Posts Tagged 'Children’s Book Illustrations'

Up! How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones


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Do you remember being little and always wanting “up”?

I sure do! Nothing quite matched the thrill of riding on my dad’s shoulders; the toys on the floor shrinking in importance as I was elevated up to his height.

This makes me think of the film, Dead Poet’s Society. In it, Robin Williams plays an English teacher who instructs his prep students to stand on their desks in order to see the world from a new point of view.

Standing on a desk, climbing up a mountain and being carried as a baby are all very different experiences, sure, but they all cause a temporary shift in one’s perspective. Perhaps that baby you see peeking out from his mom’s snugli is not only hitching a ride, but also learning what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.

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Up! How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones is my newest illustrated children’s book with Owlkids. Written by Susan Hughes, Up! takes the reader on a baby carrying journey across the globe. Some scenes depict culturally specific ways of carrying babies, while others are more universal. Overall, it’s a nice mix, and one that seems realistic in this fast-paced, ever-changing globalized world we live in.

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Making a children’s book is a lot of work, and not simply for the author and illustrator. There are so many talented, dedicated people at Owlkids, working behind the scenes to put books like these together. Thanks especially to my editor, Debbie Rogosin, art director, Barb Kelly and publisher, Karen Boersma. Thanks also to  Judy Brunsek, Allison Maclachlan and Jemicah Marasigan for getting my books “out there”, and for making this awesome book trailer (see below).

You can purchase this book here.

Kyle Goes Alone

Last year around this time, my life seemed to revolve around this desk.

Studio shot, Kyle goes alone, sloth art

Amidst piles of green and blue painted sheets of paper, penciled up tracing paper, stacks of book-marked reference materials and a confetti explosion of foliage and vine pieces, a little sloth named Kyle was being born.

Kyle Goes Alone, children's book, kid lit, sloth, sloth book, three toed sloth

Kyle was initially shy and fearful of the vast rainforest I was creating around him. All of those blues and greens made him feel cold and lonesome. His little brown body eagerly clung to the vines I cut for him.

leaf cutter ants, kyle goes alone, rainforest, paper collage

Little by little, and I mean little, I introduced some friends into the scenes for Kyle to meet. Some had six legs. Others had two. Some were green while others were red. And some had tiger stripes even though they weren’t actually a tiger.

tiger striped tree frog, rainforest frog, kyle goes alone, paper art

I didn’t want to startle Kyle, so I made sure to introduce the friends gradually, only showing pieces of them at first. Can you spot two in the scene below?

Kyle goes alone, sloth in tree, paper illustrations

After a while, something changed in Kyle. The greens and blues of the rainforest didn’t feel cold and lonely to him. A little smile even started to form on his face and he was ready to share his story with the rest of the world.

Kyle Goes Alone, three toed sloth, kid lit, sloth book, Ashley Barron, Jan Thornhill, owlkids

Kyle Goes Alone is a delightful story about a baby sloth’s first taste of independence and how he overcomes his fear of “going alone”. It’s written by Jan Thornhill, published my Owlkids and illustrated by yours truly.

I hope Kyle finds his way into your heart as he has mine.

Math in Nature Show

Since the start of my work on the Math in Nature series, I had always entertained the thought of having a show once all four books were complete. Well, this summer my dream came true thanks to a very special gallery in my home town of Whitby.

Station Gallery’s Curator, Olex Wlasenko, was really the driving force behind this becoming a reality. He first got in touch about a year ago, to present the idea of featuring me in the artist’s spotlight section of SG’s membership magazine, Platform. Since then, I’ve been welcomed into the Station Gallery family.

I call it a family because it really feels like one. On top of everyone being super welcoming, it turns out I have some old friends there. I soon found out that Chrissie Wysotski, illustrator and former neighbour of mine, was now working as SG’s educator and family programmer. Chrissie and her husband David were the first illustrators I had ever met and encouraged me to apply to OCAD back in high school. As well, Olex’s sister, Kathryn Wlasenko, was my high school art teacher.

Station Gallery has also given me the opportunity to flex my teaching muscles. I taught my very first adult art class titled “Paper Landscapes”, as part of SG’s winter programming. It went so well that I’ll be giving another go at it this coming winter with two new classes titled “Paper Pets” and “Paper People”.

Ashley Barron, Math in Nature, Station GalleryMath in Nature, Children's Book illustrations, station gallery
Math in Nature, Children's Book illustrations, Station Gallery

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Olex comparing the Prairie Chicken spread from Sorting Through Spring with the original art. Toronto Image Works did a wonderful job photographing all four books.

Station Gallery, Whitby, Math in Nature, Ashley Barron

2014 OAC Logo Colour JPG

Thanks again to Olex Wlasenko and the rest of the gang at Station Gallery for putting together an excellent exhibition, as well as the Ontario Arts Council for their Exhibition Assistance grant. And of course, thanks goes to Owlkids for believing in my abilities and for welcoming me into the Children’s Book market. The Math in Nature series was made possible through the combined efforts of Lizann Flatt (Author), Jennifer Stokes (Editor), Claudia Davila (Designer), Barb Kelly & Mahak Jain (Art Directors).

To learn more about what the Whitby Station Gallery has to offer, visit their site: http://www.whitbystationgallery.com

The Math in Nature books can be purchased through the Owlkids Store, as well as Chapters, Amazon and all sorts of smaller book shops.

A piece of summer

This time last summer, I was busy making sketches for Shaping Up Summer’s book spreads. I remember scouring the city’s public gardens for insects and flowering perennials with my camera in hand, crouching in funny positions to record their details and capture that-oh-so-right perspective. 

Since one of the aims of the Math in Number series is to educate readers on indigenous plants and animals, the ecosystems I sketched out had to be seasonally accurate. This meant learning which flowers bloomed around the same time as each other. For instance, a iris paired with a sunflower would be a very unlikely sight, as one blooms in spring and the other in late summer.

Lizann Flatt, the author of the series, was a great help when it came to suggesting which plants to group together. Lizann lives up in the Muskoka region of Ontario and is well-versed in her wildflowers. Her attention to detail is what makes this series so special, in my opinion.

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I wish I could share with you the cover of Shaping Up Summer to go along with this post, but I must first wait until the book has been fully released, come spring 2014.

So instead, I’ll hint at it in pieces, starting with the photos of the Purple Coneflowers and Blue Globe Thistles pictured above (including the bees), and this process shot of a Swallowtail butterfly coming together below.

swallowtail butterfly paper collage shaping up summer


Hello

My name is Ashley Barron and I'm a Toronto based illustrator. This is my online show & tell of new artwork and anything else I find inspiring. Thanks for taking a look :)

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Nori rated this year's cat garden buffet 2 out of 3 Michelin stars: "worth a detour". ⭐️⭐️ .
.#catgarden #catgrass #catmint #walkerslow #nepetaracemosa #barleygrass #purrsianbluecatmint #worthadetour We found a perfectly good drafting table left out for trash. Yay for free things and customizable angles to draw upon! ✍️↗️↘️↖️⬆️⬅️↙️ Happy 5th Birthday to my friends at @maizalto 🎈🎈🎈Gabby & Ivan: I remember when the thought of opening your own restaurant was just a dream, and now look how far you've come!💫 Do me a favour and open a second location in the East end, will ya?! 🙏🙏🙏 A little pep talk from mom before Kyle begins his solo journey down the tree. From one of my spreads in #KyleGoesAlone @owlkidspublishing Tulip the swan, completed. Soup to go, please. A swan named Tulip. #wip Smelling lilacs.