Beth Gismondi

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First Blogiversary!


(Photo via 1828)

It is hard to believe, but one year ago today, I started this blog. Thank you for reading my ramblings, for looking at my artwork, for commenting on or asking me about my blog, and for encouraging me to continue. It feels like a big accomplishment to have kept this thing going for one whole year!

This blog has definitely evolved since I started it last February. At that time, I was planning to write about children’s book illustration, my personal artistic process, and the work of other illustrators who inspire me. Although those things were and still are most important to me, I have discovered that it is really hard to restrict myself to justthose three topics. I am interested in so many other things, too, like (other types of) art, design, writing, and pop culture. And so, over time, I’ve allowed those interests to creep in to my posts, and this blog has grown to become a reflection of me!

Here’s to another year of blogging!

Filed under blogiversary


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Millionaire Muralist

I read something pretty cool yesterday: last Wednesday’s Facebook IPO made muralist David Choe a multimillionaire. Reports are estimating that Choe is now sitting on cool $200 million in stock.

So how did Facebook’s IPO turn a muralist into a millionaire? Well, back in 2005, then-Facebook president Sean Parker hired Choe to paint the walls of Facebook’s office. Parker gave Choe the choice of $60,000 cash or the equivalent in Facebook stock options as payment. Although Choe reportedly thought Facebook “a joke,” he did believe in Parker and decided to take a risk. In other words, he chose the stock options. Little did Choe know that Facebook would be worth an estimated $5 billion today. Over the years, it is likely that Choe sold off some of his shares. Hopefully, he held on to enough of them to cash them in for some serious money later this year.

Meanwhile, Choe’s murals are still on display in Facebook’s new offices (the company brought them when they upgraded to a new location). According to the New York Times, the estimated $200 million value of those murals rivals the “record-breaking” amount Sotheby’s brought in for a group of Damien Hirst paintings back in 2008.

The moral of this story is: if you are going to work for free (which Choe was essentially doing for Facebook back in 2005), make sure you are getting some equity in the company in lieu of payment. You never know!

Also, having Sean Parker on board doesn’t hurt. Just saying.

Filed under Facebook muralist David Choe artist


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RISD XYZ Featuring Selznik, Wiesner, and Krosoczka

I graduated from Rhode Island School of Design’s Continuing Education (RISD CE) Children’s Book Certificate program a few years ago (a fantastic experience that I really need to post about at some point). One of the best perks of being an alumna of the program is that I now receive RISD’s alumni magazine, RISD XYZ. Truly, every issue is a fantastic read!

Anyway, RISD has produced a lot of reallllllly famous children’s book illustrators and tends to feature them in RISD XYZ (one of the things I love most about the magazine). This month’s issue features a great article about Brian Selznik (2008 Caldecott Medal winner), David Wiesner (1992, 2001, and 2007 Caldecott Medal winner; 1989 and 2000 Caldecott Honor winner), and Jarrett Krosoczka (future Caldecott winner, author/illustrator of the Punk Farm books and the soon-to-be-made-into-major-motion-picture-starring-Amy-Poehler Lunch Lady series). Wiesner has long been one of my illustration heroes, and Selznik and Krosoczka are quickly becoming two of my newer favorites. I really enjoyed this article because it focuses on how each illustrator got his start, how each ended up at RISD, and what impact art school made on each illustrator’s career.

I was very sad not to be able to share this perfectly-themed article on my blog, and then lo and behold!—Krosoczka linked to a web version of it on his blog. I am happy to report that a mere click on the image below will bring you straight to the article and back issues of RISD XYZ:


"Drawing Inspiration" by Francie Latour (RISD XYZ Fall 2011, via Issuu and JJK Blog).

Filed under RISD RISD CE RISD XYZ Jarrett Krosoczka Brian Selznick David Wiesner children's book illustrator children's book author caldecott


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Colbert Interviews Sendak, Hilarity Ensues

The Colbert Report aired a two-part interview with children’s book author, illustrator, and lovable curmudgeon Maurice Sendak last week. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the full interview below:


"Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak, Part 1" (via Colbert Nation)


"Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak, Part 2" (via Colbert Nation)

Amazing! That man is a national treasure.

Filed under Stephen Colbert Colbert Report Maurice Sendak children's book illustrator children's book author children's books