Author: Liz

A Pen & Oink interview: we dig Jon Chad


Jon Chad is all my favorite kinds of nerd. Seriously. He loves comics. He loves science. He loves the art of bookmaking (not to be confused with the mathematics of bookmaking). People, I have to come clean: I have a secret past life as an aspiring geophysicist. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that OMG SOMEONE MADE A GEOLOGY COMIC, in the coolest format imaginable: you turn the book sideways to follow […]

Reviewing, reviewed.


For the longest time, I didn’t read children’s book reviews. I used to work for Junior Library Guild, which is a K-12 collection development service, so I read pretty much everything–six months to a year before it came out. By the time a book reached the buzz circuit, I already knew what I thought about it. It was my job to be a picky reader. JLG chooses one book per month for its various age […]


Favorites / Foreign Exchange

I’m really into bold, minimal, modern, poster-y illustrations right now, which I guess is what happens to your brain when you start working in silkscreen. Even though I think of myself as a maximalist, like LET’S PUT IN LOTS OF TINY DETAILS EVERYWHERE IN SCRITCHY SCRATCHY LINE. This modern stuff is more Robin or Ruthie’s bailiwick (Exhibit A: our avatars), so it feels a little funny to write this post. But BRIGHT COLORS and SHAPEY […]

A Pen & Oink interview with Liz Tardiff, in which she covers book covers


Today’s interview is something a little different: our first with a children’s book designer! Read on for an interesting look at the work of Liz Tardiff, who’s with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. People, if you’re writing a book about the circus for HMH, don’t expect the cover to be typeset in Rosewood. THE DIRT ON: Liz Tardiff Hometown: Blackstone, MA (Usually that is qualified with: “Well, I grew up in MA but my family is from […]

“Epigrams succeed where epics fail.”

Featured Books / Foreign Exchange / Indie Picture Books That Are Awesome / Show and Tell

If anyone ever wants to buy me a wonderful and expensive present, I suggest a copy of Thoughts and Aphorisms from the Fruits of Meditation of Kozma Prutkov, a rare pamphlet illustrated by Quentin Blake in 1978. This post is not about the ever-wonderful Mr. Blake, however, but about quotations and maxims. I write my own stories, which is sometimes great (more freedom!) and sometimes burdensome (more freedom!). In the worst cases, fiddling around with […]

Interview roundup


Dearest readers, Pen & Oink is keeping things relaxed this weekend. But check out these interviews from our first three months! And enjoy your solstice holiday, whichever it may be. -Ruthie, Robin, and Liz “The first thing she asked on the phone was: ‘Tell me honestly, have you ever taken a drawing class?'” —-Abby Hanlon   “I am more comfortable working at a small size—I’m able to create a more energetic line when I draw […]

A Pen & Oink interview with Rebecca Emberley, in which she discusses birds and spiders

Indie Picture Books That Are Awesome / Interviews

I love to champion great independent picture books. If only there were more of them! I was, therefore, delighted to see Rebecca Emberley‘s Kickstarter campaign. She’s starting a small press called Two Little Birds; their first title will be The Itsy Bitsy Spider, a book/ebook/music extravaganza. THE DIRT ON: Rebecca Emberley Hometown: Ipswich, Massachusetts; have lived lots of other places. Now lives in: Kittery, Maine. Tools of the trade: Paper, scissors and Freehand MX. Artistic […]

Piggie drawings

Process / Show and Tell

Ruthie, Robin, and I decided to make a bunch of pig drawings to adorn our new logo. For me, this little project was a chance to play with different styles. This first one is a combination of hand drawing and Photoshop. I started out with colored pencils and crayons. Because it was an experiment, I didn’t overthink things. Then I used a mask to give the pig a cutout look and better define the eyes. […]

A celebration of pigture books (and a CONTEST!)

Featured Books / News

We at Pen & Oink are fortunate to have the pig as our mascot, because let’s face it, children’s literature abounds with pigs. Wilbur. Olivia. Mercy Watson. So, to celebrate our launch, we’re giving out a copy of a great pig book, Maurice Sendak’s Bumble-Ardy. Which piggie books do you love? Post an answer in the comments (please, don’t let’s all say Charlotte’s Web), and we’ll pick a winner at random! Deadline: this Thursday night, […]