Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Book design’ Category


fontposter

Read Full Post »


Let me say right off that this blog post has nothing whatsoever to do with clothes, or the small rooms in which the tidiest of us keep them. It’s about work–my work, to be precise. I’m a designer, a writer, an illustrator, and a teacher. In most of those arenas, my job entails working to others’ specifications–making other people’s dreams come true. In some cases my clients know exactly what they want, and they just want my hands and computer skills. In others, though, my job is less giving my client what they think they want than it is showing them all the things they might want if they knew those things existed.

In short, I am paid to Think Outside the Box, to Dream Up Amazing Things, to show my clients things they don’t want so they can have a better idea of what they DO want. I am paid to take risks, to court certain rejection not occasionally but every single frigging day.

And I’m okay with that. Really I am. I understand that when I walk into a client meeting I will walk out of there with (if I”m lucky) two of my three dynamite ideas rejected out of hand–and it will probably be my favorite two. I understand that I am working in pursuit of another’s dream, creating another’s vision. That’s my job. I’m used to it. I know the dangers of falling too deeply in love with a concept–any concept. It’s likely going to get shot down–and the more I fall in love with it, the more likely the idea’s quick death on the boardroom floor is.

And yet sometimes it still happens. I go to the initial client meeting. I listen to their thoughts and ideas. I take notes. And then, at some point in the process, I am struck by lightning. I know–I just know–that I’ve got pure gold in my concepts. I hurry to the next client meeting on eager feet, clutching my concepts in my sweaty hands (not really–sweat is hell on comps, and these days it’s all about email and pdfs in my world, but you get the idea).

I present my work. And my clients look at each other out of the corners of their eyes and I know that, like Michael Bolten, I have perhaps been watching too much of the wrong thing. I have allowed myself to dream the big dreams, rather than the necessary ones, that my comps reflect me more than they reflect what my clients wish to say about themselves. There I am, singing in a rich, ringing voice of being Jack Sparrow on Tortuga, Forrest Gump on the bus bench, Scarface, Erin Brokovich, when what my clients want is a nice, tight little addition to their edgy little rap.

And so I put away my braids and beads, the crashing ocean and the blue, blue sky, my deskful of cocaine, and God-help-me my Erin Brokovich suit, and I re-set my sights on crafting a nice, tight little addition to their edgy little rap, because I am a professional, and i truly do know that my job is creating art and designs that will help my clients reach their dreams and goals. It’s not about me. Some days, I am a gun for hire.

But this video is for the other days, the days when I stride into meetings with a concept that goes giving my clients what they think they want, and shows them the world they might have instead. Sometimes they want it. Sometimes they don’t.

And this video captures that experience perfectly–so perfectly, in fact, that I suspect Michael Bolton may have spent some time as a designer. So for all those people who have ever wondered how a designer feels in a concept meeting–and for every designer who has ever been there–this video is for you. Play it proudly.

Read Full Post »


I have to admit, I don’t often come across a book that catches my interest the way that BIG, written by Coleen Paratore, illustrated by Clare Fennell, and published by Little Pickle Press, did. See, I have a son, Patrick. And Patrick’s BIG.

He wasn’t always that way—up until he was four months old he wore layette-size clothing. And then we went to Hawaii for six weeks, and when we came home he’d blown right through all the baby sizes to 18-months, had four teeth, and was crawling.

He never looked back. By the time he was two he was so far off the charts the doctors stopped mapping his growth. In kindergarten he had to sit at a third-grade desk because he was too big for the kindergarten tables. In elementary school sometimes I’d drive by the playground and spot him by the monkey bars, hunched over, trying to look like the other kids. Anyone who tells you that size doesn’t matter to kids is lying.

By fifth grade he was taller than his teachers. Fortunately for us, those teachers did  something for my son that BIG does for young children today—they taught him that size has its advantages—and that it’s far more than just a physical thing. His homeroom teacher encouraged my son to take up the tuba “because it takes a big, strong, kid to carry it in the marching band.” He also suggested that Patrick go out for sports like football and basketball, where being big is an enormous asset (forgive the pun).

Patrick’s math teacher saw that what previous teachers had interpreted as an unwillingness to follow “the rules” was in fact an indication that Patrick’s brain simply processes things in its own way. Like much of my family, his brain seems to function bilaterally–he is both intensely creative, and intensely analytical. “I like to have Patrick work the math problems on the board,” his math teacher said. “He comes at them from an angle I’ve never seen before—and some of my students can understand it better the way he does it. It gives everybody another way of understanding the concepts.”

Those teachers worked with school staff (and me) to help Patrick become big in other, even more important ways. Though he was offered the opportunity to move into advanced placement classes, we chose instead to keep him in the classroom with his friends and those wonderful teachers—and put him to work as an assistant to the PE teacher.  Each day, he spent some time out on the playground teaching kindergarteners through fourth-graders how to catch, leading exercises—and learning about how discipline, patience, and kindness go a long way toward a new, better kind of bigness.

Patrick is almost sixteen now, 6’5”, a lineman on the football team (that’s him up above–#77), and a wonderful tuba player (he’s just been accepted into the youth symphony). And when we go out little kids all over town run up to him to say, “hi.” Because of this small town, and particularly because of his fifth-grade teachers, my son is big in ways that Paratore and Fennell understand.

Again, #77 is the boy we watch here. Imagine facing that over a small, pointed ball!

For children, size matters. It matters a lot. BIG does for young readers what my son’s fifth-grade teachers did for him—they provide children another way of understanding something that’s central to life—that physical size is only one way of being big.

And if you, Gentle Readers (or Savage Readers–we’re equal-opportunity around here, what with the Magic Dog’s penchant for biting UPS men, gas men, Fed-ex men, mail men, cops, and random strangers) would like to read more about BIG, Little Pickle Press, and the nice people who make these things possible, you can download lesson plans at the Little Pickle Press website here. Click here for the BIG lesson plan. And of course you’ll want to buy a copy of this beautiful book, or download a Kindle version of the book by clicking here.

Size matters. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. This illustration (like the kids above) are some of Clare Fennell’s charming artwork for BIG.

BIG is printed on recycled papers with soy inks in North America (since the folks at Little Pickle Press are all Big People and Understand About Saving Our Planet).  For more of the story behind the story in BIG continue the book tour tomorrow–here’s a full set of the blog stops:

Tour Stops 2012

·  9/19 Brit Mum

·  9/20 Spoiled Yoga

· 9/21 Capability Mom

Here’s a quick reference list of helpful links for BIG, and for Little Pickle Press:

Picture Book

Kindle e-book

Video trailer

Little Pickle Press website

Little Pickle Press blog

Little Pickle Press on Facebook

Little Pickle Press on Twitter

Little Pickle Press on Pinterest

BIG Lesson Plan Only

Free lesson plans

LPP Blog Book Tour Schedule

Read Full Post »


What Does It Mean To Be Safe? Written by Rana DiOrio, Illustrated by Sandra Salsbury

Welcome! Welcome to the usual suspects, as well to those of you who are participating in Little Pickle Press’ blog tour for What Does It Mean To Be Safe? by Rana DiOrio.

Today we talk to illustrator Sandra Salsbury, whose lively illustrations bring D’Orio’s text to life. Salsbury studied illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA. She received her BFA in December 2006 and her MFA in August 2009. She currently resides in Mountain View, CA with her two cats, Gypsy and Winston. “I am, however, not a crazy cat lady,” she adds. When she’s not illustrating or teaching art classes (she combines teaching and illustrating careers) she likes hiking and doing yoga.

Self portrait

She stops in for a quick conversation today. Enjoy the pictures, and feel free to weigh in with your comments and questions.

BodieP: A book like What Does It Mean To Be Safe has a serious message for kids. How is illustrating a book with a message like this different from illustrating a kids’ book primarily designed to entertain?
Sandra: As an illustrator, I don’t really feel like I should approach the two types that differently. Even though What Does It Mean To Be Safe? has a serious message, it still has to be entertaining in some regard so that children will want to read it. As the illustrator, it was really my job to bring that entertainment factor into the story. I need to create characters to follow and a narrative that goes along with the message.

BodieP: How do you think illustrations help to shape the reading experience?
Sandra: In the case of What Does It Mean To Be Safe?  the illustrations add a story element to the book. If you just read the manuscript, it’s a list of ways to be safe. I think the written aspect of the book has an extremely important message, but it’s not a story. The illustrations add a layer of meaning to the text. The book then doesn’t just tell you how to be safe, it also shows children following the message of the book.

BodieP: I notice on your website that you work in a variety of media. Which is your favorite?
Sandra: Definitely watercolor. I love the clean, crisp quality of the colors and the level of detail that one can achieve with it. I also find it much easier to mix the exact colors I want. It’s also an extremely portable media and very easy to clean up.

One of Sandra's illustrations. To see more visit her website.

BodieP: Illustration is one of those jobs that seem like they’d be a lot of fun (at least from the outside, looking in). it’s easy to think of it as a license to doodle all day. What’s it really like? Can you walk us through a typical project?
Once we officially started working on the What Does It Mean To Be Safe?  I had the manuscript, but we didn’t have an overall story for the book. I would say that this was the biggest challenge and probably the aspect that took the most time. Before I could even start working on the sketches, we had to decide what was going on in each page. Who would the characters be? What are they doing? Once that was decided, we moved on to rough sketches, and then more defined sketches, then final drawings, and then changes to the final drawings. From the very beginning scribbles to the final painting, pages may go through a dozen variations, each which had an approval process. Once the final paintings were done, I took them to a scanner and they were sent to the designer to create the layout of the book. The whole process took about 4.5 months.

BodieP: Are you a “pure” illustrator, or is that one of multiple hats you wear? Care to share what the others might be?
Sandra: Unfortunately, I am not able to work as an illustrator full time. I would like to make the transition one day, but I am not sure when that point will be. I have been working with children for about 10 years now. I teach art at a local community art school and I also work in the school districts in my area.

BodieP: How does technology affect the work you do? (For example, do you use a computer in your creative process? Does it factor into the editing of your images? Do you deliver mounted illustrations or scans?)
Sandra: The biggest role that technology plays in my work is communication. I am able to send scans of my sketches to my art director and hear back from her in the same day. Even the same hour, sometimes. I can’t imagine how long this process would have been if I had to mail things back and forth!  As for my actual work, the internet is great for reference images, but beyond that, I don’t use the computer in my work very much. I will occasionally touch up images in Photoshop, but nothing major.

BodieP: Do you think technology has improved or harmed the world for designers?
Sandra: Technology has definitely improved things for artists, if not for all the programs that are now available, then for the ease of communication. There was once a time when illustrators basically needed to live in New York. Now publishing companies can work with people anywhere in the world.

BodieP: You’re an illustrator. That’s something many people dream of doing. If you had to offer advice to those who would like to get into the field, what would you suggest?
Sandra: Learn how to market yourself. This is by far the biggest challenge for me, and one that I haven’t overcome yet. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your work is if no one ever sees it. Drawing and painting is only 50% of your job. You also need to manage your website, contact publishers, go to conferences, send mailers, negotiate contracts, and so on.

BodieP: I notice you have your work divided into illustrations, sketches, and fine art. How do you differentiate among them?
Sandra: My illustrations are finished pieces that have a narrative element to them. Most of them are based on a story or text or some sort. My sketches are basically my doodles. I don’t want to paint a full narrative piece every time I sit down to paint. Sometimes I just want to draw something silly, and that sort of falls in the sketches category. My fine art section contains figure, portrait, and landscape studies.

If you’d like to email Sandra about her work you can do so here. If you’d like to see more of her work, you can do that here. To order a copy of What Does It Mean to be Safe? visit Little Pickle Press online, or find them on Amazon. Note that there is a free shipping code (BBTSAFE) that you can use at checkout.That will also get you a free TerraSkin (tree-free paper) poster to go with the book.

Tomorrow the blog tour catches up with Pat Bean and Maggie. You won’t want to miss that. For the rest of the tour stops visit Little Pickle Press online.

My very favorite illustration in all of What Does It Mean To Be Safe?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

LINDA C. WISNIEWSKI

WRITER, memoir teacher, knitter, quilter, happy trail walker...

the BrainChancery

Or, "I Flew to Hong Kong And All I Got Was This Lousy Brain Tumor"

Cristian Mihai

writes crazy articles for modern polymaths

The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

The Bipolar Bum

Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.

WalkedThru

For You.

Red Tash

Teller of Tales

maggiemaeijustsaythis

through the darkness there is light

Sunny Sleevez

Sun Protection & Green Info

A Fresh Perspective

99.3% truth, .7% blatant lies. In between lies my perspective on life.

Fabulous Realms

Worlds of Fantasy, Folklore, Myth and Legend

Someone To Talk To

Just another WordPress.com site

Heidi M. Thomas

Author, Editor, Writing Teacher

Marian Allen's WEBLAHG

This, that, and a whole lot of the other

Beneath your Covers

Paranormal books & media review blog

Pat Bean's blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

This Kid Reviews Books

A Place for Kids and Grown-Ups to Discover Books

%d bloggers like this: