“It was early 2014 when we first started thinking about a children’s book,” says Cari Corene, co-creator of Floral Frolic. “We both were wishing to do work featuring our own intellectual property. At the time both of us were working a lot on projects belonging to other people and we decided to work together on something just ours.”
Corene and her artistic accomplice, Amanda Coronado, current residents of Baltimore, are graduates of the Savannah College of Art and Design and have worked as illustrative freelancers and in the comics industry. Floral Frolic is their first foray into the realm of children’s books and as such, has been a labor of love for the two longtime friends.
“At first it felt like more of a childhood dare that neither of us would follow through on, but then with the completion of the first two images from the book it became a professional, scheduled arrangement,” explains Corene.
The book closely mirrors this mentality with the protagonists, Dawning and Queenie, a pair of adorable baby foxes, engaged in a dare-like competition.
Children’s books do not get the credit that they deserve as frequently as they should outside of their immediate literary circles. And that is a shame because these creations for beginning and young readers are oftentimes works of absolute beauty and invaluable tools in creating strong literacy bases and lifelong readers. Both Corene and Coronado recall enthusaistically how being read to at an early age influenced them and how children’s books were their first artistic inspirations.
Created in their spare time, Floral Frolic found support through social media and a successful Kickstarter campaign was able to draw 528 supporters for preorder who raised $22,565 to fund the printing of the book plus support material like stickers, postcards, foil printed posters, and lanyards. After the book printed, the artistic duo spent the better part of this past autumn packing and shipping the funding packages.
The two friends, trained as sequential artists, are not strangers to visual storytelling.
“Children’s books, comics, trading card game art, and illustration are all themed around telling a story with pictures and sometimes also words, so none of them are all that different aside from there being different target audiences per project,” says Corene. “Telling a story with pictures and words is what we do.”
Children’s books are deceivingly simple to the untrained eye. There are many decisions that go into the creation of one. Masters of the craft like Beatrix Potter, Maurice Sendak, Bill Martin Jr., Eric Carle, Theodore Geisel, Tomie dePaola, Lois Ehlert and Tana Hoban all have iconic and easily-recognizable styles.
Through gorgeous watercolor spreads that remind one of the vibrancy of Paul Klee and the gaiety of fun Sh?jo manga, Corene and Coronado triumph with their freshman salvo.
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“What we’ve seen so far though is that many of the publishers we most want to work with take submissions only through agents,” says Corene about the possibility of future work with a publishing house. “What we need to do is apply to good agents, or wish that one would find us.”
Though they are already brainstorming a follow-up with the working title of Cosmic Frolic, Corene and Coronado are happy to enjoy the moment for the just reward that it is before embarking on the next journey.
To help celebrate the book launch, head over to Bear and Bird Gallery for the Q&A with Cari and Amanda following a reading of Floral Frolic. There will also be balloons, snacks, a flower craft, coloring activities and a children’s vintage record listening party. The book can be purchased at the store or through these Etsy shops, Devil's Bakery and/or Story of the Door.
Reading and reception at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 30 at Bear and Bird Boutique+Gallery, Inside/Upstairs at Tate's, 4566 N. University Dr., Lauderhill. Work from the book will be on display until March 19. All ages welcome. Call 954-748-0181 or visit bearandbird.com.