Arlo's Book Club: The Fantasy Edition

It's time for another edition of (not secretly) our favorite series: Arlo's Book Club. This week, whimsy is the name of the game, with princesses, ghosts and ice cream rocket ships. We're also excited to be presenting books written and/or illustrated by THREE of our Red Cap illustrators.

Arlo's Book Club for Red Cap Cards. The whimsy edition
Arlo's Book Club for Red Cap Cards. The whimsy edition

1. Ice Cream Work by Naoshi. We were lucky enough to attend the debut and signing of Ice Cream Work last week, and picked up our copy! Ice Cream Work is a fantastical little gem of a book by our pal, Naoshi. This book as all the toppings--adorable instructions on how to create your own sunae plus tasty treats on every page!

2. Pavo and the Princess by Evaline Ness, winner of the Caldecott Medal for Sam, Bangs & Moonshine (Owlet Book). We especially love this book because the gorgeous illustrations were created with the ancient art of woodcutting. Brilliant color and intricate detail illustrate a tale about an ice cold princess and her peacock, Pavo, who was given to her by her father to see if she might able to love and be loved in return. We won't spoil it for you!

3. Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett with illustrations by Christian Robinson. How many lovely things can we say about this book? Besides the fact that Leo is a ghost, he is a tender ghost and wishes to feel loved. He seeks to be appreciated and finds a friend named Jane who is just his cup of tea. Loving Leo, loving Christian's illustrations!

4. Flyaway by Lesley Barnes. This one is so reminiscent of Pavo and the Princess, and written and illustrated by a member of our Red Cap family, Lesley Barnes! Here's the scoop : a young princess has a bird which she keeps trapped in a cage. One day, the bird escapes and she chases it round the castle and out into the garden. She manages to catch it but, realizing that the bird wants to be free, she lets him go, and is rewarded when he comes back to visit her." The book also comes with interactive elements and cut-outs that compliment its bold, bright illustration style. We love it! Plus, you can find some glorious vintage editions online.

Keep your eyes peeled for our next edition of Arlo's Book Club, and happy reading!

Artist News Roundup: Jon Klassen, Lizzy Stewart and Anke Weckmann

Happy October! Today, in celebration of FRIDAY, we're doing a roundup of some of our favorite illustrators in the Red Cap family: Anke Weckmann, Lizzy Stewart and Jon Klassen. Look below to see what great things our pals have gotten up to this past week:

Have you heard of Inktober? For the next 31 days, illustrators and artists across the globe will create one pen & ink drawing each day in honor of Inktober. We've loved looking at all of the work and were delighted to find our own Anke Weckmann is getting into the spirit. Check out her first ink drawing via her Instagram. Just awesome!

Red Cap Cards artist Anke Weckmann's Inktober

Also this week, we were so happy to see a new editorial illustration by Lizzy Stewart in the New York Times! Lizzy illustrated a book review for This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison. (The book looks pretty great too!)

Red Cap Cards artist Lizzy Stewart for The New York Times

Last but not least, the book trailer for The Nest by Kenneth Oppel with illustrations by Jon Klassen is now online! It makes the book look even spookier than we first imagined! Love it. Check the video out below, and don't forget to grab your copy here.

What a great week. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Images as linked above

Naoshi's Ice Cream Work at Gallery Nucleus

We know--our luck is fantastic! ANOTHER art show and book-signing at Gallery Nucleus by one of our favorite artists from the Red Cap Cards family. This coming Saturday, October the 3rd, Gallery Nucleus will be hosting a book-signing and show by Naoshi! Naoshi is known for her sunae or Japanese sand art. Naoshi will be in town, signing copies of her book, Ice Cream Work and installing a "mini exhibition."

Naoshi sunae show at Gallery Nucleus

More details from Gallery Nucleus's website:

Meet internationally renowned artist Naoshi as Gallery Nucleus hosts a very special event in honor of her new book, Ice Cream Work, published through Overcup Press. A collection of Naoshi's work will also be on exhibition accompanying this signing event.

Exhibition Details
• Naoshi will be in attendance
• Original art work on display
• FREE scoop of ice cream to attendees who purchase her latest book!
• ...and more to be announced!

See you there, or see you square! Take a look at the video below to watch her in action:


Artist Catch Up: Jon Klassen's The Nest

Jon Klassen is one of those Red Cap artists that we cannot seem to ever keep up with, because he always has such fantastic projects in the works! When he's not off winning Caldecott Awards, tweeting hilarious daily dog pics, or illustrating drool-worthy greeting cards for us, he's most likely busy as a bee making readable art. Speaking of busy as a bee (or wasp, in this case)--his newest illustrative work on Kenneth Oppel's The Nest, is due out October 6th!

The Nest, illustrated by Red Cap Cards artist Jon Klassen

Steve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? This is a haunting gothic tale for fans of Coraline, from acclaimed author Kenneth Oppel (Silverwing (The Silverwing Trilogy), The Boundless) with illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

Eek! We are on the edge of our seats. Can't wait for this one, just in time for Halloween. Preorder your copy here, and view Jon's scrumptious designs for Red Cap Cards, here.


5 Tips for Illustrating Children's Books from Rob Biddulph

Every once in a while, ever artist needs a bit of encouragement. That's why we loved this list of tips for Illustrating Children's Books from Rob Biddulph of the Observer Magazine and author/illustrator of Blown Away.

Rob Biddulph's 5 tips for illustrating children's books

We loved his article over on Creative Bloq that listed five great tips for illustrating children's books. #1 (and most importantly) -- DRAW!!

Click over to Creative Bloq to see the other four tips, and don't forget to take an extra special glance during story time tonight--you might be inspired in a new way after reading these tips. Thanks, Rob!

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our Master's Showcase and Illustration for Days Pinterest boards.

Images courtesy Creative Bloq

Red Cap Cards + Top Drawer London

We are excited to announce that Red Cap Cards is coming to London! For all our UK fans and retailers come visit us this week at Top Drawer London. We will be in stand Q44 with our new amazing UK distributor Studio Curiosity.  We hope to see you there...


Artist Spotlight: Dinara Mirtalipova

It's been a bit of time since we've profiled one of our fabulous Red Cap Cards artists, and we're so happy to step into interview mode with our newest recruit, Dinara Mirtalipova. Dinara currently lives and works in Sagamore Hills, Ohio with her husband and daughter, Sabrina. Her art work is complex, lovely, and reminiscent of eastern European folklore. Along with her illustration work, she is also the founder of Mirdinara Kitchen, and is currently working on the grand opening of her brick & mortar shop, Mirdinara Home + Gifts. We adored chatting with her here and are excited to introduce you. Make sure to click over and see her new designs for Red Cap, here.

Artist Spotlight with Dinara Mirtalipova for Red Cap Cards

You are originally from Uzbekistan, but your bio says that you "landed in snowy Ohio" -- how did you end up there?
Shortly after graduating from college my family and I moved to the US. At first we landed in LA, but even hot Uzbek summers felt like nothing before the LA's firing pot. So we moved to New York. But it still felt very temporary as the city is enormously huge and uncomfortably noisy for folks like us. So eventually we found ourselves in Cleveland Ohio and simply fell in love with it's beauty and nature. Yes, the winters are very cold and rough, but it's so beautiful here all year long.

Did you always want to be an artist, even in childhood?
Nooooo, not even close. Being artsy was such a norm in my family, it was considered more like a hobby that people normally do after they get home from their real work. Growing up I just couldn't help but to doodle all over the back pages of my notebooks, but I never considered applying for an art institute after high school. I thought computers will be the future so I dedicated four years studying computer languages and coding. There are parts of me that regret that I was so lousy about my passion as a child. I wish I could go back and learn so much, but then I think it made me who I am.

Artist Spotlight with Dinara Mirtalipova for Red Cap Cards

Your work is so intricate and seems to be influenced heavily by Russian folklore--what inspires you most about that genre?
Growing up I was surrounded by folklore. My one grandma was a native Uzbek who spoke broken Russian. My other grandma was Russian who found a shelter in Uzbekistan during World War II and stayed and learned the language. We always celebrated both cultures and traditions. I think I fully realized how vividly it runs in my blood only after leaving the place of my childhood. I never thought I would become so sentimental about it, but nostalgia just pours out of me and I can't stop it. It's something about the wall carpet above my grandma's bed, about the bright textiles that women wear, the songs my mom sang to me and the architecture of the ancient buildings.

Artist Spotlight with Dinara Mirtalipova for Red Cap Cards

You used to be an artist for American Greetings and are now a freelance illustrator--what are the pros and cons of working for yourself?
It was a privilege for me to serve my good nine years at American Greetings. For someone with no degree in art, AG replaced college teaching me about technical skills like paper sculpture, paper engineering, building a repeat pattern, working in Photoshop and Illustrator, preparing files for production, hand lettering, calligraphy, silkscreen, block printing, and I can go on and on. It was a great school for me! All that technical knowledge plus my art style made me ready to eventually go solo after my daughter was born. She was a screaming 24/7 baby and I was very sleep deprived, plus we both developed separation anxiety as we were both crying every morning before me leaving to work and while at work I missed seeing her little face and holding her so terribly. That made me take an important but difficult decision to leave my cozy comfortable nest at AG and to dive into an unpredictable world of art licensing.

On a positive note, being a freelancer allows you to build your own schedule. I'm not a morning person, so taking a little longer in the morning is very crucial to me, not even mentioning skipping the angry 45 min morning race to work. But on the global scale I'm pretty much working towards my own goals, day after day building my own brand and giving the companies and the people who support my product the promise that I'm here and I will always draw for you. It is also the excitement of fun collaborations.

Artist Spotlight with Dinara Mirtalipova for Red Cap Cards

How do you balance motherhood, home life and work?
It's not easy, I'm not going to lie. I'm working mostly at night when Sabrina is asleep. There are nights, of course, when she still wakes up at night and needs me, but as she gets older she understands that mommy works at night. She started pre-school, so I have the morning hours to emails, quick file tweaks and phone calls, the afternoons are usually dedicated to after school programs and museums.

Did your daughter, Sabrina, inherit your love and talent for art?
I believe every child is artsy and every child loves to paint. I have never met a child in my life that refused a brush. She's still too little to declare whether she loves art to that degree. I'm not pushing her at all. Art is necessary for a child's development just like dancing or running, so yes, I am certainly exposing her to different art programs. But I'm not going to influence her decision to make it her thing when she grows up. I'm rather very curious to see who she will become as an adult.

Artist Spotlight with Dinara Mirtalipova for Red Cap Cards

What is your dream job (besides what you are doing now?)
That's the one I'm doing right now. There is no other dream job. I guess I'm living my dream now. I might sound like a maniac, but I go to bed thinking of illustrating this and that and I wake up and I'm still day dreaming about art. I can do it 24 hours non stop. Before Sabrina I could draw all night long and still go to work. With Sabrina I can't afford not to sleep, but on some Friday and Saturday nights I do stay longer then my usual because I know that in the morning there are other family members who can fix her breakfast in the morning and I could stay a little longer in bed.

What inspires you?
Everything. Nature, flowers, forest, movies, songs, fashion, books, stories, colors, shapes, people, animals, antiques, museums.

Artist Spotlight with Dinara Mirtalipova for Red Cap Cards

Which artists, designers or illustrators are your favorite?
I really admire classic artists. They absolutely fascinate me. The quality of work they created before the computer era is so astonishing! The wallpapers by William Morris leave me speechless, I love collecting some old books by Alice and Martin Provensen, Roger Duvoisin, postcards of paintings by Ivan Shishkin. There are many many other great names that I bow before and compared to them the current art seems so insignificant.

Artist Spotlight with Dinara Mirtalipova for Red Cap Cards
A sneek peek of Mirdinara Shop, coming soon!

What do you enjoy in your "free time?"
In my free time I draw. Yes, sorry to sound so boring, but that's what my free time is for. I draw with no theme in mind. I usually put on a music, typically there's one particular song that I favorite at a time and I keep listening to it on a repeat. I like "blind drawing," that means drawing without sketching first or any concept in your head. Just the paints and the brushes. That's like reading a good book--it takes you to unexpected places and the final piece turns out like nothing you could ever see coming. With my busy schedule I can afford that free time only on a Friday or a Saturday night as the rest of the week is usually filled with jobs and family. I also try different techniques, like wood carving, block printing or pottery making. During long winter evenings I like taking different art classes and attending workshops. Art can be so versatile, it's like a galaxy of endless possibilities.

Artist Spotlight with Dinara Mirtalipova for Red Cap Cards

Images courtesy Dinara Mirtalipova