Monday, August 29, 2016

Nina Laden

Writing and illustrate your own book can be super satisfying because you're involved in the entire process of creating the book – plus you get all the credit! But collaborating with a writer can have it's own unique rewards, especially if you form a connection with the writer.

In the case of illustrating Once Upon a Memory working with the writer Nina Laden has gone beyond a working relationship and gifted Renata with a wonderful friendship. Last week Nina and her equally talented husband Booth Buckley generously shared their lovely home and rich island lifestyle for six amazing days of superb food, drink, inspiring attitude, and creative energy.

Nina is an experienced illustrator and author with a great backlist including the impressive board book, Peek A Who, which has sold over a million copies. A few years ago Renata was honoured to be the first artist that Nina had shared her writing with. Giving up your story can't be easy for any artist. And is particularly challenging for someone so passionate about their work like Nina. 

Just writing a book may seem easier – a picture book story can sometimes write itself in a day, where as illustrating a book is always going to take months to do! But writing is a labor of love, and truthfully, rarely does come easily. So giving it to another has to be daunting. But with the right people working together, wonderful things can happen.

Nina's island home is a wonderful place for it to happen. She loves walking the beach looking for interesting stones and letting her imagination run free exploring ideas and stories. Renata loved it too, although she found it a challenge to find a unique rock such as a shiny agate among the multitudes of plain stones on the beach. The process was an apt analogy to writing.

There are lot's of ideas for books but finding the one that speaks to you and is unique is a challenge. Renata and Nina are hoping to find such a story to work together on again. They haven't yet, but if they keep beach combing their imaginations they will find something interesting. In the meantime Nina's next book to be illustrated by another is If I Had A Little Dream which is illustrator Melissa Castrillon's debut book – we've had a sneak peak and it's an impressive debut!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


An early gift arrived for Renata from her editor. Can she wait until the holidays to open it?

Well of course not! Renata is not very good at waiting let me tell you.

And as it so happens, Badger is not very good at waiting either.

Which makes them great together!

It's a long wait from when you make a book and when you finally get a printed copy, which makes it even more exciting I would say!

Monday, August 1, 2016

RANDM Press Release

OFFICIAL! We are pleased to announce that RANDM collective is starting on the ground floor (literally and figuratively) of an exciting, and brand new creative hub in Calgary – cSPACE King Edward. Our vision is a true artist collective, a place where creative individuals with an interest in art, craft, design, illustration, etc can come together to collaborate, share, inspire, and make stuff.

As you can see in the pictures above the building is currently under construction as is our plans. The basic concept is to create a space that is a blank canvas. A versatile studio environment that can be utilized for a variety of creative activities such as workshops, a gallery exhibition space, or to make art and design. 

In coming up with a working model for RANDM collective we've compared it to a yoga studio or a fitness club. Except we're stretching the imagination and exercising creativity!

What's next? We want to start programming and scheduling right now! We're estimating we will be ready to roll in early 2017. But we want to start talking to folks right away about ideas for workshops, collaborative projects, and shows. So if you have some ideas, talk to us soon so we can book you in and start things rolling.