Toad Spool Press Logo

The Illustrators

Being With Wonder

Irene Czusz

Irene and Gigi share a passion for happy-go-lucky childhood, dreamy scenes of fantasy, countryside retreats, and a fondness for all things bright red and yellow 🙂 

Irene’s rich background includes art school, graphic design and advertising, comparative religious studies/psychology, and teaching; training children and adults to develop creative aspects of their personality.  She returned 10 years ago to her primary love, which is drawing and illustration, and now offers her services to authors and publishing houses around the world.  She also writes and illustrates her own stories, poems and fairy tales for children.  

When Gigi came upon Irene’s portfolio she instantly fell in love with the mystic quality and depth of emotion.  She approached Irene about illustrating her next book, Being With Wonder, and the reply from Poland was:   

“Send me the manuscript tomorrow.  I may have a few weeks to fit you in.  If I like the story.”  

What Irene didn’t know was that Being With Wonder was still just an idea floating around in Gigi’s head; not one word had been written.  But that is the way of these things!  Gigi wrote the book that night and sent it across the sea…

Thankfully, the story resonated so deeply with Irene’s own magical memories of childhood that the long-distance partnership was formed and the 3 week project turned into an entire year of creative devotion, as well as friendship.

Irene and Gigi continue to collaborate on pop-up projects in the universe of Parent by Magic, Toad Spool Press, and Ramshackle Play and support one another’s creative endeavors.

A Whole Other Magic

Alisa Day Reeves

Alisa Day Reeves is probably a magic fairy in disguise — she’s just that sparkly!  Her unique and ethereal mixed-media style is an alchemy of self-taught watercolour and digital techniques.  Professionally trained in sculpture and photography, with Arts and Psychology degrees from the University of Ohio, Alisa is completely possessed by the creative process.  

Gigi caught one glimpse of Alisa’s fantastical style in an online Author/Illustrator group and was down on one knee, asking her to be her first illustrator.  A Whole Other Magic was the perfect canvas for Alisa to spread her wings and she held nothing back.  Six months of faithful collaboration, generating 32 pages of art gallery calibre illustrations as she brought the Godmother and Toad to life; it was a miraculous feat and testament to Alisa Day Reeve’s wild genius.

Tantalizing the eye with her magical realism, Alisa brings us into a true fairytale land of imaginative play.  From the life-like expressions of the children, to the exquisitely detailed playthings, A Whole Other Magic is a genuine enchantment.  A truly stunning accomplishment for the creative duo in their debut offering.   

Alisa lives in Ohio with her dear little sprites Lewynn and Finna, and husband Brent.  With trademark pizazz she continues to defy limitations and wrangle new artforms out of the ether….while officially “on maternity leave.”  

Follow Alisa at The Color Earth Art.

 

And even more magic in store, coming very soon…

First Child of the Woods

Zoey Ennenberg

Zoey Ennenberg grew up on the beautiful West Coast of British Columbia.  Inspired by the majesty of nature all around her — the lush, dew-covered moss, drooping ferns, and plethora of delightful small creatures — she found  “her happy place” here, where the forest and her imaginary world came together.  

With a photographer’s eye for macro level detail and a self-taught passion for the medium of watercolour, Zoey paints intimate, fantastical landscapes populated with glistening frogs, magical beings, and an undercurrent of magic.  

After a five year hiatus spent immersed in the glories of motherhood — digging in the dirt, growing food, reading books, playing in the forest, rivers, lakes, and oceans near her home — Zoey was surprised and delighted when Gigi stumbled upon her talent and called her to pick up her paintbrush again.    

“Starting this project with Gigi has been so amazing and inspiring for me! When Gigi invited me to join this project I was a bit nervous since I hadn’t painted in a while… But Gigi just exudes magic and inspires creativity!  She is such a joy to work with and has made it so playful and welcoming.  Her amazing way with words makes ideas dance from the pages as I work…”

It has been a mutual dance of enchantment, seeing the epic fairytale First Child of the Woods come to life in the characters of Wendell the elf and Shasta the gnome.  Expect to be swept away and deeply moved by this sweet tale of origins; how a moon-blossom seed of a boy came to earth, stole the hearts of the ancient fairy folk, and unwittingly unravelled their Magic.

Zoey currently lives in the magical forest realms of Vancouver Island with her husband and son, Zenny.

Books Available at your local bookstore in...

Edmonton:
Maven and Grace
Audrey’s Books

Duncan:
Volume One Books

Salt Spring Island:
Black Sheep Books

© Toad Spool Press