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Jumping Off Cliffs

by abby on January 31, 2013 | Comment

inspiration quote ebooks

I read this quote earlier in the week and it completely hit home for me! Does it for you too? In 2013 I’ve already jumped off several cliffs. The big one (feels like an Everest size one) is to learn how to design and edit ebooks.

I’m confident as a print book designer, but an ebook is a hybrid of a website and a printed book. This means I have to learn new ways to set up my book files and learn how to edit HTML & CSS code. Mentally this last part was a big hurdle, but I’ve started my jump into the land of code and you know what—it’s doable! I have more to learn, but it feel great to be in motion and feeling the wind in my wings.
I’m taking flight!

What cliff are you jumping from?

2013 Caldecott & Newbery Winners

by abby on January 29, 2013 | Comment

Jon Klassen

Yesterday around noon EST the 2013 Caldecott Medals were announced at the midwinter American Library Association in Seattle. Drum roll pleeeeeaaase….

The Caldecott Medal goes to This Is Not My Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen. This book is the follow up to I Want My Hat Back published in 2011. In This Is Not My Hat, a small fish steals the hat from a bigger fish while he’s sleeping. The little fish has a plan to get away with it, but his subtle peaks backward might tell another ending. Check out this great book trailer:

Jon Klassen also received a Caldecott Honor for illustrating the picture book Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett.

2013 is the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott awards. NPR gives a great description of the history of this award that includes comments from 2-time Caldecott winning author/illustrator: Chris Van Allsburg. You can listen to this story here.


The 2013 Newbery Medal goes to The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

2013 newbery medal

This book tells the story of the artistic gorilla, Ivan, who lives in a cage in a shopping center. He hardly misses the jungle, but his world is shaken up when he is joined by a baby elephant.

I know I’m heading over to my local bookstore to check out these books in person. Are you?

Red Kite Blue Kite & Other Book News

by abby on January 24, 2013 | Comment

Disney-Hyperion Picture book

You know I love to design picture books! And here’s the latest book that published this week: Red Kite, Blue Kite by Disney-Hyperion.

Red Kite, Blue, Kite is a poignant picture book, written by Ji-li Jiang and illustrated by Greg Ruth, about a little boy and his father during the Cultural Revolution in China. Both father and son keep their connection through chaotic events by flying their kites. It’s a wonderful story of the love between father and son.

The 2013 Newbery and Caldecott medals will be announced this coming Monday January 28th! Every year these awards are given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. An author is awarded the Newbery medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. An illustrator is awarded the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

To receive a call from one of these award committees can be a life changing moment. PW has pulled together an interesting collection of interviews from several recent Newbery and Caldecott recipients describing the moment of the very big phone call.

Are you curious about who is predicted to win the 2013 Caldecott and Newbery medals? You can go here and here to see a few ideas.

What’s your or your child’s favorite newly published children’s or YA book?

Drum Roll Please

by abby on January 21, 2013 | Comment

abby kuperstock illustration

This is a big moment. It might seem small, but this is HUGE! I finally have my first postcard mailer promoting my own children’s illustration and design. HOORAY!

abby kuperstock
{postcards were printed at moo.com }

For various reasons, this task of creating a postcard mailer has always been pushed down to the end of the to-do list. BUT. NOT. THIS. YEAR. This year I’m putting my artwork at the top of the list of things to focus on and to market. My lovely postcard is the first step at putting this goal into action.

Over the next several months, I’ll be sending out my postcards to art directors, editors, and companies that use children’s illustrators in hopes that a new business relationship might begin. I’ll be combining this mailer with other self-promotion marketing efforts, too. With a little luck (and perhaps a happy happenstance) my name will align with an illustration opportunity!

How is your 2013 to-do list going so far?

Custom Pet Artwork

by abby on January 17, 2013 | Comment

custom animal watercolor

This week I finally found a better rhythm between: artwork, design, and the necessary admin tasks of running my business. I always feel better when I can create, especially away from the computer screen. Happily, I’ve been working on a couple of cat portrait paintings.

I tried quite hard to capture Simon’s and Louise’s personalities in their portraits—not an easy task! But I’m really liking how the color sketches are turning out. I’ll be working on the final paintings this weekend and hope the good vibes continue. These cat paintings will follow the style of my other farm animal portraits I created last summer—lots of vivid colors.

Would you like a custom portrait of your own furry or feathery friend?

One Very Cool Book Cover

by abby on January 14, 2013 | Comment

cool book cover
{Image from ImprintMag.com}

Sometimes the the best answer is the simplest. And yes, that’s an actual yellow No. 2 pencil that fits into the cover. Pretty cool huh?!

Joe Shouldice

The book itself is called American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans. It’s an anthology of 22 novelists, poets, and short story authors who immigrated to the US. It’s published by The Vilcek Foundation. The cover design was handled by YesYesYes Design, based in New York City. The art director was Joe Shouldice.

Apparently, YesYesYesDesign had to go through many pencils and hardback cases to get the fit just right. He was thankful the yellow No. pencils aren’t that expensive to buy in bulk!

Are you over thinking a project? Maybe a simple solution will work for you too?

Watercolor Valentine’s Day Hearts

by abby on January 10, 2013 | Comment

Valentine's Day hearts

Oye—what a week! I cannot believe it’s already Friday? Did you also have a crazy, insane, busy week too? Sadly, this week wasn’t about making new artwork (hopefully I’ll get to my paints this afternoon!), but I wanted to share with you a couple of Valentine’s Day inspired patterns that I created last week. Cute, right?

The goal is that these heart paintings will appear on small Valentine’s day cards or as tiny prints. In the meantime if your curious, I’ve posted a few other Valentine’s day cards in my shoppe.

After all the holiday and new year’s traveling D and I are finally going to have a weekend home. I’m foreseeing some movie watching with lots of popcorn after a nice afternoon of painting. Sounds like fun to me!

What are your weekend plans?

Font Finds: Hallmark’s Handwritten Font

by abby on January 7, 2013 | Comment

hallmark handwritten font

“Font Finds” is back! (I know its been awhile, but better now than never!)

Have you noticed over the last couple of years the number of handwritten scripts and printed letter typefaces being used has exploded? It seems the more high tech we are becoming the more we want our world to look low tech.

This trend doesn’t bother me one bit. I LOVE the handwritten letter! I’m even experimenting with creating script writing with my gouache paints, but more on this later. The handwritten font is now trendy in corporate America. Hallmark’s new “Life is a Special Occasion” logo is a great example of this trend. Even their website has been reworked to compliment the handwritten look and feel of this new marketing campaign.

handstand font

Sadly, Hallmark doesn’t allow this specific handwritten font to be released to the public. But not to worry! I’ve found a few other fabulous handwriting fonts that I’ve been using in my own design projects.

Mr Moustache
handwritten typeface

It’s so spunky and cute! I love all the touches of curls. These letterforms just makes you smile.

Bombshell Pro
calligraphic typeface

Va-va-voom! C’est tres sexy, non? This calligraphic font is so luxurious.

Skinny Latte
handwritten print letters
Skinny Latte is youthful and silly. I get a “tween feeling” from it. It’s quirky as if its still growing into its own shoes. Think about mixing and matching the tall lowercase letters with the uppercase ones for some real design fun.

Have you seen a great example of a handwritten font?

My First Happy Happenstance of 2013

by abby on January 3, 2013 | Comment

abbydora design paper goods
{Handmade watercolor gift tags}

Last week I was creating these very fun and colorful wet into wet washes. (I’m playing with paint!) I love all the color variations and the textures the water and pigment were creating. It seemed a shame to just have them stay here in my studio. I wanted to share them with all you.

colorful watercolor washes

You just never know when an idea will strike you: What if I cut these circular patterns with my circle cutter and created handmade gift tags? Bingo! Colorful + useful = win for all! With this first round of playing with paint I created 3 sets of 6 tags.

hand painted gift tags

There are 3 large tags and 3 small tag in every group. Each tag comes with its own colorful baker’s twine. These fun sets work for all sorts of events: birthdays, graduations, Easter, House-warming parties. Having a wedding this year? Why not include unique tags to all your wedding favors? You can keep your wrapping simple with tissue paper or kraft paper and let these tags be the pop of color.

Birthday anniversary tags

The backs of the tags are blank so you can write the name of the recipient or include a fun note.

watercolor gift tags

If you have a color set in mind that just doesn’t quite fit with shown above send me a note and I’ll be happy to pull together a custom set just for you and your occasion.

Wishing you a happy happenstance filled weekend!