Thursday, May 7, 2015

Promo Mailers Part 2 {Surtex 2015}

ONLY TEN DAYS UNTIL SURTEX 2015!


Yup. Ten days. And so much to do. But I have to say - after the stress of the last month, I'm definitely more chill than I was, despite the pile of work and lack of time. I don't want to go into the show totally exhausted, so I'm trying to get to bed at a decent hour (you know - 6 hours of sleep as opposed to 4 hours!) and I think that is helping to clear my head a bit. Ask me in five days if I'm still playing it cool! 

I wanted to finish my series on the promo mailers I sent out two weeks ago. After the flags were all sewed and ready to go I realized I needed to mount them to something to keep them flat in their envelopes. I got some backing board, cut it to fit and stamped them with my Emily Balsley Illustration stamp to make them even more official. Here they are, drying:



It may be hard to see in the photo, but I also designed a large rubber stamp for addressing the front of the envelopes. I love how it turned out, but it wasn't the easiest to print - the coverage wasn't as solid as I hoped and that big blank space was next to impossible to keep clean. I actually had to put a little piece of paper there to block the ink for every print. It was a pain, but it was still worth it. They're super fun!



And here are the flags on their boards. I secured them with cute washi tape.



I had also ordered some Surtex postcards, stickers and new business cards, so I stuffed the envelopes with those as well. The back of the postcard has a whimsical "nice to meet you" design.



Each mailer contained a flag on backing board, a hand-written note, a postcard, stickers and business card. I was relieved that the stuffed envelopes still fit through the sorter at the post office - that saved me a bit of $$ for shipping!


I'll be honest - I was a bit nervous mailing these out. There was so much love put into these mailers, I couldn't help but feel a little vulnerable! But that's okay. I want people to know who I am as an artist and I think these packages were the perfect representation of me and my work. And maybe...just maybe...I'll get a job or two from it!

If you missed Part 1 of my Surtex promo mailers, you can find it here.

'Til next time,

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Promo Mailers Part 1 {Surtex 2015}

I can't believe there are only 17 more days until Surtex. I am SUPER excited, yet I can't wait for it to be over. I'm sure Stephen would agree with that, too, since that is ALL I talk about lately! 


The last few weeks have been absolutely insane with preparations. Even though I didn't have a lot of new art at the time, we needed to start thinking about the booth design. Which meant ordering banners. But of course, I don't want to put a lot of old work on the banners, right? So not only were we designing our booth, I was making new art at the same time. It was kind of a chicken-and-egg situation. I-need-art-for-the-banners-but-the-art-needs-to-be-created-before-I-can-put-the-art-on-the-banners. Ya know? Whew! So needless to say, there were a lot of almost-sleepless nights and sacrificed weekends while I pushed through. Once everything was ordered, a huge weight was lifted off me and I could breathe a bit. 

But just a bit.

Then I had to start thinking about promos. Originally, I wasn't planning on doing much promotion so I could focus on making new art. But then I thought, I am investing a lot of time, effort and money on this show, so it would be pretty unfortunate if no one even knew I was there! I've never done any kind of physical promotion, so I wanted to get it right. Lots of people do postcards, which are great - but I still think it's pretty easy to toss them in the wastebasket or lose them in a pile of papers. I needed something more memorable that an Art Director wouldn't want to throw away. Maybe they'd even pin it to their wall.

My answer? Felt pennant flags! I know they're nothing new - but they're right up my alley. They're throwback (vintage!), involve felt (my favorite material!) and they could be screen printed (my favorite printing method!). Plus if I really got my act together I could incorporate some of my newly-designed fabric as the binding. 

I was working on some Super Girl illustrations at the time, so I thought that theme would be fitting. A local screen printer, Screen Door Studio did the printing on some yummy colored felt. I scaled my colored pencil floral designs down to be proportionate to the flags and got some Spoonflower fabric printed. My friend Michelle saved me several hours by cutting, pressing and sewing the binding. And all of a sudden, I had a stack of amazing custom felt pennant flags!!


Ahhh. They make me so happy! I think they are a perfect representation of me. 

I'll be back soon with the rest of my Surtex promo plan.
Later!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Grandma's Garden

When Alison of tiny blue orange approached me last year to collaborate on a project, I didn't have to think twice. She is an awesome Madison-based web extraordinaire and super-savvy business lady that I am lucky to call a friend. The project involved gardening, and kids and television - sounds pretty cool, right? 

Essentially, Alison was tasked with building a website for Grandma's Garden - an "...educational television program...focusing on equipping children to live healthy and productive lives, teaching them how to engage with their environment and their caretakers in meaningful ways". The program was coming to life with help from a successful Kickstarter campaign

Alison asked me to help her create a natural world for the website content to live. Since the theme was gardening, we thought it would be cool to a garden graphic that would run along the entire bottom of the site, and a sky/sun/clouds graphic to encompass the top half. Here are some of the initial sketches:





There were also a few characters that would help out around the site, and eventually be the inspiration for costumes on the television show! Here we have some concept sketches for Billi the Bee, Sammy the Snail and Betty the Butterfly:


The concept sketches were pretty close to Alison's vision, so I fleshed them out, digitized and added color. I made the garden footer into a repeat, so it would be seamless once it was placed along the bottom of the page. Alison worked her magic (including fun, moving clouds!) and everything came together beautifully. Here are a couple screen grabs so you can get the idea:



Didn't it turn out great? It was such a fantastic experience, collaborating with Alison, and illustrating for a website (a first for me!). I love how it looks - perfect for both kids and their grown-ups. Be sure to head over to the Grandma's Garden website to check it out for yourself, and while you're at it, here is what Alison had to say about the project. So fun!

Have a great weekend,

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Work {Custom Portraits}

Over the last few months I have had the opportunity to do some more custom family portraits, which I always enjoy. A couple of these were even used as holiday cards - what a fun way to spread season's greetings!


A custom illustrated family portrait is a great way to capture your family's personalities and interests without the potential for cranky kids, closed eyes and bad weather. If you're interested in a portrait, you can check out my Etsy listings for more information. 

Have an awesome day!

Monday, March 9, 2015

HHAC is heading to NYC! {Surtex 2015}

Well, it's official! Happy Happy Art Collective is heading to New York City in May to participate in SURTEX 2015. The show will be held at the Javits Convention Center May 17-19, 2015.


Jill, Tammie and I will be representing HHAC at booth 532, and Lauren will be on her own at booth 559.

We're super excited! If you're interested in setting up an appointment, please head here to fill out the request. 

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cooking Class

Yesterday when I walked outside to go pick the kiddo up from the bus stop, I noticed a box sitting on our front porch. On the box was a big sticker that said "Storey". YAY!! I was SO excited - I wanted to open the box immediately, but I would risk missing the bus. My next thought was to carry the box with me to the bus stop and open in there. C'mon, emily - you can wait TEN MINUTES until you're back home with your child safely off the bus. Right? 

Why was I so excited about that box? Because it contained copies of a book that I did illustrations for! Plus, I haven't really talked about it yet - so I had extra suppressed excitement that was finally able to be unleashed. Stella and I opened the box together which was pretty cool and looked through it page by page. It was a special moment.


The book is called Cooking Class by Deanna F. Cook and is published by Storey Publishing. It is such a fun book! I got an opportunity to see the recipes while working on the illustrations last year and they look so good. Stella and I will definitely be doing some cooking now!


The book is organized by meals, but has a whole chapter on getting started in the kitchen - including rules, safety tips, vocabulary and measurements. There are wonderful photos throughout showing step-by-step instructions, lifestyle shots and fun little vignettes. I got to draw lots of little spot illustrations to accompany the recipes and photography throughout the book.



There are so many awesome ideas that will help kids get creative in the kitchen!


I created a repeat pattern of miscellaneous food items that was used on the chapter pages and inside front cover.


The back of the book contains some bonus goodies for the kids including labels...


stickers... (the Guacamole Guy is my favorite!)


stickers to fold over toothpicks to make flags for sticking in various foods...


more stickers...


and placecards!

There are also recipe cards and conversation-starting game cards. Seriously - what DOESN'T this book have?!?

This was my first published illustrated book, and I couldn't be more proud. The process was so smooth - thanks to the wonderful art direction at Storey. It was definitely a lot of work, but I knew exactly what was needed and I was given reasonable deadlines - all which led to a really great experience. Hopefully this is the first of many book gigs! Plus - the fact that the subject was food (I love to eat!) and it was geared for kids was just icing on the cake. It was a fantastic job. 

So - now that you're hungry or are looking for a fun cookbook for your kids (it would also make a great gift!) - you need to pick up the book for yourself! Of course, I'd recommend to buy local, but for convenience, here is where you can find it on Amazon.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

American Girl Magazine {2014}

As I'm sure most illustrators and designers, do, I have a list of dream clients that I hope to work with some day. I am so excited to say I can cross one of them off my list - American Girl Magazine!

I just missed the American Girl craze growing up, but I've always had the utmost respect for the products. When I graduated college, they were one of the few companies I sent my portfolio to (I was rejected, unfortunately). So they've always been on my radar.

Fast-forward to the present. My daughter, Stella (7-years old) loves American Girl. I mean, LOVES American Girl. From the dolls to the books, she can't get enough. One of her favorite days of the month is when the AG catalog arrives in the mail. So it's pretty cool to see the impact the company and products have on a kiddo from a mom's perspective. And since I've been back in the illustration game, I thought it would be especially cool to do work for a company that means so much to my daughter. That would up my hipness-quotient with her, right? ;-)

So when I was asked to do the illustrations for the holiday craft feature in the November/December issue, of course I said yes!! 



I got to illustrate all the step-by-step instructions, along with the wrapping paper, window, tree and fireplace scene.


The creative team took my illustrations, blew them up huge, and displayed the holiday crafts on them like a real tree or mantle - isn't that a cool concept? I love seeing how my flat drawings suddenly become dimensional when used in this application.

It was such an honor being a part of such a fabulous publication. And I gotta say, Stella seemed pretty proud when she saw her mom's work in her favorite magazine. And that is just the best.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Wedding Invitations {Laurie + Michele}

One thing I love about designing wedding invitations is the challenge of creating something that showcases who the couple is. Everybody is different - and on their wedding day, it is especially important to create a one-of-a-kind piece that represents them at this special time.

Laurie and Michele are from Florida and were celebrating their love with a beach wedding. Though the beach was an integral part of their celebration, they didn't necessarily want their invitations to exhibit the typical beach-y imagery - nothing overly nautical and avoid an abundance of seashells and dolphins - we wanted to imply beach without being so literal. They were also looking for something classic with a touch of whimsy.

To start, I sent them a few different concepts:



After deciding on a variation of #2, it was time to start applying the concept to the rest of the pieces. Because we were going for a nice balance of classic and whimsical, we thought incorporating a more formal script, letterpress printing and pocket folder would cater to the more traditional, while the quirky characters, illustrated map and bright color scheme would be super fun.

It just so happened that I had just taken a class to learn formal calligraphy techniques, so these invitations were the perfect excuse to apply my new skills. Here is a sample of some of my writing:



My friend Kate of Flying Rabbit Press did the letterpress printing and was so helpful and patient with me as I learned how to set up these fairly complicated files. The suite consisted of five 3-color pieces, after all - that's 15 plates right there! Kate is a rockstar. She even sent me sneak peeks during the printing process which was awesome to see:


Photo courtesy of Flying Rabbit Press

And here we have the final invitation suite:



The main invitation was glued to the left panel of the pocket folder and the rest of the inserts stack in descending order when placed in the pocket. The printing is beautiful, and I am extremely happy with how they turned out. Thanks to Laurie and Michele for letting me do my thing! Yay!










Monday, February 9, 2015

Wedding Invitations {Brian + Meredith}

Brian and Meredith are a super fun couple that I met through mutual friends in the Madison cycling community. When I sat down with them regarding their wedding invitations, they were looking for a few things:
  • an organic, laid-back style
  • eco-friendly - limit the number of pieces 
  • incorporating bikes and the city
  • a fall wedding = a warm, autumnal color palette 
Meredith sent me this photo she took at their venue for inspiration:


With their great direction, I was able to pull together several concepts.


We went back and forth a few more times and eventually landed on the final layout:



Once we had the layout, I started painting! Here are a few progress shots.




After all the color flats were laid, I added the text, which was a font I created out of my handwriting. The invitations were printed at Think Ink & Design on French Speckletone - a recycled paper - and paired with grass green envelopes. The main invite and map are actually 1 piece of paper, printed double-sided, to be a bit more eco-friendly.


This was such a great suite to work on - made better by working with such a fun couple. Together, we created a pretty fantastic piece of art to celebrate their special day.


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