Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Feature on 7-imp

Today, Jules over at the fabulous Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog has featured my two books that came out this year~Thank you, Jules! Please drop on by and take a look at some of the art from That's Papa's Way, and Big Cat Pepper. Jules also highlighted some of the beautiful art from Leslie Evans newest title, Faces of the Moon. Maybe you are still in search of that last minute Christmas gift for a child you know...books are always a wonderful present :)

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Come out to the Brooklyn Museum!

This Saturday I'll be signing books, along with many lovely and talented authors & illustrators, at the Brooklyn Museum's 3rd annual Children's Book Fair. Come say HI, and grab some early Christmas gifts for your friends and family!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like

Christmas?? Yup, that's right. Well, in my studio that is. I've just started final art for a really awesome Christmas book project that will come out next year (Fall 2010). Lots of sheep and shepherd drawing! Will share more later on this year~

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Society of Illustrators Opening

In front of my piece (from That's Papa's Way). It was fun that Peter's piece was below mine, and Julia's piece was to the left of mine~ Goooo Team Rodeen!
A small part of the crowd, right before Chris Van Allsburg came up to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award. It was so wonderful to hear him speak, especially because his incredible books were part of what inspired me to work toward a career in this field!
SVA MFA unite! Taeeun Yoo, You Byun, me, Paul Hoppe, and Chris Butzer. Congrats to Tae and Chris, and to all my other friends who had their work on display (AND to all my other incredibly talented and hardworking friends who did not, and should have!). It was a great exhibit, and an event that I look forward to every year. The show is up through November 25th, so go check it out if you can!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

S.I. Original Art Show

If you live in or around NYC, and have interest in the book arts, then The Society of Illustrators is the place you need to be next Thursday evening October 22nd! It is the opening reception of the 29th annual Original Art Show, and I promise the exhibit never disappoints. I feel honored to be part of the show this year, and look forward to celebrating the work of this lovely industry~

And P.S. A big CONGRATULATIONS goes out to Brian who won a Silver medal for Moonshot, his absolutely gorgeous book!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back in the U.S.A.

Aaand, I'm back! Paul and I had a wonderful two weeks touring around France and Germany~All I can say is, to thoroughly cover 4 cities in 15 days is H-A-R-D! I managed to take over 1000 photos, yet a pathetic amount of drawing was done--we were on the move way too much for that (still, I will post the few that I have later on this week)! I successfully gathered more than enough reference for my upcoming book, CITY CAT (by Kate Banks). YAY for travel books!!!

Here's a little overview of our journey (click to enlarge):

Monday, September 7, 2009


Well, the time is FINALLY here--I am headed to Europe to do research for a new book project (written by the wonderful Kate Banks)! The travel route will include Paris, to Ravensburg and Weingarten, to Meersburg, to Munich (arriving just in time for the lord mayor to tap the first keg at Oktoberfest!), and finally back to Paris. I am so so psyched to explore these cities and their landmarks, and hopefully fill up some memory cards and a few sketchbook pages! Oh, and my assistant (and official translator!) is pretty excited as well :)
So long, au revoir, tschüss!!! Catch y'all at the end of September~

Friday, September 4, 2009

Buffalos nominated!

Some FUN news just in! Buffalo Music is one of 2o books nominated for the 2009-2010 West Virginia Children's Choice Book Award. This Fall, the Committee will be inviting children all across WV, who are in grades three through six, to read the list of books and vote for their favorite. The award is based solely on children's votes, which allows young readers to have a voice about the types of books they enjoy and would read more often~What a lovely honor to be included on this list :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

PAPA'S WAY en Español

Very exciting news: THAT'S PAPA'S WAY is going to be published in España by Editorial Juventud! UN DÍA CON PAPÁ is the Spanish title, and UN DIA AMB EL PARE will be the Catalan title. ¡Muy bueno!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

BCP blog love

BIG CAT PEPPER (written by Elizabeth Partridge) has received a couple of really nice reviews from the folks over at Curled Up With a Good Kids Book and For Immediate Release Reviews - Kids! Thanks so much to these two blogs for reviewing and recommending our book!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Papa's Way for Father's Day

There have been some nice Father's Day gift recommendations from the San Fransisco Chronicle, Detroit News, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for THAT'S PAPA'S WAY. Maybe you are in need of a last minute gift for a Dad, and maybe, just maybe, you 'll find this to be a good choice? :) Happy Father's Day to all you dads!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Melvin and the boy, on their way!

Yesterday I packaged up and delivered most of the art for my first written book, Melvin and the boy! Henry Holt will be publishing it in the very distant Spring 2011, and I am both excited and terrified! I think the excitement outweighs the terror though :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Yippie, Buffalo Music won a state award!

I received an exciting letter last month by the Daughters of the Republic Texas Library announcing that Tracey Fern and I won the 2008 June Franklin Naylor Award for our book Buffalo Music!

The Naylor Award, endowed by the family of June Franklin Naylor and sponsored by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, is given annually to the author and/or illustrator of the most distinguished book for children that accurately portrays the history of Texas, whether fiction or nonfiction. A former schoolteacher and long-time resident of Odessa, Mrs. Naylor served as President General of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Inc., from 1989-1991.

Tonight is the Historical Dinner where the award is presented. Sadly, I am not in Killeen, Texas and won't be able to accept it. I'm not sure if Tracey will be there either...unfortunate! But nonetheless, I am very thrilled and honored that Buffalo Music was chosen as this years recipient--thanks to the DRTL committee!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Yippie, today is Big Cat Pepper's official release! Please check it out the next time you're wandering up and down the isles of your local bookstore. And of course you can purchase it online if you like~ There have been some kind reviews coming in over the past month--
here are a few snippets:

Big Cat Pepper Elizabeth Partridge, illus. by Lauren Castillo. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59990-024-7

“Because of their loyalty and innocence, the death of a pet is especially poignant, and Partridge gets it just right with this tale of a boy and his beloved cat, Pepper. Using simple rhymes, the comforting daily routines described at the outset forewarn tragedy. Sure enough, one day Pepper no longer wants to play. Partridge does not sugarcoat what happens next: “Is he gonna die, Momma, / is he gonna die? / Mama said she thought so, / cry, oh cry.” The discovery of the dead animal is not shown, but we do see the boy cradling a wrapped bundle that he and his mother place into a flower-bed hole. The rest of the book entails the boy’s grief with emotional pencil illustrations of too-dark nights and too-empty rooms. It’s all pretty darn sad, but the story is buoyed by a stirring ending: hoping to understand Pepper’s “spirit,” the boy closes his eyes and realizes the breeze feels just like his cat’s fur and whiskers. Pets come and go; best to have this one on hand.— Booklist

“Mama, me, and Pepper,/ always been this way/ Never been without him,/ even for a day,” says the young narrator in introducing the main characters of this rhyming story. But Pepper, a big tabby cat, is “way too old” and within a few pages, he dies. Partridge (Whistling) and Castillo (Buffalo Music) don't try to smooth over or rush through the loss, giving their boy protagonist the respect his love and loss deserve (he comes to understand that Pepper will remain “always in my heart”)...Castillo's mixed-media domestic scenes, rendered in muted tones and composed mostly along the same, prosceniumlike plane, provide reassurance and emotional ballast for both the narrator and readers, as the boy and his mother care for the cat during its final days and bury it in the flower bed... Ages 3–8. Publishers Weekly

“‘A young African-American boy sure loves his big cat Pepper, but one day Pepper won’t play. The next day Pepper won’t drink or purr. After the inevitable occurs, mother and son bury the cat in a flowerbed. When the boy asks if Pepper will be scared down there, Mama responds, “No, sugar, no, / I’ll tell you why. / His spirit is forever— / it can fly, fly, fly.” The boy doesn’t understand until one day he holds still: The grass tickles his ankles like Pepper’s fur, and he hears Pepper’s purr in the wind. The boy’s heart opens up, and he knows Pepper will always be with him. Castillo’s mixed-media illustrations of a rural, single-parent family are smudgily warm and comforting. The entirely secular explanation of death and the fact that there is no substitution pet added to the family in the end make this a very worthwhile addition to bibliotheraputic literature for the young.”—Kirkus Reviews

Monday, April 27, 2009

PAPA'S WAY hits shelves

Today is the official release date of That's Papa's Way (written by Kate Banks). Please check it out online, or at your local bookstore!

Here's what School Library Journal has to say:
–A father and his daughter start their fishing day by going into the woods to look for earthworms. Her methods are all her own since, “that’s my way.” Papa picks up worms with his fingers; she scoops them up with a shovel. This is a quiet story, just the telling of the small pleasures that make up an outing on the lake. Both catch fish and go home to have dinner with mom and baby brother. The illustrations in pastel and ink are perfect for conveying the sense of calm that the story requires. The full-bleed spreads show the expanse of the water and the pines, and the depiction of the wildlife is just detailed enough to be naturalistic. The only thing that really happens here is that a father and a daughter spend a lovely day together. And that’s something to celebrate.–Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


So I've been searching for quite a while now to find a new transferring technique that has interesting effects, and most importantly is SAFE. Much of my book work, up till this point has been created using acetone transfers. And as you are probably aware, acetone is not the best thing to be breathing in, nor is it good for the environment. I do love its results though, which is why I've had a hard time giving it up. Recently I stumbled upon a site that makes a special paper called 'sheer heaven'. This paper is pretty awesome because you can draw directly on it OR print(ink jet) directly on it, and then transfer your image simply by misting the paper with rubbing alcohol and placing it over the surface of your choice. And rubbing alcohol = much safer than acetone!
I've been playing around with the sheer heaven, and must say it is fun! Unfortunately I do not yet have control over the results. Maybe practice will make perfect...OR, maybe not. Maybe this technique is one that thrives from its imperfections. Is anyone else using transfer methods in their work? I'd love to hear any suggestions if you've got 'em!

*this sad girl on the left was drawn and colored with marker and pencils directly on the sheer heaven paper, and then transferred in to my sketchbook.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Big Cat Pepper arrival

Last week I received an advance copy of my book BIG CAT PEPPER. It was most exciting to hold and flip through the bound version for the first time. The paper has a beautiful uncoated finish, which I think gives the book that extra special touch.

Inside, the flap copy reads:
How do you say good-bye to someone you don't want to leave? And how can you keep a memory alive if your heart feels full-up with sadness? With soft, lyrical text by award winning author Elizabeth Partridge and gently expressive illustrations by Lauren Castillo, this beautiful story will touch the heart of any reader who has ever had to say good-bye to a loved one.
This project will always hold a special place in my heart, especially because during the time I was creating the art my grandfather passed away. I'm not sure I realized it at that moment, but being immersed in such a comforting story must have had a hand in helping me to heal and be at peace with his passing.

Elizabeth Partridge recently wrote a beautiful and touching post over at her blog about our book, and her cat Coyote. You can visit and read it right here. Thanks so much to Elizabeth for providing a wonderful text about a very difficult yet important subject. I am honored to have been the one chosen to illustrate it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mainichi Weekly interview article

Last month I sat down with the lovely Yoshina Watanabe for a little interview about me and my work. Yoshina is a New York City based journalist who writes a monthly column about NY artists for the Japanese newspaper, Mainichi Weekly. Below is the scanned article (which you can click on if you'd like to read) that hit newsstands a couple of weeks ago in Tokyo, Japan. Thanks so much, Yoshina!

Monday, March 23, 2009

the MELVIN wall

MELVIN art progress is slow but steady. I look forward to when ALL the art will be hanging on this wall, because that will equal completion :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kirkus = kind

Here's another very nice review of That's Papa's Way!
Father and daughter head out to fish in the early dawn; Papa picks up
the earthworms with his fingers, while the narrator scoops them with
her shovel. He whistles as he rows, "because that's Papa's way," and
she sings "Whoosh" with the waves, because that's her way. Banks's
gentle, present-tense narration captures the specificity of the moment,
as Papa lands a fish and narrator holds her breath, hoping she'll get a
bite. Their understanding of each other is deep and intimate, evident in
both text and Castillo's illustrations. Her soft, reassuringly thick
outlines contain this happy pair, even as they are cradled within their
boat, which in turn is held gently by the waves. Thick, matte stock
completes the warmly rumpled look of this loving snapshot.
(Picture book. 4-7)
--Kirkus reviews

Friday, February 13, 2009

First review in for Papa's Way--

--And it is a very nice one! It appears in the Feb. 1st issue of Booklist:

That’s Papa’s Way. Banks, Kate (author)
Illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Farrar/Frances Foster (9780374374457)
As the sun rises, a young girl and her father dig for earthworms in the woods, collect oars and life jackets, and row onto the lake for a day of fishing. In spare lines, the girl describes the day’s fun, noting the differences that make her and her dad unique. For example, Papa picks up worms with his fingers (“that’s his way”), but the girl prefers to use her shovel (“that’s my way”). What dad and daughter share is their affection for each other: when Papa gives his daughter an end-of-day hug, she says, “I hug him back, because that’s my way, too.” Small sensory details evoke the lake-house setting, from the sound of twigs snapping underfoot to the feel of the wind pushing the boat. But it’s the quiet, understated love between a parent and child that kids will connect with most. As in Emily Jenkins’ What Happens on Wednesdays (2007), Castillo’s winning artwork, rendered in thick charcoal lines and textured layers of paint, finds realistic, reassuring tenderness in a family’s everyday activities. — Gillian Engberg

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Notable News!

This week, at the annual Midwinter Conference in Colorado, the American Library Association made its exciting announcement of the 2009 Youth Media Awards. I am so very honored to be on the list of ALA notable books with Buffalo Music! Many thanks to the 2009 Notable Children's Books Committee!

Also, there was a little write up in True West Magazine on the first week of January!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Happy New Year

Today while wandering down a street in the neighborhood, I ran in to some of the cutest, most pathetic looking, little guys -- a llama, two donkeys, and two ponies, all lined up in a row on the sidewalk. Later, I found out that they were part of the annual Three Kings Day parade of Brooklyn...And this is why I love New York :)