Section (B)
Engelbreit's the Name, Cute Is My GameMary Engelbreit was a talented but struggling artist in her mid-twenties when she flew to New Yorkfrom her native Saint Louis, hoping to find work illustrating children's books — her life's goal. So shewas disappointed when all the book publishers she visited turned her down. One even suggested herdrawings might be better suited to greeting cards.
"I was crushed," Engelbreit admits. Greeting cards seemed a come-down from her high expectations,but the advice stayed with her, and she decided to give it a try. The results transformed her lifeforever.
Today Mary Engelbreit sells an astonishing 14 million greeting cards a year. Her popular designsappear on more than 2,000 products, including books, calendars, and kitchen items. She runs a retailcompany with shops in nine cities (16 more are planned), and her products are carried by 25,000retailers. Annual retail sales are in the $100 million range — all as a result of that fateful, disappointingtrip to New York. It's probably no accident that one of Engelbreit's bolder cards shows a young girl inoveralls, her bare feet up on a desk, a farm field in the window behind her. "We Don't Care How TheyDo It in New York," the card boasts.
Once you know Engelbreit's distinctive style, you can recognize her cards from 20 paces away —bright, funny, and with an eye to the past. Her cards usually have elaborate border designs comprisedof repeated images: hearts, flowers, peaches, and teapots, for example. Most often, there's Ann Estelle,a woman with short, straight hair, big glasses, hat and an acid tongue. Ann Estelle (named after hergrandmother) is the imaginary representative of Mary's outlook.
Engelbreit is cheerful, down-to-earth, humorous, and always cute. "I think the world could use morecuteness," she explains. Indeed, it's her trademark. Her business card once featured a drawing of AnnEstelle, cigar in her mouth and drink in hand, with the message "Engelbreit's the Name, Cute Is MyGame." She adds, "As the world gets more complicated, it's nice to have old-fashioned stuff around tohelp people cope with the demands of modern life. It's like comfort food. This is comfort art."Old-fashioned art — and values — have always been at the core of Engelbreit's life. Born June 5,1952, in St. Louis, the oldest of three daughters, she started drawing almost as soon as she could hold apencil.
One of her earliest memories, from age four, is of sketching her parents all dressed up to go out forthe evening. "I was so impressed I had to record it," she says. But what impressed her most wereillustrations from the children's books that her mother read to her. Artists such as Jessie Willcox Smith,illustrator of children's literary classics, and Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann, were veryinfluential in the development of her early drawings.
While attending secondary school, Engelbreit sold dozens of hand-drawn cards to a local shop for 25cents a piece — her first venture into art and commerce. She ignored her teachers' advice to become anEnglish teacher and didn't bother with going on to a university because "I was ready to plunge into mylife as an artist." Working in an art-supply shop, "I met working artists and realized you can make aliving doing this." A later job as a designer at an advertising agency "taught me about the business ofart" .
In 1975 Engelbreit met social worker Phil Delano, and the couple married two years later. Delanobecame his wife's biggest supporter. "Even when we had no money, he never said, 'Go get a job,'" shesays. "I can't express my gratitude for his support."After that ill-fated trip to New York, Engelbreit sent a sample of her drawings to two greeting-cardcompanies. One bought three of her original drawings, and she did occasional work for the other,sketching a lot of whales, dragons, castles and mythical animals. Then in 1980 the birth of her sonadded a new element to her work. "Suddenly everyday life seemed more interesting to me," she says.
Children, pets, even "good old Mom" started showing up on her cards. Her work became "pictures ofdaily life, things everyone's been through".
While eight months pregnant, in 1983, Engelbreit decided to start her own company. Within twoyears, her company was producing nearly 100 different cards and selling a million of them a year. In1986 she licensed the copyrights to the cards to Sunrise Publications, who now manages theirproduction and distribution, allowing her to focus on other projects. Among these is her home-decorating magazine which is sent to 550,000 people.
Despite her success, Engelbreit's feet are planted firmly on the ground. She still lives 16 kilometresfrom where she grew up, has many friends dating back to school years, and moved from a large houseto a smaller one because, she explains, her family didn't use all the space in the old place. She does mostof her drawing in her home studio at night.
With her work taking off in so many directions, it was perhaps inevitable that Engelbreit wouldeventually realize her dream of illustrating a children's book. In 1993 she created drawings for achildren's book and saw it become a best-seller. At the same time she made a surprising discovery: "Itwas fun, but oddly enough, I like doing cards best."Words: 903
New Words
▲cute a. 1.娇小可爱的 2.聪明的,伶俐的
cuteness n. 可爱
saint n. 1.圣(用于人名、地名等之前) 2.(基督教正式追封的)圣徒 3.圣人,道德高尚的人
crush vt. 1.压倒,压垮 2.打败 3.压碎,压坏
astonish vt. 使震惊,使惊骇
calendar n. 日历,月历,年历
retail n. 零售
v. 零售
retailer n. 零售商
annual a. 1.一年的 2.一年一次的;每年的
n. 年刊,年鉴
bold a. 1.勇敢的,无畏的 2.冒失的,唐突的,鲁莽的 3.醒目的;轮廓清晰的 4.粗(字)体的,黑(字
overall n. 工作服,工装裤
a. 全面的,综合的,全体的
bare a. 1.裸露的 2.空的;光秃的,无遮盖的
distinct a. 1.种类不同的,有区别的,分开的 2.清楚的,清晰的,明显的
◆distinctive a. 有特色的,与众不同的
elaborate a. 精细复杂的,精心制作的
v. 详细叙述
comprise vt. 1.由... ... 组成,包括,包含 2.组成,构成
peach n. 桃;桃树
acid a. 1.尖酸刻薄的,讽刺的 2.酸味的,酸的
n. 酸,酸性物质
imaginary a. 想像中的,虚构的
humorous a. 幽默的,诙谐的
▲trademark n. 1.明显的特征,标记;牌号
feature vt. 以... ... 为特征, 给... ...以显著地位
n. 1.特点,特征,特色 2.面貌,相貌 3.特写,专题报道
cigar n. 雪茄烟
illustration n. 1.图解,插图 2.说明,例证
literary a. 文学上的
classic n. 经典作品,文学名著,杰作
a. 1.经典的,一流的 2.古典的,传统样式的
influential a. 有影响力的,有说服力的
venture n. 投机活动,商业冒险
v 冒险,敢于
commerce n. 商业,贸易
plunge v. 1.纵身投入,一头进入 2.(使)陷入
gratitude n. 感激,感谢
sample n. 样品,式样
vt. 抽样检查;试用
whale n. 鲸
dragon n. 龙(想像中有翅有尾、能吐火的动物)
myth n. 神话
◆mythical a. 1.神话的,只存在于神话中的 2.虚构的,不真实的
everyday a. 每天的,日常的, 平常的
license vt. 给... ... 发放许可证,准许
n. 1.许可证,执照 2.许可,准许
copyright n. 版权
sunrise n. 日出(时分)
distribution n. 1.(物资等的)运送 2.分发,分配 3.分布,分布状态
decorate vt. 装饰,装潢
studio n. 1.工作室,画室,摄影室 2.演播室,播音室,录音室
Phrases and Expressions
turn down 拒绝,驳回
be suited to 适合于
appear on 在... ... 上出现
with an eye to 关注
be comprised of 由 ... ... 组成
dress up 穿着盛装
go out (离家)去参加社交活动
be influential in 有影响
bother with 为 ... ... 操心,为... ... 费心
make a living 谋生,营生
show up 出现
have/keep/with one's feet (planted/set) on the ground 实事求是(的),脚踏实地(的)
grow up (指人或动物)长大,成年
date back to 始于(某时期)
take off (指思想、产品等)突然受欢迎,流行
Proper Names
Mary Engelbreit 玛丽·恩格尔布赖特
Saint Louis 圣路易斯
Ann Estelle 安·埃丝特尔
Jessie Willcox Smith 杰西·威尔科克斯·史密斯
Johnny Gruelle 约翰尼·格鲁埃尔
Raggedy Ann "蓬发安"(洋娃娃)
Phil Delano 菲尔·德拉诺
Sunrise Publications 黎明出版公司