Tag Archives: freelance

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! 

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New Artist Showcase: Chris Harrington

Chris Harrington

blog: http://chrishillustration.blogspot.com

Christopher Scott Harrington graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY in 2010 earning a BFA in Communications Design with a concentration in Illustration. He primarily works in watercolor, ink, and colored pencil to create humorous, fun, illustrations that are narrative in nature. When he’s not at his desk sketching and painting he enjoys juggling, unicycling and having a good time.

What kind of projects have you been working on lately?

Personal projects, I’ve been working on drawing kids, kids are a bit of a weak point for me but not going to shy away from them, they are a work in progress as is everything. But whether it’s a job or just for fun I approach it the same way…It’s all fun. As far as freelancing goes I’ve been doing mostly some animal character designs here and there…A lot of fun!

What do you do to keep new ideas flowing and stay fresh creatively?

I am constantly on the look out for new ideas, I can’t stand when I get “artist block” so to fix that I sometimes take day trips to a park, or to the mall, sketchbook in hand and jotting down notes and crude looking doodles of the things I see or hear. My mind is always thinking in narrative although sometimes my ideas are just babble that doesn’t make any sense what so ever, and wouldn’t be a successful illustration conceptually…But I’ve found that real life is a good source of inspiration. Hearing or seeing something tweaking the story making it your own creation. What comes next? Who are these people, animals or things? When asking myself those type of questions it keeps me fresh because the possibilities of what actually could come next are endless…And up to you.

How do you go about promoting your work?

I try and target certain places where I think my work could fit. Researching the client first and foremost finding out what they publish, what they want and look for. Depending who the client is, some prefer e-mails, or snail-mail, and sending a postcard every 3-6 months. Although I bug them a little more then they might like with postcard samples…They can either give me a job or a restraining order. But I’ve found the internet is the way I like to promote myself, although I do enjoy sending postcards with my illustration on the front and contact info on the back. I enjoy getting mail…Do they?

Anyways the internet, it’s easy, it’s accessible to many, and don’t bother finding a postage stamp. Although it’s easy to send it’s also easy for art directors to click delete. Regardless you never know who may come across your website, blog, youtube account, or that cute picture you took of your dog sleeping. You never know if the right person is viewing your work and say your perfect for this type of job. I try and display my art wherever I can, in public places I’ll be sketching and someone might come from behind and watch me for awhile ask me a few questions, I also try and carry business cards or some kind of sample to give out.

I think of it this way, it’s like planting seeds unsure if it will grow but you plant them anyway.

What has your involvement been like in the online community?  How is having an internet presence been helpful or inspiring to you? Why?

I keep and maintain a personal illustration blog, been familiarizing myself with YouTube and numerous social networking sites mainly to prompt my illustration work online. As well as joining a couple illustration blogs all similar but slightly different they all have the same basic idea or objective. Each week they list a topic that you will have to interpret through illustration means. Being active in a few of them and given a week for each illustration is kind of equivalent to a illustration/freelance job. You have to budget your time and meet a deadline. It’s been helpful in numerous ways, such as beefing up my portfolio, getting helpful advice from fellow artists and illustrators some published some not. Also a great creative outlet to explore and experiment.

An art director calls you up and offers you the ultimate “dream job/assignment”.  What is it?

Good question! I really enjoy drawing animals, they are my favorite. If an art director called me up one day and asked I need a cover illustration with a variety of animals as if they were posing for a “family portrait” and a wee bit dysfunctional. Actually I take that back not a cover illustration, make it like a movie poster? I would start that project even before the conversation was over. I would be so happy!

New Artist Showcase: Alexander Doig

Alexander Doig

Website: www.alexanderdoig.com

What interests you about illustrating graphic novels? Tell us what you can about your latest project… how did it get started? 

The great thing about graphic novels is the ability to tell a story on a grand scale, and on a budget that almost anyone can handle. You don’t really need much more than a pencil, paper, and a story to get started. It’s also really nice because being the illustrator means your imagery is a large reason why people buy the book.

The project started after I did some political cartoons about the 2008 Presidential campaigns. The client liked what I did, and several months later they contacted me and we worked out a test comic together. It eventually evolved into a 100+ page novel. It has been a fairly long and involved project, especially considering I am the sole individual behind illustrating it. A whole book involves tons of work, especially considering each panel can be an illustration on its own. Throughout the project I’ve ended up drawing several hundred full-color images. Its definitely something I’m not used to, and keeping everything cohesive is a quite the challenge… especially considering my style has evolved a bit since I started. However, this book is really fun and has influenced my style quite a bit. I think its what finally helped me choose a direction with my work.

What are your favorite graphic novels/comic books/artists?

Growing up I was never really into comic books or graphic novels, even though I was surrounded by them. Almost all of what I know about storytelling comes from reading newspaper comics. As a kid, they came with the parents’ newspaper so they were ‘free.’ You also get tons of exposure to many different ideas and styles in a short sitting. To me, the champion of those has to be Bill Watterson. He will always will be my biggest hero. There was something about the way he communicated his ideas through Calvin and Hobbes, something I think all storytellers should strive for. He was able to reach readers of all ages, even though many of his ideas were quite grand and radical at times. I own almost all of the Calvin and Hobbes collections, which I thumb through often for inspiration.

Then there is Art Spiegelman who’s comics are a favorite of mine especially his graphic novel Maus. Karl Kopinski who is an absolutely phenomenal illustrator. He has some amazing black and white inkwork. I used to strive to be like him, although now my style isn’t like his all. Eric Palma is another favorite, and I had the pleasure of having him as a professor while in school. Lastly, I have some Punch magazine cartoon compilations that I grew up reading. Very dry and sarcastic British humor, which eventually rubbed off on me I guess.

How are you using the web to get freelance work? What’s the process of working with stock illustration sites like?

There are a bunch of websites out there that try to hook up small businesses with people who can provide work. Elance is the main website like this I have worked with, but I have also tried out oDesk and Guru. There is a decent amount of work to be found on these, but there are quite a few setbacks as well. Its quite competitive, and you end up dealing with a client who usually has a strong image in their head of what they want. However, I have met some great people on there that have lead to some fantastic opportunities.

The idea for stock illustration came from me having all of these old illustrations sitting around collecting dust. I figured that I might as well try and see if I can make some use of them. Its a little bit of a pain to get accepted, you have to take a few tests and some practice submissions. The main problem is that they generally only accept vector work, and it has to be absolutely perfect in terms of closed shapes, stray points, etc… The money from this is terrible, but terrible money is better than no money! Especially if it was never going to be used again.

What’s best part about being an illustrator? What’s the hardest part?

I think the best part is being able to help people visualize their ideas. Its very rewarding to see someone so excited about something you’ve done. Its even better when they come back for more work. Plus, you get paid to draw! What could be better than that?

The most difficult thing is having to work against your client. Some clients like to think they are expert art directors, and can demand changes that visually make no sense. While I gladly welcome feedback and changes, sometimes things do get out of hand. Thankfully this is fairly uncommon.

If you could have a career in anything other than illustration in another life, what would you do?

A Veterinarian would have been very fun and rewarding profession. I love creatures of all shapes and sizes. I’m also the kind of guy who catches that annoying fly in the house and lets it go outside instead of swatting it.