My Books

Monday, July 21, 2008

signing "signs"

My Haiku Baby book signing last Saturday at Joseph-Beth was oh-so fun! The store even sold out of books! I think it's so funny to see signs and posters promoting my book around the stores. Ones with my head shot are especially silly to me because I am so NOT the celebrity.

I loved sitting in front of the fireplace to read my felt like home. I feel like I turned a corner and that I'm starting to really figure out how to relate to a younger audience and make the storytimes and readings a little more interactive. And Jeff helped me mock up an oversized book that really helped keep the kids attention...the little book is tough for reading to big groups.

I also passed out little birdie finger puppets (with feathery wings!) this time, and had the kids hold them up whenever they saw the bird show up in the book. It certainly helped to have the support of so many family and friends there too. It's so important to have cheerleaders in your life, and I think I have the best.

Maybe I had a little help from nature too. I saw this giant halo moon the night before, and I had to pull over and take some pictures of it because it was so amazing and it was such a haiku moment. In my head I was singing Jolie Holland's "Amen, there's a ring around the moon..." song. I felt like seeing the moon was the world's sign to me that all is well and the next day would go well (I get very nervous before these things). My friend Jenny's blog says it was "the full moon of the guru," which I guess means you're supposed to celebrate all the teachers in your life. I thought that was so fitting. In a way, Saturday was partly about paying homage to all those people that helped me on my path. I feel like sharing Haiku Baby with the world is my way of giving back everything people have given to me along the way. I think it was a "haiku moment" for all of us, not just for me, because I think there is a little bit of everyone special to me in this book.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the best job ever

Sometimes I can't believe I ever let myself get stressed out or negative about how I make a living. Today is one of those days when I realize how lucky I am to do what I do everyday. What is my job like today? I am dumping out bags of feathers from the craft store, trying to find "just right" colors and sizes for little birdie finger puppets. And I catch myself being all serious and wishing I could art direct the feathers..."Why can't you be more BLUE?" and "If you were only a tad SMALLER..." And then my husband says "Come on Betsy, they're FEATHERS! They're fine. The kids will love them." He's right, and then I relax and have fun again. I mean, really, who can complain about playing with feathers?

Now you might wonder why I am making finger puppets for my job (and not actually getting paid for this one). Well, I am handing them out at the Haiku Baby storytime and book signing I am doing at the Cleveland Joseph-Beth (Legacy Village) this Saturday at 11am. You can read more info about my book and signing (and me!) in the article featured in this week's Cleveland Scene. Should be a fun time...please join us if you are in the area. Then YOU can play with feathers too!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

ICON5 scrapbook

I was in NYC last Wednesday through Sunday for the illustration conference. The trip was so inspiring for so many reasons that I don't even know where to start! It came at a perfect time for me because I'm just finishing up 2 big book projects and now I feel so rejuvenated and ready to move on to new things.

If you're an illustrator and you've never been to the conference, or if you missed this one, you should check out the official ICON site so you can get an idea of what it's all about. Plus, they plan on posting follow-ups and content from some of the presenters, so stop back later too.

The conference took place in the historic Roosevelt Hotel on Madison at 45th. I love the details of old hotels and have to say it was one of the best hotels I've stayed in NYC.

On Thursday I did a studio tour of Curious Pictures in the morning. That was interesting to me because they do a lot of animation for children's series, which is something I'd like to get into someday.

Thursday afternoon I went to Jessie Hartland's studio. I've admired her artwork for several years. I love the naive quality of her painting and that her art really speaks to people of all different age groups. It's so approachable. I especially liked to hear her talk about her experience designing Christmas window displays for Bloomingdale's. What an amazing opportunity! She had this reindeer you can see in the background hanging up at the entrance to her studio.

our tour group on the roof of Jessie's building

From the rooftop, we could see the Brooklyn Bridge with the waterfall installation by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson.

The day before, I got to meet Maria Eugenia, who came all the way from Brazil. She's also represented by my agent, so it was fun to meet a fellow Painted Words artist!

After the day of studio tours, the rest of the conference events were mostly at the hotel, other than some gallery openings in the evenings.

I loved how this table evolved into a place where everyone would leave their promo cards. It was fun to dig through the pile of postcards and find little treasures of art.

In addition to the inspiration I gained from all of the presenters, one of the big highlights for me was meeting new people, developing friendships and spending time with old friends. My dear college friend Megan O'Brien was with me at the conference and made it that much MORE fun and meaningful, and I also got to reconnect with Jeanine Henderson and meet some of her NY buds. We all had a blast together and tore up the dance floor at the closing party. I'm sure there will be some interesting (and probably embarrassing) dance photos of us that end up on the ICON site, but for now, here are my favorite friend-time pictures:

rooftop patio bar at our hotel

Megan and Jeanine, my silly mojito girls!

who knew it could still be so fun in the rain?

lovely megan with her parasol

4th of July...see the fireworks waaaaaay in the background?

Megan at dinner in a French cafe in SoHo

Princess Megan and Mardi Gras Jeanine at the closing party

no, it is not New Year's Eve...this is just what happens when you get a bunch of crazy artists together for a party

So, those are the ICON highlights. Good times. Hope to see all my ICON peeps back again at the next one!