Irene Luxbacher - Author/Illustrator

Irene Luxbacher graduated from Queen's University in 1992 with a degree in Art History before studying at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since returning to Toronto in 1994, Irene has exhibited her work while teaching art at the Avenue Road Arts School and consulting at the Royal Conservatory of Music's Learning Through the Arts Program. In 2002 and 2003, Irene curated several well-received children's art exhibits at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and BCE Place on behalf of Arts for Children of Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness of the value of art education. Irene is the author and illustrator of The Jumbo Book of Art, which won the 2003 National Parenting Publication Award, and The Jumbo Book of Outdoor Art. Her latest project for Kids Can Press is the Starting Art series, which includes the titles 123 I Can Paint! and 123 I Can Draw!

Toronto, Ontario.

December 10th.

Where do you live now?
Back in Toronto (I lived in Vancouver for a while, too).

When did you start writing?
I'm not exactly sure except to say that it was a long time ago and that crayons were involved.

What is your next project?
I'd like to make some new stories and paintings, and perhaps try putting together some picture book ideas.

What is your favorite book?
Wow, there are so many! But if I had to narrow it down I'd say anything by Dr. Seuss, Stuart Little and The Little Prince.

Do you have any pets?
I used to have a dog named Sunny (who I still miss). As a kid I had several hamsters, goldfish and a canary named Tweety (who I also still miss).

What is your favorite hobby?
Daydreaming and listening to music

What was your training or schooling?
I studied Art History at Queen's University and Fine Art at Emily Carr College of Art and Design. I also like to think I learned a great deal from my students after I started working as an art teacher.

How did you get involved with children's books?
The art school I worked at was approached by Kids Can Press to put a children's art book together using some of our project ideas. I was lucky enough to get to put the book together.

Do you have any tips for young creators?
Have fun while you work! It's the best way to make sure you'll keep practicing. Also make lots of mistakes. Your mistakes will often lead you to some of your best ideas.

What is the thing you like the most about creating kids' books?
Seeing the book when it's finished and feeling like I helped accomplish something very cool.

How do you research your writing?
I do research by doing lots of reading and looking through fun picture books that inspire me.

Where do you get your ideas?
Mostly from my “day-dreamy” imagination and from the things I see and feel everyday. I also think keeping a little notebook that I constantly write or draw things in helps me remember ideas I might use later on.

What's your greatest childhood memory?
Discovering the ice-cream flavor Tiger-Tiger and hanging out with my brother on Saturday mornings.

When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?
A cartoonist.

What is the weirdest or most interesting job you've ever had?
Teaching art is definitely the weirdest job I've ever had. Where else would you get to spend any given day making things like Crazy Carpets or Recycled Robots?

The Imaginary Garden

2011 - Blue Spruce Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2011 - Shining Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Award, Short-listed
2011 - Great Lakes Great Books, Michigan Reading Association, Short-listed
2010 - Outstanding International Book, USBBY, Winner
2010 - Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, Canadian Library Association, Short-listed
2010 - Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award, Short-listed
2010 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner
2009 - Governor General's Literary Award, Children's Illustration, Canada Council for the Arts, Short-listed
2009 - Book of the Year, ForeWord Magazine, Short-listed

The Not-So-Faraway Adventure

2016 - Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner