Wednesday, July 7, 2010

my other {other} life

in my other {other} life, that is . . . besides being a wife, mommy, and co-owner / creative director of life verse design, i am a book designer. for the past 13 years, i have designed books for tyndale house publishers (and a couple for zonderkidz and willow creek association).

i had my first interview at tyndale the day before i married my wonderful hubby almost 13 years ago now. (actually, i had applied to tyndale before that, but was rejected based on my portfolio!)

i worked in-house for 7 years, then after i became prego w/number 2, i quit to be stay at home full time, but literally the week after i quit, my boss called with a freelance project and ever since then i have at least one book on my plate.

i cannot tell you what a blessing tyndale has been to me and my family. they are an incredible company, built on the strong leadership and noble character of dr. kenneth taylor (i still remember feeling like a little girl, meeting with him in his office, discussing book design as i sat on this over sized leather couch with my feet dangling down!)

in any case, this bookshelf represents my life's work (well, some of it). it is jam packed 2 rows deep of books i have designed over the last years of my life. books that have changed lives, touched people's hearts, and brought laughter and tears.

i was honored to be a part of the left behind series, as i got to follow after my wonderful art director to finish out the design she had so strongly set. (i designed books 4-12). they are now being repackaged and i got a sneak peek... they look AWESOME!

i have loved using my illustration background and combining it with the more technical skills of design. (i went to school to get a BFA in illustration, always knowing i wanted to illustrate children's books.)

the design team at tyndale is so strong. i am honored to still be a part of them.

here are a few of my favorite designs
(though there are many more & each book has a special story):
the Jesus Storybook Bible
written by sally lloyd-jones
illustrated by jago

ok, this is not a tyndale book, but i got the job through an agent whom i worked w/at tyndale.

as i mentioned before, i LOVE children's picture books, so i jumped at the chance of designing this one (even though sunshine girl was a mere 12 weeks old when i got the job). to work with an artist as great as jago was a thrill. he took my concepts & thumbnails & brought them to life through color, texture, and style that i only dreamt of.

this bible is a MUST HAVE. it has won many awards and more than that, it will bless you and your children.

seriously, no matter your age it will touch your heart. the way sally conveys God's great love for us is remarkable.
go get it now :)

the growing reader phonics bible
written by joy mackenzie
illustrated by jill newton

the growing reader phonics bible has a special place in my heart because:
a. the writing is so creative. i am seriously amazed at this book
b. i LOVE the art: the texture, the color, the whimsicalness! jill is great & has many other picture books (as does jago!)
c. it was the first picture book i ever did . . . yes, tyndale gave me a 200+ page bible to be my first picture book . . . ahhh!

it was a joy every step of the way and i was just on the tyndale website and learned it is out of print. boo-hoo i say! if you can find it, get your hands on this one too!

the lineage of grace
written by francine rivers
illustrated by vivienne flesher

this series design was a huge risk for tyndale, as it is (obviously) so contemporary and abstract for christian historical fiction. i LOVE vivienne's art and actually had tried proposing her for many other books i had designed, which were never chosen, so to get to work with her (finally) was a dream come true. (sidenote: i actually have 2 originals of hers in my home . . . yippeee! maybe i will show those later).

in any case, they went and now tyndale has repackaged the series in one compilation book and totally redesigned the look to be more of francine's "style" (the traditional historic fiction genre) & i must say, the cover is gorgeous and does better fit francine's look.

i LOVED working on these books and i actually read them. (they are some of the few books i have actually read that i designed!) francine is a beautiful writer and i love how she brought in so much of the jewish culture that you may not have known to make these stories come to life in such a powerful way.

another must have!

bringing up boys & bringing up girls
written by dr. james dobson

these books were fun because the photoshoots were SO fun. we actually put peanut butter on the boy's cheek so that the dog would lick him, and for the girl's shoot we did a million great shots, both indoors and outdoors at a horse farm (it was impossible to narrow down the images!)

for these covers, i probably showed at least 100 comps combined btwn the two. literally. wow.

but, it was worth it, and dobson recently wrote to the tyndale team to say that bringing up girls is his favorite cover ever for one of his own books. yippeee! thank you.

ok, i should have been in bed an hour ago.

i am obviously very passionate about my work & love my book design & could talk about each one. (but that would be another blog :)

last but not least, shaped by God
written by max lucado
most of the photos are by michael hudson

this book is special to me because it was my first full color book i ever did (well before art directing a children's illustrator to create paintings). max's words are so strong and inspirational. i would recommend any & all of his books.

michael's photography is just another story. ahhh is all i can say. he's got the eye, the technique, and his work is exquisite. i loved being able to work with him and by observing him shoot, i learned a lot for my new venture of life verse.

well, really, i did not plan to write my own book here, but i did. i will hit the hay. hope you've enjoyed getting to know a bit more of my other life.

grace & peace,


holly christine said...

julie- i am SERIOUSLY impressed! what a cool job:) i am an avid reader and a huge fan of francine rivers. thanks for sharing this:)

Meinhild Selbach said...

Thanks for sharing Julie. I am working at the publisher that published the Jesus Storybook Bible in French. I just started a fan-page on Facebook the other day and will soon write something about your part of the project. Great books you have worked on.
Greetings from France.
Meinhild Selbach - secretary at
Editions Clé (publisher)