Tuesday, May 28, 2013

SHOES: a memoir of recent days

This weekend I will have the distinct pleasure of attending Book Expo America in NYC, to sign copies of a brand-new book that I not only illustrated, but also wrote: Isabella's Shoe Studio! (To read more about how all of that went down, click here—it's a good story.)

Mauricio Velázquez de León (a.k.a Puck), leader of Team Duopress, will be there as well, with two other new books. I'll fill you in on the other books in coming weeks. They are awesome and I can't wait to share.

This post, however, is all about SHOES.

Now. A girl can spend a weekend in NYC shod in her tried-and-trues, and normally I would. However. A string of recent events forced me to shop for new shoes. I am merely a victim of circumstance.

First of all, a year and a half ago, I broke my foot again, meriting a stern talking-to from my doctor. His instruction against high heels was accompanied by a very significant look over the top of his glasses, raised eyebrow and all. He meant business. Depressed about having to wear that unsightly and all-too-familiar blue boot, I decided I had better listen, and hobbled obediently into a flats-only future. (In the spirit of honesty, dear reader, I must confess to pulling my favorite BCBG wedges out of the closet once or twice since my foot has healed, but only for occasions at which I was allowed to sit.)

Then, this past year, Isabella's Shoe Studio happened. Suddenly I had written a shoe book, and would be traveling to the Big Bad Burg to promote it. Call me crazy for paying special consideration to my feet, but the event in question hovers around a shoe book. In New York City. Perhaps my opinion had been shaped by years spent designing costumes in New York, or illustrating fashion essays for Elle. Whatever the case, it seemed to me that my shoes for this 4-day event needed to represent!

As winter melted into spring, I pulled my trusty flats out of storage and was dismayed at their various states of disrepair. (Don't be fooled: I love shoes, but don't have that many in my closet. I'm the kind of girl who finds a pair she likes and wears them for a decade. It's true. Once I even had a pair of flip-flops re-soled. They were Nikes, but still—flip flops!)

Alas, my very favorite black flats, the ones I wore everywhere and with everything, were literally falling apart at the seams. The leather was torn; there was no hope for repair.

To make matters worse, the soles of the Campers that I bought in NYC ten years ago—my sure-fire-city-stomping shoes—were crumbling, and their unusual design prohibited a re-tread. I had to let them go. Never thought I'd see the day.

So. I had to buy new shoes, and they had to be not only beautiful, but flat and comfortable, because trade shows = walking.


Now. The main character in the book that I wrote, Isabella, is a little girl who loves all kinds of shoes, and aspires to design them. Keeping her in mind, I began the laborious task of replacing my old friends. Tough work, I know, but I'm a trooper. :o) Figured I'd need some cool sneaks, and maybe a ballet flat as well—both, styles featured heavily in the book. I began my search on-line, and have a fun Pinterest board to show for my effort.


I bought these silver sneakers by Gotta Flurt on a whim but couldn't bring myself to wear them. They'd be great for little Isabella, but not for an old lady like me. Too sparkly. My husband said they made me look like a member of a boy band—even more than usual. Ha. (He was right.)

Using a DSW promo code I ordered these vibrant blue Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, an American classic, but they didn't fit at all: too long. 

Eventually I found this AMAZING, slightly metallic version of the CTAS on sale at a local shoe discount store, which came with multiple laces. They fit like a glove, and are comfortable. And yes, they sparkle—but not too much. I think Isabella would approve. 


If this Mia ballet flat hadn't been so deeply discounted, I probably would never have bought it, because it is quite delicate. Yes, I snagged a pair, but needed something sturdier for the Big City.

After hours spent researching on-line I literally stumbled over my top choice in a local discount store a few weeks later: these comfortable, stylish Dr. Scholl's. Perfect!


The interior of Isabella's Shoe Studio is printed in 2-colors: black, and Pantone 196, the blushest of blush pinks. So obviously, I had to try on (and buy!) this dress which Donna Karan must have designed with Isabelle's Shoe Studio in mind...  and, these chic and adorable petal pink BCBG flats—see the close-up at the top of this post for a better look. 

(Marsha, I know, I know.... they're not the most comfortable, but I had to get them. And I'll find someplace to wear them, for sure.)

So, friends, I think I'm set. I'll be back next week with a full report, and will definitely let you know how it goes with the shoes.

best always and wish me luck,


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer Beach Guide

Beachy art for Jay Judge and Tracie Rawson at The Baltimore Sun, out today. If you care to read about the process, from getting the call to seeing the art in the paper, click here.
♥ Enjoy!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

i ❤ moo

Next weekend, I will be attending Book Expo America in NYC, for duopress. We've been working on various printed promo material for months in anticipation of this event—which is a biggie, and about which I am hugely excited! I'll share more news and photos as the date approaches.

I personally had these business cards printed at moo, whose innovative options make my heart sing. The site is beautiful and user-friendly, and I couldn't be happier with the cards. Nice box, too.

 you, moo.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

VOTE: Bar Code Designs!


One of my first assignments as Art Director at duopress: make the bar codes on the back of the books more interesting. Will you help us decide?

Duopress publishes several series of books, so we may settle on one basic design for each series. A required element, the bar code takes up a lot of room on the back of a book... especially if the book is small! So, the size of the design matters. 

I like #4—the smaller truck—because it could work on a larger book, and we could use the back end of the truck (#2) all by itself on a smaller book.

Choose your favorite design using the poll below. We'll post the results on facebook. Make sure you become a fan of duopress, so you don't miss it!

Vote for your favorite bar code design!
pollcode.com free polls 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

American Illustration 32

Hey, I made it into American Illustration's slide show!

The winning images are both from New York Baby: "New York babies are always in a hurry..." (the subway scene), and "New York babies love to learn the ABCs..."

In relation to other illustration competitions, American Illustration is the grittiest and is, therefore, my favorite. :o) 

A decade ago I got into the book, two years consecutively—AI 20 and 21. I was a bit sad at the time, which most definitely showed in my illustrations; hence, my inclusion. One great thing about pain for artists is that it often translates into exceptional work. I got happy soon after and couldn't get into AI anymore, but trust me, happiness was the better option.

How cool, to be recognized by AI for a children's book. It says a lot, I think, for duopress, the publisher. (Duopress, you have highly excellent taste!) 


Altho my winning entries are quite tame, the slideshow as a whole is definitely rated PG-13, at the very least. Just f.y.i.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A.D. for Duopress

Okay, folks. You'd better sit down—this is a biggie. Have I got your attention? Are you settled? Good. (Clears throat, smooths skirt.)

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I make the following announcement:

I am the brand new ART DIRECTOR at DUOPRESS! (Big smile, bigger blush.)

Yes, it's true. After illustrating twelve books for duporess, my friend Mauricio Velázquez de León (who owns the joint) made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I will continue illustrating books for duo, and henceforth will also oversee the design of all duopress titles, which means working with a team of highly talented and super cool people. So. Much. Fun.

Isn't that great news? It made my day. Hope it brightened yours as well.

best always,