Creating some form of newsletter, fanzine, book, or other visual creation has consistently been part of my life since I can remember. I discovered the world of publishing through my love of music, when at age 14, I created a fanzine dedicated to my then favorite band. Within a year’s time I gained over 200 subscribers in the US and Canada. Later, this evolved into yet another music publication. This was all before computers were widely used and I relied on my typewriter, dry transfer letters, and copy machines to create each issue.

During my college years in the early 1990’s my ‘zine changed course again and became a forum for creative writing and art. It was my publishing outlet while I was pursuing my degree in fine art. By then I was using a computer and WordPerfect. In 1993, I graduated with a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in painting and drawing from Kent State University. I continued painting for my own enjoyment, and the ‘zine lived on for several years.

Not satisfied with creating publications as a hobby, publication and graphic design then spilled into my professional life. After graduation I produced a department newsletter for my first employer post graduation using the Corel Design package. In 1995, I accepted a position with a local Humane Society as their staff Editor/Graphic Designer. I redesigned the society’s publication, Animal Chatter, and handled all of the design and editorial needs for the organization.

A year later I joined the staff of a local museum in the Membership and Development Department, and was part of a long and fulfilling relationship with that organization for over 15 years. At the museum, in addition to my regular duties processing memberships and maintaining the department database, I was provided with many creative outlets within the Membership and Development Departments. Using Adobe PageMaker, among my other duties within the membership department, I designed and edited The Adventure Gazette, a bi-monthly newsletter for The Museum’s Adventure Club for Kids, and designed mugs, tote bags and other membership incentives.

After being promoted to a position within the museum’s Development Department, I was responsible for developing the concept, writing the copy for, and working with an outside designer to produce Annual Fund campaign mailings for individuals that were sent to over 10,000 donors and members. In addition I developed and composed annual fund appeals to corporate, foundation and trustee audiences. I also served as a lead database administrator to the department utilizing Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge software, and received certification after completion of one week training session at Blackbaud University.

In 2000 I established my own business, which at the time focused on a variety of projects ranging from non-profit database administration and support to graphic design and writing services, including stepping into the role of designer for non-profit fund raising campaign mailing packages.

Continuing my connection with the publishing world, starting in 2001, I accepted freelance work for Roxbury Publishing Company, a college textbook publishing company based in Los Angeles, California. Initially my role was that of research and support for the company’s web designer, but through the years I eventually helped maintain the company’s website and became the lead contact for Roxbury’s Amazon listings. In 2006 I began assisting one of the company’s Production Managers, aiding in production editing and eventually preparing files for the typesetter. I also began working with Adobe InDesign. At the encouragement of the Production Manager, I was urged to pursue more work in the production process in the role of designer.

My love of publishing and the publishing process was further encouraged and as a result I continued to redefine the focus of Tulip Tree Creative Studios, which now encompasses all facets of design and writing services for both print media and for a wide variety of social media and online outlets including social media page design services and updates to websites and email newsletters via Constant Contact and Mail Chip.

I returned to school in 2013 to expand my skills so that I could offer even more services to my clients and graduated with honors with an Associates in Technical Studies in Computer Information Systems, in December 2015. My areas of study included web development, applications programming and database programming.

When not producing through Tulip Tree Creative Studios, I can very often be found  creating projects for myself—on the floor working on a canvas or watercolor illustration, on my collaborative project blog Mental Beans, or covering a live music event with my sister for our joint project, Sisters Dissonance, a music photography/travelogue publication. One of my favorite endeavors thus far is a 120-page full color hardbound cookbook I designed and produced. Using contributions from family members and friends, the cookbook combines family recipes with art, and it is a celebration of the talents of my family and friends. I have also created a fitness journal/organizational calendar that is available for purchase, and prints of my artwork are made available via Etsy.com.

Please contact me if you wish to discuss your project needs.

Shannon Spyker