Most artists (and creative people in general) I know secretly harbor a dream of making or publishing a children's book. I'm no exception. I have a shelf (shelves?) devoted to both children's books and books about children's books. Having kids only meant that I had a more legitimate reason to keep purchasing more children's picture books. I've even taken a couple classes about how to write and/or publish children's books. But over time I put that dream on the back, back, WAAAAY back burner. Too competitive a market, not talented enough, no opportunity, etc. etc.
But here's what I LOVE about the world we currently live in. If you want to do something, you can just do it. And my (still new) career is built on that idea. Want to make art and patterns for a living? DO IT. Want to print your own fabric? Do it on Spoonflower. Want to sell some products? Open an Etsy shop. Want to publish a children's book? Well, get a friend to ask you to do it!
Today I'm sharing a new collaboration with my good friend Nicole Knudtson and it's called Favorite Part of My Day.Nicole and I have known each other since the third grade. We sang in children's choir together, we goofed off in geometry together, we made stir fry in her college apartment together, we learned how to raise our babies together. Nicole works for RSM US LLP here in Minneapolis and she recently applied for and was granted a 90-90-9 award from RSM to pursue her passion project. Her passion project was to publish, share, and distribute a children's book she had written seven years earlier about a cherished family ritual of sharing the favorite part of their day with each other at bedtime. You can read more about Nicole's project over on the Favorite Part of Day website.Part of this project involved finding and hiring an illustrator and I'm honored and thrilled to say she chose me to do this important job. Nicole is the kind of friend who is always in your corner and always supportive of whatever you want to do. So as I've launched this design and illustration career she's been behind me 100%. As we embarked on this project we were good company for each other because she wasn't sure she could publish a children's book and I definitely wasn't sure I could illustrate one! But together (over many lunches and coffees) we figured it out and we self-published her book using the CreateSpace website.The book officially launches today! You can purchase it here on the website and on Amazon. Nicole will now be bringing her book and it's delightful and important message to RSM employee groups around the country. It's truly been a family endeavor for her as her husband and two daughters have been heavily involved in the whole process.
I'm really proud of the work we did and the final product. It's a really fun book and, more importantly, it talks about a way to connect with your kids and family every day in this modern world that often leaves us exhausted, pulled in too many directions, and distracted.I had a great time illustrating it too. This was an invaluable opportunity for me to try out book illustration in a very low-risk way and I couldn't have asked for a better collaborator. We had a lot of fun coming up with concepts for the illustrations and we were almost always on the same page (get it? same page?) when it came to the look and feel of the book. There are a few little secret nods to our families in there too. I think both Nicole and I can say this book has been the favorite part of many of our days in the past few months.