Some Deep Breaths Before Breakfast

h1 October 22nd, 2020 by jules

“Breath blooms / at tree tips,
like sprouting leaves / on lush spring stems.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


I’ve a Q&A over at Tennessee’s Chapter 16 with local (to me) artist and illustrator Billy Renkl, who—as you will read if you are so inclined to head over to the Q&A—has great respect for the materials he uses to create his layered collage pieces.

Billy has illustrated his first picture book, Diana Farid’s When You Breathe (Cameron Kids, September 2020).

The Q&A is here, and below are some more spreads from the book.

(And if you want to see a bit of his process, head here and click through those photos.)


“Tree leaves sway / when it flows by.
Birds need it / to flutter and fly.
It carries your favorite song, / stirs with stardust—
the grand atoms of the universe.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“Breath wisps / through the tree trunk / and its white bark.
It reaches deeper, / rushes into branches / bound for the tree’s canopy.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“When you breathe out, exhale, / your breath returns
back to the breeze, / becomes air again.
Air vibrates chords, / lifts up your voices, / and soars.”

(Click spread to enlarge; please note that the second verse in the final spread as it appears in the book has a slightly different font color and placement)


“Air. / Breath. / You.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


* * * * * * *

WHEN YOU BREATHE. Text copyright © 2020 by Diana Farid. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Billy Renkl. Published by Cameron Kids, Petaluma, California. Illustrations reproduced by permission of Bily Renkl.

One comment to “Some Deep Breaths Before Breakfast”

  1. Oooooh.
    I could see that spread where the girl is blowing the dandelion clock as stationery, or a poster. All the color is just lovely, and the small font contrasted with the dynamic artwork really works. Beautiful.

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