August 4, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: News

(from the desk of :01 Editorial Director Mark Siegel)


If one thing is reliable, it’s that things change.

As many of you know, Colleen AF Venable is leaving First Second, to be an Associate Art Director at Workman Publishing. It was just one of those offers she couldn’t refuse.

Here’s how Colleen started with First Second: some years ago, I was interviewing candidates for our design position, but none seemed quite right. Then one morning I opened an email and found a Shelf Awareness ad for approval, and it looked and felt just like what First Second needed to become. I called our marketing/publicity manager Gina Gagliano and asked, “Who’s the person that designed this ad? This is exactly who we need.” Gina answered, “She’s sitting at the cubicle just outside your door.” At that point, Colleen was working in marketing for Roaring Brook.

She also happened to be taking night classes to learn typography and dreamed of being a designer.

A number of years later, Colleen has helped make First Second what it is today. If it shines in any way, it owes it in part to her extraordinary creative sensibility and many talents. Have a look at the image at the head of the blog—that’s only some of her covers. Many awards and bestsellers later, it’s amazing to look at the range of sensibilities and flavors showcased in a single person’s work.

The good news is this isn’t actually only a farewell note. Colleen’s arts include her exquisite writing, and she is most definitely part of the First Second family in the future . . . as an author. Look in coming seasons for her Kiss Number Eight, a stellar teen project like nothing we’ve ever done before.

So I’m a little sad, but happy in other ways, and I don’t know how to say it properly other than simply THANK YOU COLLEEN. Your gift to First Second is huge.

And warm wishes for your next design adventures!

7 Comments on “ A Farewell to :01 Designer Colleen AF Venable ”

  • Jeff Manley | August 4th, 2014 11:21 am

    This is sad, she did amazing work. I hope she at least got to help pick her replacement.

  • Nicola | August 4th, 2014 5:31 pm

    Thank Goodness! I thought you were going to say she had passed on to the Great Comic Book in the Sky! Oh, I’m so sad. I look for Colleen’s name in every 1st2nd book I open. I hope she stays to train her replacement. And look forward to seeing her name on the front as author in the future! All the best Colleen! <3

  • Kat Kan | August 4th, 2014 6:18 pm

    Colleen did FABULOUS work on the :01 titles, and I love the look of all those books. But I think you’ve hired a great replacement. Meanwhile, I get to look forward to Colleen’s work as an author. I’ll continue to look forward to fabulous books from :01!

  • L CHILDS | August 4th, 2014 8:55 pm

    A farewell to Colleen AF Venable

    Colleen’s distinctive, engaging and thoughtful covers will be greatly missed. Her contribution as been integral to the success of First Second.

    L Childs (not the author of the Jack Reacher novels)

  • Karen Kessel | August 4th, 2014 8:56 pm

    Colleen is a gem of the finest quality. Thank you 1st Second for giving her the creative license she needed and wanted. Be proud of that gift to her and the role you’ve played in her successes. Workman is getting a diamond!

  • Helena Juhasz | August 4th, 2014 10:51 pm

    Congrats to Colleen! I’m trying hard to pick a favourite, but it’s so hard to choose. The Sailor Twain cover is certainly a highlight! All the best!!

  • Andrea V. Johnson | August 4th, 2014 11:25 pm

    Colleen is one of the most excitingly creative and hilarious people I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with. Very excited to see what she does next!

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