Starting some sketches.

I got a crazy project. Kee RAY Zee…


The way it worked was I got an email from a man who I never had met—for a project I never ever would have thought would cross the transom of my office. But it did. And, I have rearranged my life to do the work. I negotiated a pretty impressive contract (in another language), figured out how to get paid, processes and tools to use to make the project flow be smoother….It is a bit stunning. I still have hair on my head, and can hold a pencil despite the backdraft…but truly it has given me life and a little more spirit than I have had in at least 4 years.

I cannot tell you about the work, but maybe a few snapshots from the sketches will humor you. Things to know are…1. be an expert or known for a subject matter and tag the crap out of the illustrations. 2. own that topic…so that when the topic is searched…your name and images come forth. Truly. That is how this client found me. And the nutty thing is, that it works that I am both a designer and an illustrator for this work—- the discipline and knowledge of how to be “in brand” is lapping over into the illustration work. The client has a very specific palette—very definitive signature elements that they love seeing it surface in the illustrations. That plug and play approach that branding has instilled in my thinking really makes that so easy—and fluid. And for that, I am grateful.

Spring is here. Mitchy is here (and you havent met him)—and life is continuing in a sweeter way. For that, I am thankful and so glad. I am back from a deep dark hole….and so pleased to be back.

New tools: Behance's Prosite

I just wanted to mention this new opportunity for those of you that are code impaired but want to get as much of your work “out there” in an easy to use, networked, product. As you know, I use Squarespace for this blog which suits my needs well. No need to know code. Easy to use. Back up systems. Nice gallery features etc.

I have been placing my work in other visual networking areas with my favorite being Behance. Behance’s Gallery organizes your project work in a simple to use, plain field to showcase the art and not someone else’s graphic design. Now Behance has taken it a step further by offering their Prosite which repurposes these portfolio and links these projects to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, along with offering buttons for iPhone and a “favicon” for the URL at the top. For $99. a year, it is easy to use and has great reach with relatively low input. Take a look. I plan on a more graceful header when I have time. However, the simple template is not obnoxious. Take a look>>


My portait of Margaret Drabble in The New Yorker this week!

Portrait of Margaret Drabble for The New Yorker, Q. Cassetti, 2011I have been quiet on this…and now I can tell you! I got a note a few Fridays ago, asking me to do a portrait for an article by Joyce Carol Oates (!!). They included reference and the portrait I had done of Kitty and that is where we started. I submitted sketches by Monday and then finished work was due Thursday (all within the same week).

Delighted! Selected for American Illustration 30

Selected: American Illustration 30, Q. CassettiThis is a bigger deal than I had thought. This is what American Illustration 30 says about the competition:

Congratulations! Your work has been Selected to appear in the American Illustration 30 annual. On behalf of the entire jury, we thank you for your submission and support of American Illustration.
This year’s distinguished jury included Nicholas Blechman, The New York Times Book Review; Rachael Cole, Schwartz & Wade Books; Michael Ian Kaye, Mother New York; Todd Oldham, Todd Oldham Studio; D.W. Pine III, TIME; David Saylor, Scholastic Inc. and Dean Sebring, Worth.
From more than 7,000 pictures entered by over 1,100 illustrators, magazines, agencies, publishers and schools, the jury selected, by a majority vote or better, only 316 images to appear in the book and represent the best pictures from 2010. AI30 will be printed in full color and distributed worldwide in hardcover immediately after The Party, November 10, 2011 - our annual book launch event that brings the creative community together to celebrate the winners.

Delighted to say the least! and love the selection. You just never know!

News: 3x3 Magazine on the Newstands later this month

Cover: 3x3, Issue 16, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink, digitalCharles Hively captures this on his 3x3, The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration magazine:

“We’re happy to announce that the next issue of 3x3 has gone to the printer’s—a tad bit late as usual but I think you’re in for a tasty surprise.

We’re marking a milestone as we begin Volume 6 of 3x3 and to celebrate that occasion we selected three stellar female artists with di-verse backgrounds and cultures.

Q. Cassetti has spent the better part of her life as a graphic designer but chose to move into the world of illustration, first exploring that prospect at Syracuse University, and then on to a master’s degree at the University of Hartford. Her design and illustration clients include Steuben Glass, the Corning Museum, Tiffany & Co., Estée Lauder, T. Rowe Price and FreeRein Wines. Her work has been honored by Communication Arts, Illustration West, American Illustration, 3x3 Magazine and the Society of Illustrators. Thanks to Ursula Roma for her insightful article.

for more>>

I also want to take a moment to thank Ursula Roma, fellow Hartford Art School student in writing a wonderful article and Jason Koski, friend, photographer, musician and fellow Tburger for his magical photographs. Keep your eyes out for this publication!


Flippity Flop 2, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink on moleskineLooks like Spring is peeking out. The sun is shining and bouncing off the snow. Shady is passed out on the floor. Mei Mei is sitting on my windowsill surveying the scene outside. Mr. White continues to be quiet and in hiding. I hope he mellows out. He still keeps picking fights with Mr. Grumpy…and now that he only has one operative eye, its is a lost cause.I wish he would figure that out.

Got my printing back from The brochures were a tad hot (colorwise) but not bad, and for $78. it is better than anything that Kinkos can do. Business cards were the same. However, quick turn around….and prices that are good. Plus, guess where my boxes shipped from? Rochester! So nearby and neighborly. Right? Minimum quantities are 500…but for a cheap mailing?

Need to get the ad for Illustration Directory done as well as the magazine cover I have on the horizon. Gotta finalize the Hangar stuff (they are running behind) along with a few other projects. Looks like a pretty open day….can get a mess done.

I had my hair changed yesterday. I have been evolving to grey. My wonderful Demetra decided I needed to do it boldly, so she created some bold platinum stripes in the grey…and its kind of Cruella Deville but white…cool. Demetra mentioned that the hipsters are coming into the salon to get their hair dyed grey! So…its not so bad segue-ing into that aging thing.

Neck Cat

After Ganga Devi, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpies, pitt pen and moleskineBoys are doing a round trip to NYC today to get a family member to a medical specialist for an annual. Just called, and things are good. Thank goodness. They have blue skies and melting snow versus rain and sleet and snow. Shady is laid out in sunshine on the green floor. Mr. White, my new patient, is receptive to his treatment (eyedrops) and cookies that go with his good behavior. The vet tech said that they identify cats just their color and markings. Mr. White fits into a category as a “neck cat”. Neck cats climb up you, and will sit on your shoulders and around your neck like a fashion accessory. And believe it or not, Mr. White was doing that yesterday for comfort. Made wearing a thick wool jacket (like I am) a wonderful foil for the claws—creating a positive velcro environment for the big guy. Now, like a baby, he climbs up and sits on my shoulder after he gets his eyedrops looking for a little sympathy. He is a squinty pirate, and I guess I am the new pirate ship for his captaincy. I am not a big fan of cats, but Mr. White is alright. We have a week of eyedrops and then another trip to the vet for a confirmation.

I have been at the office since a quarter to 7 a.m. Getting a bunch of things done. Uploaded a brochure and two big sized business cards to Bargain Basement Printing with the cards being (500 pcs. for $14) and the brochure equally inexpensive. So, in a week or so, we will be able to kvell or cry about the quality/price. I hope I am going to be delighted. There isn’t much flexibility around this printer (thus the price), and the file requirements are touchy, but I made it work after a while, and am heartened.

A person I met at The Museum Institute at Sagamore contacted me to see if we could repurpose my valentine for a wedding “Save the date” card. I am flattered, and we have Joe Sepi at Pioneer rolling on the reconfigured redo. What a nice idea!

Next stop, cheap stickers!

Got a poster done for the HS play (on the edge time), got some memos done, paperwork filled out and done, and started some trial-ing the specs….and surfacing more stuff. That hurts. But, if we do not check the work, we will be working and justifying and trying to figure out the specs after the fact. It hurts to have to bounce the stuff back…but better now than later. We still have time to make it work.

Need to go.


vernal snowy day

Inspired by Ganga Devi, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpies and moleskine40 degrees and melting. Mild. Feels like Spring. The birds think its coming. Shady doesnt care as the top surface of the snow is icy and hard…her favorite for the wiggle dance she does in the snow spa jiggling and twitching, licking the snow and snapping up little crunchy cold bits. There will be ice chopping after lunch today to get the big chunks under the eaves broken up to melt (with a little salt to help).

Baked up a mess of granola last night. The sight of an empty granola cannister is enough to bring me to tears as this is the “go to” for the boys for late night, after school etc. No granola is another sign of my crummy mother and wifedom. We are back in business today, thank goodness. We whip through oatmeal like nobody’s business. I am always surprised by the sheer volume of this stuff and how it goes.

Things are setting down to ramp up at work…with new learning and quizzing about image bank services our client has, and how to tag, set up folders and the like. We are going to run at this…the kind of project management which is one step at a time. I can still breathe, but it feels like we could have some “moments” between now and the end of March.

Had a nice chat with two of the NYFood partners, Dan and Dean. They are so fabulous. I love this alternative, localvore, meet the farmer life….it really connects so much for me. I am always inspired by their concerns, interests, and work. To hear them talk about the farms, the earth, their families, their animals—it is a poem of love and of live. Each one has a different poem, but the tone and messages are always the same. It is a rich thing.

Great news. Did I mention that Charles Hively is putting me in his next 3x3 with an article, pictures, and of course illustrations. Ursula Roma wrote an amazing piece with Jason Koski doing the photography. I am filling in details with the photos…and am finalizing now. Charles asked if I would do the cover! So, wow. Am a bit stunned by that….now the question is what! I got a sneak peek of the Computer Arts article (UK magazine) on folk art and several illustrators who work in this mode. Tremendous!

Has anyone out there used TAXI? Looks good. However, the recent new folks I am working with came from a  search of the illustrator /designer, Alexander Girard.  Remember my phase last summer with Christmas angels, doves and the like? That was the work that the wonderful googlebot found, ranked and hooked me up with this good design firm in NYC.

The other is just a recommend. So, what help are all these random portfolio sites? How many do I need to have, to update etc? Behance has been great for waving the flag to say to the world, hey, I am here….but do I need more than the Directory of Illustration, Behance, my own sites, Society of Illustrators LA? Any ideas, insights?

New codes

Dumbfounded by Madhubari, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpieColder than cold. The car themometer read -6 this morning as we rolled out of the drive- way to take Alex to school and make the big purchase of catfood and rice. Freezing the inside of my nose and drying out my hands and face. So, its a good day to stay inside and stay warm.

Yesterday was cleaning up, cooking (lasagne construction for Alex) and attending the Democratic Caucus at the Village Hall. Rob was voted in to be the year long candidate for Village Trustee (representing the Democrats). And I was, out of the blue, voted in to be the secretary of the caucus (complete with a swearing in and a job to do). I didn’t know what they wanted re notes…so I just did “it” and was not happy to be off my game! But it was a small group of mainly friends…so…

Then there was fun with football. Rob and I watch football with Alex and actually like it. Alex makes it fun.

Some things surfaced yesterday I want to share with you. Do you know about QR codes? QR codes are like UPC codes that relate to content on the web (also called mobile tagging). One can take a picture of it with a smart phone (with the right application) and it will take you to something on the web. There was a very clever application of it at Christmas (wrapping paper with 15 different QR codes that took you to 15 cute little animations having to do with the holidays). Q loves QR codes….and found out where to make the codes online and am going to start using them in my work…links for my clients, an application on my my QCards…etc. Wikipedia talks about the QR code this way:

IPhone has a free reader application that seems to be working for me (QR Reader for IPhone) . Kaywa has a nice online code generator (simple as pie). I think that the QR Code is a great way to send your clients or prospectives the rich content we make as designers and illustrators. It gives us a chance to make it easy..a click, and a memorable click for us to share visuals simply….address free.

Today its posters, logos, postcards, programs,..big week.

Gotta go turn up the heat.  Shady and I am shivering.


Five out of six entries that got into Illustration West 49, Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles, by Q. CassettiMonkey, Q. Cassetti, 2010I was cruising Facebook to find out all sorts of people found out about Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles and what they got into their Illustration West 49 Show. I was combing my email looking for my note and kind of threw my hands up and figured I didn’t get in. But, I tried again late yesterday afternoon, to find out, yes, I did get it….and yes, I got quite a few pieces in! So, here is a posting of those images that got in. Now is the question of money and time…and whether it is worth spending a ton of money to get work framed and out to LA for a week’s show in Gallery Nucleus. Will need to weigh my options.

More talk later today. 

Advent Calendar Day 21: electronic backslaps

Lion Nutcracker, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies and pentel pocket brush pen, Holiday countdown. Rob is in a removeable cast for a broken toe and pretty nasty sprain. Alex is anxious to be done with school. Kitty is in the college student veg out process. I think she may be doing some work for me today.

The Behance exposure continues today. My web traffic has boosted and this line art is really getting some traction. I am surprised, but for all those things that I have stored in the back of my conceptual closet, when I dust them off and roll them in front of this new receptive audience, I am surprised that they are not “bad” and that people actually like them. The Russians are sending me lots of electronic backslaps for the matryoshka dolls that I am having some fun with. I am also interested in the frames incorporated into some of these drawings and plan to develop that idea…maybe even tinting them back or reversing them out and then tinting them back as options. The idea of the “Radiant Baby” is also very appealing and have a new one in the sketchbook as the glowing Christ Child, his mystery, his potential, his almost Eastern quality intrigues.

Need to get going on a bunch of design work. There will be some pick up and deliveries in the next few days along with the peanutbutter dog biscuits (tonight?) that could be fun. Will catch up later, I hope.

Just in: Society of Illustrators NY (Illustration 53)

Nutcrackers, from Advent Calendar, Q. Cassetti, Dec. 2009, pen and inkMonkey, Q. Cassetti, Anelle Miller, Director of the Society of Illustrators, NY just called to tell me that these pieces were accepted into Illustration 53. I am delighted as there is the classic Q. illustration (vector) along with another image from my advent calendar series from last December….(a handdrawn special!). I am so honored, delighted and blessed.

Saturday notes

Hand Eye Coordination from The Sketchbook Project 2010, Q. Cassetti, 2010There is this wonderful subsite on the website called My Moleskine where you can post what you have done with your moleskine, post images to a gallery, post videos of you and your moleskine, post “hacks” of moleskines (which are moleskine modifications of the physical form). Additionally, they have cool templates (MSK) : “MSK is a printable format for Moleskine that allows to transfer digital content like contacts, events or original associations of images and text on the blank pages of your Moleskine notebook”. They have a template to dump your calendar into, your addressbook into, and or your own content to add a more designed, focused way to show your content. I posted a bunch of my recent moleskine pix (which you all are getting bits of). There is a good link to twitter, deli.cious, stumbl, and facebook,  So, its another place to post images and get it out to the world. It also runs RSS stream of my blog too…Here it is>>You never know when something will pop up. Right?

We had dinner at the Pourhouse last night. Lots of loud music/ Rockabilly which was high energy. It was a long working day with three holiday cards done and finished (to the printer) and a long chat with Joe Sepi @ Pioneer Printing about lead type, foil stamping, letterpress, die cutting. He is so in love with printing operation and the sheer fun of running the press, the manufacturing of printed things and keeping those presses and stampers running. We talked fonts and type. We talked about recycled paper and soy based inks. We talked about clients and about end clients. It was great talking with someone who really enjoys this world of making things with paper. I think the idea of the birth certificates and other designs I want to sell…is an opportunity. I say this cause its fun, but also, I am seeing the Christmas Wish cards are selling like hotcakes these days. We sold 5 packs or so in the past three days (even to Europe). So a black lab card (big dog seller) and a birth certificate (not a common thing as a gift) could be great. Even maybe a geneology chart design too? Or a bubble diagram format that people can fill in for entertainment?

Tonight is the XC end of season dinner. I have a big Grange style pile of chicken and biscuits ready to roll. I just pulled 3 loaves of pumpkin bread out of the oven to take over too. These guys know how to eat and I am sure we will bring home a few empty pans. There has been music at the Rongo since Wednesday that is great…so Bruce and maybe Rob will put in an appearance. I am enjoying quiet nights with the sharpies.

Kitty has posted a new handdrawn animation segment>> Please note that she filmed it backwards, thus the voiceover etc. The purpose of this segment is to illustrate a few lines of a poem that her class is animating together. Her professor will be putting them all together so the poem flows with each student’s hand drawn work being a part. Kitty learned a lot relative to timing, how the drawings work, and the beauty to making things longer and shorter time in the editing process. I love the critters, and how they flow from creases and slits in the paper, how gentle and kind they are and the funny little twirly details she has going on the edges. I am biased, I know, but I am charmed. Why not? Right? She is my daughter! From my chat with her, she is getting it entirely. She is very happy and focused on her work while a bit disconcerted about what her div 2 paper will be. Frankly, given the growth we have seen in the past year (and she agrees), it will all be different next year. She needs to explore and see what is out there. It should be an interesting time at Thanksgiving.

Alex is winding down a bit. He went for a run this morning all bundled up with his five finger shoes on in the cold and wet. We had a bit of visible snow this morning, so the concept of running in almost bare feet was not my idea of fun, but stoic Alex manned up and went out for more than an hour of running and breathing. He is amazing and disciplined. The cats are all in furry piles all over the living room. It is delightful to have a quiet day to do quiet day things. I am going to let my brain stretch out and see what happens. The cooking is done and we have a deadline at 6. So, a little unwind time would be remarkable.

USA Cassetti

Poster for Bunch show featuring the Star of Bethnal Green Star artworkWell. Its the kick off to a beautiful weekend. Changes in the household. Mandy and Sonata coming back for the summer. Bruce on board. Alex listening to live music on the commons and swimming in the creek with his friends. Kitty and I bopping about shopping and looking and laughing.We took in the grocery store, Countryside Produce in Interlaken and Funky Finds in Tburg. Funky Finds is our new and curated second hand store owned and curated by Jill who we met a few years back while she was waitressing at Simply Red. She has a real handle on what people like so racks of pearly snap shirts, cowboy boots, used jeans, cute sundresses, and other household things are there in good order. I got a pair of very snappy boots the other day. Kitty bought rainbow suspenders. Today it was a snap shirt for Alex, a vase, an odd 70s type apothocary jar, and a vase ($1.50 that I bought to give to someone with flowers in it).

Rob and Bruce took in GlassFest in  Corning last night with music and lights and neon installations in the Park which Rob related were spectacular. They got home late and then inspired, winged it over to the Rongo to hear Warren Bunn's band, Thudknuckle play.  So it was very social for many yesterday and today. I was totally beat from the week ( a trip to Sauders early yesterday morning combined with the "oops we forgot it was June next week--need to get this work done" thing that happens always before a holiday. It was blood pouring out of my ears with the sheer volume of stuff that needed to get done. So sleep was the greatest gift I could be given.

I was talking to Peter Flynn the other day about the actors, technical people, directors, shop people ... everyone who comes to Ithaca for a month or so during the summer. They get a place to stay, but frankly, its pretty cold soup as there is nothing that says "hey...this is fun". Given the Ithaca Journal has really stopped any arts/culture reporting ...and the radio is more Public Radio stuff...(the ladies at the booksale and not the hipster)...That I said off the cuff to Peter, that I would get a list...not promising much, more more would be better than nothing. I mean, how can they learn about the farmers markets, the great restaurants, the fabulous used culture, fashion and dancing, the gathering places of our town? So, bright and fresh this morning, I thought that maybe I could use my network to write this thing and posted a note on my Facebook page:

Today is the beginning of a little questionnaire I am conducting on behalf of my friends at the Hangar Theatre. To set the stage:

We have all sorts of artists, designers, actors, technicians and creative folks coming soon to bring us the Summer Season at the Hangar.

I would like to construct an insiders guide to the Summer in Ithaca (which we all know is pretty fabulous) from shopping to things to do, from localvore groceries to high end dining, from dancing under the moonlight to cool morning dips in the lake. These artists are bringing us such happiness in their performances, I ...figured lets give them local happiness in their spare time.

I would like to construct an insiders guide to the Summer in Ithaca (which we all know is pretty fabulous) from shopping to things to do, from localvore groceries to high end dining, from dancing under the moonlight to cool morning dips in the lake. These artists are bringing us such happiness in their performances, I ...figured lets give them local happiness in their spare time.

So each day of this week, I am going to ask a question and would love it if you could give me five places (if there are five) and a simple one liner or even phrase that sums up why you recommend this. I will post all of this stuff to a Insiders Guide to Summer in Ithaca its there for all of us too!
Here is the first question. Remember: up to five entries with short descriptors):
I love buying groceries, food, wine, things to eat at these places.

And then I decided I would merge it all on a Facebook standalone Page " An Insiders Guide to Summer in Ithaca" Please Join us... I find it all very exciting in a way dumb way. Someone has already complained about the format without putting any comments or entries...but IWe  will morph this thing into a web page so its more soon as I can do it.

We are lakeside. The day is cool and glorious. My yellow tree peony has 8 fat buds with one having burst! Time to straighten up a bit. The weekend unfolds