Dream Job: Book Cover Illustrator
Illustrator and designer
Sometimes it's okay to judge a book by its cover. Especially when that cover comes courtesy of Kimberly Glyder, a Philadelphia-based, Design*Sponge-approved book Illustrator and, naturally, afficionado whose richly colored paintings and pared down calligrapy are becoming as iconic as the big-name publishing houses on her client list.
Glyder works out of the 1241 Carpenter Studios in South Philly, where she shares space with four other artists. Although her portfolio of prints, patterns and lettering is quite impressive. she focuses mainly on book cover illustration, and among her clients are the like of Penguin Random House, National Geographic, and HarperCollins.
Earlier this month, Glyder spoke at an AIGA panel in Philly moderated by Design*Sponge founder Grace Bonney, who was just wrapping up a book tour to celebrate the launch of her latest tome, In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneur. Glyder and three other local artists answered questions from Bonney and the audience about being a woman in the arts as well as a business woman, which I covered for Billy Penn.
Here are some of Glyder's top tips and thoughts from the panel and a follow-up interview with The Untouchables, along with some of her standout covers - and it was hard to pick just a handful.
ON THE LUXURY OF SAYING NO:
I feel like that’s one of the hardest things for me to do, and it’s also the thing that can bring me sanity. I have learned that saying “no” is the key to my success if I want to be healthy and happy.
ON SHARING STUDIO SPACE:
I share my studio with four other illustrators-slash-designers and fine artists. We all kind of overlap in our industries a little, we all kind of run in the same circles with the same kinds of clients, so that’s helpful. It’s great because it’s a fairly large space, we get to bounce ideas off of each other or we can just work separately. We can interact if we want to. I’ve really enjoyed it - I worked for a very long time alone in my own studio, so it’s been a nice change this part year to be around other people, especially people who are in different industries, it’s made me want to look into other areas to work in.
ON HER FAVORITE BOOK STORE:
There are not that many of them left. The borough that I live in has a children’s bookstore called Character Development. It’s a really beautiful, encouraging space for kids - I love to take my kids there, hopefully to introduce them to books in a happy way, make them want to read more. I would be really upset if my kids grew up and didn’t like to read.
ON NOT BEING IN NYC:
None of my businesses are Philly, all of them are in New York and a few other outlying cities. For a while I was worried that it would be hard for me, not being in New York City, that it would be difficult for my career. But I think that doing what I do, it doesn’t really matter where I am. I communicate mostly through email, and that includes revisions and concepts for the job. I love that Philly has it’s own feel and has a really tight community, and the cost of living is lower. I just love being here - I’ve been here 9 years now - but I do love that we’re also close to New York, so if I want to go up to meet somebody, or if I want to go to an event, it’s not a big deal to just take the train up and be there in a couple hours.