Book Birthday Giveaway+ New Print!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Today is the release of I Had A Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn!

First! Let's have some cake:

Book Birthday Giveaway!
Win a copy of I Had a Favorite Dress and a print of "Little Dresses" You can enter to win by simply commenting on this blog post or on the Facebook blog post. Winner will be picked Tuesday out of a very old fashioned hat at the stroke of midnight.

NEW PRINT in The Shop:
"Little Dresses"

"Little Dresses" is a lovely archival print on velvety Arches Velin museum rag. It's an 8.5 x 11 page filled with the prettiest and tiniest dresses (and a pair of cowboy boots) from my sketchbook and the pages of I Had a Favorite Dress. Many can be spotted in the book, and of course, the favoritest dress is included too.

Birthday SALE At The Shop!
For book birthday week there is a 15% discount on all my art prints and products with the discount code: DRESS. Click here to shop.

Thank you friends for all the kind words, support and !
(The book is available wherever books are sold, don't forget your indie bookstore !)

Behind the Scenes: I Had a Favorite Dress

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Had a Favorite Dress hits shelves this Monday, so I thought I'd show you some studio shots and process work:

Boni Ashburn wrote a lovely story with a very fun cadence to it. Right from the get-go it made me feeling like dancing, I wanted the text to dance, and I wanted the art to dance...(I'm not gonna lie, I had a sweet summer soundtrack consisting of Animal Collective /jazz blasting, so I did a lot of dancing around). Boni's words, "SNIP SNIP, SEW SEW" helped me feel playful enough to want to cut up, collage, get messy. I thought: wouldn't it be fun to stitch the title page by hand? So I did:

It ended up a little bloody (see capital "D!") since I'm not a seamstress of any sort, but I handed it in anyhow (thanks, Photoshop). I spent my weeks in a blissful world of little dresses, buttons, city scapes, and thread...

Cover sketch on the light box:

Fall leaves to be cut out for the school scene:

Snowflakes for the winter scene:

Tree tops in the fall:

Tracing days of the week by night light:

All the little dress components, ready to be scanned:

A very SERIOUS struggle to find the right pink:

EEEE! Tiny dresses! I love my job!

Chad helped turn these thumbnails into something that made sense:

There is always that initial image you see after shutting your eyes and you've let a manuscript whisper through your mind. For this book, it was a little window on the first floor of a brownstone, with a blossoming tree nearby. As I looked in the window from the sidewalk, I watched a little girl prance to her mother in her FAVORITEST dress for an embrace. I tried my best to stay true to that glimpse for the duration of the work, and expand the world from that little window...

The characters and urban settings came right along with the story for me, right from the moment I read it. The city itself is an amalgamation of New York and Boston. My go-to painting soundtracks (supplemented by Animal Collective, and Jonsi) on this book were jazz guitar/piano albums by:

Admiring thank yous to author Boni Ashburn, and to the excellent people at Abrams, especially Laura Mihalick in marketing, editor Maggie Lehrman, creative director+designer Chad Beckerman (for working through so many fixes and edits that our final art file came to be called "FOR CHAD_DRESS_FINAL_INFINITY")

See you again Monday for a BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Next week:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chalk aliens...
"Easy breezy" tank tops...
...and hopscotch!

I Had a Favorite Dress, by Boni Ashburn, hits stores this coming Monday, August 1 2011!
Thank you, Kirkus, for your lovely review.

A Painted CSA

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday is CSA day here at the farmer's market in Quincy, Mass. Since I'm a city girl (still have Connecticut country in my heart) it's a thrill to cart home our share of fruit and veggies, roots and greens, dirt, stowaway bugs and all. I love how the car smells like earth the whole way home! The Stillman's Farm family and friends who make it possible are heroes, bringing us nature from the heart of Massachusetts. You can subscribe to a local CSA too, find your nearest one here.

Quincy Farmer's Market

Our Stillman's shares all stacked up!

The CSA also provides endless COLOR for cooking and eating (make sure you eat your colors!) I decided to paint before I ate. Here's what my studio looked like last week...pretty messy as usual, (save a stray potato):


Radishes look like they should always be near paint palette.

Happy weekend!

Nobody Knows a Rabbit's Nose

Sunday, July 17, 2011

To kick off National Rabbit Week, I want to introduce you to someone:

This is Cinnamon–a loyal rabbit with an old soul. If you called his name, he'd come running. He was as New England as bunnies come, straight from a farm hutch in Connecticut. We talked through a lot, nose to nose, on our tummies in the grass. A rabbit can be a refuge.

And so, his namesake lives on.

This poem, worn page scanned in by my dad, read aloud best by my mom, is from The Sleepy Book written by Margaret Wise Brown, and will always sound like bed time:

Thunderstorm's Dinner Party

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rumble in like a jolly friend
Yellowed and worn grey suit
In the late afternoon

Gossiping to the trees with their open-eared leaves:

" listenlistenlistenlistenlisten "

Sometimes the trees clap "bravo!" for an extra juicy piece of gossip.
Others feign offense and fling their branches back in astonishment:
"Goodness!" (But they're really having fun too).

And the lightening laughs with you, sometimes before the punchline, but you're still friends.

You've always been.
And you both roll on.
As you move past dinner time

Into the next county
Taking your party and banter and roaring fun into the night.
Leaving yawns of rain behind gathering their things to go home.

Dress Day #3: Evening With E.B.White

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

" Kitchen Table"
I hope you are enjoying some longggg and languid summer days. Today, I'm remembering the great literary voice, E.B. White. It was his birthday yesterday, which is funny timing for me after randomly reading Trumpet of the Swan last week after 18 years and now having begun my quest to read all things White.


I recently told my friend, Emily, about how I wish I could take vacations IN his books and she directed me to his grown-up works, like this quiet essay... Anyway, aren't we overdue for a dress day? These might be good ones to wear, if you were to head over to the Boston Common to catch Louis the Trumpeter Swan at his gig, crooning for a crowd on a summery birthday evening...

"Blue Ikat"
These dresses and the rest of the book pubs next MONTH! Check out previews of I Had A Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn. Available for preorder on Indiebound.