Monthly Archives: February 2010

From Blog to Official WEBSITE Launch!!

After a long night of pow-wowing and teaching each other WordPress over glasses of Merlot and the Olympics . . .

a star is born.

My OFFICIAL website!!!

This doesn’t AT ALL mean the end of Walking In Public.  I’ll be here much more often, updating regularly with posts about my life as an illustrator, adventures in the entry-level publishing world, and other tidbits for bookworms.  But for the “official” scoop on my work, previews of my books (some of which STILL need a good publisher home!), and all the info you can handle, run along over to



For Book Designers, Type Matters

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Obsessed with typefaces?  Then go watch the cutest set of videos made about Penguin’s book designers at Type Matters. It’s entertaining for graphic designers, but relatable for those just starting out (I want to share it with all my family members who ask me the question, “So, what is graphic design, exactly?”).

I especially love the first video, where you can see my walk to work!  They even critique the type on the side of my favorite food vendor at 345 Hudson (run by this little hilarious Russian couple).  And I thought it was adorable that they gave lower-case g’s a bit of personality.  Makes me proud to be a Penguin book designer.

Best of all, designers give a smart take on their opinions of favorite and least-favorite typefaces.  I was pleased that they didn’t state the obvious (yes, everyone hates Comic Sans and Papyrus… it need not be said), and you can always tell something about a person from the typefaces towards which they gravitate.

My personal typeface?  Archer by Hoefler and Frere-Jones, designed for Martha Stewart Magazine in 2001.  This 20th-century European look gives the slab-serif a bit of sweetness, quirkiness and charm, while still keepin’ it classy and professional (and isn’t that just so… me!?).  Now, I use it for everything – business cards, resumes… it even was the perfect choice for That’s Like Me!

Last spring, I was freaking out about finding “my typeface”, and it took me many a false try before I found Archer for my own branding.  It was as though if I couldn’t identify myself with a font, I had no right to have a personality as a designer.  While now I see how ridiculous that is, if you’re feeling the same way, you can take Pentagram’s What Type Are You? (the most amazingly-designed online quiz I’ve EVER seen).

Who knows… maybe you’ll be emotional, understated, progressive and disciplined… just like me and Archer Hairline!

Let The Games Begin

photo credit – gorgeous poster design by Daniel Yund, thanks Creative Bleed

The only time I miss not having a TV is every four years – for the Winter Olympics, of course! Maybe it’s my new Bemidji, MN home, but there’s just something fascinating about winter sports like curling, skiing, and bobsledding. While everything else athletic makes my stomach turn, there’s nowhere I’d rather be these past few weeks than Vancouver… zooming down fresh, powdery snow, feeling the cold air make my cheeks rosy and cozying up with world champion snowboarders.

If you’re stuck in a major metropolitan area without access to the games (and not up for going to the nearest sports bar), here are some family-friendly ways to experience the Olympics:

1.  Angelina Ice Skates by Katherine Holabird and Helen Craig (Clarkson Potter, 1993) We all grew up with Angelina Ballerina (I sentimentally prefer the old edition), but don’t you dare show a child the television show! You traitor.

2.  Tacky And The Winter Games by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger (Houghton Mifflin, 2005)  It’s always more fun to root for the underdog, and the Olympics references (strapping fish for skis to their feet, etc.) are a “BIG WINNER”.

3.  Freeze Frame: A Photographic History of the Winter Games by Sue Macy (National Geographic, 2006) This book of spectacular action photographs created for the last Olympics are perfect for sports-obsessed older readers (9-12 years old).  Plus, Peggy Fleming writes!

Want to get out of town and experience the real thing? Get your own all-American official jackets for the whole family from Polo Ralph Lauren, and for $75 (for your kid) and $79 (for you) for snowboarding at Hunter Mountain with Burton’s Learn-to-Ride, you both can be the next Shaun White.

I Don’t Care About Your Band – But I Do Care About Your Blog

In celebration of my first week at work, I thought you’d all like to know that Penguin actually has a pretty sweet blog.  And this week, I can’t get enough of their guest blogger/author, Julie Klausner!  She’s got a snappy, self-deprecating (and yet, somehow uplifting?) sense of humor that not only makes me not only want to tune into the next post-Valentine’s-day post, but also buy her book, I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I’ve Learned From Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, And Other Guys I’ve Dated, which came out Tuesday.

I Don’t Care About Your Band is the latest in a line of books dedicated to the single and too cynical to mingle, focusing on the author’s hilariously awful failed relationships.  In the end, though, her message comes through loud and clear:  that all the jerks and weirdos in the world can’t cramp your style – or your hopes and dreams. Don’t believe me?  This Jezebel review will prove it to you.

If you’re like me and can’t get to Barnes and Noble to buy the book until after pay day tomorrow, skip the Valentine’s Day movie and check out a list of more single people treats:

1.  The Blind Leading The Blind – From (how many times can I say “go to there”??), my weekly bible that’s a “pep talk in the form of a slap in the face in the form of a blog”.

2.  Schmitten Kitten – A hilarious blog with topics like, “Things In His/Her House That Make Us Sad”… it has the writing talents of both ladies and gents, and if they weren’t Philly-based, I’d be rocking all of their events.

3.  Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me (Grand Central, 2008) – Bro out with side-splitting short stories about break-ups from the male perspective – our favorite comedic males like Stephen Colbert, Nick Hornby, Andy Richter, Dan Savage etc. etc. etc.

4.  Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen (Viking, 2009) – Missing some summer YA-lit in this cold, snowy weather?  Get out of your studio mode and release your inner night-owl with this gem of a novel about a perfectionist teen who learns to ride a bike and fall in love before hitting the books at college.

5.  If a celeb can do it, so can you – Lauren Graham is 40 and – SHOCKER – happy.  Cheers!

photo credit – put a heart on your pug’s face!

My New Parrot Friends

Had a great first visit with the wild parrots of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (about whom I’m writing/illustrating a children’s book!).  They were SO much fun to see, chattering loudly with each other and flying to and from the trees and their home in the Gothic main gate of the cemetery.  I got to stand right under their branches and hang out for hours while they munched on berries.  Plus, it’s so crazy to watch bright green, tropical parrots playing in the snow!

Here’s just a few of the photos I took:

I Like You

I like you because if I think I am going to throw up
then you are really sorry
You don’t just pretend you are busy looking at the birdies and all that
You say, maybe it was something you ate
You say, the same thing happened to me one time
And the same thing did

Growing up, the highlight of my year was the two weeks spent at Camp Calumet.  Every night, we would jump into our bunk beds, filled with the adrenaline of wide games and campfires (and hopped up on a bit too much sugar from the Snack Bar).  Our counselor would settle us down by reflecting on the day with Devotions. We’d start to slowly deflate like helium balloons, lying in the dark of our cabin, taking in the smell of pine needles and Lake Ossipee, and listening to the waves lap up against the shore.  We’d read a story or listen to a song, and all the little things about the day seemed to tie together in some larger, more wonderous sense.

Years later, as a counselor, the book I remembered most (and probably heard every year during Devotions) was I Like You, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg.  The poem, in childlike rhythm, gets to the heart of what we learned at camp.  At camp, we were able to let go and be ourselves.  Our friends saw us at our best, and we learned to love each other unconditionally.  I never felt more loved than when I was at Camp Calumet.

That’s because you really like me
You really like me, don’t you
And I really like you back
And you like me back and I like you back
And that’s the way we keep on going every day

This Valentine’s Day, I’m celebrating that unconditional, child-like, “friends-forever” love.  If you’re like me, who finds romance to be floating in some mystic, unattainable realm best left ignored, today is great for thinking about how loved we are in other ways.  That we can find love in our friends, family, God, and most importantly, in ourselves.  And that’s what I learned from I Like You – and from summer camp.

Four other perfect devotional books for kids:

1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (Harpercollins, 1964).  Try having small children interpret this one.

2. Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1990).  For the end of camp, when everyone has to take all the memories home with them.

3.  Walk On! A Guide For Babies Of All Ages by Marla Frazee (Harcourt, 2006).  I received this book for graduation, so you really can use this picture book with campers of ALL ages.

4.  Chicken Soup For The Preteen Soul (HCI, 2000).  Chicken Soups are the cop-out of all “devos” books.  There are so many to choose from, and you can open to literally any page and make it work.  On the bright side, teens are confused.  This helps.

Will You Make It – Or Break It?

“Grandpa Tortoise had reached his goal”, from Little Bear At Work And At Play by Frances Margaret Fox. Hopefully our goals won’t take as long.  xoxo

What does it take to make it after graduation?

Is it talent?  Hard work?  Knowing the right people?  Dumb luck?

This post over at the Blue Rose Girls’ blog sparked a pretty fierce debate on the topic, and when I was reading it, the argument seemed to echo exactly what us seniors are on the brink of here at Pratt.

Once we leave our cozy little studios and take our portfolios and fresh, shiny faces out into the world, are we gonna get our dream career?  Or will we say, 25 years later, “I once wanted to be an artist…”  What separates the graduates who get fame, fortune, or just plain happiness?

Does it take talent?

It’s been my experience that once you hit the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, top-tier art schools, talent becomes essentially a given.  I’m surrounded by talented illustrators in class every day, and yet, we all know that few of us will actually make it to be known for what we do.  I’m certainly not the most talented artist in my year, but I’m often asked these days whether I feel any competition. And you know what?  I don’t. Not because I don’t wish my classmates much more fame and success than me (I do!  Really!), but because I believe that I know exactly where I want to be, and I have worked my tail off to be in the position to enter my industry with confidence.

Is it hard work?

Can you work hard enough to get talent? In the words of Santino Rice from Project Runway Season 2, “you can’t polish a turd.”  There was many a slush piece at my internship this summer that had all the labor and care in the world put into it, but no amount of love could fix what was just . . . awful.

The scariest thought is that hard work won’t guarantee success either. I’ve watched with increasing nervousness as my absolutely genius older classmates have struggled to hit their stride, not due to their dedication, but because no matter how hard they try, they are not going to time-travel out of the recession.  It will just take time.

Is it “who you know”?

As much as I LOVE talking about networking, I’ll spare everyone and save it.  Networking can put you in the right place at the right time.  But if you don’t have hard work or talent, schmoozing won’t get you beyond that.

Is it luck?

With all the great timing I’ve been having with my career goals, I’ve wondered about luck a lot. Since I get a little funny around praise, I’ve actually caught MYSELF saying “oh, it’s nothing, I’m just lucky”.  But it’s awful to trivialize your success and the amount of hard work that it takes to get there!  I believe you make your own luck – by being talented, working hard and putting yourself out there.