Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Year in Review + My Eureka Moments

2009 was one of the craziest year of my life to date. Some highlights: **Warning: Long blabbing post!!**

-Books published! Two "my first graphic novel readers" published by Capstone Press: Lily's Lucky Leotard and T-Ball Trouble, Light the Menorah published by PSS, and The Great Reindeer Rebellion published by Sterling (a wonderful review of it here by fellow illustrator Kathy Weller..thank you, Kathy!)

-My baby gift card design for Target is now in stores. Had to keep this quiet till now, which was hard to do!

-Participated in Surtex. So grateful to have had the opportunity to experience doing a trade show.

-Partnership with I {heart} Papers to produce my own stamping line.

-And some how in between all of that, I got married and moved out of NYC to a completely new place in which I've never been to or know anyone.

-New place gave me my very own room as my studio = dream come true :-)

Some Eureka moments/lessons learned for this year:

Looking back at this year, I realized I was all over the place with where I wanted to take my work. I spent a good chunk of the time working on projects or portfolio pieces for industries I really have no interest in. So why was I doing it? I'm not sure. I got into the mentality that I must diversify my income and look for other industries that I can do work for. Which I still think is smart, but creatively I wasn't enjoying some of it. But I pushed on, like I needed to prove something to myself. In the end, I feel I spread myself way too thin, forgetting what I was passionate about- which is story telling and creating amazing children's books.

Perhaps the computer sometimes is way too easy to come up with quick, slick, images that can easily impress. I feel like I haven't spent a good amount of time on one amazing piece...but rather, a bunch of quick ones where I can get easy, instant gratifications. Thank goodness for some amazing illustrators out there that inspires me...I'm reminded again that what I want to do is Good Work. (thanks to Tara Lazar, I was invited to pick my top 3 picture books of 2009, check it out here. Some of my inspirations!)

Its time for me to work on more personal projects rather than come up with images which I think can be used in multiple places. Business wise it might be smart, but creatively, it is very stifling to me. The funny thing is, those personal projects of mine usually bring in work for me- work that I enjoy doing! What a concept!

So with that in mind, I'm going to come up with some fitting goals for 2010. I would love to hear some of yours. Much success and creativity to all this coming new year!

Gift Card design for Target

The wait is over! I was honored and humbled when I was contacted by Target a little over a year ago to design some baby gift cards for them. Definitely one of those "wow, really, you want me to design it?!" kind of jobs. And here is the one that finally made it into the stores.
There is a a bit of felt texture on the bear and clouds, which I didn't know about-its a nice touch. So if you are going to get a baby gift card, you'll surely pick this one, right? ;-)

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday...I was offline and took a nice break, traveling to see family and friends. Its time for reflection and think about goals for 2010. I'll be posting some of that. Cluck cluck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Table Display

My modest table display at a craft fair this past Saturday! I'm so glad I did the show; the best part was meeting many local artists and chat with fellow vendors. I'm slowly but surely finding my way in this new town of mine.

With the new year coming, I've been having many "Eureka!" moments in terms of what kind of direction I want to take my work for the new year. More on that later. Hope everyone is surviving in the meanwhile...I feel like I'm always super busy with work right before the holidays!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spotted: Light the Menorah!

I got an email yesterday from fellow Illustration for Kids Paula Becker where she spotted my book, Light the Menorah, at a local Children's book store called Babar Books in Montreal! She kindly took pics for me.
There it is-do you see it? I'm happy to see how the yellow cover really stands out. I remember while working on this book that there were discussions about having the cover be really bright. It worked! ;-)
What a cute and cozy looking book store! Thanks again Paula for taking the pics...this made me so happy to see :-)

P.S.- Happy Hanukkah!!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Crafting and Craft Show

With a light dusting of snow this morning in my new town, a 2ft Christmas tree lit, I did a little crafting- making gift tags. I bought one of these craft punch- much fun...a little addicting! And I'm a sucker for red ribbons with little stitchings on them. The penguin and the bear might look familiar, I just took it from some pre-existing art. Pretty easy.

And...I'm doing a local craft show this Saturday, 12/12! Its The Craft Circus Holiday Show. 119 E Liberty, Ann Arbor, from 4-9 pm. Hope to meet some local artists and new people there. I'll be bringing my monster cards and some books. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

No Farting Reindeers this Christmas!

Spoiler alert! This is the final spread from my latest picture book, The Great Reindeer Rebellion. Santa and the striking reindeers make up in the end...and I thought it was pretty cool that I got to draw Santa and the reindeers chillin' in the hot tub.

But there was something that had to be taken out though.
Its only a mere suggestion....can you tell what it is? I thought kids would find this funny if they found this little detail!

Surely reindeers fart too?

But the editors caught it and there was some discussion about it. In the end, it was swapped out with a reindeer blowing bubbles with a straw instead. Wahhh...noooo...not my my farting reindeer! I would love to hear your thoughts....offensive, or not? I really do not mean any harm.

So here is the inside story! If you get this book and read this to your kids, be sure to tell them about it, hee hee! Oh well, at least I got to draw a topless Santa.

I've been so incredibly happy that many people have been telling me about their sightings of the book or have bought it for their kids. Thank you so much, it really makes my day! A special thanks to Carrie-Anne for writing a great review about the book over at her blog!