Monday, September 16, 2019

American Girl

FINALLY I can show you guys the project that occupied most of my time last year - a series of books from American Girl!!

I loved the American Girl books when I was a kid, especially the beautiful and realistic illustrations. Here's me and my Felicity doll, which I bought with my own allowance money, birthday money, and money from extra chores. My Mom sewed us these matching dresses!

American Girl has been a "bucket list" client for me since I became an illustrator, so when I was offered the opportunity to work on some of their books last year, I was thrilled!

This was, by far, the most complicated and intense project I've ever worked on. The books contain a combination of photography (by Chris Hynes and Blake Morrow) and illustration by me. I worked on six books, often simultaneously, collaborating with three different art directors. Not only did my drawings have to pass muster with American Girl's historical expert, but the faces and costumes also had to match the models in the photos, and sometimes the doll costumes and accessories as well. Major props to art directors Wendy Walsh, Jessica Rogers, and Riley Wilkinson for organizing what must have been a very complicated operation.

Deadlines were often tight, and working on so many books at once meant I had a lot to keep track of. On top of that, my toddler got sick a lot last year, so sometimes my only choice was to work at night, after she had gone to bed. I started making myself cups of coffee at 8:30 PM.

And then there was the time I caught the stomach flu the night before a big deadline. I finished the spread below in between rounds of running to the bathroom to hurl up my guts.

So yeah, it was quite the project, consisting of over 100 illustrations. Despite all the hard work, I'm very grateful that I was given the opportunity to illustrate for American Girl. Keeping my mouth shut about this for an entire year has been hard! I was so excited to receive my books in the mail this month! If you see the books at your local bookstore, send me a pic on Twitter, I'd love to see!

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