It’s time to spread some cheer! We are so excited to share this gift wrap tutorial video with you today, plus, see below for a few tips and tricks for creating a flawlessly wrapped package for the holidays. And, hey! Our gift wrap isn’t just for every day gifting. Jazz up your packages for the holidays or a special New Year hostess gift. Thank goodness for 2017! Also, don’t forget to download your free instructions to create your own Origami Tree ornaments (as seen in the video), here.
And…if you’re going to be in our area this weekend, don’t forget to stop by West Elm and visit us at our Pop-Up shop. We will have special deals and funsies for all of the folks on your list. It’s rare that we do this, so come say hi and pick up some goodies for the holidays! All of our products will be discounted and a portion of the profit will be donated to a local school here in Los Angeles. Three cheers to West Elm for all of their continued support! Stop by on Saturday the 3rd from 1-4pm in Santa Monica.
It’s hard to believe it’s been eleven years since we started Red Cap Cards. It seems like only yesterday we were hand painting cards with our friends and family in our West Hollywood bungalow apartment. Today, we count over twenty-five artists as collaborators and friends on our mission to spread joy, love, and art through our products.
This Thanksgiving, we at Red Cap Cards want to say thank you. Thank you to our talented artists for bringing such life into our designs and for creating works for so many people to enjoy. Thank you to each of you for your individual perspective and cohesive vision.
Thank you to our wonderful team! Red Cap Cards is a beautiful family of artists, visionaries and storytellers all coming together to celebrate connection. Thank you to all of our team members here and around the world for being such an invaluable part of our family. We are so thankful for all of you.
And thank you to YOU, our customers, our fans and our community for making the past eleven years possible. Thank you for your support and love and excitement when we roll out a new product or introduce a new artist. We would not be here without you.
Happy Thanksgiving, and here’s to another eleven years.
Have you been swept up into the adult coloring book craze? We have! And we are so happy to show off some of our favorites from Red Cap artists, friends, and a few treasured vintage finds. Making artwork is important to our creative well-being, and finding a way for everyone to participate (regardless of their artistic talent) is the key to stress relief and fun! So grab your colored pencils–this is detail work, folks–and check these out.
First up is our friend Masha D’Yans who worked on this brand new coloring book with her mother, Galina! It features intricate fairy tales from all over the world, and will keep you entertained with its lavish scenery and gorgeous characters.
James Gulliver Hancock! His illustration is made for intricate coloring time, and he has two on the market now that we love. Vegetables Give You Super Powers offers playful veggie coloring fun. If you’re up for something a bit more complicated, check out Gulliver’s New Travels which is a deep dive into some magical city-scapes and other-worldly coloring journeys.
Nearly everything. Just about. Anke was made for coloring book design, and we are oh-so glad that she published this gem. A Short Colouring Book of Nearly Everything is whimsical, sweet, and vibrant with happy characters. Grab it on her Etsy shop.
To Canada with Love, from Carolyn Gavin. This ecojot coloring book honors our buddies to the North and teaches us a thing or two. Created exclusively for Roots. Follow Carolyn for how to purchase this one, or view her cards for Red Cap, here.
David Bowie, nothing is the same without you. You were the glue that was holding everything together. At least, however, we can color your Ziggy Stardust phase. We love this one which is available here.
This one just tickles us. Curated by Souris Hong-Poretta, this one is full of many artists works for giant imaginations. “For anyone who loves creativity and contemporary art, or who simply loves the joy of coloring, comes Outside the Lines, a striking collection of illustrations from more than 100 creative masterminds, including animators, cartoonists, fine artists, graphic artists, illustrators, musicians, outsider artists, photographers, street artists, and video game artists.”
Plus, a peek at our vintage coloring book collection which is tops! What should we do with these? Have any ideas?
Happy coloring (or colouring if you’re fancy), everyone!
We know it has been a difficult week for some of us. In times like this, we look around and wonder how we got here. However, here at Red Cap, we choose to meditate on the love, kindness, and beauty that we know resides in our great nation. In times like this, let’s look to our littlest truth-tellers and find a way to guide them to the values that we hold dear. We picked a few books out that showcase what it means to live in kindness and in service to others. Enjoy.
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade
by Justin Roberts, with pictures by Red Cap artist, Christian Robinson
A beautiful, poetic story about a very small girl in the smallest grade. This one has a wonderful message, about standing up for what’s right–Love!–even when you feel very small. “Sally notices everything—from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor’s ring to the bullying happening on the playground. One day, Sally has had enough and decides to make herself heard. And when she takes a chance and stands up to the bullies, she finds that one small girl can make a big difference.”
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Written by Philip C. Stead with pictures by Erin E. Stead
“And in the end, the love you take Is equal to the love you make.” This Caldecott medal-winning picture book tells the story of Amos, a zookeeper, who gives extra-special attention to all of his animals each and every day. When he becomes sick, the animals return the favor by visiting him at home. It is a lovely example in the lesson of love and care for your fellow friends.
The Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein
It’s rare that someone hasn’t read The Giving Tree, but some still miss the underlying message. In the story, a tree loves a boy so much that she gives him everything of herself until she is a lowly stump. We learn from the tree that giving and generosity equals happiness, regardless of outcome. Kindness is, in and of itself, happiness.
Jane, the Fox & Me
by Fanny Britt, with illustration by Isabelle Arsenault
Translated from French, Jane, the Fox & Me is a poignant and beautiful graphic novel. This should be required reading for middle school-aged girls, and teaches a valuable lesson about understanding differences, having compassion, and fostering friendship.
by Ame Dyckman with pictures by Zachariah O’Hora
Who is really the horrible one in the situation–the girl or the bear? And who will say sorry first? This is a great story (with awesome illustration by Zachariah O’Hora) about seeing your opponent’s side with compassion and coming together on common ground. A lovely lesson for every age group.
Much love and kindness to all…
Here come the holidays! We were so happy to see that our gold foil holiday cards by Anke Weckmann were featured on one of our favorite blogs this week. Thanks so much to Papercrave for a special post on these lovelies, which we adore in all of their glittery goodness.
Click over to Papercrave to read the entire post, and make sure to browse while you’re there–their taste is impeccable!
We couldn’t wait to get our hands on a copy of Ghost, and the day has finally arrived. Written by Blaise Hemingway and Jesse Reffsin, and illustrated by Red Cap artist, Chris Sasaki, and Jeff Turle, Ghost originated as a Kickstarter project and has blossomed to life (and we use the term loosely) just in time for Halloween. The description of the book below paints a picture of a beautiful job well-done:
Some of our most vivid childhood memories are of being huddled around a campfire, the hair on the back of our necks standing upright as we listened to tales of terror…or of staying up late, hiding beneath the covers with a flashlight in hand, reading a ghost story we swiped from our older brother. We all loved these stories that both ignited the imagination and stirred up feelings of dread that kept us up until morning’s light broke.
However, we’ve been frustrated in our search to find collections of ghost stories that strike the classic tone of the books from our youth. Stories that are as surprising as they are terrifying. Stories that stick with us. Stories that we can tell the next time we find ourselves around a campfire.
GHOST is a collection of 13 original poems and tales written by Blaise Hemingway and Jesse Reffsin and illustrated by Chris Sasaki and Jeff Turley. The book is hard bound, full color book- filled with more than 100 pages of bone chilling stories and illustrations. With GHOST, we wanted to create new ghost tales for a new generation both written and illustrated in a classic, timeless style.
Last night, the publisher of Ghost, Illustrátus, hosted a book release and charity auction at the usually closed-to-the-public, Historical Castle Green Hotel, with original works by a huge list of talented artists. (Check them all out in the list below). All of the proceeds will go to 826LA…and who knows, maybe there are a few Halloween treats left over to nab? Check out some of the featured works below, courtesy Illustrátus’s Instagram, plus a video from the makers of Ghost.
What a delightful time of year! Autumn days bring cozy-cuddling, candy corn, and warm cider…sweaters, foliage, and pumpkin spice. Last year we had fun with our Life in Fall by Sarah Burwash and Life in Halloween Kids by Kelsey Garrity-Riley post, and this year, we wanted to focus on the spectacular and spooky art work that our Red Cap artists have produced on their own. We took a crisp stroll through their blogs, tumblrs, and Instagrams to find these beautiful illustrations that will you have you ready to go trick or treating (especially that fantastic animated gif by Yelena Bryksenkova!) Happy Halloween, everyone!
The day that we all have been waiting for has come! Red Cap Cards artist and Caldecott Award winner, Jon Klassen, has published the third and final installment of the “hat” series, which includes I Want My Hat Back, This Is Not My Hat and now, We Found a Hat! This one (from Candlewick Press) features two desert turtles, who find a hat “together,” decide to leave it where they find it, and the unspoken struggle and sly humor that follow. It is the perfect end-cap to the picture book suite we love.
On Tuesday night, we were happy to attend the book launch party at Skylight Books in Los Feliz, and hang out with our pal, Jon! He gave a talk all about how the conception of his picture book characters begin, and showcased some mock-ups that didn’t quite work for the book. Best of all, he signed a bale of books for Kidboss and her buddies–each one adorned with an animal illustration (art directed by Arlo herself, of course).
Plus, some killer hat tattoos…
We’re looking to see what a few of our artists have gotten up to this week and are happy to present it to you in our Artist News Roundup! Not only are they creating gorgeous work for us, but our illustrators are also some of the hardest working artists in contemporary children’s book publishing today.
Jon Klassen has a big week coming up–his new picture book (part three of his “hat” trilogy), We Found a Hat, will be released on October 11th, and he’s about to go on book tour. We so enjoyed his new edited interview with the Wall Street Journal that was published yesterday. Posted below are a few snippets from the interview, but make sure to click over to WSJ to read the entire interview about Jon’s inspirations, favorite childhood books, collections and more. Plus, view his cards for Red Cap, here.
What was your favorite book as a kid?
You’ve said that Umetaro Azechi’s woodblock print, “ Mountaineer ,” had a profound impact on you because it got you thinking about drawing characters using simple shapes. What other artists have influenced your work?
Arnold Lobel, who did the “Frog and Toad” books, was a big deal. With film, the illustrations have to look like a snapshot of a larger world. […Click over to the Wall Street Journal to see more…]
Lizzy Stewart is also wading through the beautiful world of children’s books, and has taken up residency in a local Bath bookshop, Mr. B’s Emporium, where she’s upstairs, drawing away and waiting to meet you! As illustrator in residency, Lizzy is showcasing her new book, There’s a Tiger in the Garden, and sketching away at a few new stories. She’ll be hanging around the shop until tomorrow, so make sure to stop by if you’re in Bath (jealous). Take a glimpse at a few of her storyboards below, and a magnificent photo of the window display she created for Mr. B’s Emporium and view her cards for Red Cap, here.
And off the topic of children’s literature, it is now officially Inktober! We’ve been watching our Instagram feed to see if any Red Cap artists are participating, and were excited to see that our own Dinara Mirtalipova is posting a new ink drawing every day in October (view last year’s post about Inktober and Anke!). And how much do you want to steal that rug? Gorgeous, Dinara! Follow Dinara on Instagram to view the rest of her ink drawings for October and view her cards for Red Cap, here.
Happy Inktober, everyone!
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.
Photos courtesy Danielle Kroll.
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:
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!
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:
“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.
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 words—each 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 over—even 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.
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!
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Plus, some inspiration from Anke Weckmann, who released another Sketchbook video on her Youtube channel. Makes us want to get to work!:
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.
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.
Works above by Becca Stadtlander
Works above by Dinara Mirtalipova
Works above by Yelena Bryksenkova.
All art works above are courtesy and property of the artists.
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!
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!
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.
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.
“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
“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.
“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
“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.
“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
“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
“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.
“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
“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
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Photos courtesy of Young Blood Boutique
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.
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 family—two 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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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!
What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
Work hard, never stop learning and don’t give up.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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!
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!
Your patterns are to die for. Any chances that wallpaper or the like might be in your future?
I really hope so!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
View more of Kate’s designs for Red Cap Cards, here.
Happy Fathers Day to all of you amazing fathers out there! Keep on shaking and doing what you do best, loving those babies.
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.
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.
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.”
To view Anke, Lizzy, and our other artists’ designs for Red Cap, click over to the artist page on our website. Great work, ladies!
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?
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.