Artist Spotlight: Daren Thomas Magee February 21, 2019

It’s finally time to shine the spotlight on Daren Thomas Magee–another of our newest artists that is now a member of our tight-knit RCC family! Daren is an introspective and visionary illustrator and designer from Ojai, California. A master of blending the natural with the supernatural, Daren creates thought-provoking work that inspires us to become closer together as humans and, in turn, connects us to a higher consciousness.

His RCC card designs have been flying out the door and that’s no surprise to us! Read on to learn more about Daren, his work, and his inspirations. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, Daren!

Were you an artist as a child? What is the first memory you have of realizing your artistic creativity?
I have very early memories of drawing little scenes that I would play along with, I would make sounds and envision action happening within the scene as I drew. I haven’t thought about that in a long time. Thanks for that! I think there has always been some creative outlet for me growing up. I’ve always enjoyed creating, bringing things that didn’t exist into existence. I think that’s our greatest gift in this existence.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is existence. I am in constant awe of the fact that we exist. Be it divine intervention or a seemingly impossible complex series of natural events that led us to being right here right now, we’re here and that blows my mind. I am using my fingers to tap little plastic squares that translating my thoughts into 1’s and 0’s communicating my answer to your question and displaying it on a screen…..whoa! Yeah, that’s inspiring.
“Forest Hands” by Daren Thomas Magee
Tell us about your artistic process. Technically speaking, and inspirationally. 
Before my child was born in March of ’18 most everything I did was hand drawn with paper and pen. Very detailed, stipple based work. As the reality set in that I would no longer have the luxury of working so intimately I decided to put more effort into creating more simply and move my process over to the computer. I discovered that I was able to create at such a faster rate with a computer and was fortunate enough to figure out how to emulate that hand drawn look within a digital scape. So it was a very fortunate thing to have been pushed out of the place I knew so well and be forced to adapt to my new surroundings as a father.
Inspirationally speaking, I never go into a piece knowing what its going to be. I always start off with a blank canvas and will throw a shape or a line on the screen, move it around, distort it, mirror it, just play with it until something strikes me. Inspiration born out of a lack of direction.
What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created and why? 
I think this piece called ‘Pleasant’ may be my favorite, not because of what it is, but because of what it represents. This was the first digital piece I made after the realization that I wasn’t going to have time to create the way I use to. It embodies the simplicity that was all I had the time and energy for. I surprised myself after it was finished at how something so minimal can be so pleasing. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of creation and gave my artistic drive and new voice to speak from.
“Pleasant” print by Daren Thomas Magee
What was the most important piece of advice you have ever been given?
‘Always speak your truth.’ My Grandmother was a very outspoken woman. You always knew where she stood on things. This is something I still struggle with but when I am able to pull it off the feeling I get is ‘right.’ It lifts the weight that hangs on my shoulders from not speaking my needs for fear of putting someone off or causing ‘trouble’ for someone. We are all sovereign creatures and we all have needs and theres no reason those need shouldn’t be met.
What story does your work as an artist and a designer have to tell?
The story that I would like for people to pick up on in my work is that this existence is so utterly mysterious that it can’t and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. No one knows for sure how we got here or where we gone when its over, just that we have this time in the middle to be in these bodies, to have these capacities to create, to think, to innovate, to play with our environment. I think its an extreme honor to have this limited amount of time to really experience this existence as profoundly as possible.
To view more of Daren Thomas Magee’s work for RCC, click here to visit our shop, or visit his website, Real Fun Wow.
Artist Spotlight: Jacqueline Suskin February 14, 2019
We are so excited to introduce the next volume of our three-part Artist Spotlight series, with an interview with one of the newest members to our RCC family, Jacqueline Suskin. A remarkable poet and educator, Jacqueline believes that words have healing powers to both our minds and souls.
She is the author of three books: The Collected (Publication Studio, 2010), Go Ahead & Like It (Ten Speed Press, 2014) and The Edge of The Continent Volume One (Rare Bird, 2018). Since 2009, her project, Poem Store, has allowed Jacqueline to produce over 30 thousand spontaneous, improvisational poems for patrons around the world on a portable, manual typewriter. She has written for Oprah, Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore, Cheryl Strayed and more, and was honored at the White House as a Turnaround Artist by Michelle Obama. For even more on Poem Store, definitely take a look at the videos below (there are even more on her YouTube channel), as well as her fantastic TED Talk (below).
We are honored to have Jacqueline’s inspiring and thoughtful work in our newest collection, and are so excited that she took the time to answer our questions here. Be inspired! Thank you so much, Jacqueline! To view her full collection for RCC, visit our shop, here.
Have you always known that you were a poet? Is there a first childhood memory of the words awakening?
Before I knew how to write proper letters, I was filling up notebooks with cryptic language. I have those journals still and I’ve translated them to the best of my ability. The first poem to appear was about a fox. I later went on to write an entire journal of love poems dedicated to Vincent (the beast from the 80s TV show Beauty & the Beast). I was in third grade when I created that and that was the moment I knew that I was a poet.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration?
Planet earth is my greatest inspiration. I’m an ecstatic earth worshiper and fully dedicated to this beautiful place we get to call home. All of my work is based on my belief that if humans can heal, if we can transform and become aware of the perfect bounty that is the natural world, then we will actually honor it and care for it properly.
Tell us about your writing process. In terms of writing–is creating work a more fluid, spontaneous process or do find yourself honing the skill of writing–doing it daily at a certain time?
I have a dedicated writing practice, but I’m not rigid. Creation comes in waves for me and sometimes I need to rest. I’ll work on writing a book every day, editing and tweaking every line for months and months, and then when I finish it I take a break. My spontaneous poetry project, Poem Store, requires me to show up constantly, but those poems are very different from the refined, finished products that arrive after months of editing. I like the mixture provided in these different practices, the balance of the craft that I got a degree in and the magic of Poem Store, which relies on my connection to a patron who stands in front of me as I create a poem just for them.
What was the most important piece of advice you have ever been given?
There are no mistakes. I have a few regrets, not buying the ranch I used to live on in Joshua Tree because I didn’t understand money at the time and 60k seemed like A LOT, sending back the very first copy of my first book to the publisher to have the binding re-glued and they accidentally threw it away…I regret these things, but I don’t believe in mistakes. Even the worst things shape and inform the course of one’s life. No need to get hung up on what I should have done or which turn I could have made, everything is just as it should be. How could it not be?
Tell us a bit about your amazing recent event, “The Long Conversation” at the Smithsonian.
The Long Conversation” is a phenomenal experiment from the magical mind of Rachel Goslins who invited me to speak this year. Basically, she brings in people from around the world to discuss why they are optimistic about the future. Scientists, poets, drag-queens, artists, actors, and policy-makers, all of us on stage talking about experiences in our unique fields that inform us on a brighter future. It was so inspiring. I was paired with activist Mily Treviño-Sauceda (click to view a video of Jacqueline interviewing Treviño-Sauceda) and Cheech Marin, two wonderful humans who really care about what they do in this world. I talked about the human condition as I see it through my work with Poem Store. Writing poetry for all demographics, I get to witness our indefinite willingness to transform and our shared desire for depth. This gives me hope that we can turn the whole thing around because even now, even in these truly difficult times, people still turn to an ancient tool like poetry for help.
Any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
I have about four books in the making and an opera brewing as well! I’m really excited for the second volume of my series about California to come out this spring. The Edge of the Continent Vol. 2 – The City is about my time Los Angeles. The first book in the series is about my time living in Humboldt County and the third will be about Joshua Tree. This collection is so close to my heart and a dream come true for me.
Obligatory Red Cap question: favorite drink?
Honestly, my favorite drink is water. There is no beverage that makes me happier than a cool cup of plain, clean water. No bubbles, no ice, no straw, just water. But I’m pretty partial to a tequila soda with lime as well.
Artist Spotlight: Johnathan Rice February 5, 2019

We are so very excited for our first of three upcoming Artist Spotlight posts, highlighting the newest artists, designers, and writers in our RCC family. We love these short interviews, because it gives us a chance to dip a toe into the minds of such brilliant creative forces.

First up: Johnathan Rice. A singer, producer, and writer living in Los Angeles, Rice has spent his adult life inhabiting different corners of the entertainment industry. Signed to Reprise Records at the age of nineteen, His debut record “Trouble Is Real” arrived in 2005, the same year he played Roy Orbison alongside Joaquin Phoenix’s Johnny Cash in Walk The Line. He spent the next ten years making records and touring the world.

In 2016, Rice started posting haiku poems on Instagram. The haikus gained a rabid following and led to the publishing of Rice’s first Book Farewell, My Dudes: 69 Dystopian Haikus by LA’s Hat & Beard Press. It became the fastest selling book in the company’s history, buoyed by celebrities like Mandy Moore and Anne Hathaway’s “readings” of their favorite haikus on Instagram and Rice’s appearances in bookstores, comedy clubs and concert venues nationwide. W Magazine called Rice “the beat poet of the Instagram generation.”

Photo by Silvia Grav

Do you remember being an writer as a child? Do you have a specific memory of when you really knew what you wanted to do?
I always remember being interested in words and particularly the combination of words and music.  I always thought of sentences in a melodic and rhythmic way.  I grew up between Virginia and Scotland, and I think that made me very conscious of the different ways people speak and all the varieties of accents, slang, patois, etc. I always pretended that I was a musician, and then eventually I became the thing I was pretending to be.  I loved the musicians who took daring risks with their lyrics: Shane MacGowan, Dylan, Townes Van Zandt.  Even though I’ve spent the majority of my adult life as a musician, I think at my core I’m really a writer above all other things.  

Who or what is your greatest inspiration?
There is a feeling inside me that I come into contact with sometimes. It’is somewhat elusive.  It’s not happiness or sadness or something I can even fully describe. When I am inspired, I am in contact with that feeling and everything feels right.  I felt it when I was a child, and I can still feel it now. I don’t know what it is. Do you?

Photo by Silvia Grav

Tell us about your writing process. In terms of creative work–is time spent working more spontaneous or do find that it is regimented like a job?
It’s both. Sometimes the best writing is very spontaneous and comes from an unconscious place. However, some ideas are meant to be explored beyond that initial flash of inspiration and chased around until one can fully understand and possess them. It’s a somewhat mystical thing, and I think that’s why so many artists are superstitious. Bad writing is also very important. You gotta write some real garbage sometimes. 

You are very successful in a wide variety of mediums including music and film. What is your favorite and why? Or do they each serve important elements of your life?
I don’t have a favorite. I consider whatever medium I’m working in to be part of the same body of work. I feel very lucky to have experienced so many different modes of expression. 

Photo by Silvia Grav

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
“To live outside the law you must be honest”

Any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
I have a new record called The Long Game that’s coming out this summer.  I’m very proud of it.

Obligatory Red Cap question: favorite drink?
Gin and Tonic.

Thank you so much, Johnathan! To view more of Johnathan’s cards for RCC, visit his shop page here, or click over to his website, here.

Welcome Johnathan Rice, Daren Magee and Jacqueline Suskin! February 1, 2019

Red Cap is entering into 2019 with a new look and a fresh perspective! Today, we are very excited to welcome three new creative artists into our collection. Along with a talented illustrator and designer, Daren Magee, Red Cap also welcomes two brilliant poets and artists of the written word, Johnathan Rice and Jacqueline Suskin. Our goal as a company is to continually strive toward innovation within creative expression. These collections will be showcased at this weekend’s NY NOW 2019 tradeshow at the Crow & Canary Booth, #7614. If you will be in town, definitely stop by to see these new gorgeous cards! See below for photos and definitely click over to our shop to see all three new collections. We love and are thankful for all of you! Keep the love flowing!

Johnathan Rice is a modern-day troubadour and brilliant poet of words, music, and art. His highly-anticipated and genius collection is poignant and astute, with a twist of magnificent snark! His words keep us laughing, delighting in the absurdity of the real world, with an unfettered truth that reflects ourselves back at us.  

Daren Magee is a visionary illustrator and designer from Ojai. A master of blending the natural with the supernatural, Daren creates thought-provoking work that inspires us to become closer together as humans and, in turn, connects us to a higher consciousness. His work infuses design with text to create a contemplative, thoughtful perspective that we are so excited to share.

Jacqueline Suskin is an award-winning poet, a dancer, a healer, and a woman connected with herself and the world around her. We are honored to release her collection of poems that offer us the inspiration to take a moment of pause to read, reflect, and read again. Her thoughtful and powerful words have the ability to inspire us, while grounding us in who we are, and who we could become.

Christian Robinson’s First Solo Picture Book! January 24, 2019
Another by Red Cap Cards artist, Christian Robinson. Photo by Christian Robinson

We are so proud to help share this fabulous news from a long-time member of our Red Cap Cards family. Christian Robinson, award-winning illustrator of many books (Rain!, School’s First Day of School, Last Stop on Market Street, Gaston, and so many more…) is now debuting the cover and release date of his first solo picture book project: Another from Atheneum Books!!

Debuting on March 5th, 2019 — mark your calendars! — Another tells a story of perspective through wordless illustration. In “Alice-in-Wonderland” form, a little girl follows her kitty down a hole into a magical world all her own. And in a fun twist, you may find yourself holding the book upside-down and twisting it all around!

‘”When I think about stories that I gravitated toward as a child, I think of narratives that take you on adventures to other worlds, places in which anything is possible,” Robinson said in a promotional letter he wrote for the book addressed ‘Dear Observers,’ which he says “feels like the most accurate name for someone viewing a wordless book.”‘ (Publisher’s Weekly)

We absolutely can’t wait to get our hands on a copy and are delighted to see another creative project from such a wonderful human and artist. Hurry up, March 5th! We love you, Christian!

See below for some of our favorite shots of Christian’s work for Red Cap:

Cake Lady by Christian Robinson
Kitty Carols by Christian Robinson
Afro Birthday Bag by Christian Robinson
Afro Birthday by Christian Robinson
Balloon Bouquet by Christian Robinson
Little People Wrap by Christian Robinson
In the Heart by Christian Robinson

Two Amazing Artists, Two Amazing Honors January 17, 2019

Today: two amazing honors/projects that we recently learned about and are so excited to share! Two of our artists: Becca Stadtlander and Bodil Jane have announced some amazing news on their Instagrams, and we couldn’t wait to hop on this blog and shout it from the rooftops!

Illustration by Red Cap Cards artist, Becca Stadtlander, from Made By Hand: A Crafts Sampler

First up, Red Cap artist, Becca Stadtlander has won the Golden Kite Award for her illustration work in the picture book, Made By Hand: A Crafts Sampler, written by Carole Lexa Schaefer–“A beautiful, one-of-a-kind volume invites readers to marvel at the time, effort, and care that went into creating handmade toys, tools, and treasures of the past.” –SCBWI

The Golden Kites are the first children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers. The awards recognize excellence in children’s literature in six categories: Young Reader and Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction for Younger Readers, Non-Fiction for Older Readers, Picture Book Illustration, and Picture Book Text. 

Congratulations, Becca!! We love you!

by Red Cap Cards artist, Bodil Jane

Next up, Red Cap Cards artist Bodil Jane is gearing up for a fantastic event at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, coming up on January 25th, 2019. Bodil created the gorgeous illustration (above) inspired by the collection of the Van Gogh Museum and Van Gogh’s obsession with Japan. During the event, ‘Vincent on Friday & Bodil Jane’, you can win the signed print and enjoy music and workshops that are curated by Bodil Jane.

We are dying to go, but send ourselves in spirit! Amazing work, Bodil! And if you’re in Amsterdam–make sure to make it to this gem. See below for Bodil’s statement from her Instagram:

“My illustration for @vangoghmuseum inspired by the collection and Van Gogh’s obsession with Japan 🇯🇵🌻 Japanese art was hidden from Westeners for many years. Overseas trade only got underway when Japan was opened up to the world in 1859. Oriental art and household goods flooded into Europe. Vincent actually never went to Japan, but he was in love with Japanese print making. It was one of his main sources of inspiration and he became an enthusiastic collector. Nowadays Vincent’s work is famous around the world and also in Japan. My illustration is an ode to his work and depicts a Van Gogh collector in Japan. You can win this print with the drawing competition on 25 January 2019 in the museum. More info in my previous post or link in bio (Dutch). Hopefully the print will be available in my online shop later! ✨#vangoghmuseum #vincentopvrijdag”

Christian Robinson: Coloring Without Borders January 10, 2019

How much do we adore Red Cap artist, Christian Robinson? Oh so very very much. And even though it didn’t even seem possible, we think we might love him even more because of his new collaborative project called, Coloring Without Borders.

This new bilingual coloring and activity book was created by 80+ artists, including Robinson, to help the immigrant families who have been separated at the Mexico-USA border. Not only is the work within the book amazing and inclusive, but it also seeks to fund Families Belong Together, which includes nearly 250 organizations representing Americans from all backgrounds who have joined together to fight family separation and promote dignity, unity, and compassion for all children and families. Via Families Belong Together: [Coloring Without Borders is] a collaborative coloring book created to benefit our work to permanently end family separation and detention, seek accountability for the harm that’s been done, and to immediately reunite all families that have been torn apart.

NPR’s Morning Edition covered Coloring Without Borders and produced an interview with Christian, which you can listen to here and a snippet of it in his animation below:

Video courtesy of Christian Robison

A beautiful quote from the interview by Christian Robinson to NPR: “I know, for me, personally, that it’s important to reflect the times that we live in — to put a mirror to it. It’s almost like I couldn’t create without taking into account all the things that are happening around me.”

Work by Christian Robinson (left) and Natalie Labarre (right)

The proceeds from the coloring book go to the Families Belong Together coalition, and you can purchase it here.

We love you Christian, thank you for your meaningful, thoughtful, and loving work. #keeptheloveflowing

10 Fun Facts about the New Year January 3, 2019

It’s just the third day into this sparkling new year of 2019. Have you made resolutions? Spoiled them already? Don’t work too hard, because the new year is all about perspective,  and we’ll give you ours: focusing on love and kindness will get you just about anywhere you want to go.

In the spirit of baby 2019, we put together some fun facts about the New Year to keep things light as you ease your way back into real life. So grab some leftover champagne, and take a look below. Happy New Year!

Golden Fireworks by Lesley Barnes

1. The first recorded New Year’s celebration dates back 4,000 years to Babylon, when the first moon after the spring equinox marked a new year.

2. The modern tradition of partying in Times Square for New year’s started as a 1904 celebration for the opening of the New York Times building! Over 200,000 people attended. 

by Kelsey Garrity-Riley

3. Black eyed peas, ham, and cabbage are considered good luck if you eat them on New Year’s Eve or Day. The fattiness of pork symbolizes wealth and the peas are believed to bring good fortune because they swell when cooked.

4. January is named after Janus, the god with two faces. In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is depicted as one looking forward and one looking backward. He is the god of beginnings, transitions, gates, doors, passages, and endings.

Dancing into the New Year by Bodil Jane

5. The tradition to kiss a person comes from old English and German folklore: the first person you came across in the new year could set the tone for the next 12 months.

6. To ensure a year of good luck, firecrackers and noisemakers became tradition in order to scare away evil spirits and protect prosperity in the new year.

by Josie Portillo

7. Americans drink about 360 million glasses of sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 

8. Speaking of Americans, the top New Year’s resolution in 2018 (and almost every year) is to eat better and exercise more—topping the list at 37% those polled in 2018.

Cards by Kate Pugsley and Dinara Mirtalipova

9. 2,000 pounds of confetti are dropped on the crowd in Times Square at midnight.

10. Robert Burns took an older Scottish folk song called “Old Long Syne” and rewrote it in 1788, which became the New Year song we all know today. Auld Lang Syne means “times long past.” 

Let’s Toast by Emily Isabella

Sources: Patch.com, International Business Times

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from Us to You! December 25, 2018
Photo of Alice by @jaquilynshumate. Papers by Krista Perry and Kate Pugsley

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from all of us at Red Cap Cards. And Andie’s Alice too! Keep the love flowing into 2019…

Wrapping Up the Year! December 21, 2018

Fa-la-la-la-la! 2018 is almost over, but there’s still just a few more days of of gift-giving, merry-making, and hall-decking to go. The holiday season gets us so excited, especially when we get to see what such creative hearts and minds are doing with our special gift wrap and gift bags! Check out some of the gorgeous packages below, with a few fun ones from our archive thrown in there as well. Thank you all for including us in your festivities and special occasions. We can feel the love all around us! #keeptheloveflowing

Photo by @trashleymartin
Photo by Red Cap artist, @annaemilialaitinen
Photo by @thelaurenandarloshow
Photo by @boucleetpapier
Photo by @curiousworkshop
Photo by @kellivo
Photo by @kirasanfrancisco
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @knotjustpaper
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @tonoandco
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @sarapeterson_hgtv
Photo by @shoprala
Photo by @shopstayforever
Photo by @tonoandco
Photo by @tonoandco
Photo by @tonoandco
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @tradition_acoustic
Photo by @redcapcards
Photo by @tsutsumiya_koubou
Life in Kitty Carols by Christian Robinson December 13, 2018

Time to take a look at one of our favorite Red Cap cards through the “real-life” lens! Our Life In posts are some of the most fun to play with and this one was just as sweet. Kitty Carols by Christian Robinson for Red Cap cards has been making holiday smiles for years, and today is no different. Check out the fun we had below! 

• Three little kitties required for this scene: one grey, one striped, and one orange. Fun fact: most orange cats are male!
• Some boughs of holly. Or in this case, fir.
• A sweet, mid-century piano stool, but you’ll have to custom cover this one with that blue pin stripe!
• An upright piano, of course!
• A vintage, holiday piano song book.
Arlo’s Book Club: The Holiday Edition December 7, 2018

Ho Ho Ho! It’s time for another Arlo’s Book Club: The Holiday Edition! And don’t forget that you can always look back to some of Arlo’s holiday picks from 20152016 and 2017, for some awesome holiday cozy-up-with-a-book ideas. This year, we are feeling jolly and have some fantastic holiday picture books that we can’t wait to share with you. Grab a blanket and a friend and let’s snuggle up!

The Gingerbread Man
by Bonnie and Bill Rutherford
Whitman Publishing Company, 1963
This classic cookie tale by powerhouse illustration couple, Bonnie and Bill Rutherford, teaches an important lesson: never trust a fox. Delicious freedom is everything to the gingerbread man…until he meets a violent end! If that’s supposed to teach us something, we’re decidedly ignoring it! So, pull out those cookie cutters and get your baking on after reading this one, and pay extra special attention to those intricate, colorful, vintage illustrations. Those endpapers! Plus, it has been rereleased by Golden Book, a classic for a new generation.

Josie and The Snow
By Helen E. Buckley, Illustrations by Evaline Ness
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., Inc, 1966
The color palette of this book takes the cake! Stylized tones of pink, orange, aqua, lavender and grey make the aesthetic of Josie and the Snow super-special and a standout pick. We follow Josie as looks for an outdoor playmate (all of the animals are a no-go) and then as she explores the wintry outdoors, feeding birds, sliding down hills and making snowmen. A mid-century delight!

The Nightmare Before Christmas
By Tim Burton
Disney Press, 2013
Most probably know the story of Tim Burton’s, The Nightmare Before Christmas, but some smaller kids may be able to handle the picture book version a bit earlier than the film. Jack the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town sets out to “steal” Christmas (he means well), with disastrous results–don’t worry, Santa “Claws” come to the rescue. A creepy, silly, and brilliant story. Readers will recognize the whispy illustration style of Tim Burton.

Red and Lulu
By Matt Tavares
Candlewick, 2017
Two tiny winter cardinals are separated when their tree is chopped down to be the official Christmas Tree in Times Square. The birds are separated and it takes a Christmas miracle to reunite them again. Gorgeous, peaceful illustration that offsets the tension of the story. A celebration of New York City, love, and the spirit of the season.

Another Night Before Christmas
By Carol Ann Duffy, Illustration by Marc Boutavant
A new version for the ages! Former poet laureate to Britain, Carol Ann Duffy, writes a follow-up to “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Moore (1822) with fun and vibrant illustration by Marc Boutavant of Mouk fame! This time, the story is told from the perspective of a little girl, and can be found in a version illustrated by Rob Ryan.

Tis the Season: Holiday Illustration November 29, 2018

It’s our favorite time of year again! Candles are glowing, ornaments are being hung, and hot cocoa is on the menu once again (extra marshmallows, please!). The holidays are the best time to find the some of the coziest illustration and art work, created by our Red Cap artists, or any number of the other amazingly talented artists out there.

We had so much fun going through the latest work in honor of the holidays, and even picked out a few pieces from years past for our collection of holly jolly illustration on the blog today. Take a look below and enjoy! Also, keep your eyes peeled, we are sure there will be more holiday inspiration to be admired in the coming weeks! Fa-la-la-la-la!

Hygge, by Red Cap Cards artist, Yelena Bryksenkova
A winter walk by Red Cap Cards artist, Kate Pugsley
Happy Holidays by Adelina Lirius
A Christmas Market by Adeline Lirius 
“Getting ready for Christmas post!” Lovely holiday stamps by Red Cap Cards, Lesley Barnes
12 Days of Christmas Wrap by Red Cap artist, Emily Isabella for Anthropologie, 2017
A closeup of the “Ten Lords a Leaping” in Red Cap Cards artist, Emily Isabella‘s wrap for Anthropologie, 2017
Fun little holiday friends by Red Cap Cards artist, Anke Weckmann
Holiday Goals right here. New 2018 Holiday cards by Red Cap Cards artist, Priscilla Weidlein.
A winter voyage, by Red Cap Cards artist, Emily Winfield Martin
Coziest personalized mantels by Red Cap Cards artist, Danielle Kroll, 2016
The sweetest family Christmas by Red Cap Cards artist, Kelsey Garrity-Riley
Beautiful illustration for The New Yorker by Carson Ellis.
Winter paws. By Kenard Pak
Red Cap Artist Holiday Gift Guide November 15, 2018

Let’s sing a song of cheer again–holidays are here again! Can you tell that we adore the holidays over here at Red Cap Cards?? We’ve been checking out what some of our talented artists have been up to on Instagram, and you won’t want to miss what they are cooking up in the gift department–something perfect for so many friends on your list! See below for the goods, and let us know if you need our address…no, really…TELL US.

New washi tape by Barbara Dziadosz in four different designs, perfect for your gift wrapping or gifting needs!
THIS calendar by Blanca Gómez. It comes in several styles and will add a pop of color to any room.
Okay, we know that this one is a teeny, tiny bait-and-switch because it comes out in the Spring of 2019. But LOOK at this gorgeous fabric by Red Cap artist, Danielle Kroll for Figo Fabrics. We will take them all. See below. Just print a picture of it and wrap that special pic up in a box for your textile-loving friend with a tag the says, “coming soon!” Done!

Need another washi tape fix? Red Cap artist, Kate Pugsley‘s washi tapes are 25% off this week with the code WASHI in her shop through tomorrow. Click here to see the tapes!
Gorgeous mural wallpaper by Red Cap artist, Kelsey Garrity-Riley over at Anewall Decor. Photo by @jessicasoakes

Gorgeous prints by Red Cap artist, Michelle Morin are on sale now. Get them while they last, here!
A special collaboration between Red Cap artist, Marsha Robinson and artist and metalsmith, @bladeandknoll. This hand fabricated silver + onyx pin is available for pre-sale just in time for the holidays!
Welcome Daren Magee! November 8, 2018

This month we have been sharing a look into our 2019 line up! Thers’s nothing we enjoy more than giving you a beautifully-wrapped Red Cap box of wonderful, filled with a new artist’s vision, energy and talent. Today we are excited to introduce to you another cosmic illustrator/designer coming to RCC this January.

Daren Magee joins the Red Cap family from Ojai, California, and is a master of blending the natural with the super natural. We love what Daren says about his art: “The aim of my work is to speak to the space between imagination and reality, my hope is to leave you to float off in that liminal space into someplace entirely new.” His art work is light yet mysterious and captures a supernatural, California vibe, unique just to him. We can’t wait to show you more, but for now, see below and enjoy. More coming soon!!

 

Another Special Sneak Peek: Johnathan Rice November 2, 2018

A modern day  troubadour : Johnathan Rice is not only a talented singer and songwriter, he’s also an actor, artist and amazing poet. His haikus (found on his Instagram, Twitter and in his new book, Farewell My Dudes: 69 Dystopian Haikusare witty, poignant and socially relevant.

We are so excited to be working on a collection of cards featuring his work. Coming so soon! To keep you eager, see a few pieces below and make sure to follow up on his site. Enjoy!

Sneak Peek of New Red Cap Cards Artist: Jacqueline Suskin October 25, 2018

We are absolutely delighted to introduce a new, upcoming Red Cap artist to you. A bit different from our usual artists, Jacqueline Suskin is an artist of words. A poet. A feeler. A healer. A woman connected with herself. And through her words, she offers us the inspiration to take a moment of pause. Her point of view is rich and fluid, and we can’t wait to share more with you.

Photo and leaf by Elena Stonaker

An author of three books, The Collected (2010), Go Ahead & Like It (2014) and The Edge of The Continent Volume One (2018), Jacqueline has also been featured in some of the greats, such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, Man Repeller and more. Her accolades are so impressive, including an honor by Michelle Obama at the White House for her work as a Turnaround Artist! She is known for her therapeutic poetry compositions on her manual typewriter (see below) which she composes on the spot for patrons. “A guest sits down with Jacqueline and names a subject that they would like their poem to be about, and in less than two minutes she types up a unique verse and reads it aloud” (jacquelinesuskin.com).

Read more about Jacqueline on her website or on her instagram and let her work below speak for itself. Enjoy, and we can’t wait to show you more soon.

Photo by Shelby Duncan

Photo by Eric Fernandez

Cool Craft: Paper Pumpkins All in a Row October 18, 2018
Holiday Moss Wrap by Kelsey Garrity-Riley, Love Me Tender by Krista Perry and Parrots Wrap by Dinara Mirtalipova

Pumpkins anyone? If you’re itching to do a fun seasonal craft with your kids–or completely by yourself sipping a pumpkin spice latté, because that just darn-well makes you feel awesome–then this one is for you! Make one or a million of these all-fold, tiny little pumpkins to string up as decoration or as gift tags, or to give to friends at school, and more! Want to make them just like ours? We used Red Cap gift wrap by Kelsey Garrity-Riley, Krista Perry, and Dinara Mirtalipova.

You’ll need some washi tape and a square piece of paper. Follow the picture instructions below, and happy folding!

Regrammin’ Those Sweet, Sweet Artists October 11, 2018

What’s going on, Instagram?? It’s been a while since we’ve caught up with a few of our favorite artists over there. If you’re not currently following these Red Cap collaborators, make sure to get on that by following the links below. We are lucky enough to get some super sneak peeks of anything from art work to studio spaces, every day radness, plus new projects–we’re hooked. It’s fun to feel like we get an insider look before anyone else! Click on the links below to be taken to their Instagram feeds, and amazing work, everyone!!

‘”Winter is Ending” painting from years ago. Let’s take better care of our surroundings, the forests and the ones living there.’ –Anna Emilia Laitinen
‘”Made by Hand: A Craft Sampler” book, by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander. 13 short works of historical American fiction based on real artifacts, out October 9th.’

“Coming soon…10 Fabulous Women for ‘Il état uno fois Femmes Fabuleuses,’ a new French children’s book by Larousse Jeunesse, fully illustrated by Bodil Jane
A still from Butterfly and Abstract comp for Carolyn Gavin‘s Creativebug 30 day challenge starting January 1st 2019.
A work-in-progress for a book by Chris Sasaki.
“Today she awoke to candles in her pancakes, and her mom sang, ‘Happy Birthday to you,’ and told her ‘Go on, mica, make a wish.’ Carmela Full of Wishes on sale now, by Matt de la Peña with illustration by Red Cap artist, Christian Robinson
“Waiting for summer to come back” by Danielle Kroll
“A peek into the bedroom of my little friend,” by Emily Isabella
“A few months ago Joe Schmidt & me got some time to work on some ideas I’d been wanting to try out. The felted animals were made by Victor Dubrovsky (look him up) and the sets were mostly sticks we got in Griffith Park & Joe being a whiz with lights. I know Joe from when we worked on Coraline together but a lot of his work now is doing picture book promo stuff – it’s a great way to do something that looks like your book but isn’t your book (though this is not for a book). If anyone wants his info shoot me a message. He’s the best. Anyway, these images aren’t for anything specific yet but maybe someday they will be.” Jon Klassen

“Stepping into the Fall season” with this new ill for @thefoundrynyc” by Josie Portillo
“Solarium” by Kate Pugsley
“You Tickle my Ivories” for Red Cap Cards! See below for the sketch, color study, and finished painting. By Krista Perry

“Primula Auricula” by Michelle Morin
“Of all the ways we can come together, this is one of my favorites” –Priscilla Weidlein

 

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Things Will Get Better: New Works by Seonna Hong October 4, 2018

Who’s going to be in San Francisco this weekend?? We are so proud of and happy for our friend and one of our favorite fine artists, Seonna Hong. Seonna will be debuting new works in an upcoming solo show, entitled “Things Will Get Better: New Works by Seonna Hong.” The show debuts on October 6, at 6pm at Hashimoto Contemporary and is on view from October 6 through the 27th.

HASHIMOTO CONTEMPORARY
804 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
hashimotocontemporary.com

 

New Limited Edition Giclee Print Release by Seonna Hong in conjunction with the show!

Even more exciting news! A Big Important Art Book: Now With Women!, curated by Danielle Krysa, aka The Jealous Curator also includes work by Seonna Hong. “Stories and work by 45 contemporary artists, 30 historical artists, 15 projects for the artists of the future…” Catch Seonna and Danielle in an art talk at Hashimoto Contemporary on Saturday, October 20. Oh how we wish we could be there!! You are amazing, Seonna! We can’t wait to see more of your show.

See more of Seonna’s beautiful work, here.

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Picturebook Makers: Jon Klassen September 27, 2018

We are enamored with anything that Red Cap Cards artist, Jon Klassen, touches–including his magnificent picture books. Our story with Jon begins with those amazing party animals and continues to grow. Recently, Jon bestowed some of his process in a post on the Picturebook Makers blog (you could get lost here for days), about the burgeoning of his famous characters and how they came to be. Here’s a sneak peek:

“Around this same time I was asked to make some greeting cards for a company called Red Cap Cards, and I sent them some sketches of chairs and inanimate objects and they wrote back asking if I might try my hand at something a little more engaging, like some characters. I argued that I didn’t really do that, but they were (and are) friends and they were comfortable enough to come back and ask again. What I eventually sent them was a series of animals wearing birthday hats and holding balloons, but their faces and poses made them look, to me, like they had no idea what a birthday was and didn’t really care. I was excited by this approach. It made me laugh, and it got me off the hook. I wasn’t creating a character when I drew them; I was borrowing them for a minute to put them on this card, like a photographer who gets someone to pose for them and this is the best they could get.”

For the full perspective and even more behind-the-scenes details, illustrations, and spreads, head over to the Picturebook Makers blog to read the entire post. And don’t forget to check out all of Jon’s work for Red Cap Card here.

Thanks for all of the incredible insight and inspiration, Jon!

Artist Spotlight: Emily Isabella September 13, 2018
If you haven’t had the opportunity to take a good look at artist, Emily Isabella‘s new collection for Red Cap Cards, definitely make the time to take a look at her bright, beautiful, and sometimes cheeky work!  Nothing thrills us more than sharing our artists’ personalities and unique perspectives, and we are happy to have Emily in the Artist’s Spotlight today. Read on below to hear about her inspirations, her fantastic new studio, and more, and make sure to click over to her website to see even more brilliant work. Thank you, Emily! We love you!
Tell us about your life in the Hudson Valley. What are your favorite parts about where you live?
My husband, Paul, and I moved to the Hudson Valley five years ago and have spent that time living in a tiny 200 square foot cottage and looking for property (we found it!) and building a structure to house our creative endeavors. It’s taken a bit of time because we built it ourselves without much help from contractors. Paul wanted to build it himself and I admire all the work he’s put into it. This is something we’ve been talking about doing since the early days of knowing each other and we’re about to move in. Any day now! We’re looking forward to working on our 15 acres and hope to collaborate on projects together in the studio. The Hudson Valley is unique in that it’s a rural community with easy access to NYC. There is a nice community of artists and younger people who have moved here to get away from the craziness of the city.  There are so many interesting things happening to this area and it’s fun to be involved in the resurgence of the region.
Do you have any aspirations to live somewhere else?
Who knows! We are excited to start this next chapter in our new studio but we are always open to what the future may hold.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I kind of work all the time! If I’m not working at my little desk in our cottage, I’m helping Paul across the river at our studio. My main job is to paint! Lately it’s been windows, walls, ceiling, floors, trim – we’re using all natural materials and mixing the colors ourselves so there are lots of added steps to the process. Last summer we painted the exterior, one board at at time. It took awhile. My days off are typically spent with friends. My job is solitary so I always jump at the chance to see people. NYC is a quick train ride away and I often go there for meetings or to catch an exhibit at the Met. I use my days off to get inspired. I take my sketchbook everywhere and often record moments from those times away from my desk.  Maybe it’s the colors I spot on a drive or maybe an older lady on the street sparks my eye. These little bits go into my sketchbook and often turn into something down the road.
Did you always want to be an artist? Did you have any other aspirations?
I remember being in the hallway of my first grade classroom and having an epiphany that I wanted to write and illustrate books! I grew up in a family of artists so as I grew older, I felt the need to have my own identity and being an artist seemed too expected. I finally gave in to the fact that I wouldn’t want to do anything else and went to art school but I majored in Fibers which seemed different enough.
You work in a wide variety of mediums. What is your favorite and why?
I really love gouache. I was taught how to use it in my textile design classes and although it’s my main medium as an illustrator, I like that it ties into my past. I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between flat shape and line and gouache is a great medium for this sort of exploration. Also, it dries almost immediately so it’s great for working on deadline. However, there is an oil stick factory close to where I live and after touring the facility, I was hooked. I haven’t figured out a way to work it into my commercial projects but it’s so much more forgiving than gouache! I used to make a lot of weird dolls and sculptural things and I’m looking forward to having the space to get back into that too. This is a hard question! I just like to make things – the medium isn’t a huge factor.
What is your work process like?
My process is pretty simple. For my commercial work, I always sketch out my ideas on scrap paper and once the idea is solidified, I’ll go straight to paint. The way I paint depends on the end use. If something will be used for screen printing, sometimes I’ll paint the layers separately. If it will be printed digitally, I can paint it all right on the paper. After I scan in the painting, I might clean things up in Photoshop or change some colors around or put it into a working repeat if it’s a pattern.
What inspires you most? In work? In life? 
I’m always on the hunt for beauty in the unexpected. This makes my life more interesting because even mundane day-to-day tasks provide inspiration. I love drawing people and watching them too. It would be nice to have a spy camera.
What is your favorite piece of work you’ve created?
I painted this one morning as Paul was waking up. I love drawing him – he’s easy to capture.
What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
I remember my mom advising me and saying, “Even when you don’t have work, work.” The only way to improve is to practice.
Do you have any advice for up-and-coming artists and illustrators?
Don’t be too precious with your work. Experiment, explore and move on to the next thing. Keep a sketchbook like a diary, for your eyes only. This helps to take the pressure off and allows you the freedom to work through your process.
Who are your role models in terms of art or otherwise?
My parents have always been really amazing role models in art and life. I’m fortunate in that they both have advised me in different ways. My mom’s passion for art is contagious and growing up, most of our travels revolved around going to art museums or exhibits. Both my parents travel with their sketchbooks. We don’t have many photos but there are shelves of sketchbooks that document my childhood. My dad taught me a lot about the business side of art. He’s also really good at using a computer and figured out a way to pull me out of high school half days my senior year to teach me how to use Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. This was invaluable since I didn’t learn those things in college and they are tools I have to use every day for my work. My parents also taught me to love the natural world. I grew up on 40 acres and they always encouraged me and my brother to play by ourselves outside.  As far as famous artists, I love Vuillard for every reason. My other favorite artist is Toulouse-Lautrec. His flat colors, lines and the way he depicted people has always captivated me.
If you didn’t work as an artist, what would you be doing?
Maybe I’d have a marionette theater.
Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
This winter I’ll be working on a solo show of paintings for the spring.
Any pipe-dreams?
I’d like to make my first grade dreams come true and publish picture books.
Obligatory Red Cap question: favorite drink?
Sparkling wine, any color.

Photos courtesy Emily Isabella

Back-to-School: Get Ready to Take Some Notes September 6, 2018
Moth Magic by Yelena Bryksenkova

It’s back-to-school time! Are you ready? We’re here for you with fifteen beautiful styles of notebooks in our collection by Red Cap artists, Becca Stadtlander, Yelena Bryksenkova, Kelsey Garrity-Riley, Anna Emilia Laitinen, Dinara Mirtalipova, Carolyn Gavin and Kate Pugsley. They’re all ready to be scribbled on and doodled in and written on and signed.

Want to make the most of your notebook? Cut down on pages used with good old shorthand. Do you remember doing this in school? I’ve completely deleted all of these lessons from my memory, so we’re in this together! Here’s a great common word guide to get us started:

Image courtesy Gregg
Citrus Peach by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
Notebooks by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
Little Bugs by Becca Stadtlander

Want some more back-to-school fun? Here’s a list of stuff to get you excited:

• Got nervous first-timers? Check out this heart-felt book, School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex with illustrations by our own Red Cap artist, Christian Robinson. Read more about it here, on Arlo’s Book Club, along with a bunch of other wonderful back-to-school books.

• Grab yourself an amazing backpack, pencil case and more at our own Kate Pugsley‘s bag and accessories project, Formal Dept.

• Shorthand will never die. Here’s a great article from The Atlantic about the lost technology of shorthand: “How to Write 225 Words Per Minute With a Pen.

• And while we’re at it, don’t forget about THIS amazing Shorthand, right here in Los Angeles.

Happy back-to-school, everyone!!

Elegant Sage by Carolyn Gavin
How To: Make a Beautiful Liner for Your Red Cap Envelope August 30, 2018

We’ve always loved the elegant touch of a lined envelope, and now we have found a way for you to create your very own if you’d like to experiment with papers and cards and a teeny, tiny bit of crafting along the way.

You will need:
• A sheet of Red Cap gift wrap
• A Red Cap card and envelope
• This handy-dandy printable liner template (print at 100%)
• Scissors
• Double-sided tape
• Pencil

Step One: With your freshly printed and cut-out template (I used a cardstock version so it would be more visible), trace around the edges of the template onto your sheet of gift wrap with a pencil. Don’t forget to line the desired pattern up just right!

Step Two: Cut out the traced liner, along the interior of the pencil line. 

Step Three: On the back-side of the liner, carefully line only the top edge of the liner with double-sided tape. Take care to get that tape all the way across the top, and flush with the edge of the paper. Snip off any excess tape.

Step Four: Gently guide the liner into the envelope and adhere the taped edge just below the gluey envelope edge. 

Step Five: Fold the envelope flap down, allowing the paper to move organically into place, to create a nice, clean fold line and voila–it’s complete!  Write a loving message and send that card out into the world!! #keeptheloveflowing

Instagram Roundup: What a Few of Our Amazing Artists Have Been Getting Up To! August 23, 2018

It’s impossible to keep up with the amazing things that our artists are working on. They turn such amazing work around so quickly, that it’s a wonderful struggle to keep up and follow along on Instagram!

Below is a fraction of the fabulous creativity that they have been sharing, to say the least. To see even more, click over to each artist’s page and connect via their websites for some fabulous and inspiring finds. Thank you all for being such amazing inspirations! Keep it up!

Lovely smatterings of color by Anna Emilia Laitinen
This A-Z Dinosaurs series by Barbara Dziadosz  is TOPS. Click over to her Instagram to learn how to communicate with your five year-old niece or nephew. You won’t be disappointed! 

Hot damn: ‘My Moroccan Dreams” in the @frankiemagazine 2019 calendar. Cover illustration by @holly_jolley_  with illustration by @bodiljane
Oh, that Furby! “The Squad” giclée print, available at bodiljaneshop.com
Everything he creates is just magical. Adorable “Bunny Bus” by @theartoffun
So cool!! Carolyn Gavin‘s mockups for an awesome tissue paper by @noissueco. To see our version, go here! Which color do you like? Vote on her Instagram
Hey cool kids! Or grownups–loving these weekly planners by Dinara Mirtalipova!
Sticky! Goodness gracious, can we just talk more about these Kate Pugsley washi tapes? They make us ecstatic.
So elegant–a sneak peek of proofs from @kelseygarrityriley for a new book with @abramskids that comes out next year!
These organic cotton sateen textile prints by @strangedirt are so beautiful. We couldn’t resist posting this photo, longing for a sold-out group.
A “Polka” dahlia as color inspiration for @michelle_morin and this elegant floral scene.
THIS BLUE. By @priscillaweidlein
Welcome, Emily Isabella! August 14, 2018

The warmest welcome to the newest artist in our Red Cap Cards family, Emily Isabella!! We are so excited to be releasing her debut collection at NY NOW this week, at the Crow & Canary Booth #7614.  Emily lives in the Hudson Valley, just north of NYC, where her rural surroundings inform much of her work. Her favorite things include perusing flea markets, making friends with wildflowers and traveling to new places both near and far. Her sketchbook is always in tow, just in case she finds a bug that needs its portrait painted or an interior that has a story to share.

Be sure to head over to her artist page to learn more about her and view the entire amazing collection or view our August brochure here. Also, stay tuned in a few weeks for her Artist Spotlight interview, when we get to chat with Emily about her life, process, and inspirations. (I can’t wait to hear the story behind my new favorite card.)

If you’re in New York this week, catch Carrie & Hal hanging out at the show and say hi!! They can’t wait to meet you!

 

Why We Love Libraries August 9, 2018

Recently, Forbes magazine published an op-ed by economist, Panos Mourdoukoutas, about why we should do away with public libraries as we know them, and replace them with Amazon Bookstores. You heard me correctly! The article detailed the taxes levied toward keeping public libraries afloat, and the opinion that libraries “don’t have the same value they used to.” All of the services provided by libraries (according to Mourdoukoutas) have been replaced: community and wifi are now provided by Starbucks; video rentals by Netflix and Amazon Prime; and books by Amazon.

Needless to say, the article has since been redacted by Forbes, with apologetic comment: “Forbes advocates spirited dialogue on a range of topics, including those that often take a contrarian view,” a Forbes spokesperson says in a statement. “Libraries play an important role in our society. This article was outside of this contributor’s specific area of expertise, and has since been removed.”

Illustration by Red Cap Cards artist, Christian Robinson, for the San Francisco Public Library, courtesy Chronicle Books

Regardless of the disastrous article and subsequent backpedaling by Forbes, the article did it’s due-diligence in getting people talking about libraries again. What are they, why are they? Are they important. The answer, it seemed, was a very loud YES from across the internet and country.

Here is what a library means to us:

• Fosters a love of reading, education, and art in children and adults.
• Provides access to a world of art and illustration materials that teach as well as entertain
• Gives free access to media materials, internet and computers for all citizens regardless of class and pay grade.
• Offers jam-packed programming schedules with classes such as ESL, citizenship, writing, cooking, and more.
• Offers free tickets to museums, zoos, aquariums and other experiences
• Schedules after-school programs for kids and teens
• Archives genealogy and historical materials.
• Acts as a community safe haven for those in need.
• and so, so much more.

In 2016, one of our own beloved artists, Christian Robinson, partnered with the San Francisco Public library and Chronicle Books for a program called “Summer Stride.” Check out that awesome swag (below)!! The program “encouraged all ages and abilities to have fun reading and learning” during the summer. Here are some amazing images from that program:

Illustration by Red Cap Cards artist, Christian Robinson, for the San Francisco Public Library, courtesy Chronicle Books


This summer, the program is up and running again, this time with work by Shawn Harris. Check out their awesome video, and “stop by a neighborhood library and check out books, comics, eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music and more. Plus, choose from more than 800 programs (all free!) to deepen reading enjoyment, spark STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) passions and learn through active, outside exploration.”

Art by Shawn Harris

We love you, libraries. Don’t ever change…unless you want to start offering free coffee and drinks too. We’re good with that.

And sidenote: if you need ideas, you can check out my handy-dandy hashtag on Instagram: #overduelibrarybookoftheweek for the best books that I’m going to end up paying $0.25 a day for.

Andie

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Arlo’s Book Club: What Was Old is New Again August 3, 2018

Don’t worry, kids! (And sorry, parents.) There is still a whole month until school starts–if you’re lucky that is. That means that summer reading is in full swing, and if you’re about to head out on your family vaca to the Grand Canyon, make sure you’ve packed some of these to get those minds molding in the back seat. The theme for this edition of Arlo’s Book Club is “What Was Old is New Again”… re-releases of old treasuries, a new spin on an old tale, or a new depiction of a classic story. We’ve chosen some new and old favorites to inspire some page-turning, so check them out below and enjoy! Happy Summer!

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strips – Book One
by Tove Jansson
Drawn & Quarterly, 2006
If you’ve been a long-time reader of our blog (check out our 2014 Scandinavian Dreams post), or a classic illustration enthusiast, you may know a lot about the late Tove Jansson. Jansson was a Finland native, responsible for creating the wildly popular The Moomins in the early 1940s. The Moomins appeal to young and old alike, with simplistic yet deliberate drawings paired with satirical and witty comedy, these characters and comics continue to stand the test of time. Don’t forget to check out another recently re-released classic by Jansson about a Moomin named Susanna who is bored with her life in The Dangerous Journey (April, 2018).

Over the Ocean
by Taro Gomi
Chronicle Books, 2016
For the younger set, Taro Gomi is a must to pack into any suitcase. The bright and unmistakeable illustration is enough to keep this on the bookshelf for life! Originally published in Japan in 1979, Over the Ocean or Umi no Mukô wa depicts the visions of a young girl standing at the seashore and thinking about the worlds she is connected to via the ocean. A beautiful and timeless treasure that we are so glad Chronicle Books picked up!

A Werewolf Named Oliver James
by Nicholas John Frith
Alison Green Books, 2017
Written and illustrated by our own Red Cap Cards artist, Nicholas John Frith, A Werewolf Named Oliver James is finally available in the USA after it’s original UK publishing in 2017. The protagonist in this twist on a timeless, spooky tale, Oliver James, unexpectedly turns into a werewolf while traveling home from school. A possible metaphor for more relatable social quirk, Oliver’s “werewolfness” is a source of anxiety for him, until he finds his way back to his loving family where he completely and utterly belongs.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
by John Boyne with new illustration by Oliver Jeffers
Knopf Books for Young Readers, reissue 2016
The Holocaust novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, was originally published in 2006, and focuses on a 9-year old boy named Bruno who develops a relationship through a barbed wire fence with another young boy, Shmuel, while Shmuel is imprisoned in a concentration camp. Recently, the novel was released with new illustration by world-renowned illustrator and artist, Oliver Jeffers. The heft of the story is balanced by the thoughtfulness of Jeffers’ illustration, and creates a heartbreakingly lovely new work for a younger generation to enjoy and experience.

In-Progress 2 July 26, 2018
Happy Wedding Flowers by Carolyn Gavin for Red Cap Cards

No, we really can’t get enough of all of the awesome work our artists are doing lately. In-progress videos, photo series and sketchbook shots thrill us, to say the least. What we love most about sharing the process of art-making and illustration is that inspiration can be fluid, and social media allows that to be shareable. Watching something like the beautiful in-progress video of Carolyn Gavin creating our “Happy Wedding Flowers” card (below) or seeing a start-to-finish portrait by Priscilla Weidlein (below) can help us all learn how to be better artists, and offer motivation and community in the process. After the fun we had two weeks ago, we gathered a view more to inspire. Have fun, make art, and keep the love flowing.

 

In-progress sketch by Priscilla Weidlein. Part 1.
In-progress sketch by Priscilla Weidlein. Part 2.
Remember this portrait by Priscilla Weidlein? Here is the finished product:
by Priscilla Weidlein
The beginning of something beautiful. By Marsha Robinson
Even more. By Marsha Robinson
A sketchbook sneak by Anna Emilia Laitinen.

Love the caption to this photo by Anna Emilia Laitinen. Inspiration flows everywhere. Even to telemarketers:

”Hello! Do you have a few minutes?”
“Well, actually I am working.”
“Ok. Are you in an office?”
“Oh, not really.”
“Do you work at home?”
“Oh, not really. I am behind my house by a lake sitting on a dock…”
“Oh my, did I just hear a fish jumping in the lake…?!”
“Oh yes, there are plenty of fish in this lake. Just the night before last night I saw an otter swimming by, we were staring to each other’s eyes for a moment.”
“Oh. Is that wind in the reed…?!”
“Yes, wait, I give you some sounds of the waves in the lake…”
“…”
“I have seen a beaver, a swan couple that always returns here but cannot have babies, and many other birds too. A fox is living here too and just the last days the dragonflies started to fly and glimmer in the sunshine. A butterfly just sat on my finger.”
“Oh.”
“But unfortunately you cannot swim in this lake because it is poisoned by some garbage.”
“Oh, I am sorry. We should take better care of the nature and not consume so much. Actually I was going to sell you something, but I do not want to anymore. After my work shift is finished I was thinking to watch a movie at home but now I think instead I should go for a walk to a forest or by a lake.”

#keeptheloveflowing

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The Lauren and Arlo Show (aka The Show With No Name) + 2 Fun Things July 19, 2018

We are in the middle of the dog days of summer, and I don’t know about all the kids out there, but we are in need of a hot weather pick-me-up. Enter: The Show With No Name, aka The Lauren and Arlo Show! Keeping it weird on YouTube, the super talented and hilarious Lauren Duarte has teamed up with kidboss extraordinaire, Arlo Mertz, to make a silly show to inspire fun! And check out that dollhouse by Duarte Dollhouses with Red Cap wallpaper by Danielle Kroll! They’re aiming for 1 million subscribers, so let’s get on this, folks! Make sure you stay tuned to hear Arlo’s amazing (and eerily accurate) horse ‘neighs’ and dollhouse fun. Follow the show on Instagram for news on new episodes and happy photos, and watch the full episode below:

Lauren doll and Arlo doll, with wallpaper by Danielle Kroll for Red Cap Cards
Crazy Aunt Lauren!
Schmoopy

Need some more summer fun? Check out these two other fun things to keep you and the kiddos busy during the hot hot heat:

Issue 3, with cover art by Red Cap Cards artist, Bodil Jane

Have you had a chance to check out Bravery Magazine yet? Started by pals Elyse and Ashley, Bravery focuses on highlighting positive–and brave!–role models for young girls. Gorgeous illustration (yes, that’s Red Cap Cards artist Bodil Jane’s work on the cover!) coupled with powerful stories and ideas empower young children to find the bravery inside themselves. You won’t regret this one, its a must for summer reading!

Photo courtesy Becca Stadtlander

Need more dollhouse fun? This one is a super-fun book to get those little minds thinking creatively: Treasure Hunt House by Kate Davies and Red Cap’s Becca Stadtlander! Releasing August 2nd, Treasure Hunt House is an interactive children’s book about two children who receive an invitation from their great-aunt Martha to visit her incredible house. From there, they set out on a treasure hunt to solve as they explore the rooms! Readers can lift flaps and solve the riddles on every page as they join them on their treasure hunt, learning about famous historical and cultural objects. We can’t WAIT to get our hands on this one.

Keep cool!