The other day I was lamenting about how everyone has an endearing nickname, but I don’t. I am called Cory. That’s what everyone calls me; it is not endearing or anything. I told my niece that I am her Uncle and she replied, “No, you’re not my Uncle.” She looked confused.
“Oh really, then what am I to you?”
I kind of love the pen names that writers and illustrators think up for themselves. On the positive side, pen names can be hard to forget, and contribute to good branding. On the negative side, pen names are not used in professional settings, and so it can be harder to create impressionable experiences with editors at conferences when your name tag says one thing, but your work says another.
When I first started sharing my art online, I wanted to hide my identity. I was embarrassed about my work. Don’t worry, I have social anxiety, it is completely normal for me to feel embarrassed about everything. So, I called myself GRADosi, which simplymeans “degrees” in Russian. Silly. I signed my art that way too. I thought in English, GRADosi sounded robotic. And when I capitalized the first four letters it also looked more robotic. Fun Fact: I love robots and spaceships, but I don’t draw or write science fiction. My thing is nature and animals. Maybe someday I will discover a way to combine the two interests like Dan Brown’s “Wild Robot.”
Anyway, my favorite pen names are listed below. I want to point out a few patterns. Mononyms are always appealing because they stand out and somehow seem royal or legendary. I appear to like repetition, rhyming, and alliteration. Lastly, pen names like "The Bronte Sisters" make me feel closer to them, as if they are my sisters, just as I feel like "Dr. Suess" is my doctor.
Hi, my name is Cory Shaw. I am an author and illustrator of books and book covers for children.
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