Studio, A Place for Art to Start by Emily Arrow, Illus. The Little Friends of Printmaking

Review by Logaine Navascués

Tundra Books, Penguin Random House, 3 March 2020

40 pages, hardcover, $21.99 CAD, 978-0-73526-486-1

Ages 3-7, Grades Pre K-2

Picture Book

The doors of an artists’ studio building open for a young bunny and their dad, revealing the many different ways in which creativity can be expressed through the arts. The rabbits take a look at each artist’s very personal studios—a painter, a sculptor, a photographer, a dancer, a printmaker, an actor, and others—as they search for one that matches their own style. Emily Arrow’s lyrical text takes the reader through an inner journey of what it means to be an artist, be creative, and follow one’s heart. Complex, abstract ideas are conveyed in simple and descriptive rhymes, creating a gentle balance between information, inspiration and the power of imagination.

The Little Friends of Printmaking’s illustrations are crowded with details and playful hidden codes. They utilize a saturated bluish-green, red, yellow and black colour palette that resembles the four colours of the printing process—cyan, magenta, yellow and black—and primary colours—red, yellow and blue—which together create art in its most basic form. The digital, vector-style, cartoon-like images are contemporary and make art an everyday practice. They make art part of life. They make art feel alive. Materials are described in different languages (paper, papel, papier), a detail that can be interpreted as art’s universality, while references to specific works, such as Alexander Calder’s mobiles, invite the reader to search for deeper meanings (or just find the tiny ladybug playing on every page).

Through its musical verses, Studio, A Place for Art to Start opens the door to indispensable conversations about the role of art and creativity in everyday life, and the importance of finding that special place—in a room and inside oneself—to help it grow and develop.

Studio, A Place for Art to Start will hit the shelves March 3, 2020.

Logaine Navascués is a Peruvian artist, writer, creative director, teacher and book maker, currently living in Vancouver. She is the proud mother of a beautiful daughter and two artist’s books. You can find her reading, collecting picturebooks and eating chocolate while pursuing her MA in Children’s Literature at UBC.

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