Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide 2020

The Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide is back! For the last three years, we’ve put together gift guides – inspired by Travis Jonker’s The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide 2017 – featuring our current roster of illustrators. We have something for everyone from some of the best children’s book illustrators in the world – treat your family and friends (or yourself!) to a beautiful piece of art this holiday season.

Shop Happy Narwhalidays; Vote for Me; and Ben’s artwork

Ben Clanton is an author and illustrator whose picture books include Mo’s Mustache; Rot, the Cutest in the World!; Boo Who?; It Came in the Mail; Something ExtraordinaryRex Wrecks It! and Vote for Me! He lives with his family in Tacoma, Washington.

Shop The Button Book and Bethan’s artwork

Bethan Woollvin won the Macmillan Prize for Illustration in 2014 for her retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” Little Red, which was later named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2016. In 2017, Bethan was awarded the New Talent (Children’s Books) Prize at the World Illustration Awards. She was also shortlisted for the 2017 Klaus Flugge Prize and the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award. Bethan graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge with a First Class Degree in Illustration in 2015 and now lives in Brighton, England.

Shop Snow Falls and Brandon’s artwork

Brandon James Scott is an Emmy Award-nominated animation director and illustrator, with over ten years’ experience in the animation industry. He created the preschool series Justin Time, which has won a Canadian Screen Award and been nominated for an Emmy and an Annie, and directed several episodes of Ever After High. He was also the creative director and designer of the children’s show True and the Rainbow Kingdom. Brandon illustrates whimsical picture books, including The Dog Who Wanted to Fly and several books based on Justin Time. He lives with his family in Toronto, Canada.

Shop The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt and Byron’s artwork

Byron Eggenschwiler is an illustrator living in Calgary, Alberta. He is the illustrator of Operatic, by Kyo Maclear, Coyote Tales by Thomas King and Beastly Puzzles by Rachel Poliquin. Byron has also done illustrations for the New York TimesThe New Yorker, Wall Street JournalGQ and others. He shares a home with his wife and two soft cats.

Shop Monsters 101 and Cale’s artwork

Cale Atkinson is an author-illustrator and animator whose books include Unicorns 101Where Oliver FitsTo the SeaOff and Away, and Sir Simon: Super Scarer. He lives lakeside with his family in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. See more of Cale’s work at Cale.ca, and follow him on Twitter at @2dCale.

Shop The BatThe CockroachThe Mosquito; and Elise’s artwork

Elise Gravel is the creator the Olga series and the Disgusting Critters series as well as I Want a MonsterThe Cranky Ballerina, and What is a Refugee?, which School Library Journal called “effective and compassionate.” Elise studied graphic design at Le Collège d’Enseignement Général et Professional and has since published numerous picture books including La clé à molette (La Courte Échelle Publishers), which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for illustration. Her books have been translated into twelve languages. Elise is inspired by social causes and lives in Montreal with her husband and two children.

Shop What’s Up, Maloo?; If I Couldn’t Be Anne; and Geneviève’s artwork

Born and raised in Quebec, Geneviève Godbout studied traditional animation in Montreal and at the prestigious Gobelins school in Paris. She is the illustrator of a number of books for children, including Goodnight, AnneThe Pink UmbrellaWhen Santa Was a BabyKindergarten Luck and Joseph Fipps. She recently illustrated a picture-book edition of the beloved classic Mary Poppins. She also works for clothing designers like Nadinoo and Mrs. Pomeranz, creating illustrations and prints for their collections.

Shop Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House and Janet’s artwork

Janet Hill is a painter and children’s book author/illustrator. Her work is both elegant and whimsical, and her painting style evokes a sense of nostalgia, mystery, and humor. She has written and illustrated two picture books: Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess and Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat CountessLucy Crisp and the Vanishing House is her first novel. Janet lives in Stratford, Ontario, where she paints in a small in-house studio and lives with her husband, John, the manager of an independent bookstore, and their cat and dog.

Shop Princesses Versus Dinosaurs and Joy’s artwork

Joy Ang is an artist who has illustrated many books for children, including the Mustache Baby series by Bridget Heos, the New York Times bestselling Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath and the upcoming Mulan: The Legend of the Woman Warrior. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art & Design in 2007. In addition to designing characters for Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, Joy is also a cover artist for Marvel Comics and Scholastic’s Wings of Fire and Dogs of the Drowned City seriesand has worked as a concept artist for gaming studios Bioware and Blizzard Entertainment.

Shop Megabat is a Fraidybat; and Kass’s artwork

Kass Reich works as an artist and educator and has spent the majority of the last decade travelling around the world. She earned a degree in Art Education from Concordia University and was an early childhood educator in Beijing, which inspired her to start making picture books for very young readers. She now lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.

Shop Maud and Grand-Maud and Kenard’s artwork

Kenard Pak is an animator and illustrator. He has worked as a visual development artist for Dreamworks, Walt Disney Feature Animation, PDI Dreamworks and Laika.He has illustrated several picture books, including The FogThe Hundred-Year BarnI WonderHave You Heard the Nesting Bird?The Dinner That Cooked Itself and Flowers Are Calling. Ken lives in foggy San Francisco with his wife and three cats.

Shop Natsumi’s Song of Summer and Misa’s artwork

Misa Saburi was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She makes illustrations using Photoshop, sometimes while watching soccer and silly Japanese TV shows. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Shop The Fabled Stables: Willa the Wisp and Olga’s artwork

Olga Demidova was born and raised in Russia. She studied at the Moscow Art Institute of Applied Arts. Olga started work as an animator, but her tremendous passion for illustration changed the direction she works in. Now she works with publishers from all over the world and has published books and apps in Russia, Belarus and the USA, mostly for children.

Shop The Blue House and Phoebe’s artwork

Phoebe Wahl’s work focuses on themes of comfort, nostalgia and intimacy with nature. She grew up unschooled in Washington State, and credits her free spirited childhood in the Northwest for much of her inspiration and work ethic. She works in a variety of mediums, from watercolor and collage to fabric sculpture. Phoebe graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration and currently lives in Bellingham, Washington. She is the award-winning author and illustrator of Sonya’s ChickensBackyard Fairies and The Blue House.

Shop Story Boat and Rashin’s artwork

Rashin Kheiriyeh is an internationally recognized, award-winning illustrator/author, animation director, and painter who has published over seventy children’s books in countries such as the United States, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Spain, South Korea, China, Brazil, India, and Iran. She has received fifty national and international awards for the books and animations including recently being winner of the 2017 Sendak Fellow Award. She was also the winner of the Bologna Book Fair six times and the winner of Golden Apple Award at the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia. She has an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Illustration and an MFA in Graphic Design from Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran. She also studied at School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. She is a lecturer at Department of Art, University of Maryland and has contributed illustrations to the New York Times, Google, and many other publication houses

Shop Eric and Shaun’s artwork

Shaun Tan has been illustrating young adult fiction and picture books for more than ten years. His brilliant wordless book, The Arrival, won The CBCA Picture Book of the Year, The NSW Premier’s Book of the Year, and the Community Relations Commission Award, and received a Special Mention at the 2007 Bologna Ragazzi Awards. He lives in Australia.

Shop The Barnabus Project and The Fan Brothers’ artwork

Terry, Eric, and Devin Fan grew up in Toronto, where they continue to live and work. Since a young age, the three brothers have collaborated on creative projects, including artwork, picture book manuscripts and even screenwriting. Recipients of the prestigious Sendak Fellowship as well as Kate Greenaway Medal nominees and Governor General’s Literary Award nominees, Terry and Eric are the author/illustrators of the critically acclaimed books The Night Gardener and Ocean Meet Sky, and the illustrators of the bestselling Chris Hadfield-penned picture book The Darkest Dark, Dashka Slater’s The Antlered Ship and Beth Ferry’s The Scarecrow. Devin Fan is an artist, poet and youth worker who has a passion for nature, adventures and kung fu. The Barnabus Project is his first children’s book and marks the first time all three brothers have written and illustrated a picture book together.

Shop Studio: A Place for Art to Start and The Little Friends of Printmaking’s artwork

The Little Friends of Printmaking are husband-and-wife team JW & Melissa Buchanan. They first made a name for themselves by designing and printing silkscreened concert posters, but soon branched out into other fields. In addition to their work as illustrators and designers, they continue their fine art pursuits through exhibitions, lectures, and artists’ residencies worldwide, spreading the gospel of silkscreen to anyone inclined to listen. The Little Friends currently live in Los Angeles with two very round cats.

Shop The Gryphon’s Lair and Xavière’s artwork

Xavière Daumaire is a French artist who has created designs and illustrations for several book series by Kelley Armstrong: Women of the Otherworld, including two graphic novels, Becoming and Bounty Hunt; Age of Legends; Cainsville; and The Blackwell Pages series by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr. She lives in France.

Author Q&A: Ben Clanton

Ben Clanton_vote for books
Hello! Please welcome our special guest today, Ben Clanton, creator of Mo’s Mustache and the graphic novel series Narwhal and Jelly as he talks about his re-issued edition of Vote for Me!
Ben Clanton_donkey
1. Vote for Me was originally published in 2012. Why did you decide to revisit this title?

Ben Clanton: Unfortunately (and I think unsurprisingly), politics and elections haven’t become any cleaner in the past 8 years. If anything, Vote for Me is more relevant now than when it first published in 2012. The divisiveness, name-calling, and mud-slinging parodied in Vote for Me are pervasive realities that people (including kids!) see and hear on a daily basis. I think a humorous take on this can be a great way to open a dialogue. I have written and illustrated a number of books since I made my debut with Vote for Me, but I think this title remains one of my best (and admittedly most polarizing) read-alouds. My hope is that in another 8 years, Vote for Me will not be as relevant . . . that bullying and untruthful boasts and bravado will be less tolerated. My hope is that young readers will help make that future!
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2. Did you make any changes to this new edition? If so, what are they?

Ben Clanton: Yes, there are a number of changes! Vote for Me was my first published book and I feel I’ve made a lot of progress as a creator and person since it first came out, so I definitely welcomed the opportunity to make some updates.

At first, I wanted to re-illustrate the entirety of the book. I got as far as playing with character design and making a few mock-ups. But there is only so much time in a day! And there was actually a lot to work with in the original illustrations of the book. I found that some small changes made for a big impact, such as changing the background texture! That change alone made the book much brighter and bolder. The speech bubbles and typography were also updated (credit here to John Martz!) and I think that made a big impact.

There are also small changes to the illustrations that probably don’t seem important to anyone but me, such as the shadows under the characters. I’m digging the new shadows! 😂

But the changes weren’t just to the design and illustrations. There is name-calling in the book and some of the original word choices I had made for those scenes seemed too hurtful to me now. With the help of the Tundra team (thanks here to Peter Phillips and Tara Walker!), I went sillier and more ridiculous with the name-calling (i.e. “galumphus” and “dunderdoo”). I have a two-year-old daughter and four-year-old son and I wanted to be able to read the book with them without too much pause. There are a few spots I still either skip or adapt for the younger readers. This picture book skews older than a number of my other titles, such as Mo’s Mustache and Rex Wrecks It.

Mouse also had some line adjustments and additions . . .
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3. Vote for Me is your first published book. Has your process changed since then?

Ben Clanton: Yes and no! It was fascinating to reopen the original Photoshop files for Vote for Me and see all the painstaking things I had done because I didn’t know there was an easier and more effective way. I didn’t know about blending modes at the time, such as “Multiply”, or about the wand tool. I also tend to use bolder line-work now to help with the readability of the illustrations when the book is read aloud in a group setting.

But my approach to story has also shifted somewhat. Vote for Me came about because I thought it would be fun to play with the gutter of the book as a dividing line . . . to use the opposing leaves of paper for opposing characters. The format inspired me more than those specific characters.

When I start on a book now it is much more character-driven from the get-go. I want to get to know my characters (especially the protagonists) very well before trying to figure out what happens in the book. I’m not sure what Vote for Me would have looked like if I had approached it this way. Donkey and Elephant are probably my least likable protagonists, which makes sense for this particular title. Perhaps Mouse would have a larger part to play if I had come up with the story today?

4. What do you hope readers take from Vote for Me?

Ben Clanton: First and foremost, I want readers to have fun reading it! That has been my main hope for all my books so far. I struggled with reading as a kid. I want to make books kids of all ages will enjoy.

But while I didn’t set out with a specific message or takeaway in mind, I certainly wouldn’t mind if the book starts some conversations about elections, voting, citizenship, service, kindness, bullying . . . there are a lot of potential subjects!
It isn’t even clear what Donkey and Elephant are running for in the book or why they want your vote. So I think the WHY behind all of it makes for an interesting topic. As too the HOW of them going about it. What is permissible? When are lines crossed? Who decides?

If Vote for Me has readers asking questions, I’d be very happy with that outcome.

Happy Narwhalidays5. Can you give us a little teaser of what’s next for Narwhal and Jelly?

Ben Clanton: Shore thing! Book 5 comes out in September and is called Happy Narwhalidays. It takes place when the waters are wintery (much to Jelly’s dismay!). But those cool currents don’t keep Narwhal from feeling warm and bubbly, especially with books to be read, parties to plan, and warm waffle pudding to eat! But what has Narwhal feeling most excited about the SEASon? The Merry Mermicorn!!!

I’m busy now working on two Narwhal and Jelly board books (featuring bubbles and a boot!). And I’ll soon start on book 6 which might involve treasure and rainbows.

Find out more about Vote for Me here:

Vote for MeVote for Me!
By Ben Clanton
Ages 3-7 | 40 Pages | Available now!
ISBN 9780735267589 | Tundra Books
A hilarious political satire by the creator of the bestselling Narwhal and Jelly series.

Hey, you! Yes, you with the dazzling smile! The donkey wants your vote. So does the elephant. And each will do just about anything to win your support. Brag? Sure! Flatter? Absolutely! Exaggerate, name-call, make silly promises and generally act childish? Yes, yes, yes and yes. Soon, the tension mounts, and these two quarrelsome candidates resort to slinging mud (literally) and flinging insults. And what happens when the election results are in? Well, let’s just say the donkey and the elephant are in for a little surprise–and a certain bewhiskered, third-party candidate is in for a first term!