A Tour of an Art Director’s Desk

art director desk

By Trade Art Director Danielle Carnito

It’s a glamorous life we lead in children’s book publishing. Here’s a visual of daily life in publishing, with notes.

art director's desk

28 things found on my desk

1: Bacon vs. Tofu action figures, of course. Pristine in unopened box for selling years later for millions.

2: Books. Mostly ours for reference as I review new books in progress, but with some other publisher’s books mixed in for the same reason. Lately, I’ve been looking more at different types of bindings.

3: A variety of magnets and pins. These include fish, cats, a Make the Logo Smaller magnet, button swag from a recent new title book promo, a GO EMILY! button for supporting senior designer Emily as she ran a marathon (A MARATHON), and a Chris Hemsworth as office assistant in Ghostbusters button, of course.

4: Schedules. Always schedules.

5: Trimmed cover press sheets from recent projects that I still love looking at. In this case, Sachiko and Dazzle Ships.

6: Inches to decimals conversion list. ALWAYS HELPFUL. This particular list I got from my first job out of school in advertising. It’s lasted a while. Good thing inches to decimal conversions don’t change.

7: Yes, that’s an old corded mouse. And I like it.

8: Computer. Shocking, I know. And on computer always is email. For reading a responding to all of the emails. Behind that, review color options for a new book jacket designed by fab designer Lindsey. Here’s your sneak peek at a Spring 18 Carolrhoda Lab novel, being released in about 6 months!

9: More of our recent books, kept close for easy reference. Also, new ARCs!

10: Let’s just nevermind this. No one needs to see a baby with pancakes for head.

11: Picture of #teamhotmess, the office running group, before an insanely hot 5K last year.

12: Cat picture, of course.

13: Art samples

14: Dummy put together by Sue, one of our premedia experts, of a gatefold for an upcoming picture book about dinosaur fossils. Dummys: fun to play with, and also extremely helpful to know that you have all the pages in the right places for the printer.

15, 16, 19: More art samples to look through

17: 10-mile race training plan, to remind me I DO need to go be active after leaving work for the day.

18: All of the manuscripts and more schedules and to-do lists and notes and in-progress process docs and contracts in negotiation and meeting agendas and important papers otherwise…also probably an art sample or two. Glamorous life of an art director, yes?

20: Library books. Checked out for the purpose of looking at art styles. Very likely overdue.

21: Coffee and water carrying vessels. One from our public radio station, and one typographic.

22, 23, 24: Oh look, more books!

25: And more art samples!

26: Who can’t make it through the day without various types of stickies…

27: Lovely coaster gift from a lovely author, Amber J. Keyser, after finishing her book Pointe, Claw. This really does make your day, when an author is so appreciative of the work you put in to make their books come to life that they send thank you gifts. (But do note this gift is a coaster, and all of my liquid carrying vessels are specifically not on the coaster. Why use a thing for what it is intended for, really.)

28: Oh, yeah, another list, this one of artist’s names that I need to find art samples for.

And, bonus points if you find the piece of T-Rex fossil somewhere on my desk!

The glamorous life

There is more desk to the right, but, by not showing you that I’ve basically spared you of more art samples. And the phone. You might be seeing a theme about now, that there is a lot of art involved in my job. And really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So while we seem to be buried in paper and emails, this certainly can be a glamorous life for those who love it.

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