Annual Book Tradition: Year 1

Part of constantly creating work means that every new piece I finish pushes old work farther and farther into the depths of darkness. It gets shoved into the back of a filing cabinet, sent off into a cloud (which sounds magical, but that's only because technology eludes me) or it gets ripped up, given away, sold, even burned. There's something so cathartic about creating something and then destroying it (which worries me about becoming a parent...I kid!) But then there are those moments where you want to harken back to old work to see how far you've come, to see the process which was the beginning. Since my husband and I move a lot, I have not been consistent about compiling a good collection of past work, online or in print, and I feel I might regret that when I turn 80 (and I am planning on living that long). 

So, when I was invited to partner with Blurb this past month, I set out to create a book of my most recent illustrations.

I've created books using their tools before but I'd never created a portfolio book of my own. (Exciting!) As I'm not yet eager to destroy any of my most recent work, I'm still smitten enough with it that it felt really lovely to put it all into a printed collection. It feels nice knowing I can look back on 2016 and see what I was making. Now that the book is printed and bound and beautiful, I plan to create a book every year - and then when I'm 80, I'll have fifty books! It is in my nature to take something simple and make a giant unattainable and unrealistic goal but please check back in fifty years and let's see who's on target. 

To begin, I thought I'd knock the dust off my InDesign skills I gained a million years ago in Typography 101. As fate would have it, I hate math and rulers and layouts and design and had a moment of panic when I realized how much work it was to actually design a book. Enter BookWright to the rescue! I'm usually not one for templated options but this program saved. my. life.

It was so easy to use - basically, you choose a template per page based on how many photos you want , and whether or not you want text. Instead of dropping each image directly into the template from your computer, you upload your photos to the program and choose which one you'd like to add to each page. It snaps to a grid (thank god) and lets you zoom into the image while maintaining the boundary line. It sets up cover options for you as Blurb offers a dust jacket, a wraparound cover, and a paperback. After you've created the book, you just upload it, they print it, genius navigators deliver it, you unwrap it, you melt a little, and you have a book. I really can't tell you how excited I was when this beauty arrived neatly in its cellophane sleeve, bundled in all its glory. 

I chose to include work primarily from 2016, though I did sneak in some work from last year and a studio image from 2013. I also included a short interview and some little Instagram snaps. The book itself is a hardcover wraparound, with light grey end papers and a matte stock (matte for life!) They offer an array of paper stocks, so if you're thinking of creating a book, you can order a swatch kit (which runs a little under $8) and that price is taken off of your book purchase. 

After the Holidays, I plan to put some originals up for sale through my site, and am happy to announce that specific paintings will come with a signed copy of the book. How's that for a segue into 2017? Besides, I'd like to sell these paintings before they end up in a filing cabinet or worse - a bonfire! 

I hope you guys are all staying cozy and warm - can't wait to catch up with you in the New Year! 





A Wednesday in November

What a year!

Things have been quite busy in my studio and while I try to keep you all posted via Instagram, I've A) left my blog untouched and B) been working exclusively on book projects which means I can't share them until next year - which is so hard!

If you've followed my work for the past year or so, you'll recall the little Ghost book I released last October, What To Do When A Ghost Finds You. I had a blast creating that book and sold a limited number or printed copies. After which, I was contacted by Tara, a lovely editor at Tundra Books of Penguin Random House Canada with an exciting offer to publish the book. What started out as a little side project regarding ghost care has bloomed into a full scale picture book, complete with added content, all new illustrations, a new title, and more color! The book is set to be released next Fall, and I cannot wait to share it with the world. My dream is to travel to different bookstores, introducing the little ghost to all its new friends, and making ghost crafts to celebrate my favorite time of year. I. Can't. Wait. 

I've also been working hard on two additional picture books for younger children, along with some middle grade novels - in which I am creating the cover illustrations and some interior b/w illustrations. It's a dream. It's more than a dream working on all these books. Don't get me wrong - it's a ton of work - my days are quite full - I am no longer taking commissions, doing gallery shows, and I have not had time to even think about opening an online shop, which has been on my to-do list for months. But I have realized that I have come full circle - when I graduated college 6 years ago, it was my dream to write and tell stories through images - to work exclusively on books. It's taken me a winding road to get here, through alleys of editorial work, retail shows, gallery shows, personal commissions and the like. Somehow I kept pushing only to end up where I started, which is exactly where I'm supposed to be. 

That said, this month, I am showing at the Julia Martin Gallery here in Nashville and you should check it out! It's the last gallery show I'll be doing for a long while and will be up until the 30th. I did a bunch of new pieces for it, but I also put on display, a number of sketches, and illustrations from the past year or so. 

And on and on and on we go. 

I'm off to clean my house, make a new recipe and host some lovely friends for dinner, because all this work can't be for naught. We must live too.

Until next time! xo