Poisonous Cover Reveal!

It seems like only yesterday I was celebrating the US debut of "Murder is Bad Manners." A delightful middle grade murder mystery novel written by Robin Stevens with a cover illustrated by yours truly. Actually, is was only last month, so not that long ago, really. Here we are in a new month and I have a NEW book cover to share with you! This is the second book in the Wells and Wong series titled "Poison is Not Polite." 

 

I must emphasize, that not only did I love this project because illustrating book covers is just about my favorite thing to do, but these books are AWESOME. I really enjoyed reading them as an adult, but if I were a kid this would be exactly the type of book I'd pick up...and read over and over again. Murder? Yes please! Secret notebooks? Move over Harriet! Creepy old English mansion? Dying. I'm dead. 

Unfortunately, I regret to say that you won't be able to purchase the second book here in the US until next spring. What you can do is pop over to The Midnight Garden and enter for a chance to win an advance copy. And in the mean time, if you haven't already, Buy "MURDER IS BAD MANNERS!" It's great. You won't regret it.

Of course all thanks goes to Robin, Kristin, Krista and the team at Simon and Schuster. And of course to Lucy for roping me in on this to begin with. As Lucy puts it "I love a good hedge maze!" I do too, Lucy. I do too.

A Woman in the House: Lettering

Finally had a chance to put together all the hand lettered section intros I did for A Woman in the House. My editor had the idea to do each section in a style that reflected the era covered in that section. I thought it was a great, albeit challenging, idea and ran with it. Still can't believe they let me put Back to the Future-style 1980's lettering over Supreme Court Justices! 

FinalLettering_2_1024.jpg


 

If I see you in the next couple of weeks and I don’t remember my name or only have one shoe on, it’s because things are a little cray cray over here. This is a personal piece (and part of something larger) I did back when I had free time. Sigh…free time.

 

Recent Storybird Spots

As each chapter of Alone in a Crowded Place is revealed over on Storybird, a new spot illustration is revealed as well. Here are some recents. Stay tuned for more of these. With nearly 40 spots, we are only at the beginning! 

Our main character, Sam, hearing some surprising news! 

Our main character, Sam, hearing some surprising news! 

The setting of this spooky story, a library in an old Victorian mansion. 

The setting of this spooky story, a library in an old Victorian mansion. 

A most unusual book.

A most unusual book.

Something strange is happening in that old bell tower!

Something strange is happening in that old bell tower!

Storybird Longform Books

Early this year I began working with Storybird to help launch their new longform books. If you are unfamiliar with Storybird, you should head on over to their web site and snoop around. People use the self publishing site for a variety of reasons, so it's a little difficult for me to summarize.  Basically, one can log onto story bird to write and publish their own stories and poems. They can then receive comments and feedback so it becomes kind of a collaborative process. In addition, there is a library of art for them to choose from to enhance their stories.  According to the editor, Molly O'Neil (AKA Wonder Editor), the creators weren't exactly sure who was going to get the most out of the site when it was first launched, but one pleasant surprise is that it has become really popular with tween-aged girls. I personally think that's awesome. Kids are gonna spend a ton of time on the internet. There's no way around it. But with a site like Storybird they are actively creating and putting their work out there for others to see. Sharing your writing is something that can take decades to feel comfortable about and here are these young girls putting themselves out there like it's no big deal. Pretty sweet if you ask me. 

Storybird is still new and evolving. The creators began to notice that writers were trying to "hack" the picture book format set up on the site. They wanted to write longer, more complex stories. And so the new longform book template was set up. They asked several writers and illustrators to help create examples of this new format. Molly and writer, Bruce Wishart, came to me to see if I would like to help bring Bruce's story to life over the next several months. The first chapter of "Alone in a Crowded Place" is officially up and ready to read! 

Cover Illustration

Cover Illustration

Over the next several months, Bruce will release the story chapter by chapter. I will also be creating a spot illustration for each chapter. Here is the first, a shot of where our story takes place, in a haunted library. Now you know why I've been drawing so many books this year!

New chapters (and illustrations) will be added weekly, so check back often!

Also, do check out their recent blogpost that goes into more detail about the new longform template. And check out all the other stories as well!


A Woman in the House

(and senate)....

What's that? Oh, Only the title of the book I illustrated last spring. Yeah, somewhere amongst the craziness of getting married, working on other projects, traveling and drawing all over New York City, I illustrated a book! "A Woman in the House (and Senate)" is a nonfiction book about all the amazing and inspiring women who have held a place in the US Congress. It is written by Ilene Cooper, published by Abrams and is available now! I can't wait to give one to my mom, my niece, my friends, my teachers and all the other inspiring women who have shaped MY life. 

front and back covers

front and back covers

An inside spread with a few of the 50 spots I illustrated!

An inside spread with a few of the 50 spots I illustrated!

One of eight double pages chapter intro with hand lettering over photos delightfully put together by designer,  Sara Corbett

One of eight double pages chapter intro with hand lettering over photos delightfully put together by designer, Sara Corbett

Another chapter intro...

Another chapter intro...

Aaaand another (there were 8 total). Each chapter intro was done in the style of the era it was about. 

Aaaand another (there were 8 total). Each chapter intro was done in the style of the era it was about. 

Another interior spot, of Nacy Kassebaum, senator from Kansas and a much studied figure in my elementary school years! 

Another interior spot, of Nacy Kassebaum, senator from Kansas and a much studied figure in my elementary school years! 

Many of the spots integrated type and illustration which is great because it's just about my most favorite thing to do!

Many of the spots integrated type and illustration which is great because it's just about my most favorite thing to do!

On the left is Jeanette Rankin casting her first vote as the first woman in congress (a emphatic NAY to go to war). 

On the left is Jeanette Rankin casting her first vote as the first woman in congress (a emphatic NAY to go to war). 

Needless to say, this was a total blast to work on and am so very grateful to know everyone involved. Special thanks to editors, Howard Reeves and Melissa Faulner, Sara Corbett for her stellar design skills, Ilene Cooper for writing this important book, and of course, all the smart, talented and influential ladies of congress. Keep on keepin' on!

Improper Bostonian

Here's some lettering I did for the current Improper Bostonian! It was for an article on "green" weddings. How timely, no? 

 

And some details. I was super pumped to finally get to make lettering that looked like branches! (yes, SUPER pumped).

 

I also did some spots:

 

If anyone is curious how these sorts of things start out, here are my sketches. My sketches for lettering jobs tend to be a little more refined and cleaner than for illustration jobs because it's not just about getting a concept across, but also direction for tone and how the piece reads. It's more work up front, but a lot easier for me in the end.

Thanks to super-easy-to-work-with, art director, Nicole Begin. This was a lot of fun!

 

State of Affairs.

Once upon a time, long long ago, in a far away land (well, actually, not that far, just New York City. And "long" is debatable, but for me, last April was a really long time ago) I received one of my first illustration jobs! I was hired by Roseanne Serra at Penguin to design the cover to the novel "Surrey State of Affairs". It started out as a lettering job, then moprhed into illustration (good thing I do both, no?). The process was long and arduous. I created sketch after sketch. Ultimately settling on one fairly similar to the one you see below.

 

Alas, it was not meant to be. The job was killed (they ultimately decided on this-a completely different direction, which makes me feel better) and I pushed it away, only to return to it this past weekend. About time right? I'm not one to post sketches, but since I did so many, fairly tight sketches for this job, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at my journey...

 

sketches