Author: Liz

Event alert! Sex and Violence in Children’s Books at the PEN World Voices Festival


Hey, literary New Yorkers! Sex! Violence! Also, The PEN World Voices Festival has been going on this week—and this weekend, they’ve got not one but two children’s lit events! Children’s books are literature, YESSSSSSSS! And psst, the organizer tells me: “You can also pass on the discount codes: PEN14 or PEN2014. I think it’s 20%.” Sex and Violence in Children’s Books: Where The Wild Things (Really) Are, with Sarwat Chadda, Robie Harris, Susan Kuklin, Sharyn […]

The best yes ever

News / Videos

Some time ago, I wrote and dummied this story about a bear named Ursula (natch) who does water ballet. She’s training for the big water ballet championship with her friend Ricardo.. …until one morning, when they discover a new pool policy: NO BEARS ALLOWED!

Endpapers (a short postscript)


Speaking of endpapers: I was at my friend Sarah’s recently, digging through her children’s books. (Sarah teaches third grade.) She kept handing me stuff, saying, “Oh, this one is GREAT.” Then she handed me Johnny Penguin, published by Doubleday in 1931. My immediate reaction: “OH HELLO DELICIOUS ENDPAPERS.” Ah, the good old days of pre-separated artwork (some of which appears to have been prepared in lithographic crayon, yum yum!). These endpapers, and some of the […]

Trick or Treat!

Show and Tell

A couple of months ago, the awesome Brooklyn-based children’s band The Pop Ups contacted me, asking me if I wanted to illustrate their jazzy Halloween song Miss Elephant’s Gerald. There would be animals. Playing instruments. Wearing costumes. Oh yes, I was very interested.

I’m baaaaaaaaack!


Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been scarce around these parts for the past few months. Well, I’ve been on a sabbatical of sorts, working on a few time-chomping projects. More on that another time. For now, enjoy this, my newest obsession. Ah, Tim Minchin:

Beautiful books from Czech publisher Baobab (some of which might have a hard time getting published here)

Featured Books / Foreign Exchange

It might not surprise you to hear that I love to visit bookstores in other countries. Even when I don’t understand the language they’re written in, picture books are quite satisfying to page through. Foreign picture books are a part of the travel experience, as illustration styles and tastes vary from country to country. When I visited Prague a few years ago, I bought a couple of books from a wonderful artsy publisher, Baobab. Check […]

Rounding up posts at the old Pen & Oink ranch


  It’s been good times at Pen & Oink since our first post all the way back in September (!!). Here’s a selection of our favorites: Robin shows how to add color to black & white artwork in Photoshop. Liz asks: Why are all my favorite illustrators men? Neil Numberman tells us about comics, working through the night, and beige. Lauren Castillo shares sketches galore! What art directors REALLY think about your online portfolio! An […]

In which Sergio Ruzzier shares the making of Bear and Bee

Featured Books / Guest Post / News / Process

We’re always happy to share good news from our stubbled Italian fairy godfather, Sergio Ruzzier. He’s with us now to talk about the creation of his new book, Bear and Bee, which comes out today. And with that, we hand over the conch shell. Take it away, Sergio! When my daughter Viola was in, I believe, third grade, I was asked by her school, P.S. 295 in Brooklyn, to come up with a bee character […]

3 German illustrators whose work you may or may not know*

Favorites / Featured Books / Foreign Exchange / Indie Picture Books That Are Awesome

My friend Diana, from Germany, is visiting this week. We met back when I lived (and studied illustration) in Leipzig. Diana is a linguist; she studies an endangered language in Nepal and has interesting things to say about the role of picture books in endangered language communities. More on that some other time. But since I’m thinking about Germany today, I wanted to mention a few German illustrators whose work I like a lot. The […]

Aryan children want you to eat a good breakfast

Just Because

Today’s post is sort of a digression. But not really! It’s still about illustration! And children! Anyway. I wouldn’t call myself a collector, exactly, but there are certain things I like to acquire in quantities that are more than practical. Interesting vintage pillowcases. Itty-bitty toys. Oh, and children’s books. Yeah, I own a lot of children’s books. Then there’s my collection of food packaging bearing pictures of smiling blond children. I think it started on […]

Pen & Oink interviews Jon Chad, part II: format format format


Last week, I interviewed Jon Chad about his amazing geology adventure comic, Leo Geo and His…man, that’s a long title. Just go look at it, okay? Anyway, Jon had a lot of interesting things to say about books with interesting formats, which I thought would make a great post all on its own. So here it is. Make sure to scroll to the end for the best alter-ego self-portrait EVER. What could the children’s book […]