Minted's Wedding Suite Love Challenge

I've long wanted to participate in Minted's design challenges, as I absolutely love their beautiful collection of invitations, cards, and stationery. So I've finally submitted, and voting is open for the Wedding Suite Challenge! Here's my design, very much inspired by the save-the-dates I created for my own wedding! Winners are picked to be sold on Minted.com, so please stop by and give a vote for me! Thanks!

The Thing About Leftovers

I always love working with my old friends and colleagues at Penguin Books, so when AD Irene Vandervoort asked me to take on this fun middle-grade cover I jumped at the opportunity! This is a funny and sweet middle-grade read about a southern girl, with a passion for cooking, who feels like a "leftover" from her divorced parents' marriage but eventually comes to realize her very important place in her new blended family.

After exploring lots of concepts—including graphic, type-driven, and photographic approaches, we decided to play off the "leftovers" title and I created this fun typographic illustration. The book pubs next spring, but is available for pre-order now.

Pippa Morgan's Diary - book cover illustration

I always love working with the creative team at Sourcebooks, and this cover was no exception. I was asked to redesign the cover for Pippa Morgan's Diary, the super-secret diary of a 10-year old girl with a BIG imagination who's life is just not going well at all! This is an already established series in the UK, so I was required to create the art in a style that reflected the character and interior illustrations, and the AD had specific concepts to follow. But it's a super fun format and a hilarious read, so dove right in and had a lot of fun with it! Available to pre-order now on Amazon.

Stage Struck

I recently had the great opportunity to work with Sleeping Bear Press on a new middle-grade book series, "Stage Struck" by Anya Wallach. I designed and illustrated this cover for the first book, including the hand-lettered branding that will be carried over to future books in the series. The series is closely based on the real-life experience of Wallach, who began a summer theater “camp” in her parents’ basement when she was just sixteen years old and formed Random Farms, which has launched the careers of many of today’s youngest stars on Broadway. Many thanks to AD, Jennifer Bacheller, for this fun project!

A "Wonderlandiful" book project!

Very excited to finally get to share a big project I worked on earlier this year—a whimsical "Wonderlandiful Doodle Book" for Little Brown! The 128-page activity book for tween girls tied into one of the publisher's licensed properties—Mattel's Ever After High. So I was to incorporate the style guide art into my design, but also create lots of original illustrations and hand-lettering, as well as concept each page—and write the entire text! Projects with this kind of integration of the entire package and so much creative freedom are absolutely my favorite, and it was my first time authoring, so I was thrilled to dive right in! Here's the cover and some spreads from the book—all character illustrations, logos and some background elements are from Mattel, but all other artwork by yours truly. On sale now!

Many thanks to wonderful AD, Christina Quintero, for such a truly fun project!

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New book cover design & Illustration

Very excited that I can finally share a project I worked on last year—a book cover for Lindsay Eland's new middle-grade novel for Egmont Books. I love projects like this, where I had the opportunity to create the whole package: design, illustration, and hand-lettering.

This is the story of Sunday Fowler, who's feels she's always overlooked in her family as the third of six kids. So she's determined to spend the summer finding a way to make herself stand out, and may have just found it in the mysterious letters she finds in a silver box in the basement of the library her parents are renovating. She's determined to find out who wrote them, in hopes to unveil to the world what may be a lost novel—and become famous!

I tried several different approaches in the sketch rounds, but ultimately we decided to focus on conveying the sense of mystery as well as Sunday's determination.

I previously worked on Lindsay's debut middle grade novel, Scones and Sensibility. It's such a joy to work on her books—her writing is delightfully sweet & fun. A Summer of Sundays pubs in July and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Inspired by NOLA once again

I spent this past weekend in New Orleans, one of my very very favorite places in the world! The city is defined by the diverse and eclectic mix found in it's culture, history, people, food & music. And even though it was my 6th visit in the past 5 years, it always feels like the first time! It never fails to inspire me, re-energize me, amaze me and excite me in a way different from anywhere else I've been. The sights, sounds & tastes are always incredible, but this time I paid extra of attention to the visuals—especially the patterns and colors everywhere.

 

I also stumbled upon the Museum of Southern Food & Beverage in New Orleans this time, which included the History of the American Cocktail. So much amazing and beautiful vintage typography!

 

I took a ton of photos that I know will inspire some new work—wanted to share a sampling here!

Book Cover Design

Just wanted to share one of my recent cover designs that's become one of my favorite book projects.

 

Let It Snow is a collection of interconnected romantic holiday stories by three top YA fiction authors. A few years back I designed this cover, and a few months ago my publisher decided to repackage it to give it a fresh new look. This allowed me a fun opportunity to try a new concept and actually make papercut typographic snowflakes featuring the author's names. A coworker helped me set up a mini-photoshoot in my office so we could capture the lighting and depth I wanted, and we printed on a pearlized white paper to give it a shimmery "snowy" effect.

 

This edition is now available for order on Amazon.

Illustration vs. Photo

This summer, I shared an illustration project that had gotten killed—it was a 3-book middle-grade series for Penguin. I wanted to make another post about it, now that the new covers have been finalized, because I had the unique position in this case of being the illustrator, as well as the designer & art director—and it proved to be a very interesting experience.

 

Being a full-time staff designer, I had to pitch myself anonymously to my publisher to get this illustration assignment. I was thrilled to get the job and had a great time creating final art for 2 of the books. I also, however, had to sit through the big sales meeting where they ultimately decided that photography was a better direction for this particular series.

 

I know to some of my illustration friends, it sounded like torture to put myself directly into that meeting! But, having 8 years of experience in a big publishing house I know that feedback is just part of the creative process and not always a reflection on if the art is good or not; Rather it's a decision on what is best for the project based on genre, trends, competition, author sales, positioning...and about a zillion other things. I'd being lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed that I didn't get to see my art published for the final book, but I still completely enjoyed creating it. And, as a designer my challenge became solving the project in a new way (there's always more than one good way!) So, I got to put on my Art Director cap and do a photoshoot for the final covers. The shoot was so much fun (come on, how often do you get to photograph a little girl on a flying carpet?!) and ultimately I am still pleased with the outcome of the covers. All around, everyone in house—as well as the author—was happier with these sleeker, more mass-commercial photographic packages.

 

The books go one sale next June, but since they are already listed on Amazon, I wanted to share the final covers as well as a little of the back story. Here's 2 of them-side by side with the illustrations I had originally done. You can see I still was able to incorporate some of my swirly, decorative illustrated elements into the background.

 

 

All in all, it was a fun and interesting project for me, from both my viewpoints as an illustrator and a designer/art director. I definitely feel like having the behind-the-scenes look at a project like this is so beneficial for me in understanding the publishing industry overall. ...And the books themselves are really cute! Check 'em out! :)