too?

I’m a natural planner and goal setter, because I like to see where I’m heading. I also like to break down a larger goals into manageable steps. I can see my progress and have small successes along the way. I’m using this strategy for a personal dream.

Over the past few years, when I’ve had some time, I’ve been working on writing and illustrating a picture book of my own. But 2016 is the year, where I’m making this a priority! No more dreams. Now this is a goal with a plan.

Anna from Anna's Big Idea
An Anna, the main character, sketch testing out how she would look afraid.

In the last month I’ve sat down more often to work on this project than I did all of last year. I’m working on text and images all at once since picture books are so intertwined. I have a rough draft and I’m storyboarding right now. Amazing! Let’s hope this motivation stays with me.

Do you have a dream that you are turning into a plan this year?

The Pages Between Us

by abby on January 25, 2016 | Comment

book design and interior illustrations by Abby Dening {I designed this book and created the interior illustrations}

I couldn’t contain myself any longer. I have something fun to share with you today! In about 2 weeks, a book that I designed AND (AND!) illustrated is being published by HarperCollins! The book is a middle grade novel, called: The Pages Between Us.

This book is so cool in story and in book concept. The narrative is told through a collection of notes and doodles between 2 best friends, Piper and Olivia, as if they were written in a notebook the girls pass back and forth. There are handwritten text elements and pages of: flyers, homework assignments, notes to boys, invitations that appear to be taped into this notebook. It’s a very visual novel! The big question of the story is if these two friends can wade through the tricky waters of 6th grade without loosing their friendship.

This project was a challenge, but I was am so proud of the final result. I designed the interior layout, designed and created all the extra taped in paper elements, AND illustrated the 2 girls’ drawings. What fun it was to sculpt this book!

The Pages Between Us officially publishes on 2/9/16. As soon as it’s out in print and ebook I’ll share some interior images of the book with you, too. I hope you will see this book for yourself!