No one will know, except you

by Franke James

sundae with cherry illustration by franke james

hat with feather illustration by franke james
coat with pink lining illustration by franke james
envelope illustration by franke james
Bill James illustration by franke james
two white pages illustration by franke james
un-red page versus red page mockup illustration by franke james
Mystery book cover illustration by franke james
human error illustration by franke james
no one will know, white page illustration by franke james
no one will know head illustration by franke james
no one will know human error illustration by franke james
no one will know water shower illustration by franke james
no one will know strawberry illustration by franke james
no one will know chicken illustration by franke james
determined ball illustration by franke james
impossible fix illustration by franke james
turn thinking around illustration by franke james
two canvases illustration by franke james
shift thinking to gift illustration by franke james
paper towel green conscience bookplate illustration by franke james
twitter paper towel green conscience illustration by franke james
twitter green conscience vege illustration by franke james
twitter beer caps green conscience illustration by franke james
twitter green conscience fast food illustration by franke james
inspiration and stickers in book by franke james
your green conscience bookplates header
your green conscience bookplates header

butterfly bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james shower bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james GCbrain bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james eraser bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james
chicken bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james fastfood bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james chickencap bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james SUV bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james
papertowels bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james vegehead bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james nerve bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james vegecap bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james
humancap bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james hardest  bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james fastfoodcap bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james papercap bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james
sundaecap bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james tissue bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james beercap bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james NoOneWillKnow bookplates for download, illustrations by franke james

sundae with cherry illustration by franke james

(See images in essay above)

The Butterfly
The Shower
The Green Conscience Brain
The Human Error
The Backyard Chicken
Fast Food Foibles
The Chicken Cap
My SUV and Me
Paper Towels
The Vegehead
Hitting a Nerve
The Vegehead Cap
The Human Error Cap
Do the Hardest Thing
Fast Food Cap
Paper Towel Cap
The Sundae Cap
The Tissue Box
The Beer Caps
No One Will Know

Writing, illustrations and photos by Franke James
No One Will Know, Except You © 2009 Franke James, MFA
Franke James on Twitter

91 Responses: 53 Comments and 38 Tweets

  • oh my gosh, I love how you completely turned this situation around in a very franke james way! I admire your grace and your tenacious creativity — these bookplates are brilliant!! I like the bottle cap with the chicken on it!

  • Franke — brilliant, as always. I was halfway through the story and my internal voice was shouting, “Ooh! Ooh! I want to paint the inside covers of my copy red!” I cheered when you turned the situation around. Also, very affecting and arresting use of “no one will know” — love it!



    Loved “No One Will Know, Except You”, @frankejames’ new visual essay:


    Clever & Witty!

    RT @botgirlq: RT @trevorrotzien:Loved “No One Will Know, Except You”, @frankejames’ new visual essay:

  • Mgonyeo says:


    mgonyeo: @frankejames

    OMG!!! I love it!!! So cool! Thanks for including me!

  • LaDonna Coy says:

    Wow Franke, for the life of me I couldn’t figure out where you were going and I totally love the surprise! The bookplates are brilliant! Thank you for the gift you are to all of us who wrestle with being our best green selves in a world that surrounds us with all kinds of not-very-green norms. How will I ever pick from these beautiful plates? :o)

  • Franke, this is a fantastic idea. In fact, necessity drove me to a very similar solution just this past week. Creating a display board about the problems of plastic and reusable solutions, I completely ran out of time to create the solutions section. I was facing staying up all night, and wondering how I was going to get it all done, when I suddenly realized I didn’t have to do anything at all. Instead of filling the solutions side with my own ideas, I asked attendees to write down their less plastic pledges, and I taped those to the board instead.

    I think audience participation is a great thing. I love how you have included input from Twitter followers. Perhaps you could also encourage those who don’t want to use one of the bookplate choices (as beautiful as they are) to come up with their own. I’m sure there are as many different eco confessions as there are readers of your book!

    My green conscience bothers me when I forget my travel mug and use a paper cup, even though I skip the plastic lid and straw.

  • Franke James says:

    Hi Beth,

    Thanks so much for your comment and sharing your creative presentation solution!

    Audience involvement is huge. It’s been said that we retain 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, 50% of what we say and hear, and 90% what we do. (Wow! 90%!) By getting readers to participate I hope this makes the abstract idea of conscience more tangible and memorable.

    The idea behind the graphic of the two blank canvases with the paintbrushes is that readers can draw or doodle what’s bothering their Green Conscience on the two blank pages. I’ve also added a leaf doodle to make the suggestion clearer. The bookplates are just one option. (And if readers do something really creative, please send me a note — I might feature some of the best. Back of the Napkin Author Dan Roam has said he’s going to doodle in the book!)



  • Percy says:

    Brilliant idea! And, a terrific visual essay too. Like another commenter said, when I read your essays, I’m waiting to discover what comes next and where you’re taking us (the readers) along. If I had a hat on, I’d doff it.

  • […] reader will be able to use the blank pages to personalize their copy of the book. To make it easy, I have created illustrated bookplates – inspired by the real-life examples from Twitter — which readers can download, print up […]


    Worth repeating… Franke James new visual essay, “No One Will Know, Except You” is quite inspirational!

  • Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Holy climactic twist, that was beautiful. I was lulled into an expectation of a mundane fix, & then Wham!

    ..and the way it integrates the personal with the green, with a real problem, with a real opportunity that people can act upon. Brilliant.


  • Vince Deon says:


    vincedeon: via @frankejames — when life gives you lemons, make a FULL COURSE MEAL

    A MUST READ my Tweeps

  • Allison says:

    Those are beautiful Franke! I’m going to try to only print one! :) I can’t wait to see the book – David and I are so excited and proud! xox

  • Martin Edic says:


    The fabulous Franke James does it again:
    No one will know, except you

    If you don’t know Franke’s work, read on!

  • Julie says:


    My hubby is forever writing his notes and jotting down page numbers for favourite quotes on those two pages. I used to hold books as sacrosanct, but I’ve started treating them more as resources — and friends! (Okay, I don’t dog-ear my friends, but you know what I mean. ;-)

    Thanks for keeping our (now collective) green conscience front and centre, Franke.

  • Jody Bruner says:

    Franke, great story, brilliantly told. I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet last night. Some time soon, I hope.


  • Oh, Franke! This is brilliant! :) What a creative solution! I would never in a million years have thought as I read the beginning of this post it would have ended up where it did! BRAVO!
    Love it!! This will undoubtedly become one of my favorite publishing stories and I will for sure retell many times. :)

  • Rona Maynard says:


    Kudos to @frankejames for her new book, visual essay and creative solution to printer’s mistake.

  • BlogTO Post

    Bothered by My Green Conscience

    Local artist Franke James is no stranger to interest in her endeavours to go green, but with Bothered By My Green Conscience Franke has made the jump to the hardcopy book world. Until now people have only been able to follow her stories through her vertically-oriented, online visual essays, a format that had be to re-worked to fit a book 5.75″ wide and 6.75″ tall.

    Franke not only provided the book content but designed the book too, and thank goodness she did. Her visual aesthetic is as crucial to the stories as her compelling content, and if the design of the pages were left to somebody else I suspect the translation to paper would not have been so perfect. And that’s really the word here: perfect.

    But don’t tell Franke it’s perfect – she found a glaring error (and by glaring I mean to Franke only – nobody else would have ever known), and in typical fashion has gone on to tell the whole world about it….

    Read more

  • shesturningblue says:

    Fabulous as always. You are so talented!

  • Chris says:

    So, your answer is to waste more paper by having people print hard-copy reminders to spur their “green conscience” and assuage your feelings about a printer’s error?

    Yeah, that makes sense.

  • Franke James says:


    Thanks for your comment. You raise the bar pretty high if you’re afraid to print out a single piece of paper! I am not in the extreme environmentalist club. My view of a sustainable world includes books. The more of them that can be printed on FSC recycled paper the better.

    Three points for you to consider:

    1. You can buy recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer waste (the book is printed on paper made from 100% post-consumer waste so no trees were cut down).
    2. The environmental cost of a piece of paper is minimal in comparison to the positive benefit that a reader can get from personalizing the book with their own green conscience reminder — and then acting on that new habit.
    3. If books bother your green conscience so much, please read the digital essays here on my site. My visual essays are all online. Some people (including me) still like to curl up with a real paper book. It’s a different experience than reading online.

    Personally, I don’t throw out books. I cherish them and have a large collection going back decades. When I do want to give them away, I find people I know who will appreciate them. I hope that readers will embrace “going green” as a personal journey that can be creative, fun and intelligent.



    No One Will Know, Except You

    Franke James is an author, artist, photographer and writer who has been on TreeHugger and Planet Green before with her illustrated essays like MySUV and Me Say Goodbye. They were recently published in her book Bothered By My Green Conscience, where the printer made a mistake and didn’t print the inside covers red…. And when Franke gets thinking, she gets drawing and twittering, and the results are interesting and entertaining. Read about the resolution of the Mystery of the UnRed Page

    Read More…


    Franke James new visual essay, “No One Will Know, Except You” is brilliant & inspirational



    Amazing: “My Green Conscience” by @frankejames


  • Erin Ely says:


    THIS IS COOL! RT @mgonyeo RT @msoeden: Amazing: “My Green Conscience” by @frankejames


  • Mallen Baker says:


    Nice – worth reading to bottom RT @erinely Amazing: “My Green Conscience” by @frankejames


  • Tara Joyce says:


    Please check out the amazing art and mind of @frankejames: “My Green Conscience” What a beautiful solution she found.



    @frankejames Loving My Green Conscience, especially Dinner With a Stranger. Will your book sell somewhere in our neighbourhood (Queen West)?


  • Kelly Twomey says:

    I love this so much! This such a beautiful & inspiring way to turn what could have been a disaster into a joyful creation. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Wendy says:

    You are such a marvelous inspiration! Thanks for sharing your inner monologue with us as you tackle a challenge that no one would’ve known about. It really is as simple and as difficult as a shift in your thinking!

  • Lindsay Barker says:

    Franke – I was grinning from ear to ear as I read this. Once again you have found an opportunity to make the point, in a uniquely creative way, that what we do matters to this planet. I’ll be turning off the water when I brush my teeth tonight.

  • codica says:

    Greetings from Brazil!

    Great idea, great book and surely the red page would make the difference… at least, I see it that way…

    very good project, congratulations….

    how a simple detail of a man’s failure can make one think about this whole environmental action in a very funny and effective way….

    very well done… I will twitter this link for my friends :)

  • Mary Ann Grainger says:

    Another wonderful, inspiring piece of Franke James’ brain (and heart) out there to share. How lucky can we get! Thanks Franke.

  • Matty Lynch says:

    Greetings from Australia…. Bloody brilliant, I love your creativity and am inspired ! ! !

    Where can we find the book?

  • Franke James says:


    Thanks! You are a very creative, adventurous soul (as witnessed by your Green Backpack site) so it’s great fun to see that I’ve inspired you!

    Bothered By My Green Conscience is available on Amazon and other online booksellers (and in bricks and mortar stores in North America). If you have trouble getting it in Australia, let me know!

    I hope one of the takeaway messages people will get from my book is to think creatively about what each of us can do to take action on climate change. No Rx, just asking “What’s right for you?” If we can get people taking personal responsibility for the environment — and doing the hardest thing first (before they change their mind) — who knows what kind of positive impact we can make?




    @frankejames hi just stumbledupon your site. Loved driveway story. Reminded me of Green solution just outside your door.

    Dinner with a Stranger inspires :) tnx


  • J says:

    I was disappointed to find that “Bothered by My Green Conscience” was not available as an online text. While I love the ideas presented here… that is 160 pages of tree that don’t need to be cut down (since I already own a computer).

  • Franke James says:


    Thanks for your comment. Two points:

    #1. ZERO trees were cut down. The book is printed on 100% post-consumer waste paper, so you can have a clean green conscience if you do buy it.

    #2. You must be new to my site. The entire book is online. Links to the five visual essays (some which date back to 2007) are: My SUV and Me, Green Eccentric Glamour, The Real Poop on Social Change, Paradise Unpaved and My Future Grandkids 2020.

    The printed book reaches a different audience. Although people can read the essays online, many people (like me) LOVE hard copy books with a passion. It’s a different experience to hold the book in your hands, and read the essays curled up with a cup of tea. Bliss!

    If you do pick up the book check out the last page for the Environmental Benefits Statement. You’ll see how many trees were saved by printing on 100% post-consumer waste paper.



    I’m not ‘Bothered By My Green Conscience’ (Franke James new book!)

    Franke’s visual essays have been spreading virally over the past few years with mentions on major blog sites like Kottke and Treehugger. Now they are gathered together in a book, Bothered by My Green Conscience (New Society) and I think it gives us a very good reason to still value having a bound and printed object that we can share without peering into a screen.

    Franke’s essays are illustrated guides to her process of changing internally and externally- we literally see into the conscious and unconscious thought process as she decides to take real action in dealing with the personal effects of climate change. Not content to simply change lightbulbs and stop drinking bottled water, Franke (with her husband) sells her SUV, rips up her driveway and plants a garden (battling a confused bureaucracy in the process) and writes a moving letter to her unborn grandchildren, a letter bemoaning in advance our pitiful lack of effort to improve a world we’re destroying. This essay, To My Future Grandkids in 2020, goes beyond the humor of the situational earlier essays and paints a poignant picture as Franke attempts to explain our collective failure to change things now when change is required- an explanation written for a generation yet to come.

    The essays must be seen to be appreciated. Combining text, illustration and collage, they express the messiness of creativity and the beauty of action. This really is a book to give to your friends and family. Though we’ve never met in person, Franke and I are friends, separated by 80 miles of Lake Ontario water. We’ve been corresponding for several years now and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these essays appear on her blog. When the book arrived in my mail I realized that they were deeper and more thought-provoking when revisited in this format.

  • Franke,

    What a wondrous, creative, inspiring gift you are sharing. Just beautiful.

  • […] Everyone had something that nagged at their green conscience. The art workshop got people thinking about those little actions that no one will know about… […]

  • […] James: I’m using every tool in my toolbox and loving it. I have total freedom in my work to do whatever I want. I’m happy with my style. The technique is less important […]

  • Riona says:

    Hi Franke
    Another brilliant piece. Your work always hits me right in my little green heart. I can’t wait to get my paws on your book but I’m waiting till I get near a bookstore that will have it. Are Roots stores carrying copies?
    You may remember we spoke in the spring about having you speak at a conference I was planning. (You might remember me better as a friend of the Leahys). It’s too bad they changed the date and it all fell apart because I was really looking forward to hearing you speak.
    I wish you all kinds of success with your book and your other endeavours.

  • Hi Franke says:

    Franke –

    Brilliant. What an amazing out-of-the-box idea. You have a book out – yes – I can’t wait to get your book! Maybe your next book can have 10 or 20 blank pages that the readers can use as a scrapbook and notebook:-)

    Kind Regards,

  • Franke,

    Your illustrations match how I feel inside about so many things – and I’m a very crappy artist so I have troubles with how to express them! – so thank you for being you and allowing your creativity to flow and to share it with the world! Very inspiring!

    Warm regards,
    Tracy Lydiatt
    The Green Families Guru

  • Bailey says:

    Hi Franke,

    Yesterday at school my teacher told me that we would be working on something called visual essays. She told my class a little about them and how you write about the environment. Today she showed us a couple of the essays. She told us to read two of them (or read more if we liked them. I did.) then answer the questions that she gave us. After answering the questions we must research and write our own visual essay about the environment. She gave us ten pages minimum. Everyone was shocked at the length until we read the first essay. Only ten pages!!! I really didn’t want to do this. I thought it would be stupid and boring. As I started reading I started getting really excited to do this. Now I just need to pick my topic.


  • Leanne says:

    hi Franke,

    Yesterday at school my teacher gave us this assignment that we had to read a few of your visual essays ( i read a lot of them :) ) and answer some questions and then research and make one ourselves and it has to be on a topic that affects the world like global warming, or the environment and i just wanted to say that your essays helped me see things differently and i actually paid attention while reading this because all the other things that talk about helping the earth are just words no pictures but yours are amazing and i love them! :)

  • Kaitlyn says:

    PLUS, didn’t have to use more chemicals for the red paint!

  • […] artist Franke James knows how to convey gloomy information without being a downer. She takes a relentlessly cheerful, self-deprecating approach to issues too often screamed about by scolds and trolls. (It’s an […]

  • Elaine Briere says:

    Iove your refreshing sense of humor, we will need lots of light moments to bring us together and fortify us in the paradigm shift is slowly but inexorably approaching.


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