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: http://tinyurl.com/2vsr7nd

Wanderlust: a shop on wheels

I really enjoyed my visit to Portland this past summer. So many creative people in a relatively small city! There's a new creative venture in that town, and it certainly is in a small space:

Wanderlust, Portland's first traveling retail cart, is starting the holiday season off with a bang. After several 'soft-launch' events at food cart pods and outdoor markets during the Fall of 2010, their operation is up and running smoothly. Now they're ready for action-planning a grand opening party Saturday November 20th where you can expect cupcakes, a raffle, a wheel you spin for a discount on every purchase and some amazing vintage and handmade goodness all in conjunction with the Waterheater's Bazaar Bizarro flea market.

At Wanderlust shoppers can expect a nicely curated selection of vintage clothing including over 100 amazing dresses packed into their 10'x7' shop. Men's western style button-ups hang inside the newly renovated 1969 Cardinal trailer along with the cutest handmade items from local and international artists such as Mary Kate McDevitt* from Portland and Showpony out of the UK. Who knows where the future will take this little shop, there are even whispers of visiting San Francisco and Seattle in the Spring and Summer of 2011. Visit www.wanderlustmobileshop.com for the rest of their Holiday 2010 schedule and watch for Wanderlust on the streets of Portland and other areas reachable by land.

*Mary Kate McDevitt makes some pretty and fun chalkboards! Check out her Etsy shop if you're not in Portland and look for Mary Kate's pages in the forthcoming book, Work/Life 2.

Book cover reveal!

It is a busy busy time. Although the blog might be a little stagnant lately (sorry!), behind the scenes things are happening. Content for issue 8 is flowing in, and submissions for Work/Life 2 are flooding in! I am happy to reveal the cover for Work/Life 2: the UPPERCASE directory of illustration, international edition. (to be released February 2011)

The cover is llustrated by Alyssa Nassner. I really enjoyed our collaboration and admire Alyssa's work. Below is the article about Alyssa from the forthcoming book, peppered with some images from her website and etsy shop. (There are a few spots still available in Work/Life 2: read more about the project here and sign up here. Preorder the book here or as part of the book bundle.)

Alyssa Nassner is a fresh talent with a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Although new to the field, Alyssa has already landed some fine jobs: “I've been lucky enough to work on a novelty book with Chronicle Books, and I cannot wait for that project to finally be complete. I've also had the joy of working on various freelance projects with Dwell Studio. Working with them has given me a great insight into the industry of textile design among other things, and I look forward to continuing my work with them.” Alyssa provided the cover illustration for Work/Life 2. “Being asked to work on a project with UPPERCASE has also been exceptionally thrilling.”

As is the reality for most young illustrators, it is difficult to take the leap out into the world, given that the only predictable part of freelance illustration is its unpredictable path. “Right now I'm living back at home, and working from my basement. I would prefer to be out on my own, but I want to take the time to save up enough money. Although I've been extremely fortunate with work so far, at this point I don't know what I'll be doing two months from now, so it's important to me that I have enough savings to fall back on when I finally move out.”

She’s still working on finding a balance between life and work, and the scale is decidedly tipped towards work. “This has been the biggest struggle for me as a young illustrator. There are some weeks where I have no choice but to not leave home, and stay up every night meet deadlines. I know that comes with illustration territory. Recently I've been making more of an effort to get out of the house at least once a day, even if it's only for an hour or two.”

For some welcome distraction, Alyssa has been improving her sewing skills and participating in craft fairs with handmade items. “Baking is slowly becoming a hobby of mine as well to the delight of my friends, and family.”


With a carefree spirit and positive outlook, Alyssa is poised for a successful career. “I like to create work that is fun, and light. My ultimate goal is to brighten someone's day, so in turn my work is colorful, decorative, and even a little naive.” Although eager and excited for all illustration opportunities, Alyssa describes her dream job with a slightly bigger picture: “I would love to work in-house for the gift division of a company, either doing artwork, or art directing. As much as I love doing my own illustrations, I'm just as thrilled to work with other artists to complete projects, and design products.”


Thank you, Alyssa, for a fine job. We wish you much success!

Work/Life 2: be in the book!

illustration by Marc Martin

Work/Life 2: the UPPERCASE directory of international illustration, is shaping up nicely. It is over 75% full! (Click here to see a partial list of our participants so far. These are the keeners who have filled in their community profile info already. I hope to have the complete lineup online as soon as possible.)

If you'd like us to consider your work for inclusion, please fill in the submission form. Please note that this is a fee-based project of $500, but there are many great benefits:


• You will be personally interviewed about your work.

• The publication will be well-designed with high production values.

• The Work/Life iPhone app expands the reach of the project.

• You will receive a complimentary profile on UPPERCASE’s community website with links to your portfolio, blog, twitter and other social media and the ability to post news and images to directly to the UPPERCASE reader news feed. ($200 value)

• At least one participant will be commissioned (and paid) for the cover of UPPERCASE magazine.

• At least one participant will be commissioned (and paid) for spot illustrations in each issue of UPPERCASE magazine in 2011.

• One participant is guaranteed a personal portfolio evaluation with an artist representative.

• We do the work for you! We send the book to the potential client list. If there’s a specific target that you want us to include, just let us know.

• We will promote the book and our artists to the appropriate publications and websites through advertisements and editorial submissions.

• Compare our rates with the cost to do a typical mailer: Postcard printing (1000 full colour postcards, purchased mailing list, plus postage can be over $900.) (source: modernpostcard.com) Work/Life is a reference book that will be used repeatedly.

• Companion exhibition in UPPERCASE gallery with the opportunity to sell prints of your work.

*All participants will receive a free subscription to UPPERCASE magazine.


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.)

! ! ! !

Woodpigeon tonight!

Mark Hamilton, founder of the band Woodpigeon, has been generously lending his talents as a writer for many issues now. (thanks, Mark!) Woodpigeon is playing tonight at Broken City in Calgary. Their poster is illustrated by Jeff Kulak, who was part of the first edition of Work/Life in 2008. His full page illustration for Work/Life has always been one of my favourites:

I'm planning a new edition of Work/Life to be released by the end of the year. The details are being worked out and the website prepared, but if you'd like first notice of the call for participants you can sign up here.

Best in Show!

Work/Life: the UPPERCASE directory of Canadian Illustration & Photography (2008) has won Best in Show at the National Unisource Annual and Corporate Report Show (NUARs), in the category of corporate publication. A few copies of the book will be on hand at the exhibition that will travel across Canada, and the remaining copies are available for $18 in our shop. Thanks to Darren Booth for the excellent cover and to Printcrafters for the great printing.

We're planning a follow-up to Work/Life, featuring international illustration talent, to be published next year. If you're interested in finding out more about participating, you can sign up here.

Karen Klassen

Karen Klassen is a local Calgary illustrator represented by Colagene in Montreal. She does beautiful work, as you can see in this spring image project for Market Mall and the Shisomiso ad that she made for issue #1 of UPPERCASE magazine. Visit Karen's blog to see some of her process for the Market Mall project.

Karen is one of the artists that we profiled in Work/Life: the UPPERCASE directory of Canadian Illustrators & Photographers. Work/Life is a great resource for art directors as well as aspiring creatives. Through interviews, studio images, sketchbook pages and personal mementos, you really get to know the artists. Click the image below to see it larger and to read the article.

Work/Life anniversary

I'm giving away complimentary copies of Work/Life to the next 10 subscribers. It was one year ago that I was signing off on the book proofs in a hotel room in NYC, on my way to the National Stationery Show. I'm really proud of this book and it was a turning point for UPPERCASE: the experience of curating, writing, designing and publishing Work/Life confirmed my love for making books and I dove headfirst into more projects. Can you believe that since June 2008, we've released Work/Life, Old School, Jen11 and the first issue of UPPERCASE magazine? Holy cow! Good thing I just took a 3-week vacation.

About Work/Life:

"Being a professional illustrator or photographer is a full-time job that goes beyond the mainstream nine-to-five: tough deadlines mean working through the night and photo shoots might whisk you away to unexpected places. Flashes of inspiration can happen anytime, so your sketchbook is an indispensable appendage. You might spend innumerable hours secluded in your studio, or perhaps you’re a regular at the local coffeeshop. Chances are, your work and your life are one and the same and you wouldn’t have it any other way."

Work/Life is a book celebrating Canadian illustration and photography. Unlike magazine awards annuals or traditional illustration directories that are little more than picture books, our publication delves into what fuels a creative life. Participants were interviewed about their creative focus and artistic technique as well as their inspirations and aspirations. Sketchbook pages, studio shots, inspirational objects and personal photography allow us to peek into their work and their lives.

Overflowing with love: Magma!

Magma is a trio of design bookshops on London's Clerkenwell Road, Covent Garden and an outlet in Manchester. They have an extensive library of books in their online shop; their selection is top notch. Four years ago, when I was conceptualizing UPPERCASE, I would look at pictures of Magma as inspiration for my own bookstore and design space. They are inspiring not only in shop design, but their philosophy of bookselling is also admirable.

The Magma approach to shopkeeping is to create and nurture an interactive community: "We think that there is something extremely rich and dynamic in the notion that people, all kinds of people, from all kinds of backgrounds, are walking through our doors on a daily basis, looking for something, not always sure as to what they are looking for. More often than not, these people are more knowledgeable with regards to their areas of interest than we are, or could ever hope to be. And this keeps us going. A shop feeds on feedback. It thrives on people's responses, on their enthusiasm and their frustration, on their ideas of what is good or bad, on what they buy and what they don't buy. A shop is unthinkable without that highly stimulating flow, individuals walking in with their ideas, with their more or less intense curiosity, their various personal concerns, their quirks, their calm or manic energy, their unique point of view."

Deidre and I are thrilled that Magma will be carrying UPPERCASE's publishing efforts. Old School, Work/Life, The Shatner Show as well as a selection of Eclectonotes have crossed the pond, arriving just in time for the final days of Christmas-shopping frenzy.

To have our books recognized by Magma is the best Christmas gift we could receive as an independent publisher. Thank you, Magma.

{images from 1. 2. 3. 4. }

Congratulations to our artists

I would like to congratulate all the artists we know and adore who have been accepted into the Society of Illustrators' 2009 annual. Their work will be part of the 51st Annual Exhibition Book and Editorial show in New York from January 28th to February 28th.

Work/Life contributors Luc Melanson (his piece from Work/Life was selected), Byron Eggenschwhiler (this is his winning piece, above), Douglas Fraser, Renata Liwska (her piece from Old School was selected), Jody Hewgill, Jillian Tamaki and Sam Weber are all being recognized.

Some of The Shatner Show illustrators are also featured in the annual: Marc Burckhardt, Marcos Chin, Eddie Guy, Paul Hoppe, Ronald Kurniawan, Jesse Lefkowitz, and Zina Saunders. Past exhibitors The Heads of State, Ryan Heshka and Christopher Silas Neal are also in! I am incredibly proud of the caliber of talent that has shown here in the gallery. Keep up the greatness everybody!

Communication Arts Illustration Annual

I would like to congratulate the many illustrators in the current Communication Arts Illustration Annual whose work has graced the walls of UPPERCASE and contributed to our book projects, The Shatner Show and Work/Life.

Jody Hewgill
Karen Klassen (wow! a full spread - and well deserved)
Christopher Silas Neal
Genevieve Simms
Justin Gabbard
Nick Dewar
Marcos Chin
Doug Fraser
Jesse Lefkowitz
Jillian Tamaki
Sam Weber
Erik Sandberg
Mark Burckhardt
Paul Hoppe
Zina Saunders

Work/Life update

All of the promotional copies have been mailed to our participants' dream clients as well as a list of the top publishers, designers and advertising agencies across North America. Work/Life is being well-received and many people have emailed in to thank us for sending them a copy. One of our participants has been hired by Chronicle Books, thanks to the project. 

I have sent the book to all the main design/illustration magazines, so hopefully they will decide to mention Work/Life. Communication Arts online will be featuring it in early August in their Exhibit category. The online preview is on fire: it has surpassed 16,000 views! The book will be for sale at the upcoming ICON illustration conference in New York.

At the end of June, the book's cover price will return to its regular price ($24.95) so I encourage you to purchase your copy now while it is just $20! (Participants - if you'd like additional copies, just let me know)