“His art was not modern for the sake of modern. [It] could be a kind of very distilled visual language that could be understood by just about anyone, from a 2-year-old to an illiterate peasant in Russia.” – Leonard Marcus, children’s literature scholar and curator.
With Spring in the air, there is not a more perfect, classic artist to showcase than Leonard Weisgard. Known mainly for his collaborations with Margaret Wise Brown, Weisgard’s illustrated works are staples in the libraries of children’s literature enthusiasts. (Read this fantastic article about how Margaret Wise Brown and Leonard Weisgard’s collaborations revolutionized children’s literature!)
Bursting with color and fine detail, Weisgard’s work was honored with the Caldecott Medal in 1947 for The Little Island, written by Brown. The beauty in his depictions promote such a slow contemplation of the world around us. According to the article linked above, Brown actually sought out Weisgard because she felt that there “weren’t enough wildflowers in children’s books.” In 1970, Weisgard moved to Denmark the protest the Vietnam war. He died there in 2000. Look below for a (very) small sampling of his contribution to the art and literature worlds. Happy Spring!
Spring is just about to peek its lovely head out from behind the corner, but doesn’t it seem as if the winter days drag the most toward the middle of March? The blustery weather no longer sparkles, we no longer feel cozy–we just feel stuck. If you are a creative or an artist, and the days have begun to drag on, how do you find inspiration?
One too many days spent indoors can zap the creative flow and it’s difficult to navigate your work between times of making dinner or doing laundry or of staring out the window, wondering if the rain will ever stop. We’ve talked a bit about sketchbooks and how important the consistent output of work is to creating even more work, but what do you do when there’s just…nothing?
Today, in honor of sweeping the cobwebs out of our brains, we thought we would take a look back at our Artist Spotlights and find inspiration in our artists’ inspirations. Take a look below at some of their responses to the question of what inspires them. We hope it helps you find your inspiration, too:
“I’m not really conscious, but inevitably my environment inspires me, I’m sure; everything I like sticks in my head one way or another, and reflects when it is time to work. Because (I always say this but is true nonetheless) there is no inspiration without work. I’m a great believer in randomness during the creative process. I have started with pottery a short while ago, and I’m really enjoying it, so I think it will reflect in my work somehow.” – Blanca Gómez
“Nature and people. We as human beings are very small next to the powerful nature. That is what I think most of the times when I paint. Even though we are very clever and all the time learning and discovering new things, we will never be as powerful as the nature is. The beauty of the nature is also how everything there interacts somehow together.” – Anna Emilia Laitinen
“Reading is important to me, and is a big source of inspiration. I’m also inspired by some of the travels I’ve done and a lot of what I do is based on memories of experiences I’ve had and places, people, and things I’ve seen. As far as reference goes, I was looking at a lot of 1950’s children’s books when I was in college – I think a lot of the simplistic shapes of that era stuck with me.” – Josie Portillo
“Books, films, music, memories, exhibitions, clothing, interesting color palettes, images I come across on the internet–absolutely everything. There’s usually one thing that has me captivated at any given moment and I live under its spell until the next wave of inspiration. I try to keep my eyes open and carry a notebook for writing down half-formed ideas or themes to return to. My mind and my computer are visual catalogs where I file away all of the beautiful things I see, and they all appear in my work eventually, in one form or another.” – Yelena Bryksenkova
“Traveling and trying new things. I get a ton of ideas when I’m not sitting around trying to think of one. Generally I get inspiration from everyday life and I definitely look at the past stylistically. I love going to thrift shops and antique malls. You’re guaranteed to see something interesting, unique, handmade, quirky, funny, beautiful and affordable if you go to the right spot. Not to mention the funny people watching.” – Danielle Kroll
“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.” – Carolyn Gavin
“I’m very influenced by vintage illustration from all over the world. I admire Russian avant-garde illustrators like Boris Ermelenko, the bold works of Fernand Nathan, Olle Eksell, Leonard Weisgard, Alice and Martin Provensen; Miroslav Sasek, Art Seiden, Arnold Edwin Bare and many many more. I also love old advertisements like the one from bally or old food illustrations. There is jelly everywhere and woman serve big meals to their husbands in their pink kitchens. I also love old Czechoslovakian, Polish and Russian matchbox labels and vintage travel posters, mainly from England. I could not limit my self to one artist or one direction. Each one of them has something that fascinates me. What I mainly love about those kind of illustrations is the limited color palette, the bold shapes and the beautiful printing techniques they are made with.” – Barbara Dziadosz
“Everything around me basically. I like to gather influence from anything from a bike ride around the block, to reading a children’s book to reading a science or philosophy article online. I don’t typically look at other artists or illustrators for inspiration, as doing so usually has the opposite effect, I like to pull ideas from more abstract thoughts. Even just seeing an interesting pattern, or the way the tree in the park meets the grass can lead to a new way of thinking about a drawing.” – James Gulliver Hancock
“Everything. Nature, flowers, forest, movies, songs, fashion, books, stories, colors, shapes, people, animals, antiques, museums.” – Dinara Mirtalipova
“I don’t know….I get asked this a lot and there’s no answer really. I think, as a rule, creative people are greedy, we consume books and music and film in high volumes and that contributes to our work, of course it does. But its hard to pinpoint, at any given moment, where an influence has come from as its merged with all the other stuff going on in your head. So a drawing might come from a song I’ve heard, something by Withered Hand or Karen Dalton perhaps, but it also comes from the mood I was in when I woke up that morning, the weather, who I’ve been speaking to. Rarely do my ‘favourite things’ crop up in my work. […] Its just a feeling you get when you see something that ‘gets to you.’ That irrepressible urge to make things. Its important not to disregard anything you encounter, its all good stuff. The greedier you are with things the more you’ll have to go on.” – Lizzy Stewart
“I’ve been asked this question a lot, and it’s hard to answer honestly. My environment has always been really important, including experiences of new places. Work and life are so intertwined that I can’t really pick out specific inspirations. Taking the time to observe what’s around me helps me stay conscious of what I’m thinking and feeling, and I think that influences my work.” – Kate Pugsley
“Everywhere. Experiences. Dreams of yesterdays past. Books. Nature. And, in the last year, Pinterest!” – Nicholas John Frith
“Epic question! So many things inspire me. Children’s book illustration and graphic art from the 50s-60s, nature, simplicity, cities, children’s art, animation, fine art, music, I could keep going.” – Christian Robinson
“I love objects–things with stories, collecting things, arranging things, discovering things. The natural world is hugely influential. I always go back and draw from memories of experiences and places. I love looking to current interior design and fashion–even if they don’t show up directly in my work. I feel very blessed to have family and friends who inspire me creatively. My brother has been staying with us for the past few months while he works on his studio apartment–he does the most amazing woodworking. Lately it has been especially inspiring to spend so much time talking over new projects and creative plans with him and my husband.” – Kelsey Garrity Riley
“Looking at everything, especially shapes and colours. Good food. Films and music. All the girl characters I’ve been obsessed with since I was little. Starting with Pippi Longstocking (in the amazing picture book illustrations by Ingrid Vang Nyman), later Anne of Green Gables, Harriet the Spy, Margot Tenenbaum, Lisbeth Salander and so many more.” – Anke Weckmann
We hope you enjoyed your International Women’s Day! Whether or not you took the day off in honor of #adaywithoutawoman, or you simply celebrated your fellow and/or favorite females, we felt the love yesterday. In honor of the International Women’s Day, we wanted to present some beautiful work by some of our favorite female artists–Red Cap Cards artists! See below for work some beautiful work they created and make sure to visit their websites, linked via our artists page. We love and respect you all. The future is female!
Pop the cork! We’ve got a fun treat for your weekend: come celebrate our brand new collection created by Danielle Kroll, this Saturday night at The Social Type! Join us for an inspirational gathering to connect, sip a bit of bubbly, and tip our hats to Danielle.
Meet us at The Social Type (bring your spending shoes, because this place is fantastic!)
2522 W Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, California
6-9pm — come early, stay late!
We can’t wait to see you. Pencil this into your paper (or digital) calendar, put on something cute and we’ll see you there, cocktail in hand!
It’s finally time for another Artist Spotlight, and we are so thrilled! We are pleased to introduce Danielle Kroll to our Red Cap Cards family. A Brooklyn-based artist and designer, Danielle brings a feminine chicness with a hint of play to the Red Cap roster. Debuting with eighteen new cards and six new wrapping sheet styles, Danielle and her gorgeous new designs makes us want to grab a cocktail and relax under the nearest cabana with a copy of Franny and Zooey.
We had a chance to chat with Danielle a bit about her creative process, what inspires here, and more. See below for her interview and fantastic photos of her studio and more.
What does a typical day for you look like?
Usually I take advantage of my flexible schedule and get some chores done in the morning. If I have time, I’ll make myself a nice big breakfast. My studio is a 20 minute walk through Greenpoint and I try to get there by 12. Some days I just want to get right to painting but if I have emails or urgent deadlines, that will have to wait until later. If I finish up all my client work then I can work on something for myself. It’s like my treat for having a productive work day.
Did you always want to be an artist? Did you have any other aspirations?
I’ve always known I wanted to do something creative. I thought I wanted to be an interior designer because I loved playing The Sims so much. I started painting in the 5th grade when I won private acrylic lessons with a local artist. I went to art school and then worked as a graphic designer. I got bored though so I started painting again on the side. I started getting client work after posting my paintings on a blog for a little while. Illustration, it turns out, was kind of like my missing link between design and painting.
Tell us about your other work–ceramics, textiles?
Ceramics is a happy place because I don’t take on commissioned work in that medium. Which also means that I don’t get to work with clay that much since it never takes priority. I still feel like I’ve only tapped the surface with that. As for textiles, I’ve been drawn to them for as long as I can remember. Some of my first memories are of patterns in my grandparent’s houses. Sometimes I weave those memories into my work. I started doodling patterns in my sketchbooks one day then started painting more complex textiles once I learned how repeats work. I really can’t control what my mind wants to be working on which is why I move around between mediums. If I have an idea I will obsess over it until I start working on it.
What is your creative process like?
It depends on what I’m working on. I’m always drawing in my sketchbooks and those most likely will turn into a textile. For my personal projects I think I’m most creative when I’m not thinking about it too much. Sometimes I could sit around for hours (or days) just thinking about ideas before actually starting anything. Then when I have something in mind I’ll have it done that same day. When I’m painting, I work with gouache and sometimes add in paper collage. Then I scan my paintings into Photoshop and do some cleaning up. I actually really like the computer part because by then the hardest parts are over and I can just zone out and listen to audiobooks, podcasts or watch cartoons.
What inspires you most?
Traveling and trying new things. I get a ton of ideas when I’m not sitting around trying to think of one. Generally I get inspiration from everyday life and I definitely look at the past stylistically. I love going to thrift shops and antique malls. You’re guaranteed to see something interesting, unique, handmade, quirky, funny, beautiful and affordable if you go to the right spot. Not to mention the funny people watching.
What is your most successful piece in your opinion?
Yikes tough call! I think my most popular piece was the Ladies at the Beach print. Which I love as well. One of my all time favorite paintings I did was of two lost swans swimming in the ocean on an old book page. Very romantic.
What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
I think it’s probably, don’t listen to other people’s advice. What’s right for one person is most certainly not going to work for everyone. When you’re excited about a big idea and ask someone’s advice, chances are they’re going to tell you something like, “wow that’s a lot of work. Or woah that’s crazy.” And it’s easy to feel discouraged. I still ask people’s advice, I just try not to factor it into my decision making process.
Favorite mediums to work in?
I feel most confident when painting because I’ve been doing it for so long. I think ceramics is the most rewarding (when everything goes right). Since I don’t have too much time in ceramics I always try something funky when I go in there. Occasionally it works out!
Tell us about Beech Hall.
I started Beech Hall with two of my buddies from Tyler School or Art. We all branched out in slightly different concentrations so we thought it would be a fun project to make a brand together. Our first collection was inspired by Ancient Egypt and had homewares, jewelry, ceramics, paintings and other random goods. Our second collection was inspired by the feeling of a retro island vacation and we called it Cabana. It’s been fun to just experiment and to fully develop a product concept. We see it more as an opportunity to explore artistically rather than a business.
Who are your role models in terms of art or otherwise?
The first artist I really looked up to is Mary Blair. I remember seeing an exhibit of her paintings at the perfect time; right after I quit my job and started a long hike in California. I really connected to her. Seeing the original artwork that stylistically inspired my favorite childhood movies made me giddy.
If you didn’t work as an artist, what would you be doing?
Maybe I’d be an antique buyer. I’m really good at that!
Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
I do have some fun ideas in the works but they’re not ready to be shared yet.
Do you have any advice for up-and-coming artists and illustrators?
Do as much experimenting as you can. Sometimes I’ll start on an idea and I’ll think it’s going to be the best thing in the world. Then a few hours in, I’ll take a step back and it’s hideous. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s easy to get discouraged but we all make ugly stuff every now and then. Just remember to dispose of it.
Obligatory Red Cap question: favorite drink?
My go-to order is a Vodka Soda. I’m Polish so vodka is my family’s liquor of choice. For my fancy cocktail I’d go with a Moscow Mule. I love the fresh gingery taste. So refreshing!
Thank you so much, Danielle! See more of Danielle’s designs for Red Cap cards, here.
All photos courtesy Danielle Kroll unless otherwise noted.
We hope you’re getting ready to hunker down with your honey tonight–and by all means, a “honey” may represent your spouse, partner, child, pet, or really just a huge box of Junior Mints. Whatever works. We love you oh-so-much at Red Cap Cards. Have fun, eat some candies, and enjoy the love that is within your grasp. Here’s a few visual treats to get you started…
Happy Valentine’s Day!
They say the eyes are the window to the soul. We say they are the window to the story. Part of our jobs as art curators is finding personality and perspective in our artists’ characters. A huge chunk of that personality and perspective is found in the character’s gaze. The intricacies with which artists are able to convey emotion and intent through slight subtlety in their character’s features is fascinating!
Part of what makes a successful picture book is a 50/50 partnership between words and illustration. Words tell half of the story, while the illustration tells the other half. Sometimes, these halves conflict in their truths…and that’s when things get really exciting! When you start to focus on these tiny details in a picture book’s illustration, it’s amazing what layers you can find.
It’s no secret that we are huge Jon Klassen fans. Celebrated author, illustrator and Caldecott award winner (not to mention Red Cap Cards artist), Jon is a master at creating tension and story arcs with very subtle details in his art work. Look below for some fascinating examples from several of his books.
This is Not My Hat
by Jon Klassen
This one tells the story of a tiny, mischievous fish who has stolen a hat (quite stupidly) from a much bigger fish. He is sly and aware of his surroundings until he gets a little bit too comfortable. We love the facial expressions on both fish (and a few other characters) as the story emerges, showing complex emotions in a battle of wits.
“He probably won’t know it was me who took it.”
I Want My Hat Back
by Jon Klassen
In this story, a much-too-trusting bear goes on the hunt for his missing hat, until he ultimately finds it, much to the dismay of the thief. The range of emotion in this one is perfect! Trust to deception, realization, intent, surprise, and ultimately, satisfaction. The illustration is able to stand completely alone in its story.
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
Words by Mac Barnett, illustration by Jon Klassen
This one is magical and has new layers that are discoverable with each reading. Sam and Dave do simply that–they dig a hole. Their trusty dog is there to attempt to steer them in the right direction, but ultimately, they wrap up the day’s work and head home…or do they? The very subtle inconsistencies in the two home settings create a story within a story. The look between the cat and the dog tells us there’s more to this narrative that we are invited to put together on our own after the book is closed.
We Found a Hat
by Jon Klassen
Jon’s newest addition to the “hat” trilogy tells the story of two turtles in a desert who have found a hat. Who will claim the hat? They both like it, and it looks good on them both. The internal struggle of one of the turtles is hidden from the text, but is given away in the eyes of the character illustration. See the images below:
How many characters are completely recognizable by their eyes? We wanted to touch on Jon’s characters to get you on the lookout–who are your favorite characters with stories told through their expressions? We will be back with some more illustrative techniques for telling a complete story through illustration. Keep your eyes peeled!
-Andie Powers for Red Cap Cards
Who is attending the NY NOW Show in New York City next week? We’ll be there!
From February 5th-8th, Red Cap Cards will be represented by Crow & Canary in the general gift section in the company of some fine lines of stationery, gifts, and housewares. Visit us on the first floor of Davits in Booth No. 7614!
Stop by to check out our new collection of valentines, and allow Danielle Kroll to make a proper introduction with her stunning new collection of cards and gift wrap. We can’t wait to see you there.
We are delighted to introduce our brand new collection of greeting cards and wrap for the start of a shiny new 2017. Our January collection features original work by our new Red Cap Cards collaborator and artist, Danielle Kroll. Brooklyn-based and bursting with style, Danielle’s bright and light-hearted illustration lends a touch of whimsy and a dash of vintage class to our design repertoire.
A bit about Danielle: she graduated from Tyler School of Art and started her career in Anthropologie’s Art Department. Her work includes illustrations, ceramics, paintings and textiles, while her whimsical style aims to inspire curiosity and to make your day just a little bit brighter! Plus, she is also a founder of Beech Hall, a web shop that offers a vibrant array of homewares, ceramics and jewelry.
Danielle’s collection debuts twenty-two new greeting cards, featuring luxurious foils in pink, emerald, gold and copper, and six new wrapping papers. From a classic blue-and-white toile to the most chic knives you’ve ever seen, there is a perfect paper for any creative or elegant occasion. Check out some highlights (plus, some brilliant in-progress shots from Danielle’s Instagram!) below or click over to our shop to see the entire collection. Also, download our January 2017 catalog here, or view it on ISSUU.
We are so happy to have Danielle as part of our collaborative family. Beautiful work, Danielle. Welcome.
Need some distraction today? We hear you…
Ever heard of National Duck Day? Apparently it was yesterday (January 18th)! Beloved Red Cap artist, Jon Klassen, introduced us via a gorgeous illustration and poem for Eric Carle‘s, What’s Your Favorite Animal? Take a look at the poem and illustration below, plus a bonus original illustration.
“Most times when you
see a duck in a story,
it’s not very smart.
Usually it is in the
middle of falling
for a trick somebody
is playing on it.
But I like ducks,
I like watching them walk around.” – JK
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
This Google doodle by Red Cap artist, Christian Robinson, from several years ago still makes our hearts leap. During these uncertain times, let’s focus on love. Martin Luther King Jr. told us so. Read more about Dr. King’s dreams on his official webpage. And view Christian’s designs for Red Cap, here.
Think that Valentine’s Day was invented by the greeting card companies? Not so, as much as we wish we could take credit for that one. The holiday dates back all the way to a temple priest (Valentine) who was beheaded in 270 AD. Emperor Claudius was peeved with Valentine for performing illegal marriage ceremonies for the army’s soldiers who were forbidden from marriage. New laws enacted by Claudius stated that a Roman soldier should only be in love with the Roman Empire, and was not allowed to wed. After being caught, Valentine was thrown in jail to await his execution where (legend has it) he healed the jailer’s blind daughter. He then gave the girl a card with the written words, “from your Valentine.” February 14th was the date when Valentine received Catholic martyrdom, and the rest is history!
We at Red Cap Cards are invested in celebrating the legend through love and thoughtfulness. Send your heart on a piece of art. Click over to our shop to see all of our Valentine cards—many of them brand new! Follow our Instagram for even more Valentines during the month of love. It’s all you need, you know.
It’s no secret that we are enamored with great illustration and creative work for children. The only thing better than finding those two components in one tiny package is if they are mailed directly to our house on a regular basis! Creative magazines for children are such a fabulous way to consistently inspire kids to use their imaginations and have fun with art and literature. Plus, the added bonus of receiving mail addressed right to them is like a surprise party with every single issue. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites (plus one or two for the grownups in the house as well). Enjoy!
A favorite of ours, Illustoria is a quarterly, printed magazine for kids that celebrates “visual storytelling, makers and DIY culture through stories, art, comics, interviews, crafts and activities.” This one is geared toward kids of ages 6-12, but don’t let that hold you back. Even grownups can find tons of colorful inspiration in these pages. An added bonus–check out the “kid art” section of their website to view art by tons of tiny Picassos.
Anorak. Eat your veggies! Or at least read them. This quarterly mag for kids is printed with real vegetable inks on all recycled pages for kids ages 6-12. It’s a treasure trove of all things happy and colorful. Also lovable is that each issue is themed with an interesting topic, like Under the Sea, Party, or Daredevils. We’re a bit biased about their Museums issue (above) as it features a beautiful illustration by Red Cap Cards artist, Barbara Dziadosz, on the cover.
Dot. We like to think of this as Anorak‘s little sister. It’s everything that Anorak offers for older kids, but bite-sized for pre-schoolers. Dot, is ad-free and geared toward children 5 and under. “Just like its older brother Anorak, DOT encompasses all aspects of a child’s life, from jumping in puddles to learning through play. It encourages kids to be resourceful and find solutions using all the tools they naturally have at their disposition: imagination, creativity and fun.”
Bright Lite is a new one on the scene, and was initially launched via Kickstarter. “For girls / by girls” is this quarterly magazine’s motto, that strives to empower girls through photo, story, and art submissions from girls all over the world. We love their emphasis on “focusing on that incredible time of just being a kid; that blissful part of youth before dating, parties, and ‘coolness’ seem to distract us from simply being in wonder of the world.” Thumbs way up for that!
Honorable Mention: Not for kids, but for the kid-at-heart.
Flow is a great Dutch magazine that explores creativity and mindfulness in daily life. “Flow is all about positive psychology, mindfulness, creativity and the beauty of imperfection. We love illustrations and in each issue there is a gift made of our much-loved paper. We print the magazine itself on different types of paper.” One of the many reasons we adore Flow is because they love wonderful illustrators as much as we do, like Yelena Bryksenkova who is a regular in print. Check out this awesome feature of Yelena’s day-in-illustrations. Love it!
Another one for creative kids at heart–Uppercase Magazine. An independently printed magazine out of Canada, Uppercase is a smorgasbord of creative inspiration. Each issue is themed, such as the Stationery issue (above) and features work and art by some of the most talented in the business. Check it out–the print job is a work of art in and of itself!
What are your favorite creative magazines?
Happy New Year, all you folks and friends! We are very excited about 2017, and hope you are too. Many fantastic projects are on their way for Red Cap Cards, plus a few collaborations that will knock your socks off. Be on the lookout for new lines by Danielle Kroll, Priscilla Weidlein and Bodil Jane, plus a luxury line (details to come) with Marsha of Strange Dirt, and more.
In the meantime, enjoy a trip down memory lane into some of our most beloved posts. Enjoy, and drink a glass of bubbly for us! Happy 2017!!
CHILDREN’S BOOK POSTS:
Arlo’s Book Club: Winter Edition
Five Books for Kids on Kindness
The Art of Truth: Why We Create for Kids
Arlo’s Book Club: Make It Work Edition
Arlo’s Book Club: Magical Wonderment Edition
Diversity in Children’s Books
Arlo’s Book Club: Spring Fun Edition
RED CAP ARTIST POSTS:
Fall Fest: Red Cap Artists’ Spooky Sketches
Artist News Roundup: Lizzy Stewart, Jon Klaassen, and Dinara Mirtalipova
New Artist: Danielle Kroll
Artist News Roundup: Christian Robinson, Nicholas John Frith Lesley Barnes, Lizzy Stewart, and Josie Portillo
Artist News Roundup: Anke Weckmann, Becca Stadtlander, and Meg Hunt
RED CAP SPECIAL RELEASE POST:
Gift Wrap, Notebooks, and Wrapping Paper Release!
Oh So Beautiful Paper Interview
The Magic Behind the Press Interview
Artist Spotlight: Carolyn Gavin
Artist Spotlight: Kate Pugsley
Artist Spotlight: Barbara Dziadosz
Artist Spotlight: James Gulliver Hancock
Life: Fathers Day Trumpet by Lizzy Stewart
Spread Some Cheer with Red Cap Cards
Shake: For the Fathers
The Art of Love
The Importance of a Sketchbook
Creative Inspiration: Modes of Medium
Master’s Showcase: Barbara Cooney
Merriest of merries. Happiest of happies. We hope this Yuletide season finds you warm, cozy, and surrounded by friends and loved ones.
Love, Red Cap Cards
Winter is here, and we hope you are super cozy–curled up in your bed with cute jammies and maybe a friend or two. It’s also time for another Arlo’s Book Club, and this time, we’re focusing on some new (and old!) wintery favorites to keep you and your tiny readers warm over the coming season.
The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear with illustrations by Chris Turnam
Charles wants to find a wish tree, and is off on a journey to find one, with his sidekick, Boggan. This one is perfect for the holiday season, and will inspire the search for magic in kids and adults, alike. We’ve featured Kyo Maclear before, and are delighted with her new release. Crisp, modern illustration by Chris Turnham makes the story sparkle.
Mr. Dog’s Christmas at The Hollow Tree Inn by Albert Bigelow Paine with illustrations by Adam McCauley
We adore this one! Originally written by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1898, Mr. Dog has become a traditional figure in many households around the holidays. Artist Adam McCauley rescued the out-of-print text and brought it back to life in glorious color. Is a warming a spot on the chair in your hearth? If not, grab one!
“Meet the mischievous but kind-hearted Mr. Dog: a worldly raconteur who delights in telling tales of Santa Claus’s visits to Mr. Man’s house. His friends at the Hollow Tree Inn—Mr. Crow, Mr. ‘Coon, and Mr. Possum—have never heard of Santa Claus. They’re mesmerized by Mr. Dog’s descriptions of the jolly old man and, naturally, they’d like to entice Santa to the Hollow Tree. So Mr. Dog decides to play along. His generosity, creativity and careful planning result in a joyous celebration for all, capturing the essence of Christmas as a time for love and giving.”
Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant with illustrations by Christian Robinson
We’ve been waiting for this one for a while, and couldn’t wait to dive (a little penguin pun) in as soon as we got our hands on a copy. Illustrated by Red Cap Cards artist, Christian Robinson, and written by Cynthia Rylant, Little Penguins is a warm telling of a family of penguins’ getting ready to go out and play on a wintery day. This one will make you want to live in primary color. Check out Christian’s card designs for Red Cap here.
Love Matters Most by Mij Kelly with illustrations by Gerry Turley
This vibrant, poetic picture book tells the story of a polar bear searching for something that matters most of all in the cold, wide arctic. Cool colors with vibrant pops of color, plus a perfect rhyming scheme make this one a winner. It’s a joy to read out loud. Love, love, love.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
We haven’t forgotten the lovable Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The TV special is loved in its own right, but we tend to prefer the tactile experience of a book, don’t you? “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
The Mitten by Jan Brett
This one is a classic that you should pick up immediately if you haven’t had the fun of discovering it already. In this story by Jan Brett, a group of woodland animals find Nicki’s tiny white mitten in the snow, and try to crawl inside it, one by one. I suppose the story begs the question of why you would knit white snow mittens for a child, but that point aside, this one is whimsical and imaginative and bright. Kids love it!
Last week, we were so busy having fun wrapping the gifts, that we forgot to give you our suggestions for what those gifts might be! Our Red Cap Cards artists are always hard at work, creating beautiful art, books, and goodies, and we wanted to share a few fun treats! From bottles of wine to books for the kids, everyone on your gift list is covered this year. See below for a small selection of fantastic holiday gift possibilities:
1. For your crazy-fun sister, who is always the life of the party: Jet Set Jungle Syrah, with label art work by Red Cap artist, Meg Hunt. We’re not sure how this one tastes, but if it’s anything as bold and lovely as Meg’s artwork, it’s sure to satisfy. Click over to Barrel + Ink to grab a bottle or two.
2. For your favorite niece or nephew who loves a good laugh: Hello, Mr. Dodo! by Red Cap artist, Nicholas John Frith. This is Nicholas John’s second picture book, and would make a perfect gift for young readers. Rather than a rambunctious hummingbird, this one is about a girl and her new doughnut-loving pal, a dodo. Published in hardcover by Arthur A. Levine books.
3. For any friend who always has great ideas they need to jot down: pick a notebook, any notebook. As if we could forget our favorite gift of this year. From Moth Magic to Forest Blue, the original Red Cap Cards notebooks are 5×7 inches, with 56 unruled pages, and boast an offset printed, heavyweight linen texture cover with foil details. Click over to our shop to see them all.
6. For the grandkids, who adore a whimsical story about friendship and triumph: a signed copy of Jill & Dragon by Lesley Barnes, available from her Etsy shop. This is a great nightly read, and has a surprising and sweet ending!
7. Don’t forget to grab something for yourself while you’re shopping around Lesley‘s shop. This bone china Knight Parade mug will hold cup after cup…after cup of very dark, caffeinated coffee for when your spouse’s family is in town.
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…
-Andie Powers for Red Cap Cards
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.
-Andie Powers for Red Cap Cards