Author: Robin

Behind the Scenes of What Makes A Baby: A Kickstarter Children’s Book

Featured Books / Inspiration / Interviews

Last October, Liz introduced me to a great book called What Makes a Baby, written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth. (I talked about it in my post on picture books and doing it.) Cory’s book, which approaches the reproductive process from a more inclusive perspective, was a Kickstarter smash hit: $65,516 pledged of a $9,500 goal. The first, self-published printing of What Makes a Baby sold out and it is now in its second print run […]

Carter is a Painter’s Cat

Featured Books / Inspiration

Today, some inspiration from Carter is a Painter’s Cat, by Carolyn Sloan, with illustrations by Fritz Wegner, published in 1971. Carter is about an artist’s cat who gets repainted every morning on a new sheet of paper. He looks different every day and he’s never sure what to expect. It’s a great story, and Wegner clearly had fun creating each and every illustration. He combined lots of cool techniques in his watercolors throughout—textures, patterns, splatters. His […]

Behind the Scenes: Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein

Interviews / Process

Above: David’s final “tater tot” mama squirrel character from Ol’ Mama Squirrel. (Inspired by The Scream) David Ezra Stein spoke about overcoming creative blocks at the scbwi winter conference this past January and his talk was one of my favorites. During his presentation, he told us the story behind his latest picture book Ol’ Mama Squirrel. David completed all the final artwork, delivered it to Penguin, and then decided it wasn’t right and asked if he could […]

Studio Visit with Jessie Hartland: Meteorites, Museums, and Stolen Masterpieces

Interviews / Process / Studio Visit

Above: Painting from How the Dinosaur got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland. I’ve known and loved Jessie Hartland’s work ever since I worked with her on assignments for Martha Stewart Kids magazine. She was one of our go-to illustrators because she always nailed it. Jessie is the author and illustrator of several fantastic non-fiction picture books. She has also illustrated travelogues for Travel & Leisure Family magazine, designed window displays for Barneys and Bloomingdales, and created […]

Squarespace! and a few more portfolio website services

Self-Promotion / Tools of the Trade

Since writing my post, “What Art Directors REALLY Think About Your Online Portfolio,” I have come across another great online website builder for portfolios called Squarespace. I don’t see many children’s book creators using this service yet so I’ve pulled some examples from other illustrators. Squarespace comes with several clean, beautiful templates that look instantly classy out of the gate. I am working with a client right now on a site using the service and it’s great. I had a few minor issues […]

Studio Visit: Brian Floca, Sergio Ruzzier, Sophie Blackall, Edward Hemingway, and John Bemelmans Marciano

Interviews / Studio Visit

Above: The illustrators on the roof of their studio space. From left: Brian Floca, Sergio Ruzzier, Sophie Blackall, Edward Hemingway, and John Bemelmans Marciano. Liz and I recently got to spend a few hours at the shared studio space of children’s book author/illustrators Sophie Blackall, Brian Floca, Edward Hemingway (“Eddie”),  John Bemelmans Marciano (“Johnny”), and Sergio Ruzzier, These guys have been sharing a studio for over two years—with the exception of Eddie who moved in a few months […]

A Visual Feast, Brought to You by 50 Watts


I first came across about a year ago when I was looking for some images by Japanese illustrator, Takeo Takei. I was blown away. Will Schofield’s blog is an amazing visual resource of illustrated books around the world, (mostly) old and (sometimes) new. Schofield originally started the blog under another name in 2007. You can read more about Will and how he started 50 Watts here and in Steven Heller’s blog post for The Atlantic. children’s books at […]

SCBWI NY 2013: “Internal Migrations,” Being Superlative, and Cold-Calling Maurice Sendak


I had a great time at the SCBWI Winter conference this past weekend. I’ve been three times in the past six years and always walk away inspired and energized. Some of many highlights for me this time around: 1. The Illustrator Intensive on Friday. The entire day was one big highlight. It’s a day of presentations from some of the top illustrators in our field. This year we heard from Shaun Tan, David Ezra Stein, […]

Illustration Promotions: Fast and Cheap Postcards and Business Cards

Self-Promotion / Show and Tell

While I love the idea of creating a great save-worthy promo piece for myself, sometimes (okay most of the time) I just need something done quickly and cheaply. I’ve been preparing for the upcoming scbwi conference and I need some promo postcards and business cards to present along with my portfolio. I haven’t had much time to spend on them so I got some printed up at and I’m very pleased by the printing quality.* Liz has […]

The Seamstress of Salzburg by Anita Lobel

Featured Books

On my 25th birthday my sister gave me one of the best gifts I have ever received. It came wrapped in a beautiful floral print. As I looked at the wrapping paper, I slowly realized where I knew that pattern from: the end pages of my all-time favorite picture book, The Seamstress of Salzburg by Anita Lobel. My sister had found an old library copy on sale on eBay and photocopied the end papers to […]

New Year, New Pigs

Process / Show and Tell

Happy New Year everyone! We’ve got lots of great interviews, process posts, books, and more to share with you in the coming months. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you the pigs I created to accompany our logo. For more about how I designed our current logo, check out this post.  (And check out Liz’s pigs and Ruthie’s pigs 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.)

Behind the Scenes: Where’s Walrus?

Featured Books / Interviews / Process

Last week we interviewed children’s book illustrator, Stephen Savage. Stephen sent me so many great images I couldn’t fit it all into one post! Today, Stephen talks to us about his award-winning, wordless picture book Where’s Walrus? and takes us through his process, from the very first sketch to the final color comps for the cover. Stephen’s style is fresh, spare, and seems effortless, so it’s fascinating to see the amount of work and planning that goes into his finished pieces. […]