Saturday, March 15, 2014

Boom, Snot, Twitty

This week Renata received an advanced copy of Boom, Snot, Twitty! It is written by Doreen Cronin and is being published in May by Viking.

And Renata is already working on the sequel...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SCBWI Western Washington's Master Class April 12-13

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn from one of children’s books most acclaimed illustrators. Renata will be teaching a master class at SCBWI Western Washington’s Annual Conference, April 12–13, and there a still a few spots open in this limited-seating event.

How do you do good picture book illustrations? Well for Renata it was pretty straight forward actually - she practiced really hard! Drawing every day and painting every night, or vice versa, until she got good at making picture book illustrations. Which was nice for her, but actually it wasn’t quite enough to get that first opportunity to illustrate a picture book. She needed something more, she needed to learn to do great picture books! And that is what her master class is about, how to bring your work up that extra step. The good news is it’s not a big step, but it is a subtle and tricky one. Happily the best way to learn it is by doing! 

Renata's master class will be a fun hands on exploration of her creative book making process based on some of the proven entertaining and educational stuff we do at our studio

Go here for more info:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Interview with Renata

See and hear Renata talk about her illustration for Goodnight Songs. I am pretty happy about this interview, Renata did an excellent job!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Goodnight Songs CD

One of Renata's drawings is on the packaging for the 12 song CD that comes with the book (attached to the inside cover). We haven't listened to it yet but I believe it is original music inspired by the poems (I think).

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Goodnight Songs

Illustration by Isabel Roxas
Almost exactly this time last year we were in Greenpoint Brooklyn drawing at a favorite cafe, Milk and Roses, when Renata received an email to do an illustration for a group book project. This was quite a coincident as the illustration was for a poem by Margaret Wise Brown - who was born in Greenpoint. By the end of coffee Renata had pretty much completed the illustration, and now the book is coming out. It features a whole bunch of great illustrators including Chris Silas Neal, whom is a favorite artist of Renata's, and a new favorite Isabel Roxas who drew the amazing cover and is a super, super nice person we were happy to meet in person last fall. Goodnight Songs is out March 4.

Here is a review:

And here is a trailer with short snippets from the artists in the book:

Goodnight Songs, by Margaret Wise Brown, book trailer from Sterling Publishing on Vimeo.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting up to date

It's been a busy time of late but I have a few moments to update what Renata has been up to. As you hopefully know Once Upon a Memory was released in December, it was an Amazon book of the month and it has gotten a great response so far. As Renata's body of work is building it is interesting to see that each book has it's own personality. I feel like Once Upon a Memory is some of her most reflective picture making and most detailed drawings. It also continues her tradition of building the narrative of a book through her pictures, a perfect method for illustrating poetic content like in Once Upon a Memory.

Of course the actual work for the book was done over a year ago, so she's been working on several exciting new projects in the last few months. I will be doing a second post in a few days about them, but the authors she's been lucky enough to illustrate include Doreen Cronin, Karma Wilson, and Margaret Wise Brown.

A big event for Renata last fall was being chosen as a judge for The Society of Illustrators 56. She had a blast being a judge and is very thankful to Jillian Tamaki and the other members of the Society who gave her for the opportunity. The show just opened last week and is on until March 1st - and Once Upon a Memory was also selected for the show!

Renata stayed in Brooklyn for 3 weeks, and while most often visitors focus on seeing the sights in NYC, Renata focused on meeting some of it's artists - which she was super successful at doing. During her time there she was able to meet several dozen illustrators, editors, designers, and other creative types.  It was an exciting and inspirational time, and she is thankful for everyone that she was lucky enough to share a few words.

Going back to Once Upon a Memory an event that bookended her visit was The Original Art, an exhibition celebrating the art of children's book illustration that she had previously won a gold medal for her work in The Quiet Book and which featured Once Upon a Memory this year. More recently Renata was notified last week that the book will also be included in this year's Communication Arts Illustration Annual.

I thought I would end this post with a list of some of the blogs that have been so kind in posting about her most recent book. Working with Nina Laden on the book has been a great joy, and Renata feels that she has made a new friend in Nina and it has brought her together with a kindred creative spirit.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mary had a Little Lamb

Renata is part of a group show opening tomorrow at Gallery Nucleus in LA. It is a tribute to Little Golden Books. She choose to do her version of the classic rhyme: Mary had a little lamb, it's fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go.

We were worried it might be a bit too serious of a take on the idea but I thought Renata did a very thoughtful version that makes you think on many levels - I think.

January 18, 2014 - February 9, 2014
Opening Reception / Jan 18, 7:00PM - 10:00PM

Friday, December 20, 2013

Will a child remember being read to?

It's been a busy last few weeks. It began with a wonderful book launch at Secret Garden Books which, Nina Laden the author of Renata's book Once Upon a Memory, talks about in her latest blog post.

When Renata illustrates a book she often never gets the chance to talk to the author, except perhaps trading a few emails. But for her latest book she raced ahead of a huge blizzard to get to Seattle for the official launch of Once Upon a Memory. And from all the stories and pictures, Renata had an amazing time with Nina and her husband Booth - and they had a super turnout for the book launch which Renata was so happy about!

We had our own book launch last weekend in Calgary at Monkey Shines Children's Books in Marda Loop. As Nina alludes to in her blog post, every single person that shows for a book launch is cherished. Renata had a half dozen children to read to and we are so thankful for their parents for bringing them out. Thanks to Sue from Monkey Shines for supporting local artists, I know we are all very appreciative! Here is a video from a couple of days ago of Sue talking about christmas books and such on Breakfast Television - including Once Upon A Memory!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thank you Card

This quirky drawing was a thank you card for Nina, Renata always likes to do quirky stuff like this for thank you cards. Maybe for a detective noir version of the book?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lovely Review

Here is a lovely review on Kirkus written by Julie from 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast.

And the Books are in! This Saturday at 3 pm I will be at the bookshop Monkey Shines in Marda Loop, Calgary reading (if children come) from my new and lovely book Once Upon A Memory written by Nina Laden. Come and say hallo.