Studio art alumna Misty Manley illustrates children’s book by Tony Hale

“Archibald’s Next Big Thing” features Misty Manley’s colorful designs. Manley graduated from UMSL’s graphic design program in 2011.

Few people get to fulfill their career dreams just three years out of school.

Misty Manley got to work on her dream project and meet an Emmy winner all at the same time. Manley served as illustrator for “Archibald’s Next Big Thing,” a children’s book co-authored by Tony Hale. Hale is an actor best known for his work on television’s “Arrested Development” and “Veep.”

Developing the look for “Archibald” allowed Manley to step away from her everyday work as an art director at the St. Louis creative marketing agency Boxing Clever. Manley graduated from the University of Missouri–St. Louis in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in studio art with an emphasis in graphic design.

UMSL alumna Misty Manley

Misty Manley, BFA 2011, illustrated a children’s book co-authored by Emmy winner Tony Hale. Manley is a graduate of the graphic design program at UMSL. (Photo courtesy of Misty Manley).

“I wanted bright colors and illustrations that are otherworldly,” Manley said. “You don’t look out the window and see a whale with tattoos all over its body. There are things you can get away with in a children’s book that you can’t do anywhere else.”

“Archibald’s Next Big Thing” tells the story of Archibald Strutter, a chicken trying to find his way in life. He receives a mysterious card in the mail that encourages him to set off with a pal in hopes of finding his big thing. The story seeks to remind young readers that big and beautiful things are all around us.

Manley became involved with the project because Boxing Clever, which has clients such as the St. Louis Rams and Southern Comfort, decided to branch into publishing. The agency often takes on less traditional projects, Manley said, which was part of what attracted her to the company. Someone familiar with the agency was also friends with Tony Hale and knew he was working on a children’s book and brought the two together.

“Having Misty on board took the story to a whole new level,” said Hale, who won an Emmy Award for best supporting actor in a comedy in 2013 for his work in “Veep.” “I’m very, very thankful for her.”

Hale was a familiar face to Manley, due to her “Arrested Development” fandom. The actor flew to St. Louis to work on the book, working closely with Manley.

“Tony was a huge part of the process,” she said. “He’s creative in what he does. Very detail oriented. He came in to town and he sat down for two or three days and went over every single page.”

The book is illustrated in bright colors and an even more colorful cast of characters. Hale and Tony Biaggne wrote the story while Manley did the illustrations. Victor Huckabee created Archibald himself.

In addition to the Archibald book and her standard art direction work, Manley is also the mind behind FakeAnything.com, which is best explained by visiting it.

Manley became known as a brilliant designer when she transferred to UMSL from Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Ill., said Jennifer McKnight, an associate professor of graphic design. Her movie poster, a standard assignment for students, remains somewhat legendary among current students.

“It’s a project that people still worship and look to, and it has yet to be bested in a lot of ways,” McKnight said. “We all knew that she was going big places. She also had a unique point of view about illustration and design.”

Visit adventuresofarchibald.com to order “Archibald’s Next Big Thing.”

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