Sunday, December 12, 2010

My epilogue to Davis-Kidd

So as snow swirls down outside pretty much guaranteeing that tomorrow I'll be coasting on a cookie sheet down the backyard with my kids instead of working come Monday morning I thought I would share a couple of neat nuggets with the blog. I will get to my Davis-Kidd story but first, a sample of a book I worked on this summer:

This was a little board/activity book for Lifeway's Big Apple Adventure. It was illustrations over photographs - similar in design to Mo Willem's Knuffle Bunny books. In order to get the illustrations lined up, I sketched them out on tracing paper, scanned the sketches in, placed them over the photos in Photoshop, then zoomed way in to make sure they really were lined up and adjusted as needed. When it was time to do the finish, instead of using my usual pencil line, I used a very fine Sharpie to outline each character. The solid black line gave each illustration a more seamless look when placed over the photos. Needless to say there was a lot more process involved in these than in my usual illustration style but it was a pretty fun challenge. Since I didn't have to worry about a background I got to spend more time on the characters.... and even decided to draw a few of my friends into the illustrations! Here are some interior spreads:

The back and front cover spread:

Look for it in the spring at all Lifeway Stores!

So here it is: I have my own little ending to Nashville's sob story about the closing of Davis-Kidd Booksellers. Twelve years ago, shortly after making the leap to freelancing, I was invited to submit designs for the tenth anniversary poster for Tennessee's Southern Festival of Books. Happily my illustration and design were chosen and I went on to create several marketing materials for the festival. At the time Davis-Kidd was a sponsor of the festival and afterward, a framed print of the poster was hung in the children's area of the bookstore. When DK moved to the Mall at Green Hills the poster was hung downstairs near the TPAC box office desk. Even though I think my work has gotten better since doing the illustration, I always smiled to myself when I saw it hanging there. So when word came that Davis-Kidd was closing its doors I anxiously asked a clerk what would happen to the poster. He told me to put my name on a list of people who were interested in buying store fixtures.... and to write down what I was interested in. A few weeks later I got a call that all store fixtures were going on sale. In 25 degree weather, with rain falling, and a just woken up Baby Sprout, I rushed to the store to see if my poster was still there.

It was..... and it had a price tag on it of a hundred bucks!

Now with a rational mind I can see that the framing alone was worth at least $100.... but at the time I was a little taken aback (and slightly flattered). They thought my poster was worth $100! Wait a minute.... I was going to have to pay $100 to get my "own" work back! I hemmed and hawed, called Jim Dear who told me if I didn't buy it I would always wonder what happened to it. He was right. So hundred dollars lighter, the Sprout, the stroller, the poster, and I made our way out of a crowded Green Hills Christmas shopping parking lot.... and home to pick out a new display space. Davis-Kidd may be gone but I'm glad I have my own little bit of the store hanging in my library.