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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!

A Book is a Dream

by abby on December 31, 2015 | Comment

Niel Gaiman quote on books

Well, we made it to the last day of 2015 and I thought I’d end with this fabulous quote I came across this month on a holiday visit to NYC. Don’t you just love this Niel Gaiman quote: “A book is a dream you hold in your hand.”

It hits home for readers, but also for the people who make books: authors, illustrators, editors, art directors, and book designers. I’m so grateful to be in an industry where we can inspire, educate, and provide joy to others.

I want to take a moment and thank you for all your support in 2015 and wish you a very Happy New Year!

Children’s Print Sale!

by abby on December 11, 2015 | Comment

get a free matte on selected art prints at AbbyDora Design's Etsy Shop

Happy Friday!

I’m spreading the holiday spirit this weekend by offering a deal on selected children’s art prints!

Now until SUNDAY DEC. 13, selected prints will come with a FREE WHITE MATTE when purchased through our Etsy Shop!

I’ve created a separate Shop Section to house these special prints.

sale at Etsy Shoppe for AbbyDora Design, children's art

Here are the details:
To get the special free matte, you do need to order directly through Etsy and have it shipped to you (but this means a present is delivered to your doorstep, less work!).

Also, not all print sizes are available for the special matte deal, so please read the descriptions carefully when you click on an item.

Quantities are limited. Shop Now!

This special holiday sale ends at 11pm EST on Sunday December 13th, 2015.

#EtsyGifts Promo Help

by abby on December 4, 2015 | Comment

cake baker bunny hug artwork

This holiday season Etsy has offered a free gift promo app that builds an instance gift ad for its store owners. Cool, right?! I’ve tried it and started to share these images on the AbbyDora Design Facebook page. Here’s where I need your help!

Will you be a holiday elf and help spread the word about my artwork on Facebook? Sharing any of the #EtsyGift ads or artwork posts would be simply awesome.

I am so grateful to you all for your constant love and support. Big hug!

The Lightning Queen-New on Shelves

by abby on November 3, 2015 | Comment

middle grade book designed by Abby Dening
{Title Page with front cover reference}

I’m very proud to be sharing this interior book design with you all. It’s a work of love! THE LIGHTNING QUEEN by Laura Resau was published last week by Scholastic. It’s a beautiful story and I wanted it to have an equally beautiful interior book design.

middle grade fiction book designed by AbbyDora Design
{Part Section Opener}

The story takes place in an area called the Hill of Dust in the remote Mexican mountains. There’s an emphasis on the dry, rural aspect to Teo’s village. I visually wanted to reference this dust on the title page and on these part openers. I used layers of scanned dry media textures, like chalk and crayon, to create the designs. Part of the story is also flash back to a “long, long time ago”, so the interior design also has an aged quality to it with hand-drawn elements.

AbbyDora Design created this chapter opener
{Chapter Opener}

Life is quiet for Teo until Esma, The Lightening Queen, comes to town with a group of gyspsies. The Mistress of Destiny predicts that Esma and Teo will become life long friends against all the odds and dangers. Their story spans across generations and will take the help of Teo’s grandson, Mateo, in the end to fulfill their destiny.

Ooooooo…sounds good, right? Happy reading!

National Color Day

by abby on October 22, 2015 | Comment

oct 22nd is national color day
{My watercolor palette}

Happy National Color Day, everyone! Did you know about this holiday? I just discovered it and I will now be marking my calendar. One more reason to LOVE the month of October!

In honor of this special day, I’m sharing another colorful watercolor sketch I did while on our first day in Paris.

watercolor sketch of carousel in Paris

Behind the Eiffel Tower is a lovely small carousel. It was a sunny day and there were lots of children scrambling on and off. This little sketch is certainly a celebration of color!

How will YOU be celebrating color today?

New Children’s Books You Should See

by abby on October 14, 2015 | Comment

picture book design by Abby Dening
{New book with custom hand-lettered textured title type}

Books take months to produce and years to publish, so I sometimes loose track of publication dates of the book I designed. This happened to me recently with these 2 fun and lively books: GO TO SLEEP MADDIE! and Book One of the series UPSIDE DOWN MAGIC. I worked on them earlier in the year and I’m happy to say that are now available for purchase or check out your local library!

GO TO SLEEP MADDIE is about a little girl, Maddie, who doesn’t want to sleep. She asks her mom and dad for a glass of water, several bedtime stories, and a check for monsters in her room. When she finally has the lights turned off and she’s tucked into bed, she hears a noise: Quackers! Quackers! It’s her toy duck who needs a bedtime snack of crackers. She gets him his food, but then she hears another noise. Suddenly going to bed isn’t so simple.

picture book by Maureen Wright and illustrated by Elizabeth Schlossberg

I paired 2 interior typefaces together that compliment the comic story and artwork. I also wanted young readers to enjoy the vocal noises of the toys, so those were set in a thick font and colored. The cover type was a blast to create as well. I created a couple of custom pastel art brushes in Photoshop that mimic the pastel texture in the artwork.

magic themed middle grade novel, designed by AbbyDora Design
{Title type design and interior novel design created by AbbyDora Design}

is the creation of 3 dynamic authors: Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins. This is a new series about Nory, Elliot, Andres, and Bax who are a group of misfits who’s magic goes wonky. What happens? Well “For Nory, this means that instead of being able to turn into a dragon or a kitten, she turns into both of them at the same time—a dritten.” You can imagine the funny situations the other kids find themselves in. This book is for ages 8-12 and with the humor and shorter chapters it’s great for those kids who don’t usually find reading so magical.

I was delighted to be part of the team to develop the cover design for UDM. My part was to create the dimensional vector title treatment that could become the brand for the series. I was also the designer for the styling of the book’s interior, too. Keep your eyes out for more books in this series!

Happy Reading!

Featured Shop on Etsy Paper Team

by abby on October 1, 2015 | Comment

AbbyDora Design artwork

I heart paper and so I was thrilled to be the highlighted shop of the month and interviewed by the ETSY PAPER TEAM this week. This is a group of artists who are crazy about paper, like I am.

Abby Dening interviewed

They asked me to share details about my shop and art. One of my favorite questions was: “What is it about paper that draws you to create with it?” Oooooo, not your typical interview question. See my answer to this question here.

Will you help me spread the word and share the story link on Facebook?

October is off to a great start!

Recovering the Classics

by abby on September 18, 2015 | Comment

{Here’s a sample of some of the redesigned covers}

This news story caught my eye since my Book Illustration course I teach at RIT just finished a project of redesigning YA Covers to give them a fresh modern look. Something must be in the air!

Recovering the Classics is an organization that has revamped the look of 50 classic works of literature. This organization was started because many of the classics in public domain lack well-designed and interesting book covers that reflect the enduring stories they wrap. An idea was born and they opened up this book design challenge to the world of designers and illustrators. The results are GREAT! Plus, all book designs are available for sale as prints, and other products which all support the artists who created them. Win for book lovers and win for artists.

The revamped book covers were first displayed as large poster size covers in the New York City Public library and the interest in them was so immense that Recovering the Classics decided to take the covers on the road as a traveling exhibition. This new campaign and exhibition is called 50×50. They want all 50 book covers to visit all 50 states! If you are interested in hosting the covers, you can find out more information here.

Happy Weekend!