7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #396: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Esmé Shapiro

h1 September 7th, 2014 by jules


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I always look forward to the first Sunday of every month here at 7-Imp, since that’s when I feature student or recently graduated illustrators, and today is no exception. I’m happy to introduce you to Esmé Shapiro, a recent grad. Let’s just get right to it, since she says a bit below and shares even more artwork.

I thank her for visiting.

(Please note that all of the images below are at Esmé’s site, as well as her Tumblr presence, and you can also read further at those cyberspace stops about the ideas behind the images. For instance, the above is an illustration for a story she wrote, called “Carmella Chameleon.”)

Esmé: Hello! I’m Esmé Shapiro. I just graduated in May from the Rhode Island School of Design with my BFA in Illustration. Now I am a freelance illustrator living on a tree-lined block in Brooklyn, New York, with my puppy, Chebini.

I grew up amongst the palm trees of Los Angeles in a little oasis of a neighborhood called Laurel Canyon, which is where old Hollywood stars and directors used to build their hunting lodges. When I was a little girl, I would imagine I was a starlet from the 1920s and dress up in long gowns to go on long hikes through the cactus-studded hills. Laurel Canyon cultivated my interest in the styles and stories from the past and my love of nature, and I believe that you can see that in my work.


I tend to work very small, especially now that I have moved into a tiny Brooklyn apartment. Sometimes people are very surprised when they see how small a painting actually is in real life. I usually work on mat board with tons of layered gouache and watercolor. I spend a lot of time preparing for the image, but when it comes to the actual act of painting, I work really fast. It’s like the painting already exists, and it’s up to my right hand to create it. It’s a lot of pressure on my hand, but I think it handles it well.



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I have a big book shoved next to my pillow of all the projects I would like to do, and the list goes on for what seems like forever. Of course, my biggest dream is to see one of my children’s books published, but there are a lot of other projects too. I would also like to design children’s textiles, art-direct animations, build a giant dome to live in, paint huge murals, illustrate for all types of magazines, build a giant pink zebra, and then eventually a miniature pink zebra.


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All artwork is used with permission of Esmé Shapiro.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Esmé’s bit about the pink zebras made my 8-year-old laugh very hard. (Me too.)

2) I just ordered some sheet music (“easy” piano, since I’m still learning) for The Beatles and Chopin.

3) Fionn Regan.

4) My oh my, this book is good:

5) I love picking up my girls from school every day, ’cause that’s our time to talk and read together and discuss the day. I’m grateful for the kind of job that allows for that (er, jobs, rather).

6) It’s Blaine Danielson’s birthday …

7) … which means there is cake, and what a wonder is cake.

BONUS: It’s really great to hear from folks who are reading Wild Things.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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12 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #396: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Esmé Shapiro”

  1. Quick fly by to say I LOVE Esme’s unique style and a big Happy Birthday to Blaine!! Yay for Cake!
    Happy Sunday, All. 🙂


  2. Happy Sunday, mrs. b!


  3. esmé is just as delightful in person as her artwork!


  4. Thanks for sharing your artwork Esme! I am seriously in love with the womens’ dresses. And went to tumblr and Etsy – definitely sharing your etsy site with friends – your work has so much whimsy.

    Jules – happy birthday to Blaine! Enjoy the cake. Those after school conversations with your girls sound like a lovely way to share in their day.

    My kicks:
    1) Daisy the foster pup had a playdate, and Otis the pitbull fell in love with her, he followed her around and kept kissing her face – it was very sweet.
    2) Summer sunshine continues.
    3) Football season! Geaux Saints!
    4) Learning curve for new business – so grateful I have such good friends willing to give helpful tips and advice.
    5) Cooking stir fry with a friend and watching the Seahawks game while catching up.
    6) Fundraiser concert last night – the band was Soul City and one of the lead singers – Miss Gigi – was beautiful. Incredible voice and enormous presence.
    7) Dancing, talking, and laughing with friends.

    Have a joyful week everyone!


  5. Fly by posting — Good morning, Imps! Happy September! Please cross your fingers for me today — awesome opportunities. Have a good day. 🙂


  6. Esme, I love Carmela Chameleon! How fun.
    Jules, happy birthday to Blaine. I can’t wait to read the new Woodson book.
    Hi to Jama and Susie.
    Rachel, Seahawks game was great wasn’t it? What’s your new business?
    My kicks:
    1. School started.
    2. The promise of a new year attitude by the students.
    3. Sunshine!
    4. A girl’s day shopping with oldest grandgirl.
    5. Introducing Mork and Mindy to grandgirl who said she had a headache from laughing.
    6. Listening to The Light Between Oceans which I read last year and our book club is discussing next week. Reminder why I loved the book so much.
    7. Reading Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild book. Fabulous.


  7. LW, fingers crossed.


  8. Hi Susie!

    Rachel, good to hear Daisy and Otis are getting along. Sounds like you had a really good week — good food, good friends and co-workers, and MUSIC.

    Little Willow: All fingers crossed.

    Jone: I was thinking of showing ‘Mork and Mindy’ to my girls too. Thanks for the reminder. … Hmm. Reading in the Wild sounds particularly good!

    Have a good week, all!


  9. So excited to see this feature! Fantastic colors and compositions Esmé!


  10. Jone – the Seahawks game was great! Now if only my Saints would’ve won today. Drat. I opened my own firm -legal consulting and investigations – been in the works for a year, super excited to be up and running.

    Jules – it was a good week. Daisy is a love, she’s going to get adopted quickly I think, so I’m enjoying my time with her. And yes, it was a very good week, I am truly lucky.

    Fingers crossed for you LW!!!


  11. whoops! hit send too soon.

    Jone – isn’t this long bit of sunshine is so wonderful? I’m trying to enjoy it so I can think back on it when the rains finally come.
    And Mork and Mindy. Oh big sigh. I loved that show….and him.

    I showed a scene from The Fisher King with Robin Williams and Amanda Plummer to a friend who was shooting down a date that hadn’t happened yet – it helped her calm down. That scene is so sweet – that man acted – and lived – with his heart in his eyes…..


  12. […] more Esmé goodness check out her website and this lovely interview by Julie Danielson (aka Jules) from 7 Impossible Things Before […]


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