dsc2643_lores New Artist Introduction: Danielle Kroll September 29, 2016

We are so happy to announce our newest Red Cap design collaboration, with artist, Danielle Kroll!

After meeting Danielle in New York City, we were charmed by her romantic, feminine personality and absolutely adored her work. It reminds us of something that would be hanging in Elizabeth Taylor’s bedroom circa 1958. The perfect release for winter, her whimsical style conveys a playful narrative…it makes us crave hot weather, red lipstick and a 5 o’clock cocktail! Not only a painter, Danielle is a creative force, also working in illustration, ceramics and textiles.

Click over to her website or instagram to view more, and scroll through a few of our favorites that we snagged below. We can’t wait to grab her new greeting card designs off the press. Stay tuned for more news, and expect to see these beauties in January…if you can wait that long.

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Photos courtesy Danielle Kroll.

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giveaway Red Cap Cards Notebook Challenge + Giveaway September 23, 2016

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What do you do with a notebook?

  • draw pictures of items you buy throughout your day
  • or things you see
  • make lists of sentences your baby says
  • your toddler says
  • your teenager says (!)
  • track the miles you travel in one week
  • draw portraits of your friends
  • or collect fallen autumn leaves
  • write memories of that day to look back on in 5 years
  • list goals you have for the future–with check-boxes next to them
  • jot down those inventions that you always think of while driving, or showering, or mowing the lawn
  • let your child color in the pages
  • paint something new every day
  • fill each page with positive affirmations
  • or love letters
  • or poetry
  • or grocery lists
  • tape a Polaroid® from each day on the pages
  • sketch the birds you see on an autumn hike
  • create a garden using colored pencils
  • list the books you want to read before the New Year
  • list the books you’ve read in your entire life (this one’s a toughie!)
  • illustrate a new pattern and have it made into a fabric

Here’s what some of our artists do with their notebooks:

Courtesy Carolyn Gavin's Instagram @carolynj
Courtesy Carolyn Gavin’s Instagram @carolynj
mirdinara
Courtesy Dinara Mirtalipova’s Instagram @mirdinara

What do you do with yours? We want to see it!! Post your idea–on your sketchbook, notebook or pad of paper–of what YOU would do with a brand new, Red Cap Cards notebook on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #redcapNBchallenge. Make sure to hashtag and tag us (@redcapcards) so we see it! Next week, we will reveal our winner for a new Red Cap Cards illustrated notebook. Happy creating!

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The Art of Truth: Why We Create For Children September 16, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why we create for children, due to this week’s celebration of what would have been Roald Dahl‘s 100th birthday. So many adults and children (including myself!) flooded the internet and Instagram with praise and admiration for Dahl, a man who (according to The New Yorker) was not so much of a good person as a great writer and creator of stories. Roald Dahl’s books touched me personally after having spent most of my middle grade childhood in England. When I eventually returned to America, there was always a slight culture gap that these books helped me to bridge. He is still a hero and someone who inspired me to be a writer for kids. Seeing the immense love for Roald Dahl reminded me of a quote by contemporary children’s author, Mac Barnett, another favorite:

“Too often we tell kids pleasant stories devoid of truth, and stories without truth are not good stories. Our audience deserves more from us. Mac Barnett”

Why do we write or illustrate for kids? And why is it so important? In my opinion, the best books for children are tellers of truth. Kids crave truth, and all forms of it. The creation of a great children’s book combines story with illustration to convey an idea that touches and inspires a child. When that happens, anything is possible. I personally believe that the most important reading you will do in your entire life is when you are young. It helps to form our perceptions and opinions when our minds are malleable and sponge-like. That is the time that we must read what is true and good and miraculous. I’ve collected a few wonderful examples of the art of truth below to illustrate (pun!) what I mean:

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Courtesy @andiegwpowers Instagram

“In this modern world where activity is stressed almost to the point of mania, quietness as a childhood need is too often overlooked. Yet a child’s need for quietness is the same today as it has always been—it may even be greater—for quietness is an essential part of all awareness. In quiet times and sleepy times a child can dwell in thoughts of his own, and in songs and stories of his own.” Margaret Wise Brown

The Dead Bird by Margaret Wise Brown with new, lovely illustration by Red Cap artist, Christian Robinson. We took a look at this one in Arlo’s Book Club. It’s a remarkable illustrative achievement that couples the innocence of childhood with the harsh lessons of the world. Margaret Wise Brown’s lyrical writing is juxtaposed with the playful, artistic work of Christian Robinson. This is the perfect story to appeal to the emotional maturity of children and to convey the beauty and sadness of the world around us.

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Courtesy @andiegwpowers Instagram

Seasons by Blexbolex. This design-heavy book is almanac-esque and may seem like an odd choice for this post, but once you start flipping through the pages, you will see what I mean. Blexbolex uses graphic imagery to convey a tongue-in-cheek definition to wordseach correlating to a season. The illustration defines underlying details that mostly children will relate to, using their ability to see such fine details that adults usually gloss overeven words that are seemingly unrelated. For example, in the fall section of the book, Blexbolex’s word is “STUBBORN” and he defines it with an illustration of one lonely, foliage-filled, orange tree in a row of ones that have already lost their leaves.

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Courtesy @andiegwpowers Instagram

Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt, with illustration by Isabelle Arsenault. Another one that I recently checked out at the library is the magnificent graphic novel written by Fanny Britt, with illustration by Isabelle Arsenault. Originally written in French, this is the most raw and truthful rendition of what it feels like to be a middle-school aged girl that I have ever seen. Combining vibrant, life-like illustration (most of which is imagined by the young girl in the story) with a story-line that relates love, puberty, body issues, self-esteem, and hope for the future, this is definitely one that needs to be on everyone’s shelves. Bonus: It may also inspire younger kids to pick up classic literature that they haven’t read before!

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A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni. Finding oneself is no small feat. In fact, most adults I know are still trying to do it. Leo Lionni (a selection from our Master’s Showcase) created a story that is deceptively simplistic. It speaks philosophical truth on so many different levels, specifically about personal identity. I feel like we need to revisit this book through each milestone we come across, most specifically our college years. I like to take away the simplest lesson: when you feel as if you have no place, rely on those you love to see you through.

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Courtesy @andiegwpowers Instagram

“I don’t want to write for adults. I want to write for readers who can perform miracles. Only children perform miracles when they read.” Astrid Lindgren

Pax by Sara Pennypacker with illustration by Red Cap artist, Jon Klassen. One of the reasons that I spent some of my childhood in England was because my dad was a Special Ops helicopter pilot, flying in the Middle East just after the first Gulf War. People have asked me about how I felt as a kid, with my dad in harm’s way so far away. In reality, I don’t remember much of it. I remember that kids had different accents then I did. I remember that my friends from America and I wrote letters (this was long before email!) and I remember that we had to give my dog, Scout, away. War is heavy and hard and long–but the things that children remember about it are very different from what grown-ups remember. And those things are no less heavy. This beautiful story was just nominated for the National Book Award and is wonderfully complimented by the soft, heartfelt illustration of Jon Klassen. The story is about a boy and his fox, who are separated due to the subtle hint of a war. Our perspective of war is seen through the eyes of the child in one of the most realistic ways I have ever seen. It’s just lovely.

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Courtesy @andiegwpowers Instagram

“Growing up I actually, I didn’t have that close of a relationship with books. I actually struggled to read. And, so I was definitely drawn to books with pictures. I just loved that so much could be communicated with just an image.” Christian Robinson

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex with illustration by Christian Robinson. I’ll finish off with something light-hearted but equally wonderful. This one tells the story of a brand new school and his reservations about what the school year will hold and whether he will be liked by the kids who come through him every day. This one is heartwarming and is perfectly applicable to what lots of kids are going through right now. School is a scary place, man. It’s full of people who are different from us, just like the rest of the world. They have different expectations, goals, likes, and dislikes (and political opinions!) and we must learn to come to terms with that, find peace with it, and thrive.

View more awesome children’s books on my Instagram (@andiegwpowers) and on Arlo’s Book Club.

Andie

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christianrobinson Artist News Roundup: Post-Labor Day September 9, 2016

This week has been so full of fantastic happenings with our artists that it is almost difficult to round it all up into one post. Red Cap got a bit of love this week as well, with Barbara Dziadosz‘s “Cowboy” card featured on Papercrave, in their 7 Totally Bodacious Birthday Cards post. Click over to Papercrave to check it out!

That was the perfect start to our week, and it just kept getting better. PBS News Hour creates snippet interviews with some of the most intriguing voices in media today. And guess who we found in their most recent interview…our own Christian Robinson! Watch the video below for some absolutely inspirational words from Christian about his process, and ability to use pictures speak to children. We adore what he says about the collaboration of the picture book: “The story is actually something that happens when the author and the illustrator come together. It’s what happens on the page.”

Christian Robinson says he had a hard time reading as a child, and so he didn’t have a great relationship with books. But he could always find solace in drawing. Today, he has turned his childhood hobby into a career as an illustrator, using images to speak and “reflect the diverse world that we live in.” Christian Robinson offers his Brief But Spectacular take on illustration as communication.

In other picture book news, we are delighted to share that Red Cap artist, Nicholas John Frith, has won the Klaus Flugge Prize for his first book, Hector and Hummingbird. The Klaus Flugge Prize is awarded to the most exciting and promising newcomer to children’s picture book illustration. Congratulations, Nicholas! View his interview and some some Hector inside photos in his Artist Spotlight.
Klaus Flugge Prize
Did you adore Jill & Dragon as much as Arlo did? Red Cap artist, Lesley Barnes has a second installment of Jill’s adventures on its way to bookstores in early 2017. In this picture book, Jill sets off on a new adventure and tries to help a new friend. She meets a very sad lion—a King of the Jungle robbed of his crown! Forced to drive a toy car around in endless circles, poor Lion is so unhappy that his tears have started to blur the words of the story. Jill gallantly intervenes only to land herself in the middle of a particularly dangerous page. But with Dog at her side, nothing is too difficult for Jill to conquer. Another charming story from rising illustration talent Lesley Barnes, Jill & Lion shows it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Jill & Lion
 

Another of our artist’s projects that we are following closely is Lizzy Stewart‘s Illustrations for Short Stories she enjoys. Lizzy’s work is fantastic, effortless-seeming, and detailed, and we are excited to see more. The below illustrations represent a story by Jamaica Kincaid–“Figures in the Distance,” and “Fugue” by Thomas Morris. You can view all of her (constantly updating) short story illustrations on her blog.

Jamaica Kincaid Lizzy Stewart
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If you’re following Josie Portillo on Instagram, you may have caught this little glimpse of a work-in-progress for Red Cap’s holiday collection. We love seeing works in progress like this and learning about our artists’ creative processes. It’s also awesome to compare the beginning with the final result–what changed? And what creative decisions do the artists make to better the finished product? You can view the completed card here: Village Skating.

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And a tiny toot of our own horn: next week we will be exhibiting with Studio Curiosity at Top Drawer London! Stop by and sell all of our new goodies!

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See you there…and have a great weekend! Save

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Little Lit Fest Blog Avery & Augustine The Week Of in Instagram August 31, 2016

Woo hoo! It’s a great week on Instagram. We love following along with all of our artists, because it makes it easy to take sneak peeks at what they are working on along the way. We get to honor their individual processes and get a little glimpse in the process. And not just artists–we also love to see what bloggers and more are up to. This week…we’ve been in on the action as well!

This past weekend, we were excited to support Avery & Augustine’s Little LitFest (#littlelitfest), which fosters community through the love of children’s literature. The attendees to the event packed sunny yellow suitcases with items from Lately Lily, Isabel Roxas, Scout Books, Sakura and Zig Zag City Guides, as well as our cards by author/illustrator, Jon Klassen, and illustrator, Christian Robinson.

Little Lit Fest Blog Avery & Augustine
Photo by Avery & Augustine
Photo by @bonjour_mes_amies
Photo by @bonjour_mes_amies

And, spotted on Jon Klassen’s Instagram, we want ALL of these! We Found a Hat is due out on October 11th, and we will be first in line. His hand must be tired after all of that signing…

"Signed a LOT of We Found A Hat's today.." -@burstofbeaden | Jon Klassen
“Signed a LOT of We Found A Hat’s today..” –@burstofbeaden | Jon Klassen

Plus, some inspiration from Anke Weckmann, who released another Sketchbook video on her Youtube channel. Makes us want to get to work!:

Carolyn Gavin’s sketchbook is a piece of art in and of itself. She took over Lilla Rogers’s Instagram this week, which got us even more excited for her brand new wrap design for Red Cap.

From @carolynj on Instagram
From @carolynj on Instagram

Carolyn Gavin took over Lilla Rogers's Instagram

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@lillarogers “Artist Carolyn Gavin recently took over my IG feed! We were inspired by her day in Belize!”

Last but certainly not least, we are getting in the mood for the upcoming holidays. We know it’s only September, but we just can’t resist! Keep following our feed for more photos of our new holiday collection. Or check out the entire lot, here.

@redcapcards: "One of my new favorite holiday cards by @josie_portillo. I'm ready to check into this cabin and watch the snow fall."
@redcapcards: “One of my new favorite holiday cards by @josie_portillo. I’m ready to check into this cabin and watch the snow fall.”

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entas2 The Enormous Tiny Art Show is Back August 25, 2016

Do you look forward to the Enormous Tiny Art Show each year like we do? We are always proud to see our Red Cap artists in the show, and this year is no different–we are delighted that Red Cap artists, Becca Stadtlander, Dinara Mirtalipova, and Yelena Bryksenkova will be showcasing new works. The show is held year-round at Nahcotta, a gallery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and will open this year on Friday, September 2nd from 5-8pm. It features hundreds of works of “tiny” art–10″ x 10″ and smaller by some of the most talented artists working today.

Can’t get out to Portsmouth? Never fear. They actually showcase their entire Enormous Tiny Art Collection online, and you can purchase original works right there on their site. Click here to see more. We grabbed a few favorite photos below, but be sure to view the entire, amazing collection.

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Photo courtesy The Enormous Tiny Art Show
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Photo courtesy The Enormous Tiny Art Show

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Works above by Becca Stadtlander

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Works above by Dinara Mirtalipova

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Works above by Yelena Bryksenkova.

All art works above are courtesy and property of the artists.

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20160726_RCC1434 Gift Wrap, Notebooks, & New Cards Release! August 19, 2016

We have been waiting for this moment for what feels like ages, and are so excited to share what we’ve been working on. You may have seen a few sneak peeks on our Instagram and Facebook, but now we are excited to invite you to view our entire new collection here on the website or in our new Summer 2016 Catalog on Issuu.

The new, vibrant collection includes twenty-two wrapping papers, sixteen gold-foil stamped, blank-sheet notebooks, and twenty-three greeting cards designed by our talented, collaborative artists. These papers, notebooks, and cards were all cohesively created to compliment one another, and are perfect for gifting, creative projects, and more. We’ve pulled a few favorite images to show you below.

Also, don’t forget to swing by the Crow & Canary Booth if you happen to be in New York for the big NY Now Show this weekend. All of our new products will be showcased at Booth No. 7614.

We hope you enjoy this late Summer gift from us to you!

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Elegant Sage NotebookMoth Magic NotebookForest Blue NotebookKoi Fish NotebookFruits Notebook

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Fruits Wrap

20160726_RCC1415-Edit Swimmers Wrap

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20160726_RCC1518Violet Birdy Wrap

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Pink Flamingos

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Critters

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Swimming Ladies by Kate Pugsley For Red Cap Cards Red Cap Cards at NY Now August 18, 2016
Swimming Ladies by Kate Pugsley For Red Cap Cards
Swimming Ladies by Kate Pugsley coming soon!

We are excited to announce that our new collection of gift wrap, notebooks, and cards will be showcased at the upcoming NY NOW Show in New York City this weekend! If you’ll be in the city for the show (lucky you!) then make sure to stop by the Crow & Canary Booth No. 7614 to view the entire collection, plus many other designers that we adore.

For those of you who aren’t traveling to the Big Apple, the entire collection will be on our website and available for viewing and purchase in the next couple of days. We can’t wait to show you! These patterns make us weak in the knees, and we’re sure you’ll feel the same way.

Stay close…there’s more to come!

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Oh So Beautiful Paper: Behind the Stationery August 10, 2016

We are elated to be featured on the amazing Oh So Beautiful Paper‘s “Behind the Stationery” Series this week. Carrie and Hal are sharing their trade secrets over on the Oh So Beautiful Paper blog, explaining everything from the origin story of Red Cap, the company’s creative process, and what it takes to make a piece of art work into a physical product. Also, we’re offering our first sneak peek of the brand new collection of gift wrap, notebooks, and cards that will be debuting at this month’s NY NOW Show at the Crow & Canary booth. Click over to Oh So Beautiful Paper to view a snippet of the collection and read our story. And stay tuned for more photos our new products, here.

Oh So Beautiful Paper

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artsupplies Creative Inspiration: Modes of Medium August 5, 2016

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We are always enthralled by all of the different creative roads that our artists take to create their stunning works of art. Whether it be collage, watercolor, pen and ink, gouache, or acrylic, each method of expression is unique and imperative to molding the artists’ vision. It’s always fascinating to us how many mediums can go into one piece of art for a lot of our artists. See below for the different types of artistic methods that some of our artists use to create, and how a few raw materials can come together to create magic.

Collage: a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric onto a backing.

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Christian Robinson

“Paper cut-out might be my favorite. I love the texture and simplicity of collage. Cut-outs force me to design simple and rely more on basic shapes to communicate.” Christian Robinson

Blanca Gómez
Blanca Gómez

“Lately I like working with collage, inks and pencils.” Blanca Gómez

Gouache: a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a glue-like substance.

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Dinara Mirtalipova
Photo by Josie Portillo
Josie Portillo

“I’m in love with gouache. I like using lots of different opacity layers when illustrating and think gouache lends itself so nicely to that. I work digitally most of the time but like to incorporate some traditional paint layers in the beginning of my process. Because gouache can be such a tricky medium the results can be a lot more organic, fun and unexpected.” Josie Portillo

 

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Dinara Mirtalipova
Becca Stadtlander
Becca Stadtlander

“When I pick ‘just a few’ colors for a ‘limited’ palette. HAHA” Becca Stadtlander

Watercolor: artists’ paint made with a water-soluble binder such as gum arabic, and thinned with water rather than oil, giving a transparent color.

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Sarah Burwash
Sarah Burwash

“Drawing, painting, and illustrating would be what I am most invested in. My drawing practice in particular which I consider different my from my illustration practice though they over lap in a big way. Other mediums weave their way into my practice. I grew up doing so much crafting that it feel natural to jump between mediums and do a range of things. I also grew up in a ‘do it yourself’ family. I have very talented parents and between the two of them and their different skills, they could make almost anything. If I went to the mall as a kid with my mom and liked something she’d say ‘We can make that’ and that went for a lot of things in our house. So when I see things I like or have an idea for clothing, jewellery, ceramics that I want in my wardrobe, kitchen, life it is my instinct to try and make it myself. Those avenues then bleed into my 2d work and vice versa.” Sarah Burwash

Anna Emilia Laitinen
Anna Emilia Laitinen

“Most of my works are done by watercolours. I enjoy them the most, though I also draw a little with ink and do collage.” Anna Emilia Laitinen

Photo by Carolyn Gavin
Carolyn Gavin
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Lizzy Stewart

“I love watercolour, I love using it wrong; painting with scrubby, dried out brushes, loading on too much paint, making textural work out of a medium meant for washes. I’m also very very fond of a straightforward pencil. The simplicity of it is so satisfying.” Lizzy Stewart

Pen and pencil: denoting a drawing or sketch that is done using a pen or a pencil.

 

Photo by James Gulliver Hancock
James Gulliver Hancock

“Pencil and paper, I don’t think I’ll ever get over the satisfaction of making a picture appear on blank paper. It still feels like magic. My other favorite as I mentioned is silkscreening, with it’s flexibility and bold blocky colors.” James Gulliver Hancock

Nicholas John Frith
Nicholas John Frith

“I sketch in pencil (2B, usually), artwork using a brush with black drawing ink, and colour in photoshop. I love a bit of silkscreen printing too, but I rarely make time for that anymore, sadly.” Nicholas John Frith

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Arlo's Book Club: Julia, Child Arlo’s Book Club: The Make-It-Work Edition July 28, 2016

It’s time for another Arlo’s Book Club! With the 45th Annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference coming up this weekend in Los Angeles, we thought we’d dedicate this one to the art of “making it work.” Picture book artists and illustrators are some of the brightest and most hard-working people we know. We honor them today with our story picks that feature characters who are making it work … or at least are learning how to! See below:

Arlo Book Club MIW
Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear with illustrations by Julie Morstad.
This one is a delectable treat, with a sweet story by Kyo Maclear and gorgeous imagery by illustrator, Julie Morstad. Two friends discover that not all adults have the “proper ingredients” while they work to bring them all together over a fine dinner and petite gâteau. This one holds life lessons in abundance and is absolutely beautiful in the process.
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The Little Red Hen (Little Golden Book), edited by Diane Muldrow with illustrations by J.P. Miller
Most young readers know this classic story of a hard-working hen who requests help from a lazy duck, pig and cat, who are eager to reap the bounty that the hen has sowed, but not eager to help in the process. It’s the perfect story for kids about learning to apply patience and hard work to find a glorious end. The characters and environments are brought vibrantly to life by mid-century illustrator, J.P. Miller.
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The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora
Brand new to bookshops and libraries everywhere is The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah OHora (of Wolfie the Bunny fame). Two library-loving pals teach a book-gobbling monster about how to properly read books and eat desserts instead. This one is hilarious, and also features museum-quality, colorful illustrations that we love!

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Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli
Sam is a race car driver who can’t be beat…until he is! Sam learns valuable lessons in this modern story about humility, talent, and how to be a good sport in the game you love the most. We love Pizzoli’s streamlined style and fresh color palette. This one is a winner.

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Swimmy by Leo Lionni
Swimmy is the only fish in his happy little school who survives an attack by a bigger fish. He makes it his mission to explore the sea and teach other fish how to defend themselves from predators using wit and teamwork in this classic from visionary, Leo Lionni. You can see more from Leo Lionni in his Master’s Showcase post.

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Red Cap Cards's Shop We Love: Young Blood Boutique Shop We Love: Young Blood Boutique July 21, 2016

It’s been a bit since we have featured a Shop We Love on our blog, but today we are doing just that! Say hello to Young Blood Boutique. You know those spaces that are so inspired that you find it feels like a breath of fresh air? Young Blood is one of those spaces. Gorgeous, white, and filled with hand-crafted art and design pieces, Young Blood is a unique artist-run retail shop in Atlanta, Georgia. Their photos make us want to grab one of everything–and that Fiddle Leaf Fig! Make sure to follow them on Instagram for a daily dose of their beautiful style.

Visit Young Blood Boutique’s online shop for jewelry pieces, but if you’re looking to see their entire product line, you’ll have to visit their shop in person. See below for some eye-candy shots of the shop, their social media information, and some lovely photos of their collection of Red Cap Cards (we love that styled photo of Jon Klassen’s crab congrats card!). Thank you so much, Young Blood, for being amazing!

Young Blood Boutique
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Red Cap Cards's Shop We Love: Young Blood Boutique
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Go visit Young Blood:
Young Blood Boutique
632 North Highland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 254-4127

youngbloodboutique.com
Or, follow Young Blood on Facebook or Instagram

Photos courtesy of Young Blood Boutique

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Carolyn_PP_FullofMagic Artist Spotlight: Carolyn Gavin July 14, 2016

If you’ve been following along with our Artist Spotlight series, then you are in for a real treat! Today, we celebrate one of the newest members to the Red Cap family: artist, Carolyn Gavin. From bright bouquets in watercolor and gouache, to sweet kittens and unbelievable upcoming gift wrap designs, Carolyn has added a such a unique point-of-view to our line. Read more below to learn about her childhood in South Africa and what inspires her to create such lush and colorful pieces, plus advice she has for the burgeoning illustrator. Thank you so much for chatting with us, Carolyn! View all of Carolyn’s designs for Red Cap in our shop, here.
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Tell us about your childhood—did you always want to be an artist? Did you have any other aspirations?
I grew up in South Africa in a very protective, nurturing environment. I lived in white suburbia in Johannesburg with my familytwo older brothers (who taught me to be tough), parents, and great grandparents, two dogs and a nanny, Beauty, who was like my second mama. I had a nice life, we had a swimming pool and I remember always painting and creating things and wanting to be an artist. I studied with artist, Nina Campbell-Quine, and she really taught me how to paint, experiment with different techniques and live a “bohemian” life as an artist. She had a stunning house and studio which she designed. The studio had gigantic windows facing an incredible succulent garden. A very exotic and intoxicating place to visit and paint every week!

As a white person growing up there, life was easy, sunny and bright. As a black person, life was unfair and unjust. Apartheid was at its peak right then in the 60’s and 70’s and no one dared speak out. The thing to do was either leave the country or fight for what you believed in.

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Carolyn_PP_Everythingwasbeautiful

It was a strange world where everything was beautiful on the surface but everything hurt underneath. I started to feel the underlying tensions of life there as I got older. Things really heated up as I was doing my three-year Graphic Design diploma in college and there was always this idea that we were leaving the country. This did in fact take place and we had all left by the Spring of 1990.

We love your paintings of bold flora—are you a gardener as well? If so, how does your garden grow?
Yes I’m a very keen gardener. It’s a passion of mine! My mother gave me my own patch of land to take care of when I was a tiny girl.

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I planted Sweet Peas, Portulaca, Nasturtiums and Marigolds. Things grew so easily in Africa… now I have a tiny front and back yard filled to the brim with creepers, trees, Perennials and Bamboo. I find it a very rewarding pastime and a serene place for a break on a sunny day. Its a very short growing season here (Toronto, Canada) so we really try to be outside as much as possible during the nicer months. The garden is very conducive to painting, makes for a lovely and inspiring outdoor studio, where I can listen to the birds, breathe in the scent of the Honeysuckle and observe the beautiful yellow Magnolia Tree.

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What is your creative process like?
I think it changes and goes through cycles. Lately I’m doing a lot of painting in water-colour and Gouache. I love to play around and find that is when my creativity is heightened and at its best. I draw quite a bit from nature using pen and ink. I think the more I create the better it is but I honestly feel it’s a process, it’s a journey and it’s a learning experiment all the time. I never quite feel, “Yup this is it”… its plain sailing from here! I’m learning as I go along…

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What inspires you?
Colour, colour combinations and patterns from all over the world.. Africa, Mexico, India, Belize, Eastern Europe… Flowers, animals, fashion, the city, the country and travel. I love to travel to new places. I think this opens up a whole world of possibilities and new creative experiences which translates into new and wonderful work. Plus, it refreshes your mind and energizes the soul.

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What is your most successful piece?
I think the artwork I did for the climbing wall for The Botanic Garden Children’s Center in Cambridge, MA (part of Harvard University) is a successful piece of art on a large scale. It was a hugely challenging idea for me to think of my work in such a large scale environment. The original watercolour painting was roughly 22×12 inches horizontally. The climbing wall mural is approximately 16 x 8 feet across. The artwork had to include fauna and flora from the garden including a Gingko tree, tomatoes, lilies, sunflowers, peas, beans, a squirrel, a bunny, a cardinal and a robin and some more.

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On a smaller scale, one of the most challenging and rewarding projects was creating the line of 12 greeting cards for Red Cap Cards. It was kind of like creating work for a commission but it took me longer than I normally work because although we discussed themes, subject matter and style, nothing was definitive. I just had to paint and record my progress to Carrie as I was going along, in the hopes that a collection would arise from that. It sure did, not sure how exactly but I’m so happy with the end result. It truly reflects my style and the freedom of the project and the big input, encouragement and inspiration from a great art director!

Carolyn Gavin

What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
Work hard, never stop learning and don’t give up.

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Favorite medium to work in?
Goauche paint and then watercolours.

Do you have a favorite piece that you have created?
I have a few but I think its the Congratulations card for Red Cap. Hands are challenging for me, but this one holding the flower bouquet seems just right. 2nd is the Thanks bouquet on Grey… i love how the colours and flowers are so balanced and harmonious in this one.

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Who are your role models, in terms of art or otherwise?
Painters I adore are Matisse, Odilon Redon, Raoul Dufy, Paul Aizpiri, Frida Kahlo, Olaf Hajek, Clementine Hunter. I’m inspired by people like Dame Daphne Sheldrick who has an Elephant Ophanage in Kenya and has devoted her life to raising and reintegrating orphan elephants into the wild. She tirelessly campaigns against the abuse of captive animals and poaching.

Carolyn_PP_FullofMagic

If you didn’t work as an artist, what would you hope to be doing?
I’d love to do something with animals or work on a flower farm.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to tell us about?
A new collection of fabrics with Windham Textiles. Its a lot of watercolour flowers, birds, bunnies and butterflies.

Print

Any advice to burgeoning illustrators?
Try to find your own style. It’s so important to define that as soon as you can, then you can work towards refining your style always.

And one we must ask all of our artists: favorite drink.
Rum and coke…and tea.

hanginthere

Photos courtesy Carolyn Gavin & Red Cap Cards.
Follow Carolyn on Instagram, here.

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We Found a Hat Three New Titles from Red Cap Artists! July 8, 2016

It feels like every time we turn around, a Red Cap Cards artist is publishing another fabulous picture book and wow-ing us with their incredible talent. This week, we wanted to show off three new titles that have either just been released or are on their way to bookshops everywhere.

Kate Hindley You Must Wear A Hat
Photo courtesy Simon Philip

You Must Bring a Hat! This new picture book from writer Simon Philip and Red Cap artist, Kate Hindley, was just released in June. The only rule for attending this party is . . . you MUST bring a hat. But what if you don’t own a hat? Will bringing a monkey wearing a hat be enough? Find out in this tale that builds to a gloriously surreal and hilarious ending. Well done, Kate!

We Found a Hat
Photo courtesy Walker Picture Books

The advance copies are hot off the presses, and we can’t wait to take a look inside the third installment of the “hat” series by Red Cap Cards artist, Jon Klassen. Our favorite description comes from The Washington Post in their “The 20 Books You’ll be Reading for the Rest of 2016” article: “The most epic trilogy since Lord of the Rings comes to its heart-stopping conclusion. Two turtles come across a handsome ten-gallon hat in the middle of the desert; only one can wear it. We Found a Hat is a surprisingly nuanced exploration of friendship, bargaining and millinery. Bonus: You don’t have to have read I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat to understand what’s going on.”

Tiger in the Garden

Lizzy Stewart‘s brand new masterpiece, There’s a Tiger in the Garden from Frances Lincoln Picture Books, is a story of adventure in the back garden. Nora doesn’t believe Grandma when she tells her there’s a tiger in the garden, even though she sees fantastical evidence that the garden may be more than what it seems! This is a delightful, colorful romp through a child’s imagination that belongs in every kid’s library.

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IMG_4450 The Magic Behind the Press June 30, 2016

The past couple of seasons have been incredible–we’ve been trying on a few different styles for size–adding gold foil, Pantone® colors, and new designs to our Red Cap product lines. Recently, we’ve been working on some brilliant new pieces, including gift wrap and sketchbook journals. Their release date is right around the corner, and because we get a lot of questions about our printing process, and how we stay true to our talented artists’ initial vision, we wanted to share with you a bit of how each design is printed and quality-checked to perfection. We want our cards and products to realize the exact result that the artist has envisioned. This week, we commissioned Carrie to answer a few of Red Cap’s most frequently asked questions and queries below, plus a sneak peek into the party that is our press checks:

Tell me about the process of selecting art work for your cards.
It all begins with the artist. Each artist we work with inspires a different story or feeling. I typically start the process by looking at their current body of work to help give them a general direction of what I feel would work on a card. Then we start a conversation about the kind of collection they’d like to create. Sometimes we have specific directions for mood, feeling, or story and other times we just use card occasions to guide the work.

Becca Stadtlander Wrap Project
Courtesy Becca Stadtlander’s Instagram

Do you have a hand in the creation of an art piece?
When we first began collaborating with artists I didn’t have much to say about the kind of artwork the artists were creating, and to be honest I had never art directed anyone’s art but my own. I always trusted my instinct to choose an artist and I wanted them to feel like they had the freedom to create work that they wanted to make. I truly believe that an artist creates their best work when they feel supported, not over art directed. I don’t think any artist enjoys that experience. Hal and I have always wanted Red Cap Cards to be a home for artists to try new things and experiment with ideas that excite them. That being said, over time I think I have become a much better art director and I have a pretty good idea of our customers and what works and what doesn’t work on a card. I will say that every artist is unique. They all have a different approach to their work and have different needs in terms of direction. My job is understand them and to give the support they need to create the work they love, but also make sure it’s right for the project. I think being an artist can be lonely. Sometimes you need someone to bounce your ideas off of, so I’m happy to be that person for the artists we work with. Collaboration was one thing I missed when I was at home drawing alone for eight hours a day.

Carolyn Gavin Sketchbook
Courtesy Carolyn Gavin’s Instagram
I do like to think of fun ways to inspire our artists and I’ve always wanted to find a way for them to play or inspire one another for a project. This summer we did a little experiment that we are calling the “summer wrap project.” The concept was simple. We took seven artists and had them create color stories that they shared with one another. Each artist had the opportunity to give and take, pulling colors and concepts from eachother’s story boards to create a collection that we hoped would harmonize in the end. It was a fun way to create a collection. I’m excited to share the end result with you.
Kelsey Garrity-Riley wrap art work
Courtesy Kelsey Garrity-Riley’s Instagram

How do you select your artists?
I’ve always been attracted to artists who seem to have a knack for storytelling or just simply have a distinct look and feel. I think each of our artists are uniquely different and you can easily recognize their work. They have a strong sense of their own personal style as well and a clear point of view. Most of our artists have a natural ability for creating images that are filled with emotion that translate beautifully to a greeting cards. Creating art for cards isn’t as easy as you think it would be. There are so many talented artists out there, but the work doesn’t always translate to a greeting card format.

After the work is complete, what are the steps from there?
The files are delivered to us and we send them to the pre-press department at our printers where proofs and plates are made for the press. Then we print, cut, score, fold, pack, and ship to our warehouse in Minnesota. Depending on the size of the project this can take between 2 and 3 weeks.

Anna Emilia Laitinen Wrap project
Courtesy Anna Emilia Laitinen’s Instagram

What is the actual printing process like? Are present for it?
Yes, we are there. We print here in Los Angeles not far from our house. Hal and I show up at 9am and we are on press all day. Our pressmen are amazing, some of them have been printing for over 30 years. We typically stand at the press adjusting colors until they are as close to perfect as we can get. This is a difficult process. There are certain colors that are really hard to print. We print multiple cards on a sheet, so managing to get them all perfect is not an easy task, but we do it!

What types of printing techniques do you use at Red Cap?
Offset and foil. We printed more letterpress in the past but we haven’t done that in a while.

Carolyn Gavin Wrap for Red Cap Cards
Courtesy Carolyn Gavin’s Instagram

Have you ever run into problems with artwork after you’ve printed?
Yes, not often, but it happens. The biggest disaster we ever had was running a 6-color spot color job. It wasn’t a problem with the art, it was the printing. Half of the job was one color and the other half was another color. It was a real mess. But I have since learned how difficult it is to run a 6-color spot color job. Consistency is not your friend. I don’t think we’ll be doing this again. Actually, knowing us we probably will. Printing is a real art form. Hal and I are not printers, so we learn something every time we are on press.

What is your favorite part about the process of making a card?
My favorite part is being on press seeing everyone’s hard work turn into something tangible. I get so excited. I start sending pictures to all the artists so they can feel like they are right there with us. I’ve been known to cry at press checks feeling overwhelmed with gratitude that we have such a killer job and work with so many beautiful people. We have run Red Cap Cards for 11 years now and every year it just gets better. I love our job and I’m super proud of the products we make…. Here come the tears….

Mirdinara Wrap Project
Courtesy Dinara Mirtalipova’s Instagram

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KP-atdesk Artist Spotlight: Kate Pugsley June 23, 2016

It’s a delight to feature one of our newest artists, Kate Pugsley, on our blog today in the Artist’s Spotlight hotseat Not only is she a fantastic artist, but she’s an inspiring human being as well. From her vibrant patterns, greeting cards, and prints–you can pretty much immerse yourself in Kate’s work on a daily basis and be a better person for it (or at least be living in bold and patterned color).

We will try not to give much away, but Red Cap also has some pretty fantastic things in the works for our next release, and a lot of them involve her work. Read on to learn more about what inspires Kate, about her favorite pieces, and her advice to up-and-coming artists. Thank you, Kate!
Kate Pugsley at work

Tell us about your childhood—did you always want to be an artist? Did you have any other aspirations?
My childhood was pretty dull, so I spent a lot of time reading, drawing, and dreaming of becoming an artist. The other career options I was aware of at the time didn’t interest me much, so I decided pretty early that I wanted to be an artist. Growing up I had no understanding of what a life as an artist would be like. So far it is completely surprising and satisfying!
Papercuts by Kate Pugsley

Your patterns are to die for. Any chances that wallpaper or the like might be in your future?
I really hope so!

Underwater Pattern

What is your creative process like?
I am constantly painting and drawing and always keep a running notebook of sketches, thoughts, and ideas that I’ll reference for project inspiration. My sketchbooks are an important resource for me and I often find ideas I completely forgot about and feel ready to revisit. Work generates inspiration for me. For illustration assignments, my early sketches can be pretty rough. Since I am a painter I sometimes struggle to convey my ideas in pencil alone. I use traditional materials as much as possible since I don’t enjoy spending too much time on the computer. Once an idea is ready I paint the finals in gouache and use some digital tools for cleaning up or assembling.

Kate Pugsley Page
Abstract Birthday and Birthday Suit

We love, love, love the James and Giant Peach illustration. What were your favorite books growing up?
Some of my favorites were Eloise by Kay Thompson, and all books by Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter, Margaret Wise Brown and Richard Scarry.

James and the Giant Peach by Kate Pugsley

What inspires you?
I’ve been asked this question a lot, and it’s hard to answer honestly. My environment has always been really important, including experiences of new places. Work and life are so intertwined that I can’t really pick out specific inspirations. Taking the time to observe what’s around me helps me stay conscious of what I’m thinking and feeling, and I think that influences my work.
Kate Pugsley's Thelma and Louise
What is your most successful piece?
When I look back on work, it can be hard to decide what really makes it “successful.” This piece I did for Flow Magazine is one I consider to be because it led to several other great projects for me.
Flow Magazine Kate Pugsley

What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
An illustration teacher told me that she paints at least 6 days a week, every week. I just remember this made me realize what kind of dedication this job takes.

Favorite medium to work in?
I love to paint with gouache on hot press watercolor paper.

Feather Kate Pugsley
Birds of a Feather

Do you have a favorite piece that you have created?
I don’t have one single piece that is my favorite. This is a painting that I remember really enjoying my time working on, so maybe that qualifies it as a favorite.

Kate Pugsley's favorite piece of her own work

Who are your role models, in terms of art or otherwise?
Some people who have inspired me over the years by sharing their creativity are Karin Dreijer Andersson, Tomi Ungerer, Kara Walker, Beatrice Alemagna, Julie Mehretu, Camilla Engman, Maurice Sendak, Frida Kahlo, and Morrissey.

If you didn’t work as an artist, what would you hope to be doing?
I’d like to be an architect or a teacher or mixing colors in a paint factory.

Kate Pugsley Paints and work

Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to tell us about?
I’m having a show in September in Madrid at Do Design Gallery, which is pretty exciting. There are a few illustration projects in the works, but I can’t really talk about them yet.

Where would you like to see your work in ten years?
I’d love to work on children’s books in the coming years.

Kate Pugsley working at her desk

Any advice to burgeoning illustrators?
Don’t give up too soon; it takes a long time to develop good work. It would have been really easy for me to give up when I wasn’t having success in my early twenties, but I would regret not having made all of those horrible paintings that eventually led me here.

Congratulations Kate Pugsley
Three Women Congrats

View more of Kate’s designs for Red Cap Cards, here.

Photos courtesy of Kate Pugsley and Red Cap Cards.

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shake Shake: For all the Fathers June 17, 2016

In honor of Father’s Day we wanted to share a funny music video by our talented friends, Gungor. Best part about this one is seeing our very own Hal Mertz dressed in a cat suit shaking his booty.

Happy Fathers Day to all of you amazing fathers out there! Keep on shaking and doing what you do best, loving those babies.

IMG_3779 The Art of Love June 15, 2016

In light of recent events, we wanted to take a break from our regular blog festivities and take a pause to reflect and remind. To remind us all of the art of love and the joy that can be found each and every day. Here at Red Cap Cards, we stand for peace. We stand for joy. We stand for doing something in our lives that spreads love and happiness. We will continue to live our lives and send love to all, as one collective consciousness. We are Red Cap Cards and we love you.

We collected a few moments of artful joy here in this blog post to serve as that reminder. Click on the images for more.

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Rooster Love Card by Christian Robinson
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Less Internet, More Love art campaign by the late Susan O’Malley
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Paw Print Art by Juniper the Fox
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Chicago Public School Students Are Learning How Outsider Art Can Combat Hate | “With all the hatred in the world we want to communicate that art can touch many lives and heal.”
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Fluoro Heart Print from the lovely Banquet Atelier & Workshop
hanginthere
Hang In There Card by Carolyn Gavin for Red Cap Cards
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Is it Time for Another Hands Across America?
tulips
Orbital View of Netherlands Tulips

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anke2 Anke’s Election Collection + A Comic by Lizzy Stewart June 8, 2016

With the new site up and running, we are busy creating new cards for our next release! With all of the hullabaloo, it’s been a little while since we’ve caught up with our talented artists’ projects, and this week decided it was time to check in. This week, we were excited to see the creative work that Red Cap Cards artists, Anke Weckmann and Lizzy Stewart are making.

Election coverage got you down? This will cheer you up: the Election Collection by Anke Weckmann. Pick your poison (pizza, spaghetti or falafel, that is) and let’s leave those other choices far, far behind. Now all we have to argue about is alfredo or pepperoni. We’re eyeing an “I Vote Pizza” Tote.

I Vote Pizza by Anke Weckmann I Vote Falafel by Anke WeckmannI Vote Spaghetti by Anke Weckmann

Another special treat that’s catching our eye today is a new comic by Red Cap artist, Lizzy Stewart. Via Lizzy’s site: a 26 page a4- comic containing three interwoven short stories about young-ish women in the city. Full color cover, b&w inside. The comic will debut at the ELCAF festival and will ship following the weekend of 10th/11th June. “It’s not what you thought it would be.”

Comic by Lizzy Stewart

To view Anke, Lizzy, and our other artists’ designs for Red Cap, click over to the artist page on our website. Great work, ladies!

New Artists: Kate Pugsley Meet Our New Artists: Kate Pugsley + Carolyn Gavin June 3, 2016

We were delighted to introduce you to one of our newest artists in the Red Cap family, Barbara Dziadosz, last week. If you happened to miss her Artist Spotlight interview, we highly recommend hitting the rewind button and taking a look! We have some fun treats in store when it comes to our two other new artists–Kate Pugsley and Carolyn Gavin— but in the meantime, we wanted to introduce them here with a bit of their unique stories and a few photos.

Meet Kate Pugsley! Kate is an illustrator, painter and surface designer living in Chicago. She grew up in Ohio as a constant drawer, daydreamer, and animal enthusiast before going to college at the Rhode Island School of Design to study illustration. She spends most of her time in her studio painting with gouache and watercolor to create images for books, galleries, magazines, textiles and stationery.

We so love her illustrations. Aren’t they refreshing and modern?

New Artists: Kate PugsleyAbstract Birthday

Congratulations Kate PugsleyBird on Your Head

Feather Kate Pugsley

Meet Carolyn Gavin! Carolyn Gavin is a painter, Illustrator and surface pattern designer based in Toronto, Canada. Carolyn trained as a graphic designer and learned painting and techniques from artist Nina Campbell-Quine. In 2007, she started Ecojot with her family, an eco-friendly paper business. Today, she freelances with her agent Lilla Rogers Studio and licenses her work for fabric, house wares, packaging and books.

Carolyn works in gouache, watercolor, pen & ink and vector. Finding inspiration in travel, flowers, exotic color and pattern, Carolyn makes sure her life is filled with beauty and creativity.

Those colors! Absolutely bursting off the page.

New Artists: Carolyn Gavin
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New Artists: Carolyn GavinGAV1634-Happy-B-Day-Kitten-760x560

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View all of these artists work in our shop or their individual artist pages here.

 

 

Where Do I Begin Artist Spotlight: Barbara Dziadosz May 27, 2016

Did you happen to notice that our site is brand new and improved?! What a roller coaster ride! We are proud to announce our brand, new and improved website. A celebration seems in order–and with that, a brand new Artist Spotlight interview. This time, with new Red Cap family member and illustrator extraordinaire, Barbara Dziadosz.

Where Do I Begin

Barbara is a freelance illustrator from Hamburg, who specializes in screen printing, character design and editorial design. Originally from a little town in northern Poland, she was raised in Hamburg and started her studies at the HAW Hamburg. During this time she had the opportunity to experiment with a lot of printing techniques and fell in love with the simplicity of screen printing. Right now, Barbara is working for various national and international magazines and clients, and creating a cook book with healthy recipes.

We were lucky enough to chat with her about her creative process, what inspires her and much more:

Tell us about your childhood—did you always want to be an artist? Did you have any other aspirations?

I don’t know if I ever made a conscious decision to become an artist. As a kid I just loved drawing and creating new worlds, just like most of the children. In my case I just didn’t stop doing this since then. I also was very interested in writing little stories and making up things, so this comes in handy regarding my creative process.

flower

What is your creative process like?
Depending on if it’s client work or personal, it differs a bit. For client work I start with reading the article/brief and write down some notes. Then it’s pretty much the same as for personal work, I just start sketching freely/loosely whatever comes to my mind. If sketches are approved I take them to digital and trace/color them. After that I add texture and hand drawn elements to avoid a too clean digital look.

gazpacho paella recipe

You have done it all: printmaking, editorial, character design, etc. Which do you prefer and why?
That’s difficult to say. The best is a mix of everything, to keep it interesting. I love the speed of editorial work, the creative freedom of creating characters and the physical work of screen printing.

Is there any art form that you haven’t yet been able to do that you would like to?
During my studies I had the opportunity to get to know a lot of printing techniques, so I consider myself pretty lucky about that. Animation seems tempting to me, but I think I’m too impatient for something like this.

barbara1

What inspires you?
I’m very influenced by vintage illustration from all over the world. I admire Russian avant-garde illustrators like Boris Ermelenko, the bold works of Fernand Nathan, Olle Eksell, Leonard Weisgard, Alice and Martin Provensen; Miroslav Sasek, Art Seiden, Arnold Edwin Bare and many many more. I also love old advertisements like the one from bally or old food illustrations. There is jelly everywhere and woman serve big meals to their husbands in their pink kitchens. I also love old Czechoslovakian, Polish and Russian matchbox labels and vintage travel posters, mainly from England.

I could not limit my self to one artist or one direction. Each one of them has something that fascinates me. What I mainly love about those kind of illustrations is the limited color palette, the bold shapes and the beautiful printing techniques they are made with.

What is your most successful piece?
I just recently had the opportunity to do a cover artwork for Anorak (a very popular kids magazine here in Europe). This was a huge honor for me. Doing a cover is always special and being able to do it for one of your favorite magazines is just super fun.

Anorak Cover Dziadosz

What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
Don’t be lazy 😉
When I started studying I didn’t know much about illustration and the work of an illustrator. So I was a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities and great people I studied with. The result of this was kind of a shock. I wasn’t able to draw and think freely as I was inhibited. I was too shy to show my work in class, so I stopped doing stuff at all, as I thought it was bad anyways. But fortunately I have learned to be confident with my own work and to always keep on working to improve.

Favorite medium to work in?
Just simple pen and sketchbook.

Do you have a favorite piece that you have created?
One of my favorites is my dinosaurs piece.

Artist Spotlight: Barbara Dziadosz

We love your signature muted/pastel color palette. What does your home look like? Do you utilize these colors in your every day life?
My home is more minimal with lots of wood and here and there a dash of color. My boyfriend is a furniture designer (he built my beautiful desk for example) so we have a lot of one of kind furniture in our home.

Barbara Dziadosz desk

Who are your role models, in terms of art or otherwise?
Please see above “what inspires you.”

If you didn’t work as an artist, what would you hope to be doing?
I would love to be an archaeologist. It’s such an fascinating field which includes art, history and nature all in once.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to tell us about?
Right now I’m finishing up a cook book with healthy recipes which will be available hopefully very soon. Besides this I’m having a baby in May, so this is my biggest long-time project so far 🙂

[Editors note: Congratulations, Barbara!!]

belly Barbara Dziadosz

Where would you like to see your work in ten years?
I hope to make more bigger projects like books, both for adults and kids. I could even imagine myself working as an art director for a newspaper/magazine or teaching in school. Either way, I just hope I can work in a creative field surrounded by artists.

cook

Any advice to burgeoning illustrators?
Never stop working. Even if you don’t have an assignment, just keep doing stuff. Keep yourself busy and you will improve for sure and this will bring you more real jobs in the end.

Who are you currently loving on Instagram?
Thefatjewish 😉 This is totally my kind of humor.

And one we must ask all of our artists: favorite drink.
Maté tea. It keeps me awake and I just love the flavor.

Thanks, Barbara! To view Barbara’s designs for Red Cap Cards, click here.

Arlo’s Book Club: Magical Wonderment Edition May 25, 2016

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment Arlo Fairy

We are super excited to bring you another edition of Arlo’s Book Club! Did you happen to see our little interview on the Tiny Readers blog? Click over to see a photo of a teeny, tiny adorable kid boss, plus our picks for all-time favorite books and illustrators. How cool is it that Arlo’s Book Club is reaching out and promoting reading and the love of beautiful writing and illustration with kids? So important! This month, we are all in a flurry of fairies after celebrating Arlo’s 5th birthday. The years have flown by (pun!) and Arlo’s fairy-themed party was a blast. For her birthday, Arlo was gifted a copy of A Fairy Friend and we have been excited about the concept of magical wonderment ever since, and picked out some books to share with you. Hope you enjoy! Click the title links to learn more.

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment Book Balloons

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment: A Fairy Friend

A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Claire Keane. Illustrated by a Disney animator, this book is absolutely perfect for any child who inhabits the whimsical, magical worlds of the fairies. Fairies are all around us…that is, IF you know where to look. Maybe they are just waiting for you to build them a tiny house to live in. Do you believe in fairies? We do!

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment: A Fairy Friend

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment: Alice in Wonderland Pop-Up Book

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Robert Sabuda. Curiouser and curiouser! Pop-up books are often underrated, but the exquisite attention to detail and design is often breathtaking in those are well-done. These illustrations figuratively and literally burst off the page in bright colors and draw you right into Alice’s Wonderland. The page where Alice grows too big for a house is a masterpiece in and of itself! Make sure you check this one out, especially for future engineers and imagineers.

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment: Alice in Wonderland Pop-Up Book 2

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment: Alice in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Anna Bond. Another rendition of Alice in Wonderland, this one comes to us by the founder and chief designer and illustrator for Rifle Paper Company. We absolutely adore the simplistic, yet detailed illustrations that are in true, tender style of Rifle Paper Co. Plus, this one comes with the full original text and is hardbound.

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment: Alice in Wonderland

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment: Jill and the Dragon

Jill & Dragon by Lesley Barnes. This one was written and illustrated by a Red Cap Cards artist, herself! We are always such cheerleaders for our Red Cap family members’ works of art and this one is no different. Dragon burns, singes and barbecues everything in his path, so when Jill decides to lead him out of the book to teach him some new skills, Dragon discovers an interesting talent! This one is about fitting in, while maintaing your sense of self. A perfect story for kids and adults alike!

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment: Jill and the Dragon

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment: All the World

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee. If you’re going to pick this one up, be sure to swing by the store and grab yourself a box of tissues as well. Poetically written and illustrated, this one teaches children about the consistency of life and how all creatures great and small are connected and one with each other in love. A real tearjerker, and especially perfect for those introspective thinkers and lovers.

Arlo's Book Club Magical Wonderment: All the World

Diversity in Children’s Books with Last Stop on Market Street May 18, 2016

Every once in a while, a picture book comes along that truly makes a difference in the spectrum of children’s literature and all of those who read it. We are lucky enough to be privy to the artist of one such book: Red Cap artist, Christian Robinson, half of the dream team that created 2016 Newbery Medal winner, Last Stop on Market Street. Christian Robinson and the book’s author, Matt de la Peña, were recently interviewed on MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) about the importance of diversity in children’s books. If you’ve got 45 free minutes, you should most definitely settle down with a cup of tea and listen to the show. Matt and Christian chat with MPR about what it means to create a diverse books in terms of both class and race, and what books have dealt with these subjects well in the past.

Interview with Matt De Le Peña and Christian Robinson on MPR


While a moralistic story like this runs the risk of being heavy-handed, especially when written for children, this one is not. The writing remains subtle and relies on Christian’s light-hearted illustration. With minimalist and colorful drawings and papercuts (he even references them as “lego faces,” ha!) the book accomplishes its objective while remaining soft. “I love this idea that a drawing has a life of it’s own, has integrity and should be respected, and I try to put that same spirit into my illustration,” says Christian.

And on a quirky note, he talks about injecting a bit more fun into the text with the use of dog illustrations: “any opportunity to make the world more colorful, more exciting, more fun!”

Make sure you take the time to listen to this show on MPR. It’s a delight. Great work, Matt and Christian! To view Christian’s work for Red Cap, click here.

New and Fantastic… May 10, 2016

Could anything be better than spring? The birds are singing, the buds are blooming, and our spring collection is ready to take flight! Check your inboxes for our new spring catalog, headed your way, to find our latest additions including cards by NEW artists Carolyn Gavin, Barbara Dziadosz and Kate Pugsley, plus a huge new holiday collection that is bursting at the seams. Gold and Cooper foil galore. See that catalog here.

Our new website is under construction, so if you'd like to place an order e-mail us directly or contact your local sales rep.
 

Red Cap Cards catalog preview

Make sure to take a peek at the collection in the catalog, because we won't be presenting the new collection at next week's National Stationery Show in NYC this year. Hey, turn that frown upside down! We will still be there! In the flesh, and hoping to meet you. Look for our smiling faces perusing the aisles at NSS and drooling over all of the new goodies. Sometimes it's more fun to play than work. And something else to look forward to–our new website is almost finished baking and we can't wait to show you the tasty treats we've been whipping up. Until then…

Mother’s Day Gift Galore May 8, 2016

This year I received one of the most beautiful Mother’s Day gift a bit early. A series of photos taken by my talent friend Amber Gress, documenting a sunset play date in Joshua Tree with my family. We busted out the furs, listened to the Doors and howled with the coyotes, it was magical. Amber recently posted about our adventure on her blog and I was moved to tears when I read her story. On this Mother’s Day I can honestly say that I feel like the luckiest lady. I have a daughter that is my greatest muse, a husband that I fall deeper in love with every day, a business that is always inspiring, and the most the magical friends. I’m truly blessed…. Life is good.

Here are a few of my favorite photos taken by Amber and a link to her blog where you can see the entire Joshua Tree series. Be sure to check out the rest of her site. It’s stunning.

 

Thank you Amber. You are a light….

Mother's Day at Paperless Post May 5, 2016

Mother's Day is on our doorstep, folks! For those who have forgotten (aka are itching for a spanking), Mother's Day is on Sunday, May 8th. But don't worry, friends. We are here to help you. If you haven't popped your card or care package in the mail by now, rest assured that you can still send a beautiful correspondence through Paperless Post.

Mother's Day at Red Cap Cards for Paperless Post

Mother's Day at Red Cap Cards for Paperless Post

We have curated a small collection of online stationery over at Paperless Post so that if you don't have time to put pen to paper, at least you might have time to put finger to key. With artists from Lizzy Stewart, Blanca Gómez, Yelena Bryksenkova and more–you can find the perfect note for your mumsy with just a click of your index finger….don't let her know it was that easy though, okay?

Click over to Paperless Post to see more of the collection, and Happy Mother's Day!

The Importance of a Sketchbook April 29, 2016

Lately, as we've been preparing for an upcoming product line (!), we've been mulling the importance of an artist's sketchbook. That isn't just to say a visual artist–this also includes writers, musicians, teachers, and more. Practice makes perfect, as the old saying goes. Allowing for your art form to take shape in a fluid, stream-of-consciousness fashion in a journal or a sketchbook is one of the best ways to keep your mind on-point and your craft solid.

Kelsey Garrity Riley Studio

How inspiring are some of the shots below of a few of our Red Cap artists sketches and sketchbooks? We especially love the video series that Anke Weckmann shoots with drawing time lapses. We nabbed this week's–full of lumberjacks!–to show you here. You can view even more on her Youtube channel. Lumber beware, cause those sketches are sharp! Have fun taking a look below, and don't forget your sketchbook and a pencil.

Kelsey Garrity Riley sketchbook
Kelsey Garrity-Riley


Anke Weckmann

Lizzy Stewart Sketchbook zine
Lizzy Stewart Sketchbook art gallery
Lizzy Stewart

Meg Hunt Sketchbook
Meg Hunt

Jaime Zollars Sketchbook
Jaime Zollars

Anna Emilia Laitinen Sketchbook
Anna Emilia Laitinen via Design*Sponge

Sarah Burwash Sketchbook
Sarah Burwash via Design*Sponge

James Gulliver Hancock sketches
James Gulliver Hancock

Artist Spotlight: James Gulliver Hancock April 22, 2016

It's been quite a while since we've been able to interview one of our awe-inspiring Red Cap illustrators for our Artist Spotlight series, and we are so happy that today is the day at last! We had the opportunity to chat with our newest Red Cap family member–James Gulliver Hancock–about what inspires him, what his creative process is like and much more:

Artist Spotlight: James Gulliver Hancock for Red Cap Cards

Tell us about your childhood—did you always want to be an artist? Did you have any other aspirations?
I had a great childhood! I grew up in Balmain, an inner suburb of Sydney. Sydney is made up of lots of harbour inlets, so there was a lot of taking little boats on adventures with friends, exploring the local nature and challenging ourselves. I drew all the time, and somehow knew I wanted to make things all the time. I drew all the time, even from a very young age. One early memory was using drawing at preschool to get out of doing any other tasks. I drew the most complicated thing I could think of so it would take all day and I wouldn’t have to do anything else – I still do this today 😉 I was definitely lucky that I knew what I wanted to do from early on, I really only vaguely had other aspirations, which were somehow relevant to the creative visual obsessions… I almost enrolled in aeronautical engineering at university!

You split your time between New York and Sydney. Is that for work, leisure, a bit of both?
I do split my time, but it’s more international even than that now. I’m lucky enough to have clients all over the world, so I get to travel to lots of different places for work. Couple that with my wife (Lenkamusic.com) who is a traveling musician means we’ve gotten to see a lot of different places and cultures, and actually live in them, rather than just be a tourist, which is really special. I don’t tend to split the idea of work and leisure though, they are one and the same to me, I’d be drawing regardless of whether it was for clients or not. I’m always drawing.

James Gulliver Hancock for Red Cap Cards

What is your creative process like?
Like I said, I draw all the time, it’s a great advantage as I’ve got a pool of ideas to work from at all times. If ever I’m stuck at any part of the process I can pull up something I was interested a while ago from a sketchbook and get the inspiration to carry on. My process generally starts with really rough sketches, sometimes they are so rough they aren’t really intelligible to anyone but me. From there I usually refine by tracing that sketch to another sketch phase that the client can comment on, something like the attached below:

Artist Spotlight: James Gulliver Hancock for Red Cap Cards

Then I typically draw this out for the final line work, making any last little tweaks. I don’t use anything particularly fancy during my process, typically it’s pencil and pen and paper. I do like to use a dipping pen sometimes, as it pulls in that accidental messiness that I love. Once the final line work is done and approved, I scan it into the computer and use a wacom tablet to add colour underneath the line work. I try to treat my process a bit like silkscreen printmaking, so there are only 2 or 3 layers and the color is blocky and finished by the line work sitting on top. I do a lot of silkscreening for my personal projects, selling the prints on my website. I still remember the first time I tried silkscreening and the excitement it gave, combining elements of photography, collage, and drawing, coupled with the ability to print on almost anything, it’s inherent multimedia aspects had me hooked.

What inspires you?
Everything around me basically. I like to gather influence from anything from a bike ride around the block, to reading a children’s book to reading a science or philosophy article online. I don’t typically look at other artists or illustrators for inspiration, as doing so usually has the opposite effect, I like to pull ideas from more abstract thoughts. Even just seeing an interesting pattern, or the way the tree in the park meets the grass can lead to a new way of thinking about a drawing.

Favorite medium to work in?
Pencil and paper, I don’t think I’ll ever get over the satisfaction of making a picture appear on blank paper. It still feels like magic. My other favorite as I mentioned is silkscreening, with it’s flexibility and bold blocky colors.

The Process: James Gulliver Hancock's illustration for Red Cap Card in pencil

Do you have a favorite piece that you have created? I’m usually in love with whatever it is I’m working on at the moment. I love the cards Red Cap and I did of course, especially the medals. These were an idea I’d wanted to work up for a long time. I think reward is such a big part of growing up in a society, wanting to please people around you… at least it was for me, so I thought these rewards for acts of loving were a nice idea. It’s funny when you create something you like and you just want to stare at it. I’ve just released my first coloring book and I still love looking at the drawings even though I did most of them about a year ago. You know you’ve done something right when you’ve pushed yourself a little and you need to look at the drawings a lot after you’ve finished them. It’s like being in love and wanting to be with that person all the time for no good reason other than you just want to be next to them.

James

You have worked in both corporate and independent illustration—which do you prefer?
I’ve worked hard to have a very varied practice. I consciously made decisions to have a strong commercial practice as well as a personal one. They aren’t separate though by any means, it’s more like I’m making and drawing every day for myself thinking of projects I could do, but most of the time before I get the chance those ideas get folded into client work. I love this process. Being constantly self motivated also has it’s advantages in any downtime (which is becoming more and more rare) so that when there aren't any nagging deadlines I can just shift over and do some printmaking for my store or work on a long form book concept…. or just draw the flowers on my desk to give to a friend.

Tell us about All The Buildings in New York.
All the Buildings in New York is a project that came out of my love of traveling. Being 1/2 British I traveled a fair bit since I was a kid. It really ramped up after high school when I started wandering around the world by myself. My longest journey was a year or two out of University when I drew a wobbly line from my hometown in Sydney, Australia to London, England, and made plans to do the journey by land/sea. It was an amazing experience, but not only did it influence my personal life it really directed me professionally. I was a bit lost thinking I wanted to be a designer, and getting into my travel sketchbook I realised a way of working that culminated in this project. I would draw obsessively the things around me, collecting things to draw like a hoarder of pictures. Eventually these grew into prints which I started to sell. Then when I eventually ended up in New York I started the project focusing on the buildings, trying desperately to collect the whole New York experience by drawing all of the buildings. Unwittingly it was a brilliant way to introduce my work to this international city, as fairly soon after it started it got quite a lot of press and eventually I had publishers calling me to do a book, and once the book came out clients wanting to work together.

New York Public Library by James Gulliver Hancock

Do you take building requests?
I do indeed, head to the website–allthebuildingsinnewyork.com–and in the shop section you’ll see how to order. I love doing these as it is a real connection to stories about New York that I otherwise wouldn’t hear. I remember one special one was a couple wanting a portrait of the buildings they lived in separately coupled with the new building they were moving into together… a very sweet sentiment, celebrating the architecture around their love.

640 Broadway by James Gulliver Hancock

What is it about the structure of architecture that you love to draw?
For one, they stand still, so I can sit and observe for as long as I like. I think also generally architecture is underrated. People use buildings all day everyday, and we don’t really stop and look at them. I know architects and building lovers do, but I met so many people in New York that would say to me that they’ve lived in this or that building for 10 years and never even noticed it was so beautiful. It was a great moment when people cited my drawings as an impetus for looking deeper into their surroundings. When you do start to look architecture almost becomes just like sculpture and the city a big museum, that’s what it is for me now. I’ve mentioned this before in other talks I’ve done, that what is also lovely for me about this project is that the buildings become like friends. Once I’ve drawn a building I never really forget it, I’ll be walking down the street and see a building I’ve drawn and it’s almost like we say hi or give each other a high five. Because New York was an adopted city for me it was a great way to make new friends 😉

Is there any every day object that you haven’t drawn yet—you seem to have covered most! If so, will you be working on that tonight?
As part of my obsessive nature I would like to draw every single thing in the world and do nothing else! It worries me sometimes that I haven’t drawn everything. I guess that’s why I draw in the between moments as well as in the studio. I draw the cups on the table, the glasses on the bedside table, the chairs in the cafe, in some sort of attempt to pay attention to everything around me.

Who are your role models, in terms of art or otherwise?
I always find this question touch, maybe because it changes all the time? I do love the classic illustrator choices like Maurice Sendak, Richard Scarry, Saul Steinberg

Artist Spotlight: James Gulliver Hancock for Red Cap Cards

If you didn’t work as an artist, what would you hope to be doing?
I know what I’d be doing, I’d be drawing regardless, whether or not it’s art or illustration, for myself or someone else I’d continue to make things. My making obsession satisfaction does spill into other areas, I get it from woodworking, from cooking, from gardening… maybe I’d eventually spill into one of those… ?

Any advice to burgeoning illustrators?
Make stuff all the time and show it to as many people as possible.

James Gulliver Hancock for Red Cap Cards

Any upcoming projects you'd like to tell us about? Ever since the success of my All the Buildings in New York book I’ve been making a lot of books, so my colouring book just came out which I’m excited about, and this has informed a new children’s book I wrote and illustrated with an old friend. It’s been really fun exploring character design and environments, working with a very talented and fastidious editor and making the best book we can, it’s really exciting. I can’t wait for it to come out so I can read it to my kids. It’s funny, at every stage of my kids development I’ve wanted to take the making into my own hands, when Quinn was little I made him these hand painted children’s blocks, I made him a book about wheels, when he was obsessed with wheels, and it’s almost a career journey that now I’m doing this dense and detailed children’s book for him.

Children's blocks by James Gulliver Hancock

And one we must ask all of our artists: favorite drink?
Your finest whiskey, straight, with a large ice cube.

To view James Gulliver Hancock's designs for Red Cap, click here. Thank you, James!

Red Cap Cards on Write_On! April 12, 2016

“I think when people find our cards they are inspired by the art. They see a story that’s familiar or intriguing and make it their own. They want to share what they’ve discovered and they sit down and write. I love how our cards can trigger a memory or create a dream world that people want to connect through.” -Carrie

Red Cap Cards on the Write_On blog Red Cap Cards on the Write_On blog
We're so excited to have Carrie on today's interview series installment on the Write_On Campaign blog. Carrie had the chance to sit down with Write_On and tell her personal perspective of what a handwritten letter means. See below for a little taste of the interview, and click over to Write_On to view the entire thing. Thank you, Write_On!

Write_On: What does your letter-writing practice look like?

Carrie: Well it’s not as creative as it was when I was in 7th grade. Boy, those were the days. The amount of time and effort I put into writing was beyond! I must have written a million letters a day. Not to mention I had pen pals. Do you remember having those? I had a teacher that set us up with complete strangers in other countries and we’d write to them every week. How awesome is that. It makes my current letter writing process seem very sad. That’s why I’m looking forward to your challenge!

Write_On: Modern times have made digital correspondence increasingly available and convenient. Why is it important for people to send handwritten cards and letters?

Carrie: Recently my Dad passed away and I found a box in his desk with all the letters and cards I had written to him over the years. Each letter was a bit different. I thanked him for money, I wished him a happy birthday, I reminded him of favorite childhood memories, but in each letter at some point I always express my love and gratitude for him and my mom. As I read each letter I realized how important they were to him and how grateful I was that I took the time to sitdown and let him know how I felt. Connection through hand written letters in invaluable, we should all do it more often….

Lacy Birthday at Anthropologie! April 8, 2016

Let's keep your birthday sexy! This golden foil beauty is now available at Anthropologie, illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova for Red Cap Cards. ‪View this card in their shop here, and for more information, click here.

Yelena Bryksenkova card by Red Cap Cards available at Anthropologie