Deborah Marcero : Art and Writing » Writer and Illustrator

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Hand Drawn Font-Making App

Earlier in the spring, I was craving and searching for ways that I could make my own fonts, quickly, easily, accurately, and cheaply.  I had used a free site to print off a sheet with tiny fill in the box squares.  But last week, I discovered iFontMaker on the iPad.  I can play with making hand-drawn fonts letter by letter – each letter is complete with guides and you focus on each character, one at a time, as it fills the whole iPad screen.  It is so fast and easy.   Today’s sample just took 20 minutes — I call it ‘Tall Skinny Latte” ; I wanted to document and pass along my discovery… and if you have an iPad, you can use your finger, but I used a stylus, and it’s AMAZING!  I really love thinking about ways the text can be part of  book design –and how the physical presence of the words can be used as another element to convey tone and feeling in a story.

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drawing a puppy : stylizing and reducing forms

I had a great drawing professor at the SAIC who put us through exercise upon exercise  of taking forms and reducing them (taking away as much detail as possible) by using line, form, color and shape.  I thought of her today and her long white hair curled up into a bun… and I thought of that huge studio classroom on the corner of Wabash, a few floors above the El where we would meet from 9am-4pm once a week.  So much of how I find my voice in my line work is through reducing forms — by taking away some or most of the “realistic” details I discover my style through interpretation (asking myself as I draw: what do I hold onto, what do I let go of?).  Here I took Bear as my subject.  He loves to nest in the gold chairs I have in my studio.  Yesterday he was so tired from so much play this weekend, that he stayed in the same spot for at least an hour, maybe more.   Here are a series of sketches I made, followed by a few photographs (to emphasize and compare/contrast my process of reduction).  Sometimes, when I reduce, I try to discover essence.



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“Follow your bliss” and other words to live by from the SCBWI Wild Wild Mid-West Conference 2013

“Work hard – Luck comes to those who show up.” Jane Yolen

“Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.” – Arnold H. Glasow (shared by Jane Yolen)

“Before you can be anything, you have to be yourself.” Lin Oliver

“Follow your Weirdness.” Bruce Coville (shared by Lin Oliver)

“Finish. B.I.C. – Butt In Chair.”  Lin Oliver + Jane Yolen

“Someday I want to be a really old guy making art.” Peter Brown

“You do need to invest in yourself.” Leslie Helakoski

“Follow your Bliss.”  Laurent Linn

“Begin in fear, end in love.” Frannie Billingsley

“Illustrators have a great idea of what not to say.”  Frances Gilbert

“I like to flirt with the gutter.” Peter Brown on Picture Book Design

“What is your book about?”  Jill Corcoran

“I will write something that will crack open the heart.” Kathi Appelt

I am overwhelmed & saturated with all of the wisdom, creativity, honesty and presence of kindred spirits I encountered this past weekend.  I filled my notebook.  These are fragments of some of the voices that captured me and spoke extra-loud at this particular moment on my journey.  I am so grateful.


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on paper : stuff to put in people’s hands

Namely business cards and post-cards…..  Today my new postcards landed on my doorstep….. and I LOVE them.  The postcards are 5×7 and die cut to have slightly curved edges, which adds a little whimsy to the project and to my brand as an illustrator trying to market herself in as many ways as possible.  I’m excited to use these postcards to display along with my artwork at the upcoming “Illustrator’s Showcase” at the Wild Wild West SCBWI Conference in Fort Wayne.  I loved designing the back of the card, just as much as deciding which illustration to showcase on the front.  I used my own handwriting font once more  (I am addicted) — and hand drawn lines for the back.  The zoomed in photo below of the rocket night-light shows the beautiful printing job WHCC did for their press printed flat cards on Art Recycled paper.  The business cards should come from MOO in a few days… but in the meantime, I wanted to post a few of the designs I chose and the text/design for the back.  I have loved thinking about, designing, and assembling these small things to put into people’s hands.


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