All posts filed under: Foreign Exchange

Ode to Italian Authors and Illustrators

Favorites / Featured Books / Foreign Exchange

Above: Spread illustrated by Emanuele Luzzati from Italo Calvino’s: Il visconte dimezzato. I recently went back to Italy, almost ten years after I had left it. That’s a long story I won’t bore you with now, but one of the things I missed most was browsing in European book stores. Books feel more beautiful over there, the thick paper (often textured), well-illustrated covers of every kind of book (no photos from movies that came after the […]

High School French Follow-up!

Favorites / Featured Books / Foreign Exchange

I cannot believe I wrote this post a year ago. When I put it on Facebook, I hadn’t thought much about it. But lo and behold Mark from my high school French class (and just about every other class I had growing up) kindly contacted me to tell me he still had the books. Not only did he still have the books, but if I wanted them, those books could be mine! And so thanks to Mark, those books are now […]

Le Tableau – The Painting – GO SEE IT!

Animation / Events / Foreign Exchange

I had other plans for this week’s post, but when I got my weekly update from GKIDS, I knew this was the only thing I should be writing about. Le Tableau by Belgian Director Jean-François Laguionie, was released in 2011. But somehow it hasn’t come to the U.S. until now. I know I’ve only seen the trailer, but I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Sketches and half-finished paintings are characters in this imaginative world. It seems […]

High School French Rocks!

Foreign Exchange / Just Because

So you may have guessed that I took French in high school. The best thing about it was the illustrations in the text book and accompanying workbook. My friend and I were obsessed with them. Unlike most text books at the time, it had illustrations by someone who could actually draw and who had a sense of humor. I like how loose and gestural they are, and how all the men have big noses! The […]

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 […]

Donkey stamp!

Foreign Exchange / Just Because / Tutorials

Today I’m keeping it simple: a sneak peak into my upcoming post about my love of donkeys and trying out Robin’s very first Pen & Oink tutorial. Now check out this fabulous postage stamp from Italy celebrating the different breeds of donkeys: For more info on this stamp by Anna Maria Maresca click here.

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 […]


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 […]

Carosello Part I: La Linea

Animation / Foreign Exchange

“Guardi Carosello e vai a letto!” (You can watch Carosello and then it’s bedtime!) The famous phrase (or some version of it) Italian children heard for as long as Carosello was broadcasted on the RAI (Italy’s state television channel). My husband often shows me clips of this staple from his childhood in Italy. What I can gather about Carosello was that it was on TV from the late 50s through the late 70s, it was […]

“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 […]

German Ornaments

Foreign Exchange / Just Because

My parents lived in Bad Kreuznach, Germany for three years when they were first married because my father was stationed there in the army. Among other things (including my older sister who was born there!), they brought back ornaments for the tree with them. Every year growing up when we helped them decorate the tree, I would marvel at the hand painted wooden ornaments. Each one more interesting and colorful than the next. I would […]

A Pen & Oink Interview with Sergio Ruzzier

Foreign Exchange / Interviews

Esteemed author and illustrator Sergio Ruzzier magically and unknowingly brought Robin, Liz and I together! We are honored (and tickled pink!) to mark our launch with this interview! Hometown: Milano, Italy. favorite children’s books as a child: When I was very little, Else Minarik’s Little Bear series illustrated by Maurice Sendak were my favorite books, and probably my first, biggest influence. A few years later, my parents gave me The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, […]