Like most of us, Lisa Cinar got her start as a maker at her family’s dining room table. Armed with a crayon, colouring books, fresh white paper and her vivid imagination, she began to illustrate the stories in her young mind. Seated next to her mother, she’d ask “Mom, can you draw me a horse?”, “Can you draw me a mermaid?” and “Can you draw me a lion?”
Fast-forward to 2008, when Lisa’s first children’s picture book The Day It All Blew Away was nominated for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize. Her second book Paulina P. for Petersen was published in 2009, followed by a full-length comic called A Murder of Crows. In 2011, she launched her shop Draw Me a Lion, offering up irresistible colouring books, art cards, colouring posters, stickers and limited edition prints.
Now, when she’s not writing picture books or dreaming up new designs for Draw Me a Lion, Lisa writes a blog on the art of picture book illustration – aptly titled I Heart Picture Books – and teaches a course on Illustration for the Continuing Education Department at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
Draw Me a Lion is part of the mini Got Craft? at Maker Faire this weekend, so I asked Lisa for the scoop on her delightful creations and what we can expect to find at her booth.
Can you tell me a bit about the how and why you started Draw Me a Lion?
I have always loved Children’s products of all kinds from toys to activities to books. I noticed that I could have a lot of fun making things with kids in mind and that this was something that I was sort of naturally drawn to and good at. I wrote up a little business plan in 2011 and then launched the shop at the the end of that year. Now that I’ve been in business for over a year and a half I’m really happy with where I’m at. I love doing this!
Where do you find inspiration for your books, illustrations and stories?
I like to think back to my own childhood a lot when I come up with stories and images, and I don’t have to try hard to remember. There are a lot of things that just sort of stayed with me. You know how in Calvin and Hobbes Calvin always daydreams in math class about going to some alien planet? That was me sometimes, and…that is still me today sometimes too!
What advice would you share with the little makers and crafters who experience your work?
I always try to leave space for kids to really make the activities and items theirs. I leave lots of extra space in some of the Colouring Postcards for kids to add to the scene rather than just colour in. In my colouring posters there are speech bubble so that you can decided what animals are saying or to draw anything else you want in there. In the Colouring Mask Book the masks are two sided and one side is a more traditional colour-in-the-lines type of style while the other one is way more loose and open to interpretation and adding to. So I guess my main message to kids is always that they are all artists just by way of being a child. I want them to know that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to draw anything! What’s important is that they have Fun while they’re being creative.
What can we expect to find at Draw Me a Lion at Maker Faire next week?
I just finished making some brand new Flower Bouquet Button Packs that I’m pretty excited about. It’s Summer and I have a little bit of a thing for flowers so I thought it would be a cool idea to make a sort of ‘everlasting bouquet’. And they’re not just for kids by any means! There are two different sets of buttons to choose from as well as our also still pretty new Colouring Party Invites and Colouring Stickers Packs! It’s always super nice to meet people who are interested in my work so yes, please come on up to the Mini Maker Faire and visit the Draw Me A Lion table! See you there!
For more treasures, visit the website and snag a free download, like Draw Me a Lion on Facebook or stop by Lisa’s personal site for a peek at her impressive portfolio. Or better yet, meet her at Maker Faire!
Haven’t bought your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet? They’re cheaper if you buy them in advance!