Walking In Public is MOVING!

Dear readers,

After over two years of posting here at WordPress.com… Walking in Public is MOVING!  I now have a brand-new, sleek and professional site over at AnnieBethEricsson.com, and I made the decision to host my blog there as well.

As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t been posting a lot (at all) here in the past few months, and that’s mostly because I’m overwhelmed keeping  up with multiple platforms and social media sites online.  Now that all of my content is in one place, I’ll be sure to update with new artwork and blog posts more frequently – so please subscribe and check back there often!

If you’re sad to miss Walking in Public, do not fear! All of the old posts are  available on AnnieBethEricsson.com, and this site will stay available, if dormant, to take a walk down memory lane.

Can’t wait to see you all at AnnieBethEricsson.com!

- Annie

Re-Seussify Seuss Challenge

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In case you missed it, this week’s results for School Library Journal’s Fuse #8 Re-Seussify Seuss challenge were in, and they were pretty spectacular! The mission, as set forth by children’s lit guru Betsy Bird, was to draw a spread from a Dr. Seuss book, but in the style of ANOTHER famous picture book artist. I was inspired by the fun mash-up idea, and pulled off the image of Yertle The Turtle in the style of Arnold Lobel, above.

The idea for the image itself came to me pretty easily. It’s no surprise that I love drawing turtles, and Yertle The Turtle is a family favorite. The reptile vs. amphibian factor – Yertle crossed with Frog and Toadwas amusing to me as well. In particular, I wanted to try my hand at Arnold Lobel’s style. I thought the limited palette with textured graphite would be fun, and his characters and watercolors lend themselves easily to my own style. Plus, he’s a fellow Pratt alum!

I learned a lot about Arnold Lobel’s creative process from this video with his daughter, Adrianne Lobel.  She sought to replicate her father’s paintings when she colored Arnold Lobel’s unfinished The Frogs and Toads All Sang:

I am very interested in Lobel’s use of color separations to make the Frog and Toad illustrations, and I wish I could find more on the subject. While Adrianne went with full-color in her recent interpretation, I wanted to imitate the 2-color (and black) separations by sticking to a green layer, a brown layer, and dark graphite.  I’m pleased with the result and think it was rather successful, if I do say so myself.

Now go check out Betsy’s post for the other mind-blowing creative Re-Seussification mash-ups!

Park Slope Methodist Book Sale Finds

This weekend was one of my favorite annual Park Slope traditions: the Park Slope Methodist book sale!  Every year, this neighborhood church collects thousands of book donations (and CDs, and records) of every kind, and the BK literati flock to pick up hardcovers and paperbacks for just a dollar or two.

This year, I tried to exercise some restraint – after all, I’ve got books spilling out of the shelves in my room as it is!  But I did manage to pick up a few art and home-related titles (I was in a non-fiction mood), that are really fun!

My favorite book of the day is A Book Of Garden Flowers by Margaret McKenny and Edith F. Johnston (Macmillan, 1940). Margaret McKenny turns out to be a renowned Washington State naturalist, and I later found some of her enthusiastic letters about mushroom hunting. But the piece de resistance is Edith Johnston’s GORGEOUS lithographs of flowers! Each one is more beautiful than the next (so much so that I almost scanned the whole book!). Take a look . . .

Truly lovely, no?

I also picked up a couple of cookbooks that I’m really digging:

The Pleasures of Slow Food by Corby Kummer (Chronicle Books, 2002). – This glamorous coffee-table volume takes a warm glimpse into the “slow food” movement – where hand-crafted cooking methods enjoyed among company take the place of modern American fast-food culture. I can only hope that I’ll get around to cooking soft-shell crab bisque or pickled herring with apples and creme freche, because the photos are absolutely drool-worthy!

Speaking of photos, I’d never normally buy a cookbook without them, but this little gem caught my eye and I think it’ll be most useful! Edible Pockets For Every Meal by Donna Rathmell German (Nitty Gritty Cookbooks, 1997) is a super-simple guide to all kinds of dumplings, turnovers and “pasties” ( . . . whatever those are!). You can mix-and-match various dough/roll recipes with endless combinations of fillings from different cultures.  Check out how friendly the design is:

Want some of these delightful titles for yourself? Make sure to be on the lookout for the Slope’s book sale next February!

ECC Event Invite: Hunger Pub Games!

Calling all young publishing professionals (sorry, Early Career Committee events are for employees of CBC member houses only) -

Join us for the 1st Annual Hunger Pub Games!  See below for the event invite I created… and RSVP to see in person all the challenges that await. It’s going to be a ton of fighting- I mean, fun!

The Blog Is BACK!!!

It’s finally time to resurrect my blog from its long hiatus!  I’ve actually missed being on Walking In Public… digging up blog content has always kept me engaged with the publishing/art/design industries, and it motivates me to write and draw regularly.  So, I’ll be back on the blog for a long while, with all-new features and updates on my journey to success in the children’s book world!

What have you missed while I’ve been away from the blog? Here are the best things that happened, circa 2011:

Annie’s Top 5 2011 Professional Developments

1. Illustrated and designed the Little Farmer app.

You may remember that I began a project working on a toddler game app, called Little Farmer, back in May.  Well, after months of illustrating, designing and developing, we released it for sale in the iTunes store in October!  It has been a really wonderful experience working with a talented developer, Anita Hirth, to create artwork that children can interact with, right there on any iPhone.  There’s much more to say about the process of creating an app, and my future in the digital world… but those are subjects for bigger posts!

In the meantime, purchase the app here, or watch the video trailer, above!

2. Joined the Children’s Book Council’s Early Career Committee.

I’ve been attending events for young adults in the publishing industry for awhile, so it was exciting to be asked to represent Penguin Young Readers (and designers everywhere) on the Children’s Book Council’s Early Career Committee.  This organization creates opportunities for those in the first 5 years of the children’s book industry to network, learn, and become more involved in their fields… so their mission is right up my alley!  Since becoming a part of the team this summer, I’ve had a TON of fun making great friends with 20-somethings in different houses, through planning creative programming.  I’m also having a blast designing fliers, making good use of my design time and talents.

If you haven’t already, make sure to catch up on the CBC and ECC’s fabulous social media enterprises – Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

3. Made friends with WordPress.org.

One of the biggest hurdles in creating marketing materials for Little Farmer was: what to do about the website?  A website is obviously essential for promoting any business or product, but my knowledge of web design is spotty at best.  I’ve taken a class on Flash, but I gotta admit, coding scares the bejeezus out of me. So I turned to the platform I knew best – WordPress, home of this very blog!  WordPress.org is actually slightly different from its blogging sister WordPress.com. In a day or two, you can create practically any site imaginable, using existing templates, posts and pages, and update new content anytime – hardly any coding required.  The process is worth a separate future post, but here are the first two sites I made:

www.smartcookiestudios.com (using Suffusion theme)
www.anniebethericsson.com (using Blue Bubble theme)

4. Designed a few picture books.

What was I up to at my real job? Designing wonderful titles with Putnam and Nancy Paulsen Books!  In addition to my regularly scheduled board books, anniversary editions and novel interiors, I had the opportunity to have my own picture book assignments.  My first book, Half-Pint Pete the Pirate, was quickly followed by Dave Horowitz‘s hilarious, “spaghetti-western-style” Chico The Brave.  I also was honored to redesign Jan Brett‘s Beauty and the Beast reissue, and also redesign the jackets of a few international imports.  My favorite? The Aussie “new classic”, Maudie And Bear.

5. Freelanced Projects.  

Lastly, I’m happy to report that in addition to my busy schedule and pet app project, I also picked up a few freelance gigs.  Chief among them was an exhibition catalog for the Simms Taback retrospective at the Museum of Ventura County.

I’ll never forget that I was able to get to know Simms and work with him on this 16-page booklet of his work, in the few last months before his death this December.  He was a truly exceptional man with a kind heart, a keen eye for design, and an inspirational wealth of artistic creativity.  It was always wonderful to speak with him, and I loved that he was so involved with every aspect of his craft.  It does give me comfort, though, that before he passed, he saw the publication of his final book, Postcards from Camp, the opening of the exhibit, and travelled with friends and family.  He will be sorely missed!

Read more about Simms’ amazing life and work here.

. . .

And now, looking forward to 2012… keep reading here for more posts, new content, and as always, a love of illustration, books and design all around! 

From The Slush Pile: Summer Finds

You know I’m busy at work when instead of going through art samples with my morning coffee, they pile up on my desk.  Today, I finally took lunch to sort through a few.  Check out some exciting new finds that came in lately!

Casey Uhelski / For pet lovers (like me!), this SCAD grad has mastered the expressions of adorable dogs, cats and bunnies.

Victoria Jamieson / Victoria’s anthropomorphic characters have landed her a two-book gig with Dial (part of the Penguin family) in 2012/2013.  In the meantime, I think her revisiting of Ramona Quimby is spot-on.

David C. Gardiner / This image might suggest that David and I are cut from the same cloth, stylistically, but his Flying Dog Studio also produces everything from fairly realistic older characters to animations.

Caitlin B. Alexander / This Austin-based illustrator’s folksy-yet-modern style looks mostly editorial, for now… but wouldn’t it make a charming children’s book?

Veronica Chen / I was intrigued by her intricate black-and-white patternwork, but her color piece Chameleon City just begs for a story to be told.

Jillian Nickell / This quirky, vintage-inspired vignette was fascinating enough to lead me to her website, where there’s a great series of pieces based on The Borrowers, and more. I can picture her style being perfect in the right book for older readers!

Calling All Interested App Folks

Things have been bustling here at the newly-founded Smart Cookie Studios, where our first app is almost ready to be revealed to the world!  We’re going to launch our website and social media soon (Twitter, Facebook), and are prepping for pre-release so we can finally show you all the final art, music and interactivity we’ve been working so much on.

That being said, I want to know – WHO should we tell about our app?? Do you want news and updates about our new venture yourself? Do you have a great app reviewer we should know about?  Know of someone in the industry we should follow on Twitter?  Are a fan of another great app studio? Or blog? Or developer?

I’m looking for any and everyone under the sun, so send me Twitter handles! Facebooks! Websites! Emails! Smoke signals!  I’ll love you forever…