Congratulations to The Elegant Cockroach

The book's author, Deidre Anne Martin, and its illustrator, Stefanie Augustine have been recognized for their creative work. Deidre is nominated for an Alberta Literary Award and Stefanie's illustrations are featured in the Communication Arts illustration annual. Congratulations to both for creating such a marvelous book!


You can catch Deidre read from The Elegant Cockroach this Tuesday evening at the following event:



Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 7:00 pm

click here for details

The Elegant Cockroach visits Vancouver

The Elegant Cockroach artwork will be on display at Collage Collage in Vancouver opening this Thursday!

April 21 - June 2, 2011

Opening Reception April 21 from 7-9pm with writer Deidre Anne Martin in attendance.

The Elegant Cockroach has been nominated for  the Writers Guild of Alberta's Annett Award for Children's Literature for writing by Ms. Martin, and Ms. Augustine's illustrations have been recognized by Communication Arts' best of illustration Annual.


Collage Collage is a bookstore, studio and workshop that strives to uphold the tremendous creative abilities that children have, in surroundings that adults find equally stimulating, provoking and above all, inspiring. The gallery wall rotates on a regular basis, with openings and special workshops to accompany and support in store programming. Collage Collage is located at 621 Kingsway at 15th and Fraser Street, Vancouver. Click here for directions.

Weekend Reading: The Elegant Cockroach


If you are so lucky as to be strolling the streets of London, be sure to look for The Elegant Cockroach at Daunt Books, Magma, and the shop at the Tate. Deidre, author of The Elegant Cockroach, was in London recently to visit the city in which she conceived the tale.

Locally, you will find Cockroaches in:

Shelf Life Books, 100 - 1302 4St SW

Pages Books On Kensington, 1135 Kensington Road NW

Owl's Nest Books, 815A 49th Ave SW

Steeling Home, 1010 17th Ave SW

Monkeyshines, 113, 2215 - 33rd Ave S.W.

and UPPERCASE, of course (please call or email first since I am mostly working from home these days)

It is also available in these fine places:

Collage Collage, Vancouver

Vancouver Art Gallery Bookstore, Vancouver

Type Books, Toronto

Land, Portland

Orange Beautiful, Chicago

Secret Headquarters, Los Angeles

Keibunsha Books, Kyoto, Japan

It is also available through the online shop 24/7. If you'd like to stock this book and others in your store or online shop, please click here for wholesale shopping.

Bundle up for Christmas!

The UPPERCASE Book Bundle is a great Christmas gift!

Receive four beautiful and unique books over the course of the next few months.

The bundle begins right away with recently published The Elegant Cockroach, a beautifully illustrated tale of a stylish creature living in the big city. For booklovers (and lovers) it is a romantic story of love, longing and six legs. The book is hardcover with black cloth and copper foil title with a full colour jacket and black endpapers. Here's a look at a sample image from inside the book. (See a short book trailer film here.)

The Elegant Cockroach is followed by Work/Life 2: the UPPERCASE directory of illustration (international edition) to be published in February. Nearly 100 illustrators from around the globe are profiled, with peeks into their studios, sketchbooks and personal lives. You can take a look at the first edition of Work/Life to get a sense of the content and design of the next edition. (Limited numbers of the first edition are still available.)

Cover illustration by Alyssa Nassner

image by Andrea D'Aquinoimage by Juliana Salcedoimage by Blanca Gómez

Then in March, we send you A Collection a Day by Lisa Congdon. I am REALLY excited about this one. Throughout 2010, Lisa has been posting an image of one of her collections every day. It is an amazing project full of incredible objects and visual inspirations. It has existed as a blog for the year, but we are turning the project into something you can hold in your hands: a small but hefty 6.5" x 4.5" tome with over 400 pages at about 1.25" thick. The book itself will be packaged inside a collectible tin, in which you can store your small collections and precious treasures. The tin design is in progress and I'll be sharing it with you soon. When purchased as part of the Book Bundle or preorders, the special tin is included at no extra charge.

In June, we send you the icing on top of the cake: The Suitcase Series Volume 2: Dottie Angel. Tif Fussell is a prolific crafter and blogger. I've prepared a short film to introduce you to Tif and her alter ego Dottie Angel, but we will have to wait a few more weeks before it makes a very special premiere. The book will be around 192 pages full of Dottie wisdom, craft how-tos, anecdotes and ramblings, pretty pictures and ponderings... The design details are still in progress, but the book will include some very special touches such as actual sewing on the cover and the inclusion of vintage fabric swatches! When purchased as part of the Book Bundle or preorders, you will receive some special extra goodies with the book. (The first book in the series was about Camilla Engman; take a look here.)

All of these amazing books will be sent to you or your recipient as they are published—The Elegant Cockroach will be sent out now so there will be something to unwrap under the tree. We can also email a Christmas e-card to your recipient to let them know what they'll be receiving in the coming months.

The bundle is just $100 and you will save off the total cover prices plus get the special extras. You also save on shipping costs by purchasing the bundle rather than each book individually. To order the bundle, please click right here.

Do you want the UPPERCASE Book Bundle for Christmas? Let your Santa know by sending him this link:

An Elegant Preview

A peek at the new book written by Deidre Anne Martin and illustrated by Stefanie Augustine.


Katie Green has drawn another book stack and I'm happy to see The Elegant Cockroach has made it into the pile! Thanks, Katie.

Also thanks to Aprile at Not Paper for posting about illustrator Stefanie Augustine.

ONLINE SHOP SPECIAL: enter the code manythanks to get 10% off orders between now and November 30!

About: The Elegant Cockroach

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The Elegant Cockroach is a just-back-from-the-printer book that I had the pleasure of art directing and publishing. I fondly describe it as "a storybook for whimsical adults and sophisticated children." Written and co-art directed by Deidre Anne Martin, the book tells the tale of an elegant cockroach living on his own in the big city. Although there's always lots to keep him occupied — learning Spanish guitar, sitting in coffeeshops, going for walks and reading fine literature — the cockroach is out of place and out of sorts. He seems to be the only one of his kind and longs for love.


With collage illustrations by New York-based artist Stefanie Augustine, the Elegant Cockroach is a dapper and charming fellow living in a grey metropolis. Designing such a character and setting the scene was a challenge: how do you make an insect an appealing and sympathetic creature? How do you make what is perceived as a pest into the romantic lead? Deidre set the tone with this description: "It’s Charlotte’s Web meets The Elephant Man; Aesop’s Fables crossed with The Magnificent Ambersons; one part Tim Burton, two parts Leonard Cohen." Stefanie deftly used scraps of paper to piece together a cockroach with heart and style.

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Further inspired by black and white cinema, New York in the 1940s, newspapers and classic literature, the book design is simple yet dramatic. The typography is set to enhance the nuances of the text and subtly shape the reader's experience of the written word.

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The process of creating this book was very collaborative, with each of us bringing our sensibilities and talents into the mix. "Writing the story was only the beginning," says Deidre. "I had to walk around with it in my back pocket for what seemed an eternity until I came across just the right people to help me turn it into a real book."

(The book is available in our online shop and is also part of the Book Bundle that includes A Collection a Day by Lisa Congdon, The Suitcase Series Volume 2: Dottie Angel, and Work/Life 2.)

The Elegant Book Launch

We had a fine launch to The Elegant Cockroach! Thank you to all who attended or sending best wishes from afar. To see more pictures of the event, please see the set on flickr.

Thank you to Deidre's family for the great food and beverages. Thank you for your preorders via the online shop: the big shipment from the printer is en route via freight, so it is having an adventure from port to port to truck.

Original collages from the book are for sale, ranging from $100-$225. Drop me a line if you're interested in purchasing.

Book Launch tonight!

Tonight we celebrate the publication of The Elegant Cockroach by Deidre Anne Martin with illustrations by Stefanie Augustine. Friends and family are welcome to join us from 5-7pm and then it is open to the public from 7-9pm. Deidre would be happy to sign your book and Stefanie's original collages are for sale. Please come by!

We're in downtown Calgary, upper level of Art Central which is at the corner of 7th ave SW and Centre Street. Conveniently located along the c-train route and kitty corner from the Hyatt Hotel.

Above are images of Stefanie's illustration work in progress.

The book is hardcover with black fabric and a copper foil beneath the illustrated slipjacket. Matte black endpapers with silky cream paper. Very elegant!

Sneak Peek: The Elegant Cockroach

It's a book!

Yesterday I received some preview copies of The Elegant Cockroach! Congratulations and thanks to Deidre Anne Martin (writer) and Stefanie Augustine (illustrator). I designed and published the book. We will be celebrating this publication the First Thursday of October with an exhibition of the artwork and Deidre will be in attendance to sign copies. A story about finding love in the big city, I call it "a picture book for whimsical adults and sophisticated children." And it's the perfect book to set the tone for October. (see more pictures here.)

Pre-orders are available; The Elegant Cockroach book orders will ship later in October once we receive the full shipment from the printer. (This one was printed in China, so it will take some time to cross in ocean freight.) This book can also be purchased as part of our book bundle, so you would receive this book in October, followed by Work/Life 2 in February, A Collection a Day by Lisa Congdon in March and The Suitcase Series: Dottie Angel in June.

Oh, the excitement!

Although I do love summer—gardens, blue skies and road trips—when the temperature dips and we cross the long weekend into September, my heart flutters with anticipation: back to school! I confess it has been many years since I was a student and I won't be teaching at the college this year, but I still love that feeling of starting a new "school year": a year marked by new things to learn, new projects and new friends.

And so it is with that sense of wonder and excitement that I happily announce the projects that are going to be on my syllabus for the next while:

The marvelous Lisa Congdon and I are turning A Collection a Day into a book! Wow! It is going to be a beauty. Lisa will continue to post her collections through the end of the year and we will be working on the book behind the scenes so that it can be released in March 2010. To find out more about our book project and pre-order information, visit the book's web page.

But wait, there's MORE amazing news to share...

The first volume of The Suitcase Series was all about Swedish artist Camilla Engman. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Camilla (and visit her in Sweden). Many of you have inquired (and volunteered!) to be the next featured artist. Through serendipitous connections, the next artist in the series is Tif Fussell (known for her blog, dottie angel). Although she lives in Seattle, which is a little closer to my home, she hails from ol' blighty and inhabits a mossy shed where objects such as cameras and sewing machines are named Carlos and Miss Ethel. And there are chickens! I look forward to meeting Tif and her family soon as we begin work on her book. (To be released June 2011.) So very peachy!

Early next year I am also publishing Work/Life 2: the UPPERCASE directory of international illustration. A group promotional effort, the book is a source of inspiration for creatives and a compendium of talent for hire. I'm getting the list of participants ready to publish online. In the meantime, there are a few spots left if you'd like to apply to be in the book. It'll be released next February.

And, as previously announced: The Elegant Cockroach by Deidre Anne Martin and illustrated by Stefanie Augustine is set for a book launch in October!

If you are as excited by these great books as I am, we are offering an UPPERCASE Book Bundle that includes these four titles: The Elegant Cockroach, Work/Life 2, A Collection a Day and The Suitcase Series: Dottie Angel. They will be mailed to you as they are published and you save on the cover price as well as shipping. The Book Bundle orders and pre-orders will include special touches, goodies and packaging.

I am sincerely grateful and honoured to work with such creative women such as Lisa, Tif, Deidre and Stefanie and in awe of the talent in Work/Life 2. I'm so excited that it is hard not to put an exclamation point after each sentence! (oops, there's another one.)

! ! ! !

Sneak Peek: The Elegant Cockroach

The Elegant Cockroach: Love, Longing & Six Legs

Literature, fine wine and a Spanish guitar are elegant pastimes. But in the big city, passing the time simply isn't enough. The Elegant Cockroach longs for more…

Written by Deidre Anne Martin and illustrated by Stefanie Augustine, The Elegant Cockroach is a charming storybook for whimsical grown-ups and sophisticated children.

This book is a labour of love for all involved. Deidre has poured her heart into the story and has patiently waited to find the right collaborators to see it published. Deidre and I are both long-time fans of Stefanie Augustine (her work has appeared in the magazine and she has participated in past gallery exhibitions). Stefanie did a great job of creating the character design of The Elegant Cockroach and the visual representation of his life and surroundings. It was a pleasure to lend my typographic and design skills to the project and another happy moment for UPPERCASE publishing. We look forward to the launch and art exhibition in UPPERCASE gallery, dates to be announced.

We await delivery date confirmation for the book, but it will be shipping this fall. As you can see from the printer proofs shown here, we are at the final stage! 32 pages, full colour, black cloth hardcover with copper foil with full colour dustjacket. Available for preorder in the shop!