Monthly Archives: August 2010

End Of Summertime

Soak it up, kids… fall is just around the corner.

Piggie at Coney Island, ©2010 Annie Beth Ericsson, digital color and pencil

A Mockingjay Potluck Celebration

Amazing Capitol dishes: Katniss’ favorite stew with plums, almonds and watercress, over wild rice and peas; a really beautiful broccoli, lentil and red pepper soup.

Because this week there is – literally – nothing else more important than Mockingjay, I also attended a Hunger Games-themed potluck and book discussion last night, courtesy of my fellow publishing co-workers!

It was a total blast bringing themed district food to the steps of the Highline Park and watching passerby go gaga over our delicious spread.  We even displayed our blue hardcover copies once we realized we were drawing major attention.  A highlight of the night – watching a very excited group of hip college kids slowly figure out that we were, in fact, not just having dinner (wait, this is all about one book?!).

Yes, we were nerding out this Thursday night, and I am damn proud.

Also, I am not going to review Mockingjay at all so I can stay spoiler-free (plus, this one-word summary says it all)… except to say that if you haven’t read the Hunger Games, OMGSERIOUSLYITWILLCHANGEYOURLIFE-JUSTDOYOURSELFAFAVORANDREADALLTHREETHISWEEKEND!  Please.

Check out more photos of food and folks below!


A bunch of children’s publishing kids who all agree that this is the best thing to happen to them since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Check out their Hunger Games read-along blog here.

The limit of my culinary skills – District 11 fruit juice.

Lots and lots of “Peeta” bread (TEAM PEETA), Prim’s goat cheese, and possibly-poisonous berries.  Not pictured: cupcakes frosted by Peeta himself!

Living In Literature Special Edition: The Hunger Games

It’s finally here… Mockingjay, the final title in the Hunger Games series phenomenon, is in stores this week!  Despite running to the nearest release party at Word bookstore on Monday night to get my hands on a copy (check out a pretty epic Twitter account of the night here and photos from NY Mag), I’m actually savoring the book, leaving the last few pages for lunch today.

With the final battle for Panem on everyone’s minds (and all of the fab costumes I saw at the release party), I absolutely had do a post on the series. And for a story that is so heavy on violence, war and adventure, I was surprised how many details Suzanne Collins writes about fashion – it becomes a major plot point in the series.  I’m particularly intrigued by the myriad outfits that Cinna created to blow the Capital population away.  So the fashion below, while not an exact match to the book (if you ever see a fiery jeweled gown, please pass along!), is inspired by Cinna’s take of the “girl on fire”.

Fire top – $120, Missoni flame headband – $90, tights – $10, Scala jeweled dress – $238, Felder + Felder flame dress, Yves Saint-Laurent flame dress

jumpsuit with zip – $295, gold party dress – $280, Jane Yeh feathered wedding gown, feathered cocktail dress – $186, military jacket – $40, 7 For All Mankind skinny cargo jean – $173, Down With The Capitol tee – $24

Dying to keep the Hunger Games spirit alive now that you’ve finished Mockingjay?  Well, until she has enough sense to write a prequel, try outfititng yourself with some Katniss-related gear.

orange backpack – $70, pearl – $20, plant journal – $31, blue hair ribbon – $3, vintage bird pin – $2.75, archery set – $60, bread mix – $3, berry basket – $.62, organic blueberries – $5.50, District 12 Archery Team buttons, armband – $12

First Kiwi Sketches

On Friday, once I had enough browsing cute animal videos and settled into my new favorite coffee shop, I broke out the ole Moleskine and got to drawing.  I am tres excited about my half-baked concept regarding kiwi birds (and other strange or endangered/extinct animals), and had a lot of fun drawing kiwis and moas together.  Here’s the first look!

My warm-up birdies…

Having a bit more fun now…

And moas?!  What?  You’ll just have to wait and find out what I’m up to…

Video Half-Day Friday: Cute Inspiration

This week has been slow on the blog.  It’s not that I don’t have enough to write about (I always have a Sticky on my laptop filled with post ideas!), but I’m actually, finally, percolating new ideas for children’s books.

What changed? Maybe it was the fact that Daniel Pinkwater beat me to the punch with a book about the Brooklyn parrots (now that hurts), or maybe I’ve taken all the break I needed this summer and this is as refreshed as I’m gonna get.  But I’m more than ready to get back to seriously drawing/painting, and the brain is starting to storm.

Where do I get my ideas, you ask?  You know… really classy/artsy/intellectual sources.  Oh, and cute animals off the internet.

Just… no one come out with a brand-new picture book about kiwis until I finish percolating, okay?  Thanks.

photo credit

Turtle Sketch-Card Now Available!

An original turtle watercolor of mine is now available on the Ripple sketch blog for a small donation!  Be the first to contribute to one of the worthy charities helping the gulf oil spill (per her instructions on the blog), and I’ll be mailing you the 4″x5″ sketch-card – for keeps.

It’s just $10, and you should be donating anyway. I mean, come on, that’s like the cost of a sandwich. Now go buy some art and save the sea turtles!!

Hunger Games Dream Casting

I know I’m behind the curve, but let me just say that I am now a card-carrying member of The Hunger Games-OBSESSED fan club!  If you haven’t read the distopian YA novel about teenagers from 12 districts competing to the death on live TV, you are seriously missing out.

Now that I’m going crazy waiting for the August 24th release of Mockingjay, I’m going to pull the dorky teenage pastime of “dream casting” the movie version, which is now in development with Lionsgate.

Here’s my perfect cast!

Katniss: Kaya Scodelario / Ideally, I’m rooting for an unknown to take the lead role – with olive skin and a complex personality, it really requires fresh (hopefully minority!) talent.  But Scodelario, a fan favorite, was incredibly compelling in Skins (an AMAZING show) and she has the right intensity for Katniss.  God forbid it’s a sweet-faced Disney princess.  I’d love for Kaya to trade pill-popping for arrow-throwing. Plus, it’s fun to picture her with an American accent . . . and not bat-shit crazy.

Peeta: Liam Hemsworth / Oh, to be a blonde-haired pretty boy… there are just so many, but none of them quite like stocky, soulful Peeta. Michael Welch gets nixed just for being in the cast of Twilight, and William Moseley and Alex Pettyfer already are male leads for their own YA series (The Chronicles of Narnia and Alex Rider, respectively). So I was delighted to find Liam Hemsworth, a hunky male lead with the bigger build and love-struck eyes for Peeta.

Gale: Jake Sandvig / The actor for Gale doesn’t only have to be a male version of Katniss.  He also has to play both a great District 12 underdog and a man the schoolyard girls would fawn over.  Unlike Drew Roy or Adam Gregory, Jake has eyes that look like they’ve seen hardship in the coal mines, but it only adds to his tall-dark-handsome factor.

Haymitch: Jeff Bridges / I love entertaining the idea of a drunken Jack Nicholson or Philip Seymour Hoffman, but Robert Downey Jr. or Hugh Laurie, the fan-picked favorites, would have to let themselves go a LOT to ever be considered “paunchy”.  Jeff Bridges could pull off both the pain and physical comedy for Haymitch fantastically, so he gets my vote.

Effie: Kristin Chenoweth / This was the easiest to pick – she would shine as the comedic and bubbly, but slightly annoying voice of District 12.  I can just picture her announcing in that high-pitched voice of hers (perfect for the affected Capitol accent), “And may the odds be ever in your favor!”

Cinna: Hugh Dancy / Dancy’s a fan favorite as well, and he’s the right age, which is more important for Cinna because he can’t look the peer of the (sure to be older than 12-16 years) tributes. With well-groomed, almost effeminate looks, Hugh seems to be everyone’s picture of Katniss’s rookie stylist.

Prim: Elle Fanning / That little blonde’s got this one in the bag.

Mrs. Everdeen:  Tea Leoni / Let’s eliminate the established blondes: Kate Hudson is too young, Michelle Pfeiffer too scary, Ali Larter too severe, Meg Ryan too chipper, and Jodie Foster too… done.  Renee Zellweger plays a great depressive, but she looks nothing like Kaya or Elle.  I’m loving Tea Leoni for the role – she’s exactly the right mix and very maternal, in a classy way.

Rue: Yara Shahidi / Has the same spirit as Prim, but let’s not whitewash District 11, shall we?

Who else?  Sophie Anna Everhard has a good look for Foxface, and I’d put Chloe Moretz in the role of Clove because she kicks ass and actually wants to be in the Hunger Games.  I haven’t found anyone close to Thresh or Cato, so if you see a great black teen actor or a “ruthless killing machine”. . . let me know!

Well, Don’t We All…

This gem is via Found Magazine

Just a little tidbit to start off your morning. Now drag yourself out of that stupor and go get glamorous – there’s a world of books to read!  xoxo

Maira Kalman and the American Dream

[While I sit and try to prepare something worthy of my Hunger Games-induced haze,] I thought I’d direct you to someone else who also never ceases to fill me with awe: Maira Kalman.

[When not completely absorbed in the world of Katniss/Peeta/Gale,] I’ve been thinking all week about my trip to Ellis Island last weekend. How can I visually describe how that slice of history makes me feel, how it reflects on my views of immigration, diversity and the United States today?

Then, as I discovered, Maira’s already done it.

Maira Kalman already ranks top on my list for her iconic picture book about September 11th, Fireboat. And all of her entries from her 2009 New York Times blog, “And The Pursuit Of Happiness,” are fantastic takes on American history.  One after another is a delightful collage of hand-written narrative, painting and photography.  But her August entry of last year, “I Lift My Lamp Beside The Golden Door“, says everything I couldn’t express:

a celebration of diversity, past and present . . .

concern and a touch of cynicism at the big issues, but trust in the good nature of the American people as individuals . . .

a reminder never to forget that we will always be a country of immigrants . . .

and a sense of wonder and pride at what makes our country so great.

I particularly love this:

And this:

Ultimately, the message is simple and true:

Living In Literature: Holes

As promised, a “Living In Literature” inspired by a novel, and with a little less sparkle for the dudes!

With this summer’s heat, it’s not hard to imagine that we’re already living in our own urban version of Camp Green Lake (although, I don’t know about you, but I’m not digging any 4-foot holes along 7th Avenue. . .).  But I am digging Holes‘ dry humor and quirky imagery (who even thinks of spiced peaches and yellow-spotted lizards?  That’s right, Louis Sachar).

After visiting Ellis Island this weekend, I’ve had heritage on my mind, and it has me really drawn to the sense of destiny and legend in Holes.  Even though we may not be the victims of a gypsy curse like Stanley Yelnats, there is something so wonderfully mysterious about the fact that we all have links to the past, just waiting to be unearthed.  That’s why, this week, I’m dusting off some of that antique Western charm, along with a little Texas bad-ass!

We even get visual inspiration from the movie adaptation . . . thanks, Shia and Disney.

for grown-ups:

cowgirls canvas $71, lipstick $15, cowboy hat $340, “The Harder I Work…” $60, Longhorns jacket $60, sneakers (worth getting arrested for) $345, Sno-Wovel $120, denim shirt $265, suitcases, AC/DC top $33, yellow-spotted lizard $38, spiced peaches $6.40

for the kids:

cowboy fabric $23/yard, hat $20, orange romper $35, “I’m That Dude” $16, lizard slime $9, rattlesnake eggs $0.75, revolving bookcase $150, onion snacks $3.80, treasure chest $150