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  • Writer's pictureKyla Ilic

Pippin's Press, Celebrating 8 Years of Whimsy!

Well, folks, it's been eight wild and whimsical years since I embarked on this journey called Pippin’s Press. I must say, as I look back on this rollercoaster of creativity, there's a mix of gratitude, excitement, and a pinch of 'Did I just do that ?'

So, today, I'm not just celebrating the eighth anniversary as a children’s author and creator of Pippin’s Press, but I'm also looking back at some of the unexpected and amusing highlights from my journey.

The Early Days of Crafty Storytelling. So, there I was an unsuspecting soul, diving headfirst into book design and publishing not too long after college. What started as a quirky fascination with writing poetry and short stories (that got picked up and published, I might add!) quickly evolved into a passion for writing and illustrating children’s books. I was on a quest to source materials, print, design, and assemble storybooks that danced to the beat of my imagination. And boy, let me tell you, it was a journey filled with more twists and turns than chasing after a rabbit.

The Humble Beginnings with The Peculiar Habits of Little Rabbits. Now, let's talk about my very first storybook, The Peculiar Habits of Little Rabbits. It was a labor of love, alright. And by ‘love’ I mean, I had no clue what I was doing in the beginning. Picture this: a brand-new talent for watercolor painting paired with a simple tale about a pet rabbit. I remember wearing a makeshift thumb band-aid because I’d prick my poor thumb so many times with my owl and needle stitching the spine of each book. It took forever to find a rhythm and not cringe every time I threaded my needle (ouch!).

Researching and buying paper that was strong enough to stitch together without tearing was very important. It took a bit to find and source the right paper for the books. Plus, I had to commit and buy a lot of it for each book’s first edition.

Next, I decided to invest in a commercial printer perfectly tailored to my artistic requirements, all in pursuit of mastering the art of high-quality printing on fine art paper. Let's just say, that was the moment my book endeavor took off—straight up and then plummeted down a steep learning curve. But I’m happy with how far I’ve come with book design. The future storybooks are going to amaze you!

Artisan What? Yup, It’s A Handcrafted Storybook. I went from hating my temp job to creative entrepreneur with a laser-focused mission – to create storybooks that would inspire the hearts and minds of children. My aspiration? Illustrate and design limited edition books into little works of art, unlock the imagination, and wholeheartedly immerse readers in the timeless tales meticulously crafted by the hands of an artist – yours truly.

Crafting Magic with Words and Paint. One of the greatest highlights of being a children's author is to share the magic, right there on those pages. I've whisked kids away to farmlands and whimsical settings, introduced them to quirky characters, and nudged them to dream bigger. Themes? Oh, I got some – from a friendship that's tighter than Velcro to life's thrilling little curveballs, the wonders of nature, and, of course, the importance of having the courage to be yourself. Each story has been a labor of love, meticulously woven and illustrated to inspire young minds.

Markets, Events, and Showing Up. In the beginning, I had an Etsy shop that I later ditched for a store website. I took my storybooks and artwork to all sorts of fun places – from markets to Christmas fairs and even art shows. If people were willing to listen to my tales, I was there. And guess what? It worked! I successfully marketed my books in some local boutique stores, did author readings, and even shared my insights at a Children's Literature Roundtable where we talked about self-publishing and book design. During the pandemic, I was featured in a local magazine and an online editorial here in Calgary.

Visiting Schools and Libraries: Surprising Perks! One of the coolest perks of this journey was getting to do a school visit during Careers and Passions Days. I got to see kids' eyes light up with enthusiasm – let's just say, it's like getting a triple espresso shot of inspiration. It was those moments when I realized the true transformative power of literature.

Growing Alongside My Readers. Over the years, I have grown into my true calling: An artist who is successfully juggling an art business, all while trying not to trip over my paintbrushes. Frankly, nothing tickles me more than fine-tuning my painting style and spilling the beans on my adventures with you all. My passion for storytelling is alive and kicking, and let me tell you, there are some exciting projects on the horizon.

Keep your eye out for the exciting shift as I steer my children's press in a different direction. There might even be some fantastic new characters like three bears and a hare because who needs Goldilocks anyway, right?

I'll also be working on enhancing and changing my storybooks overall and, well... it's time to bid adieu to a couple of old favorites. My commitment remains the same: inspiring young minds and nurturing a lifelong love of art and reading.

To my wonderful readers and supporters out there who've been encouraging me on this unpredictable journey, a colossal thank you. Here's to many more years of endless wonder and endearing tales!

Cheers to eight, and counting, at Pippin’s Press!


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