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Turtles Playing in a Pond

by abby on October 31, 2013 | Comment

pencil drawing of 3 turtles in pond setting
{Finalized turtle sketch}

Happy Friday! Today you are getting another sneak peak at my drawing table. I showed you my initial sketches for this turtle name plate project earlier and now here’s a finalized version.

Since this is a custom name plate painting, I wanted the name to fit into the narrative of the turtle pond scene. I thought an old wooden sign might just do the trick! The sign gives enough importance to the text, but leaves enough room for my 3 little turtles.

The next step is to bring this painting to life with rich bright colors. I know what I’m doing over the weekend. Do you have any plans?

Find the Inside Story

by abby on October 29, 2013 | Comment

children's literacy event
{new children’s literacy event}

November has a couple of great literacy events for young readers. One you might know, it’s Rochester’s Children’s Book Festival happening on Saturday Nov. 16th. I’ll be sharing more information on this a little later. The other event is happening at the end of the week and its brand new!

On November 2nd and 3th The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in partnership with First Book is launching its first international “Inside Story” event at selected independent bookstores. At this event a group of SCBWI children’s authors and illustrators will visit several independent bookstores to share behind-the-scenes looks at their recently published books or soon-to-be-published ones.

This is a win-win-win for all. Inside Story connects young readers, parents, teachers to newly released books, and helps keep those sales at independent bookstores! SCBWI and First Book are even sweetening the deal. SCBWI will be providing the publicity for the event, supply volunteers, and offer a few fun prizes to pull patrons to the event. My favorite prize: win a phone call from a famous author! Plus, First Book, an organization providing new books for children from low-income families, will donate a book to a child in need for every book purchased at an SCBWI Inside Story event. Learn more at www.firstbook.org.

This year Inside Story will be happening at 9 US cities and 3 Australian cities. Here is the list:

Black Cat Books
Brisbane, Australia
November 2 at 10:00am

The Little Bookroom
Melbourne, Australia
November 2 at 10:00am

The Children’s Bookshop
Sydney, Australia
November 2 at 2:00pm

Alamosa Books
Albuquerque, New Mexico
November 2 at 2:00pm

Anderson’s Bookshop
Naperville, Illinois
November 2 at 2:00pm

Bank Street Bookstore
New York, New York
Middle Grade
November 2 at 2:30pm
Young Adult
November 2 at 4:30pm

Books & Books
Coral Gables, Florida
November 2 at 1:00pm

Books of Wonder
New York, New York
November 2 at 4:00pm

The King’s English Bookshop
Salt Lake City, Utah
November 2 at 11:00am

Mockingbird Books
Seattle, Washington
November 3 at 4:00pm

The Odyssey Bookshop
South Hadley, Massachusetts
Picture Books
Diane deGroat, Corinne Demas, Deborah Freedman, Jannie Ho, Sandra Horning, Jane Kohuth, Jason Lefebvre, Richard Michelson, Hazel Mitchell, J.C. Phillipps
November 3 at 1:00pm

Middle Grade/Young Adult
Stacy DeKeyser, Christine Brodien-Jones, Erin Dionne, Natasha Lowe, Jennifer Ann Mann, Rebecca Rupp, Chris Tebbetts, Kathryn Burak
November 3 at 3:00pm

Once Upon A Time Bookstore
Montrose, California
Picture Books
November 2 at 11:00am
Middle Grade/Young Adult
November 3 at 2:00pm

I hope you might find a bookstore near you. If not this year, than maybe next. Lin Oliver, co-founder and executive director of SCWBI, expects Inside Story to have a larger reach in the coming years. “In 2014, we plan to have Inside Story events in each region where we have an SCBWI chapter. That means 53 regions within the United States and 29 international regions.” Whoo-ooo!

New Ocean Themed Children’s Art

by abby on October 22, 2013 | Comment

children's art of 2 girls exploring a tide pool with a mermaid
{Detail of the Tide Pool Art}

I’m excited to share with you my latest new artwork! It’s a series of three watercolor and paper collage pieces of 2 girls exploring the beach and ocean. This style is similar to the Hot Air Balloon painting I created earlier and features colorful paper collage backgrounds and then a watercolor and colored pencil vignette illustration.

This ocean series is a loosely connected narrative. The main characters remain the same throughout, but each image stands on its own as a story in itself. I did want to make this more than a summertime vacation, so I added some elements of magic such as a mermaid, a helpful sea turtle, a treasure chest, and a dolphin ride. I mean, who wouldn’t want to ride a dolphin?!

The first one the girls and their dogs find an unexpected surprise in the tide pool. Hehe.
watercolor and paper collage art of 2 girls seeing an angry crab with their dogs
{The Tide Pool}

The next piece shows the girls mid treasure hunt out in the ocean.
watercolor and paper collage of 2 sisters on an underwater treasure hunt
{Underwater scene}
watercolor children's art of girl holding treasure map asking sea turtle for help
{Detail of older girl swimming}

The third image shows the girls satisfied with their adventure sitting close together watching the sun set over the sea. I added details that reference to the previous scenes too.
watercolor and collage children's art of 2 girls sitting on beach watching sun set
{Sunset Scene}

The paintings are available as high quality digital watercolor prints in my Etsy Shoppe. You can buy one or all three! The original painting and collage artworks are also available for purchase. Please send me an email if you are interested in hearing more.

Do you have fond memories of beach vacations?

Turtle Sketches

by abby on October 18, 2013 | Comment

pencil drawing of 3 turtles in pond
{Sketch for an upcoming project}

Happy Friday! We are having a BEAUTIFUL fall day today and it’s making me all excited for apple cider and pumpkins. Maybe soon D and I will be able to get a hay ride out to a pumpkin patch?!

Today, I thought I’d share with you a few sketches of the next project I’m currently working on. It will be for a custom watercolor/gouache painting of 3 turtles hanging around a pond.

sketch of turtles playing in pond
{Another idea}

I’m still tweaking and working on getting the composition just right, but already I do like the personalities of these turtles. Stay tuned for more!

Are you doing any Fall-themed activities this weekend?

A Few Familar Faces

by abby on October 14, 2013 | Comment

photo of book covers
{a covert photo of a novel I worked on}

I happened to be in a Barnes and Noble recently indulging in a little wedding inspiration in the magazine section, but really anytime I’m in a book store I always gravitate towards the children’s books and the YA novels. I can’t help it! I like them.

Rules For Disappear
{another sneaky photo of one of my books}

It really never gets old seeing the familiar face of a book that I’ve designed. Since books take months to produce, it’s almost like running into an old friend after being a part. On the shelves of B&N, I found a couple of YA novels that I designed last year. I created the interior book designs of The Rules For Disappearing (Hyperion) and Since You Asked (Scholastic Press). These two books are perfect for witty, edgy, early teenage girls. I read every book I design and I can honestly say these two books were engaging very good. Keep them in mind for the holiday gift season!

Victor PTSA Craft Show

by abby on October 7, 2013 | Comment

photo of AbbyDora Design thanksgiving fall cards
{a few of AbbyDora Design’s Fall themed cards}

I’m fitting in another local Rochester craft show. THIS SATURDAY AbbyDora Design will have a table at the Victor PTSA Craft Show. This show features area artists only and I was happy to be asked to participate. I’ll be featuring my colorful children’s prints and a few more holiday cards for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and even a little Christmas and Chanukah.

Want to come stop by? Here are the details:

Victor PTSA Craft Show
Sat, Oct. 12
9 a.m.—4 p.m.
Victor Intermediate School

$1 donation to the PTSA, Free for PTSA mem-bers and children under 12

Raffle Tickets
$1 for 1 ticket or $5 for 10 tickets
Bring a non-perishable food item for the Victor-Farmington Food Cupboard and receive a free raffle ticket

The $1 admission fee and the raffles all benefit Victor central school students. Get a little jump on holiday shopping and give back to the community!
It’s win-win.

Birthday Reflection

by abby on October 3, 2013 | Comment

woman doing yoga on beach
{embracing the world}

What a week of excitement. Getting engaged last Sunday still hasn’t let me stop smiling and feeling so incredibly loved. Not only from D, but the out pouring of support, congrats, and love from all our friends and family has been beyond words. D and I are truly lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.

And now today is my birthday! It almost slipped my mind in all the unexpected excitement. This year I feel ready to embrace my new year with a renewed sense of self, purpose and joy. I’m embracing myself for who I am and all I offer the world! It might sound simple, but it’s taken me several years to get to this point. We all should take a moment to step back and reflect on where we stand. I’m taking the time to do it now.

photo of collage paper and watercolor art on table
{new project in the works}

Today, I feel so lucky. I’m earning a living doing what I love to do. I’m creating art for people and for myself. I’m designing children’s books for young readers. I’m writing and illustrating my own children’s book. I’m teaching art and business skills to young enthusiastic college students. And, I’m making a life with a wonderful loving partner. WOW, right? So many things to be thankful for. Of course, there will be bumps in the road and rush deadlines, but I know I can survive them and carry on Abby style. Life is beautiful and I have my arms wide open to embrace it!

Do you take time to reflect on your own life? When does it happen for you?

The Perfect Day

by abby on October 1, 2013 | Comment

abby in warrior 1 pose on beach
{me doing a few sun salutations}

I’ve had the most perfect day of my life. D surprised me with a trip to one of my favorite places on earth—Cape May, NJ! During the weekend I had the opportunity to start my day with D and walk along the beach to find shells. It was very quiet with only the birds and the sea to keep us company. I was inspired to do a few sun salutations at the end of our walk. It has always been a dream of mine to do yoga while on the beach.

photo of man and lady's legs in the sand
{what a view!}

We had a delicious brunch on the porch of The Mad Batter and then we headed back to the beach for a little sun and surf. I took this opportunity to do a little painting, too. I find the beach and the ocean so inspiring. I think it might be because I’m more relaxed there and the creativity just flows.

Cape May ocean sketch of beach

watercolor postcard of waves on beach

The day progressed into a beautiful sunset and D suggested we get dressed for dinner and take another stroll on the beach to enjoy the sunset.
Abby walking in sunset
{strolling along the beach at sunset}

With the sky filled with pinks and purples, D then took my hand and got down on one knee to propose! I was so shocked and giddy all at the same time! I, of course, said YES and he handed me a lovely white shell (from earlier in the day) and inside the shell was a ring. It was the most amazing moment.

Abby and Dennis engagement photo
{we’re getting married!}

We headed back to our B&B to toast the next stage of our lives! As you can see, we both are extraordinarily happy.