Desktop view of’s “Cross of Snow” book review

Animated GIF of Carolyn’s final illustration

Carolyn’s sketch

Print cover of the Summer Books reading guide 

WSJ Books’s Twitter feed

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Illustration by Carolyn Gavin

Animation by Esther Plecy

Art Director/Assistant Visuals Editor:Gil Fontimayor
Artist Representation: Lilla Rogers Studio

For our recent Summer Books reading guide, the WSJ Books team and I selected Canadian watercolorist Carolyn Gavin to create a somber mid-Atlantic depiction of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in promotion of our book review of “Cross of Snow” by Nicholas A. Basbanes (Alfred A. Knopf). Carolyn’s illustrations appears in WSJ Books’s digital products (website, our weekly Books newsletter and social media). 

Working one-on-one with Carolyn, I provided her with art direction on character development, color palette and lettering.. I handled the creative brief, negotiated budget and provided feedback on sketches leading up to Carolyn’s final executions. After color processing and cropping the illustrations, I placed them into print page layouts and within engaging  online article templates our in-house developer team created.

Cross collaboration occurred within production, visuals, audience development, social media and the WSJ Books editorial team from start to finish.  Our in-house digital graphics reporter, Esther, and I worked closely together to conceive a calming animated version of Carolyn’s print illustration.