An award-winning independent children’s literature illustrator and media producer, Kate Garchinsky is an artist whose work resonates with the resurgence of classic, traditionally hand-done art in a field overburdened by technical approaches. Her extensive experience in youth marketing and product development includes client relationships with FAO, Inc., Childcraft Education, Excelligence, and Penguin Brands.
Besides conceiving and co-producing Sing Me To Sleep: Indie Lullabies—an album released by American Laundromat Records that includes Sigur Rós and Tanya Donelly contributing their modern renditions of children’s lullabies—Philadelphia-based Garchinsky was also the album’s art director. She lent her watercolors to paintings of animals set in tranquil landscapes that were influenced by her four years living in Colorado. Sing Me To Sleep taps into a generation of new parents who are nostalgic for the art and music of their childhoods, a feeling Garchinsky understands well. “I want to create emotive enrichment for children that also delights their parents’ inner children,” she says.
In 2009, Garchinsky submitted her Time to Fly literary non-fiction manuscript about a family of herons to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). It went on to win a Letter of Commendation in the Barbara Karlin Grant competition. Since awarded with the honor, she’s added watercolor images to the text, creating an even richer story that she’s currently shopping to publishers.
As a former artist and designer at FAO Schwarz and Zany Brainy between 1999 and 2003, she visually branded both stores’ My Zany Music series of children’s music, in addition to character development and toy and packaging design for their other private labels. Dino Hockey, a game that featured her character and packaging designs, was so successful during the holiday season that it sold out in both retail chains. In 2008, she illustrated the activity book for Childcraft Education’s Crack the Codes: Consonant Sounds and its accompanying flash cards, puzzles and games. More recently, in 2009, Penguin Brands hired her to help develop its new line of children’s shoe accessories called Penguin Junior, currently on shelves at Target.
Garchinsky’s art provokes closer inspection, even at first glance. Beautifully detailed with vivid colors, the characters in her illustrations come alive with every strand of hair or subtle expression she gives them. Authors and illustrators Leo Lionni, Charles Santore, Jan Brett and the “simplicity of Shel Silverstein” inspire Garchinsky, with the humor and invention of Jim Henson being her strongest influence. Looking at her repertoire, you can see that her flexibility is a sign of a diverse and adept talent.
“Kate Garchinsky is a bright light in the emerging field of children’s media,” said Gail McMeekin, author of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. “She’s an outstanding illustrator, a charming story teller, and a wise marketer.”
Garchinsky graduated from the fine arts program at University of the Arts in Philadelphia and was a recipient of the school’s Award for Excellence in Illustration in 1997. She’s an active member of SCBWI, the (no name) Art Group, American Women Artists, and Newark Arts Alliance. More information on Garchinsky, including her portfolio, can be found at www.penguinart.com.
Volunteer Staff » March 2012–present
Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, Newark, Delaware
Trained in the care of wild birds affected by injury, illness, and environmental factors.
Co-Producer and Art Director » 2008–2011
Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies Music Compilation
Through international album sales and live events in London and New York, raised funds and awareness for The Valerie Fund, a non-profit which provides comprehensive care to children with cancer and blood disorders. Released on American Laundromat Records, May 2010.
Professional Activities & Awards
2012 Full scholarship, Pocono Mountain Retreat, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Eastern Pennsylvania
2012 Guest reader, National Library Week, West Philadelphia Alliance for Children
2012 Solo show, March Art on the Town, LOMA Coffee, Wilmington, Delaware
2011 December First Friday group show, The Great Frame Up, Wayne, Pennsylvania
2011 September First Friday group show, The Great Frame Up, Wayne, Pennsylvania
2011 (no name) Art Group “The Art of Giving II” exhibit and fundraiser for Philabundance, B Square Gallery, Philadelphia
2011 “Water” Juried Show, Newark Arts Alliance, Newark, Delaware
2010 Gold Medal for Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies, National Parenting Publication Awards
2010 Nominee, Best Children’s Music Compilation, Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies,
Independent Music Awards
2010 Seal of Excellence for Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies, Creative Child Magazine
2010 (no name) Art Group “The Art of Giving I” exhibit and fundraiser for Philabundance,
B Square Gallery, Philadelphia
2009 (no name) Art Group, “Memory Portraits III” for underserved Boston school children
2009 Honorable Mention, Barbara Karlin Grant Competition, Time To Fly manuscript
2008 (no name) Art Group “Memory Portraits II” for disabled women via The Life Start Foundation, Vietnam
2007 (no name) Art Group, “Memory Portraits I” for the orphans of El Shadai, Kenya
2003 (no name) Art Group, “Bookmarks” Fundraiser for First Book Philadelphia
Member of: American Women Artists, Newark Arts Alliance, New Wilmington Art Association, (no name) Art Group, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research.
University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
–BFA in Illustration, 1997
–Award for Excellence in Illustration, 1997
–Talent Scholarship, 1994-1997
–Barbara Merton Morrison Scholarship for Fine Art, 1992