be you with You Do You-nicorn. 🦄

We’re thrilled to announce the publication of Erin Vanessa’s debut authored/illustrated picture book, You Do You-nicorn.

Read Erin’s journey of developing this story (which started as a game concept!) and its road to publication, below.


Erin Vanessa
“One of my favorite things to do as an artist is work on my own children’s book stories!”

You Do You-nicorn, written and illustrated by Erin Vanessa,

published by Running Press.

Out September 19th, 2023: Available for pre-order now!

“You Do You-nicorn is a sweet, funny story about inclusivity and staying true to yourself. A gender-fluid child shows their friends that they can be and do whatever they want and feel like–whether it’s playing the digeridoo-nicorn, painting a baboon-icorn, or changing their name to Ruth-icorn! Remember: Only YOU know how to do you! And you can feel like your own unicorn by assembling a sparkly unicorn headband with pieces included at the end of the book.”

You Do You-nicornactually started out as a game concept.

I wanted to make a memory match game that would encourage kids to try new things: swimming, roller skating, playing the saxophone, and so on.  (At the time, I also imagined it would feature unicorn characters.)

Over the next few months, though, words for a manuscript started appearing in my mind as I went for walks or exercised.

After allowing the words to form organically in my brain without writing anything down, I eventually felt compelled to write it all in one sitting, and that’s how the manuscript for You Do You-nicorn was born.

I like to hand-paint my illustrations with watercolor, gouache, and pencil crayon, and then edit in Photoshop.

Julie and Frances, my incredible editor and art director at Running Press, gave me tons of creative freedom, so the process of making the book was a blast and it just flew by!

Below: From sketch to painting to Final Art

Join Erin on September 30th at 1 PM EST for a virtual picture book panel, hosted by Books of Wonder in New York, where she’ll read a snippet of You Do You-nicorn and take questions from the audience.

Copies of You Do You-nicorn (with signed bookplates!) will be available for purchase at the end.

RSVP here!

Thanks Erin!

You Do You-nicorn is available for pre-order now. It releases September 19th, 2023.

You can see more of Erin’s beautiful illustration work here.

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