Category Archives: personal life

My life – as you know it.

Top 10 Reasons I’m Abandoning My Career In Children’s Books

10.  The best books have already been written.

9. My ideas are too conceptual to be confined to a commercial market.

8. I can make more money by self-publishing my dystopian-paranormal romance novels.

7. Other jobs that pay better: circus performer, used car dealer, phone psychic. pyrotechnician, lifeguard, court reporter.

6. I’m looking to attract a more intellectual audience.

5. It’s no fun without violence, drugs or nudity.

4. Celebrities are taking over my craft.

3. No one needs illustration when you can steal stock photography off the internet – for free.

2. In 10 years, books will be obsolete anyway.

1. It’s so easy a child could do it.


Wake Me Up When It’s Presidents’ Day

Is it the weekend yet? The blog has been feeling a little neglected the past few days, due to the fact  that it has been CRAZY busy around here.  It’s just one of those weeks… something scheduled every day, the “social butterfly” lifestyle that leaves me feeling more exhausted than cool.  I don’t have time to paint or write . . . I barely have time to eat!

Here’s another thing that I missed when I was too busy: The Sketchbook Project 2011I’d sworn I’d fill up the Moleskine (after all, I bought and paid for the chance to be in the exhibit), but after all the holiday rush, the pages were still blank.  I need what my mother calls “brain space” to concentrate on art – blocks, not seconds, of free time to complete something like that.  And when there’s no brain space available, sometimes you just have to call it quits.

Just because I’m not participating this year, doesn’t mean the traveling Sketchbook Project exhibit isn’t worth checking out.  And hey, it starts right here in Brooklyn this weekend!

Go see the thousands of sketchbooks from February 19-27 at:

Brooklyn Art Library
103A N. 3rd St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Open Tue – Sun
Noon – 8pm
Closed Mondays

New Year, New Resolutions

In case you live in a cave and no one has said this to you yet: Happy New Year!!! My first day of 2011 was filled with brilliant friends, hilariously bad tarot predictions, Enzo’s Pizza, and Easy A, so I feel like I’m off to a good start already.

Since I’m not the type of person who makes “lose weight and go to the gym”-type resolutions, I figured my goals would be professional, rather than personal, as usual.

In the Year Two Thousand Eleven, I, Annie Beth Ericsson, resolve to:

1. Finish revising and send out 1 picture book dummy every 3 months (at least April 1, July 1).

2. Keep a single sketchbook for the whole year.

3. Consider getting an agent. Like, actually research/do something about it.

4. Read at least 2-3 YA/middle grade novels per month, and go read new picture books in a store/library at least once a month.

5. Produce something creative/artistic every week that brings me closer to developing my personal style.

And… last but not least, continue to blog here 2-3 times a week (holidays notwithstanding)!

Since graduating, my 2010 year was all about finding balance – not pressuring myself to accomplish everything at once, unraveling the art-school mentality of constantly doing art for a deadline.  I had to learn not to feel guilty for wanting to relax, to be spontaneous and have a bit of fun.

But now I’ve chilled out significantly, and I’m worried that if I don’t pick up the pace now, I’ll tip the scales and become an unmotivated lump.  So, 2011 is all about working with passion!  Vigor!  Verve!  Time to get moving!

Merry Christmas 2010!

As you may have already noticed, I’m taking a break from blogging for a couple weeks to celebrate (read: run around like crazy) during the holiday season. So while I’m too busy sledding to post, I hope you had a very merry Christmas, and see you in bright and early 2011!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!  This week, I received my Moleskine in the mail for the Sketchbook Project 2011, a nationwide tour of thousands of themed sketchbooks submitted by artists.  I signed up just in time, and as someone who doesn’t regularly keep a sketchbook, it sounded like a cool exercise for the next two months.  My theme?  Happy thoughts!

Before I got into brainstorming concepts and drawing away, I thought I’d celebrate the holiday by writing a list: everything that makes me happy.  Free association. In no particular order.  It was a lot of fun, and as I look it over now, I couldn’t be more grateful to have all these things – and especially, people – in my life.

What’s on your list?  As we head into the holiday season, count the things you’re grateful for . . . I’m sure there are plenty of reasons to be happy today!

Tarot Cards: The Art Of The Future

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with magic and the occult.  Blame it on Harry Potter.  I’m not a true believer or anything, but I’ve definitely been known to whittle stick wands (age 11), write fluently in the Runic alphabet (age 13) and ask everyone, “What’s your sign?” (last week).  What can I say… it’s my idea of FUN.

So last night, I sat down with my clairvoyant gypsy roommates to – what else? – have my cards read.  Normally a basic reading consists of 3 cards, but I decided to go for the big one – a 10-card celtic cross variation. The exercise begins with picking one card from the deck that represents yourself.  And since I don’t know much about the meanings, I chose simply on what visually “speaks” to me – and ended up with the 10 Of Cups, above.

The 10 Of Cups just so happens to be perfect for me!  Also known as the “Happily Ever After” card, the 10 Of Cups represents peaceful contentment and personal happiness.  The idyllic scene shows a man and woman, boy and girl, surrounded by the ones they love.  Since this is my “identity” card, it’s not that my near future holds sunshine and rainbows, but that the ultimate dream of family, friends and joy is what’s most important to me.  I couldn’t have said it better myself!

What else did my card reading hold?  Well, it was mostly work-related.  I’m supported by the Ace Of Pentacles – financial stability, thanks to a steady job, but I’m going to have a hard time keeping it all together soon (the Four of Pentacles, reversed). No worries, I’ll learn how to juggle it all in the end (the Two of Pentacles).  All in all, it sounded like an eerie premonition of… dun dun dun… student loans.  Also in the reading: a friends-based, party-loving lifestyle in my college past (the Three of Cups), and my roommates’ game attempt at relating the confident Ace Of Wands to “a new day” in my love life.  That’s pretty much it.

Even if you could care less about the readings, Tarot is full of incredibly interesting visual elements.  In most types of illustration, the pictures complement and draw out meaning from the words, but the words come first and foremost. But in Tarot, the illustrations ARE the meaning, the artwork holds all the power. Every composition and symbol on the card can be interpreted, so each kind of deck holds a potentially different future for the reader. With hundreds of decks from the 15th century to the present, that’s a lot of illustration divination!

Some classic decks, like playing cards, are based solely on their suit:

Thoth Deck from SuperTarot

17th-Century Vieville Tarot from Alec Satin

Some contain a bit more symbolism:

Morgan-Greer Tarot from Auracana

Old English Tarot from The Card Reader

And others, well, are a bit more interpretive, illustrative, or just plain kitschy:

Housewives Tarot from Wizard & Witch

The Victorian Romantic Tarot from Auracana

I can’t get enough of the crazy variety of art on Tarot cards, so for more info, check out tons of decks at, a lot of useful basic info and videos at Big Tarot blog, and, of course, the Tarot Wiki.

Public Humiliation – Part I

It takes a lot to embarrass me. So when I heard about The Rejectionist’s Public Humiliation Un-Contest, for which readers are asked to post their childhood diary entries, it didn’t take much for me to dig up and revisit my old online journal, circa 2003-2005. Yes, before there was WordPress, there was Diaryland. Apparently I was not scene enough for LiveJournal or Xanga in high school.

While I considered sharing the link to all my cringe-worthy angst and bad poetrywicked FUN!!” moments, I’ll leave them in safe obscurity – for now. However, I will celebrate my teenage past by spilling a deliciously embarrassing short story (in the next post) and this enlightening excerpt on my first visit to Pratt and New York City:

Day Two: Monday, April 25, 2005

Today was a very eventful day! Mom and I found this adorable breakfast place next to the hotel. I’ve found that one of my favorite parts of NYC is all the different people: it’s so much fun to watch everyone and listen to the different languages! I love diversity! We did a little shopping, and I was very patient in places like Ann Taylor, because I knew that I would get my shopping in later! Plus, it’s entertaining to pick out mom outfits. We were both in a good mood and getting along… thank goodness!

Anyway, we needed to give ourselves plenty of time to get to Brooklyn!!! Because I had an appointment at Pratt!!! We took the subway out to the school… and I had forgotten how much I love public transportation! I actually have a pretty good sense of direction in the city, and the subways remind me of Roma, so I feel perfectly comfortable. We got to Pratt wicked early because we didn’t get lost, and just wandered around the campus for awhile. Unlike all the other schools I’m applying to, this one actually looks like a college campus, with the brick buildings and gates. We got lunch in the caf and I got to check out what the food and students were like. Food: excellent, an immediate plus; People: typical artsy kids, very weird, I fit right in. We took a tour directed by an admissions counselor, and I really like the school. The only things I didn’t like were the lack of personal studio space (it’s in the dorms and pretty communal), and the fact that we didn’t get to see much of the classrooms. But still, I can definitely see myself there. And it’s a fantastic art school. I also had a meeting with my very own admissions counselor, Bill Swan, and that was very successful. He reviewed my portfolio, gave me good constructive criticism (“very strong skill level, but you need to have a lot more drawing from observation”), and we talked about the college and such. He said he’ll be in Boston in the fall, and then we’ll have another interview (the interviews are about 50% of the admissions process). Overall, I think I won’t have a lot of trouble getting in there (he told me to apply early action!), so it’s a strong second option.

Reasons why I ❤ NY:

1. There’s always something to do!

2. Everything is open at night.

3. Everyone is really friendly.

4. Everyone is from all over the world.

5. I felt beautiful walking down the street.

6. I’m not the weirdest one there.

7. Fashion Capital of the World.

8. There’s tons of artsy stuff.

9. Public Transportation.

10. There are layers and layers of buildings, lights, sounds, and smells, all piled in this one place, which makes it a most exciting and wonderful city.