Inside the Studio with award-winning author-illustrator Remy Lai
The Children’s Book Review
Remy Lai is the award-winning creator of Pie in the Sky—one of our very favorite books here at TCBR headquarters. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, where she can often be found exploring the woods near her home with her two dogs, Poop-Roller and Bossy Boots. Her debut middle-grade graphic novel debut, Pawcasso, is about the unexpected friendship between the loneliest girl in class and the coolest canine in town. Come and take a peek inside her *studio* and learn about her creative process while you’re here!
Inside Remy Lai’s Studio
I only got a dedicated office at the end of last year. I’m still very impossibly slowly putting my personal touches on it. And it doesn’t actually have a table! But it has many other things:
- Very comfy sofa. I often sit here to write on my laptop. This is also the spot from which I do my virtual visits.
- My dog Poop Roller.
- My dog Bossy Boots.
- One of my dogs’ “day” beds. At night, they hog my bed.
- Framed color proof of Pawcasso’s hardcover jacket. This is the first physical proof that Macmillan sent me, to double-check that everything turned out gorgeous.
- Easel. I do live drawing on this during virtual visits.
- My dogs’ oinky pig toy. They cease fighting over it just for a moment so I could take this photograph.
- Triptych of acrylic paintings I did. I’ve been procrastinating hanging them up for the last few months because I have a phobia of drilling into walls.
- Piano. I can play Chopsticks.
Remy Lai’s Creative Process
I mostly draw at my kitchen island. My kitchen opens to my living room and this area has glass doors that let plenty of light in. Also, it’s a comforting distance to the coffee-making things.
- While I love working with traditional medium, so far, I’ve done all the art for my books digitally, on my iPad. Sticky notes help me to concentrate on certain areas for periods of time, instead of hopping all over the place.
- TV Remote control. When drawing, I often have the TV on, usually to a reality show or a comedy series where I don’t have to pay that much attention and still be able to follow the storyline.
- My sketchbook. Also doubles as my planner.
- Cloth for cleaning my glasses and iPad.
- Captain Buzz Lightyear keychain.
- Chapstick and antiseptic cream. This is a mystery, but I often get papercuts despite working digitally.
- Scrunchies. I have a problem with scrunchies.
- Huge mug of coffee.
- Cup of water.
- Dog treats. My dogs often come up to this kitchen island at random times and stare at me until I give in and give them nom noms.
For graphic novels, I don’t do thumbnails because thumbnails are usually really tiny and simple, and I always get frustrated trying to figure out what it is I’ve just drawn or written. That’s why I hop straight from the manuscript to quick sketches with legible, typed dialogue.
Once my editor approved the sketches for the whole book, we moved on to final art. I blocked out Pawcasso’s orange spots so that Pawcasso’s colorist Samantha Bennett didn’t have to keep trying to recall his coloring pattern.
To learn more about Remy Lai, visit https://remylai.com.
About the Book
Written and Illustrated by Remy Lai
Ages 8-12 | 240 Pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) | ISBN-13: 978-1250774484
Publisher’s Synopsis: Every Saturday, Pawcasso trots into town with a basket, a shopping list, and cash in paw to buy groceries for his family. One day, he passes eleven-year-old Jo, peering out the window of her house, bored and lonely. Astonished by the sight of an adorable basket-toting dog on his own, Jo follows Pawcasso, and when she’s seen alongside him by a group of kids from her school, they mistake her for Pawcasso’s owner.
Excited to make new friends, Jo reluctantly hides the truth and agrees to let “her” dog model for an art class the kids attend. What could go wrong? But what starts as a Chihuahua-sized lie quickly grows Great Dane-sized when animal control receives complaints about a dog roaming the streets off-leash. With Pawcasso’s freedom at stake, is Jo willing to spill the truth and risk her new friendships?
Buy the Book
Discover more books like Pawcasso, written and Illustrated by Remy LaiDog, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our articles tagged with Books About Loneliness, Dogs, Friendship, Graphic Novels, and Remy Lai. And be sure to check out more authors and illustrators featured in our Inside the Studio column.