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A Holiday Happenstance

by abby on December 16, 2014 | Comment

photo of YA novels on shelf
{Love the simple use of color on the cover!}

While strolling through Barnes & Noble yesterday evening I walked into the YA department and I came across 2 books that I worked on last year. I designed the interior layouts. GRACEFULLY GRAYSON is published by Disney-Hyperion and is about finding your true self.

photo of adventure fantasy YA novels on shelf
{I spotted another book of mine!}

Then when I turned a corner, I saw another book I recognized—DEFY. This one is published by Scholastic, Inc. It’s a fantasy adventure about a girl who has to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army. Add in an evil wizard and you have yourself a full on fantasy read!

For any Harry Potter fans out there, check out the redesign of the books by a senior college student. They are amazing (and they even glow in the dark!).

And with that book news, I am going to be taking a break from blogging until the start of the new year. These upcoming weeks are a time for rest and reflection and setting my goals for 2015. Thank you for all your continued support and love with AbbyDora Design.

I want to wish you a very HAPPY rest of the 2014 and a WONDERFUL and BRIGHT start to 2015!

Family Treasure: Books Part 3

by abby on April 10, 2014 | Comment

photo of Little Brother to the Bear cover
{A lovely printed hardcover book}

Here are the last few book treasures that were given to me by my grandmother. Both of these books are BEAUTIFUL books and in fairly good condition.

The A LITTLE BROTHER FOR BEAR book makes me smile, because it’s design is looking like more modern young adult book design with the integration of image into the text.

contents page of Little Brother to the Bear
{Not a boring Contents page!}

{beautiful black and white illustrations}

On almost every page, there is some piece of illustration and what a difference the art makes! Each page is engaging and there is already a sense of story happening just by seeing the artwork. I could see how this book would engage a young naturalist or animal lover. I wish we saw more middle grade books today with this amount of illustration.

fox interior illustration with type
{great visual storytelling}

The red and black grape leaf cover book is a design marvel. It’s a book that is completely illustrated from cover to cover. Take a look!

Rubaiyat omar khayyam book
{title page}

Ooooooooo! Ahhhhhhhh! This is a book design and production wonder. There is pattern everywhere! The gold printing is created with a separate 5th colored ink (means this is a pricey book).

Rubaiyat omar khayyam book interior pages

Peacocks! The text almost seems like an after thought. I love looking at all these decorative borders.

Rubaiyat omar khayyam book random house
{more amazing borders}

RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KAHAYYAM is the title that the translator, Edward FitzGerald, gave to this version of his collection of poems, originally written by Omar Khayyam in Persian. Omar Khayyam was a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer.

Well, that’s it for the new books I received from Nana. I hope you enjoyed viewing the pages and surprises. Each book is very special to me and I hope that someday I too can pass them along.

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!

Valentine’s Day Fun

by abby on February 8, 2013 | Comment


Valentine’s Day is less than a week away! Do you know how you will be celebrating? When I was young, one of my friend’s would host a Valentine’s Day party. I have such happy memories of those afternoons eating red heart jigglers (remember those from Jello?) and playing silly games.

I think it was those positive thoughts that inspire me to create my red and pink heart cupcake toppers. Don’t these hearts make you smile? They instantly made your cupcakes look fun for both kids and adults! And the best part they work for either store bought cupcakes or homemade. Whoo-ooo! If you want a delicious chocolate cupcake recipe check out the Magnolia Bakery one here.

Looking for a few other Valentine’s Day ideas?
Try this hot chocolate recipe.

See a great collection of funny Valentine’s Day gift ideas.

This video shows you how to say I Love You in a foreign language.

Don’t forget to enter the PICTURE BOOK GIVEAWAY happening on FEB. 14th at 10am!
book giveaway

You could be the lucky winner of this book! Simply click on the book and then on the “Win this Book” tab on our Facebook fan page.

Have a great weekend and stay safe and warm!

New Fiction: A World Away

by abby on August 28, 2012 | Comment

new YA fiction

Books take years to publish, so I was extra happy to finally see one of my first freelance book design projects sitting on a shelf at my local Barnes & Noble! Hooray! This new young adult book is called A World Away. It’s published by Hyperion Books. To publish a book it “takes a village”. There are authors, artists, editors, copy editors, art directors, cover designers, and production coordinators just to name a few. For this project, I was the interior novel designer.

YA book designer

As an interior book designer, it’s my job to be sure the voice of the story is conveyed through the styling of the text fonts, chapter openers, and all the front matter—pages like the title page that appear before the start of the story.

book typesetter

I believe its so important to read the manuscript before I start to design! And let me tell you this is a great story about a teen Amish girl who becomes a nanny for a Chicago family living in the 21st century. Imagine making your first phone call, seeing your first movie, or having your first photo taken at age sixteen! A World Away is an engaging story of finding out where you belong and self discovery. Oh and there are a few twists and turns on the journey! Be sure to check this book out at your local book store or library.

What piece of new fiction are you excited about?

Artist Shadow Magnet

by abby on August 16, 2012 | Comment

art magnets

Have you seen these fun magnets? They are called Shadow Magnets. They have moveable joints, so you can pose them in a variety of positions. It’s like a marionette magnet! I was given the Artist Shadow Magnet, but there are several other characters. Be sure to check them out. Today, my Artist magnet is jumping for joy because finally the week is almost done and D and I are heading on vacation tomorrow!

Have a great week!

Skull Pie

by abby on August 14, 2012 | Comment

hand drawn skull

With only a few more days still D and I take a beach vacation we are getting a little stir crazy. This was evident last weekend, when inspiration hit me to bake a very fun pie. D loves pie. Let me say this again, D LOVES his pie. So as a thank you for all his help with the Park Ave Festival I baked him a peach pie (with local farm fresh peaches…yum). But being an illustrator I can’t ever just leave the pie top blank! So with this pie I drew a skull with some of the left over dough. Pretty cool, right?! We now call this Skull Pie. Skull Pie is quite delicious, too.

How do you decorate the top of your pie?

Empowering Words

by abby on July 27, 2012 | Comment

kelly rae roberts

During difficult moments of my life, I gain strength in a simple mantra I created while in grad school and working full time (oh yes, it was stressful!). My words are written in thick Sharpie ink on a teal post-it note: Stay tough You can do it. I stuck my note on the outside of the freezer at eye level for a needed reminder every time I came into the kitchen. Several years, later it’s still on my freezer and still helping me to learn to run my own art and design business.

Yes, words are powerful. Artist, Kelly Rae Roberts, understands this too. She often adds in an inspiring “truth” statement into her collage paintings. She’s highlighted these beautiful mantras in her newest product: fabric cuff bracelets.

cuff mantra braclet

There’s a whole collection of styles of bracelets and phrases. Which one do you like?
kelly rae roberts
All Images taken from the Kelly Rae Roberts website
Any one of these cuffs would make as a great gift. Not only are you giving a colorful bracelet, but you are also gifting love to help inspire and encourage.

Do you have your own mantra?

Tiny Animal Totems

by abby on July 17, 2012 | Comment

abbydora design animal

My best friend is visiting me this week and she is a huge animal lover. Beasts large and small make this gal smile. So in honor of her, I thought I’d share a fantastic artist who creates tiny animal sculptures. Laura is the creative power behind the company Le Animale.

alligator sculpture

She calls her tiny (and I mean tiny under 2 inches!) animal sculptures totems or spirit animals. All her work is handmade. She creates them from clay, adds paints, and coats them in a clear varnish. They are so adorable!

children's illustration

There are so many I would love to collect. They even have my favorite animal, an otter! Eee—so cute!

abby dora design
{All images from the Le Animale website}

Le Animale does custom work, so your own favorite animal could become a beautiful animal totem too. What animal totem would you want?

Art on the Floor

by abby on July 13, 2012 | Comment

city children's illustration

This week I came across Momeni’s ‘Lil Mo Whimsy rug collection. These are handmade rugs design especially for kids and tweens. Aren’t they amazing?! It’s art for the floor!

handmade rugs

I think parents will enjoy these rugs as much as children. They are so playful and have such vibrant color. All the ‘Lil Mo Whimsy rugs are hand-tufted and created with soft mod-acrylic.

momeni rug
{All images from Momeni: Genuine Handmade Rugs}

Colorful Balloons! I so want this rug in my studio. There’s color everywhere else in the studio, but the floor. This rug would take care of that! Be sure to check out the Momeni Kids Rugs section. They have many more rugs that are just as vibrant and playful as the ones here.

Which rug would you add to your child’s room?