Spotlight On: Art Director Michael Sellner

Black Rabbit Bolt Books

Michael Sellner has been lending his amazing talents to Black Rabbit Books since our first Bolt imprint, and his eye for design has made each series bright and engaging. Here's a look at Michael's work and the world of design.

Tell us a little about yourself. What does an Art Director do?

As the BRB Art Director, I have the incredible opportunity to imagine, create, and bring to life fun, colorful, engaging designs to brilliantly written leveled text that in the end creates the perfect hi/lo books for struggling readers. I also photo research images used in the books and design and create the supporting marketing materials used in promoting and selling the books. I enjoy my career as each day offers much creativity and variety.

What's your favorite part about designing Black Rabbit books? Do you have a favorite series you've worked on?

My favorite part is knowing I am part of a team creating and designing unique books that offers the reluctant reader alternative choices with visual learning, hands-on learning and humor. Once they crack the cover they are hooked and drawn-in with the bright bold infographics, stunning photography, and humorous illustrations! My favorite Bolt series I designed is "All-American Forces." My favorite Hi Jinx series I designed is "Spy Kid."

What are some unexpected challenges of designing books?

An unexpected challenge would be a lack of supporting stock images/art for a title or series. I faced this challenge with theHi Jinx series "Holiday Recipe Box" and "Make Your Own Fun." With both series there was little to no stock art available to properly design the series or support the text, so I dug out and dusted off my camera, set up a make-shift studio, created the products from each title and put on my "professional photographer" hat and photographed the subjects used in the books. Those were fun challenges that resulted in awesome books!

Do you have any advice for students interested in design?

To be successful in design, you need to have a genuine interest/passion in art. You need to continuously work at developing your unique artistic talents and creativity. You need to be open to the critiquing of your work and then applying those critiques to further develop and enhance your talents. A career in design offers creative work and variety, but it also requires the designer to keep their design work fresh and up-to-date by staying on top of the current artistic designs, trends and fashions. Finding your passion and pursuing it will lead to a fulfilling career. Designing these incredible BRB books has not only been fulfilling but also a dream come true for this Art Director!