Monday, February 24, 2014

Introducing: PUZZLES!

Last summer I created art for an exciting new duopress venture: PUZZLES!

My New York Puzzle and My San Francisco Puzzle were just released, and they've already won the prestigious Oppenheim Toy Award. Go, Team duopress! These 20-piece puzzles are the first in what is sure to be a successful series.

For NYC we chose to depict Lady Liberty back-lit by a night sky filled with fireworks—a classic scene that celebrates the Big Apple in a kid-friendly way.

And you simply cannot make a puzzle about San Francisco without featuring the majestic Golden Gate Bridge!

Designing art for puzzles with so few pieces presents a few unique challenges. First of all, we didn't want the seams crossing key elements in an unflattering way. Secondly, visual elements in each composition had to overlap every single seam—visual clues to aid tiny puzzlers in their mission to assemble our handiwork.

As this project's Art Director, I got to create the puzzle die (the cookie-cutter used to cut the puzzle into 20 interlocking shapes). As the illustrator, I had to design each image to work within the die.

Grant McMahan designed this project, which entailed quite a bit of work. Packaging at its simplest involves a box—six surfaces to beautify. There is a drawer cleverly designed into these boxes, which gave us five more surfaces to fill (four sides + the bottom).

I got to create tiny bits of spot art for Grant to sprinkle around the sides of each drawer, and I absolutely love to make spot art, so that was a special treat.

In keeping with duopress's mission to create innovative books and gifts for curious children, the bottom of each drawer is covered in fun facts about the subject of the puzzle it contains.

My New York Puzzle and My San Francisco Puzzle by duopress are available now in local bookstores, museum and gift shops. No matter where you live, you can order them on-line! Click here to order My New York Puzzle, and here to order My San Francisco Puzzle.


This "My Puzzle" series, like all duopress projects, is the brainchild of Mauricio Velázquez de León, publisher of duopress books and gifts.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

123 Little Bugs

Over the summer I art-directed my first project for duopress: Puck's 123 Little Bugs, a Cool Counting Book for itty-bitty readers. Prolific artist Rey David Rojas made the adorable illustrations, and my long-time friend Grant McMahan designed the book. Grant added patterns to Rey David's art, two of which—including these swirls on the cover—were created by me, just for fun. This art director job has its perks to be sure, not least of which is working with such talented people.

All duopress books are interactive. On the final pages of 123 Little Bugs you'll find helpful conversation starters to give you ideas about how to help your baby interact with the art on each page.

For example:
"Did you know that caterpillars have twelve eyes? How many eyes do you have? Can you close one eye? How about both? Now, open your eyes! There's much more to see in this book!"

Adorable. Where were these books when my son was small?

Get a jump on spring with 123 Little Bugs, available on-line and at your local independent bookstore.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

¡Isabella va a México!

Last spring at Book Expo America, as I was wandering around the Javitz Center in awe, a small group of amazing people met to discuss the possibility of translating Isabella's Shoe Studio into Spanish. Editiones B eventually bought the rights, and here she is—en español! 

Included in the afore-mentioned group of amazing people: Mauricio Velázquez de León, publisher of duopress books (thank you, Mauricio!), and long-time friend of duopress Pablo de la Vega of Indent Literary Agency, my new amigo.