Illustrations for ‘Don’t Be a Cow’

I recently had the pleasure of illustrating George Barker’s self-published book, written with his wife Rachel, called “Don’t be a Cow.” This amusing title comes from George’s philosophy, honed over many years of the ups and downs of everyday life, that each person should find their own path to happiness, without falling into line with all the other ‘cows’ they encounter.

While we have not met in person, George’s upbeat and gentle humor in discussing the illustrations that head each chapter lead me to believe he is onto something with his outlook on life. His book includes thoughts and lessons on the search for fulfillment – some formatted like a conversation between “John and Jane,” two everyday people, with Bible quotes, self-reflection exercises and even related popular songs for each theme.

Here are just a few of the interior illustrations I created and their chapter heads:

1dbac_wp1And here is the cover with the eponymous Cow – I recommend George & Rachel’s book and I think it would be particularly useful for young people who may need some help weathering the bumps along the road of life. Don’t Be a Cow is available here on Amazon.

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Our Award-winning Invitation Design

1artdecoinv7I am pleased to say that my daughter’s wedding invitation, printed and assembled by Cortineo Creative’s Wedding Studio in Doylestown, and in which I had a hand in designing, has received the Neographics award for Best Invitation in the category ‘Small Press 1, 2 or 3 Color’ this year. Neographics is a graphic communications contest for the PA, NJ and Delaware area in which graphic arts, packaging, design and publishing excellence is selected and showcased.

My daughter, multimedia writer and videographer Julie Achilles Benns, chose her wedding decor to fit her themes of Art Deco and New Year’s Eve, the date her wedding was celebrated. The invitation was truly a collaboration in design and execution between The Wedding Studio and us.

1ppboxphotoJulie and I worked out a basic design in black and white for the front of the wedding invitation; Julie wanted to incorporate the idea offered to us by Lori at The Wedding Studio, of a lasercut paper overlay to be hand-applied once the invitations were printed. We designed an original custom overlay. Julie created the vector file and we used Paper Presentation in NYC to lasercut an elegant, very Deco style frame in burnished gold paper.

Kelly, our designer at The Wedding Studio, chose handsome fonts and designed the rest of the invitation package, with a coordinating gold pocket to hold the waterfall-cut insert cards. The final invitation was printed on white stock with black and metallic gold ink, with a white envelope and a gold liner.

Cortineo Creative did a stellar job of printing and assembling the invitations, which was evidently noticed by the judges at Neographics! I wrote in more detail on the entire process on my previous post here, and Cortineo announced the honor on their blog here.

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My Work Featured on ‘Writing and Illustrating’

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I am quite honored to have my illustration work featured on ‘Writing and Illustrating,’ a fun and very informative blog on publishing by author-illustrator Kathy Temean. The interview, with lots of samples of my work, is here.

Please feel free to leave comments and questions at the bottom of Kathy’s blog, I will be checking it throughout the weekend.

A hearty thank you to Kathy for her help!

 

Next Illustration for ‘Lodging’ magazine

My newest illustration for Lodging magazine is for an article advising hotel owners who are interested in selling their property to ‘tell the story’ of the opportunity their hotel creates for investors. The editor of the magazine suggested a ‘story time’ scene, although she didn’t want it to make the adults look too silly. I did a pencil sketch for that idea and also tried a version where the hotel’s ‘story’ is a huge storybook –

 

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She liked the big storybook better, so I tightened up the sketch a bit –

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And sent the editor a quick color sketch with colored pencils, which she approved –

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I drew the final art in prisma pencil on illustration board, and painted it in acrylic washes:

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Pinafore in Albion

I was charmed to receive the poster for Bicester Choral & Operatic Society’s performance of HMS Pinafore, for which they leased my artwork:

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I wrote a bit about painting this piece in a past blog post here.

The BCOS did a splendid job with the design. It’s gratifying to know my work was seen in merry England for such a merry show!