Besides illustrating and writing books for kids, I also—occasionally—work as a designer. I am honored to have designed the cover for Michelle Cady's book Self-Care in the City: 100 Ways to Optimize Nutrition, Fitness & Wellness in an Urban Environment.
Michelle's query stood out not only because she wasn't designing a wedding invite, but also because as we e-mailed back and forth I got the sense that she was a very high-achieving young woman. I was living in New Zealand at the time but was about to visit my agent in NYC, so I asked if we could get together.
"I live in Auckland now but my son and I will be in NYC in mid-December, if you’re around/available perhaps we could meet for coffee." (From one of the first e-mails Violet sent to Michelle, on Oct. 31, 2017)
At FIKA in NYC, Michelle—who was not at all phased by my travel-weary hair—showed me her incredible collection of publicity photos, taken by Daryl A. Getman Photography. Some were studio shots, others featured various Big Apple locations. All starring Michelle. All, amazing.
Michelle also shared a working cover design that was, unfortunately, less than amazing. The original idea to pair my NYC skyline illustration with a photo of Michelle on the front cover of Self-Care in the City just wasn't working. And all of those photos were so incredible!
I suggested scrapping the skyline from the cover (it could always go inside, right?), and ultimately talked this vibrant former maven of finance/current personal health coach into letting me try my hand at a cover design.
(P.S. This is what happens when I drink coffee in the company of a high-achieving, inspiring woman whose personal goal is to help other high-achievers stay healthy while following their dreams.)
The full cover design for Self-Care in the City (above) ultimately showed off one of the gorgeous photos from Michelle's portfolio. We wrapped the photo around to the back cover, for maximum impact.
Speaking of the back cover, it features three little icons which I designed for the book: a "big apple" for nutrition, an NYC sneaker for fitness, and a yogi Lady Liberty. In lotus position. Of course.
If you're wondering what happened with the skyline image that brought us together in the first place, never fear!
After updating the original image by adding more buildings, our NYC skyline landed on the title page. In my personal copy of Self-Care in the City, the revised skyline art is nicely accented by this sweet inscription from the author.
I picked up my copy in person, in NYC, in Oct 2018. (Photo credit: the amazing Colleen Madden, who is way better at writing and illustrating children's books than at taking photos of me and Michelle in the dimly lit restaurant of Ace Hotel.)
As I write this post in Oct 2019, Michelle is a newlywed; her new name is Michelle Baker.
Click here to check out fitvista, Michelle Baker's amazing health-coaching company; click here to follow Michelle on Instagram; and click here for the official fitvista Instagram.
Most importantly, click here to order your copy of Self-Care in the City today!