Category Archives: my books

My own projects – past and present.

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! 

New “Ollie And Logger” Painting

Finished revising one of the color pieces for Ollie And Logger, which is the first dummy book I’m polishing up for submission (my New Years’ resolution due date: April 1st!).  And… well… it’s an improvement.  I’m happy with Logger, the brown turtle, since he’s in the style of the first color piece I revised.  But wow, painting a plastic bag floating in the ocean is CRAZY hard!!

I heard a quote recently of an artist who wouldn’t accept any manuscripts that contained “horses or bicycles” (smart move).  Well, from now on, no more stories about amorphous objects in water, either.  Just say no.

The Great Turtle Makeover

Revisions, revisions, revisions!  It has been a year since I worked on Ollie And Logger In The Deep Blue Sea, the early reader book that I illustrated (and my mother wrote) for my first semester senior project.  I love the story and feel good about the pacing of the sketches as a whole. But as I look back, I was deeply dissatisfied with a couple of things. The characters seemed awkward, stiff and bloated, their faces falling short of the natural cuteness I was going for. And on top of that, all the color work I did wasn’t working either. Try as I might last fall, I was not getting the lightness and fluidity of underwater scenes, and all the pieces look overworked.  That’s the hardest part about watercolor – knowing when to stop, because once you go too far there is no going back, just starting over.

Despite my self-criticisms, I am confident that we have something marketable with Ollie And Logger – it’s just a matter of revising.  So I spent my three-day weekend reworking the characters and the first color piece . . . and here are the results of the makeover!

Students @Pratt Interview

photo credit – Tina Fey, my definition of success, ready for her close-up

Feel like being a success story? Then head on over to the Institute’s Career Services’ Pratt Success blog.  Not only did they just interview me about the Star Bright Books titles (as a Peer Counselor, I regularly contribute there so it’s not a big surprise…), but they also have TONS of great interviews and advice from Pratt alumni who are truly makin’ it in their fields.  I especially recommend watching the Career Coffee Break videos, and maybe getting yourself a cup of joe – and success – while you’re at it.

Star Bright Books Has A New Website, Too

Looks like website re-design is in the air . . . Star Bright Books, the Queens-based independent publisher behind What’s In My Toybox?,  What’s In My Garden? and That’s Like Me!, has a new site and it looks absolutely gorgeous.  Best of all, you can order my books THERE instead (just click the links!).  Much better than Amazon, which would only show the bilingual versions half the time.

Cheers!

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!!  www.anniebethericsson.com!

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 anniebethericsson.com.

Cheers!

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: