Thursday, June 29, 2000
Connecting dots links FHS grad to fun, profit
Self-publisher and graphic artist David Kalvitis hopes readers will draw a comfortable bottom line for his first book.
By CHUCK Di NATALE Messenger Post Staff
David Kalvitis never thought he'd become a graphic artist while growing up in Fairport, although he did design one of the Class of 1980's shirts in his senior year at Fairport High School.
Then again, Kalvitis probably never thought he would create and publish a book of dot-to-dot illustrations, although one of his fondest memories as a child was of his "Big Book of Dot-to-Dots."
Photograph By CHUCK Di NATALE
For 13 years, Kalvitis operated his own commercial artist studio.
"I did brochures, annual reports, the usual throwaway stuff," recalled Kalvitis, 37, who now makes his home on Edgerton Street in Rochester with his wife and 5-year-old son, Nathan.
"I was designing all these things and putting so much into it, and instead, I wanted to do something that people were going to enjoy."
Seven years ago, the thought of a dot-to-dot book came to Kalvitis while he and his wife were walking.
"Most dot-to-dot books are for really young kids," said Kalvitis, who graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in editorial design. "Either they were drawn so that the image was too obvious, or titled in such a way as to make it too easy."
Kalvitis decided that his goal was to create a book with all kinds of different images.
About six months ago, it came together for Kalvitis when he decided to close his commercial studio and open a publishing house called Monkey Business. He went to work with his computer and tracing paper to plot the dots and numbers for his first illustrated book.
His book, "The Greatest Dot-to-Dot Book in the World," first appeared in May with an initial production run of 3,000 copies. Once the book was printed, Kalvitis began the hard work of publishing: marketing and distributing his product to area outlets.
"I decided to concentrate my distribution in Rochester for now," said Kalvitis, the son of Robert and Suzanne Kalvitis of Windy Hill Circle in Fairport.
Kalvitis' book is sold at a number of places, including Media Play in Southtown Plaza in Henrietta, Barnes & Noble in Pittsford and Greece, Piccadilly's Toy Shoppe in Webster, and, as of this past Tuesday, the Village Toy Shoppe in Fairport.
"Over half the books I ordered were sold in the first two weeks," said retailer Andy Battaglia of Comics Etcetera in Village Gate Square. "It is a unique dot-to-dot book, with a lot of them more complex than (they) first appear. It's really education in disguise because it is more challenging than most dot-to-dots. People really like it."
Diane Davis of Borders bookstore in Victor said her store plans to order some copies, but that "it is always difficult to judge how many with a first book from a new publisher."
For Kalvitis, who will be signing copies of his book at this weekend's Park Avenue Festival, the challenge of succeeding as a publisher of dot-to-dot books is a lot like connecting dots and numbers to form a totally unexpected image.
"I don't have to answer to anybody, and I feel like there is no pressure in this," he said. "This is so much more fun."
Reprinted with permission from the Perinton-Fairport Post