Category Archives: Artist

Walking on the Wild Side at the 2017 BCLA Conference!

What a great time we had at the BCLA Conference! As always, it was a treat to see old friends and put faces to email addresses. Although this year’s chair, TNRD’s Emily Olsen, was unfortunately unable to attend Conference, Incoming Chair, VPL’s Jennifer Lee and Outgoing Chair, RPL’s Kate Adams were on hand to welcome conference delegates to the 2017 BC SRC: Walk on the Wild Side!

VPL’s Jennifer Lee and RPL’s Kate Adams

On display was this year’s gorgeous artwork by  Darlene Gait! Jenn Lee’s stunning cut-outs of BC foliage added a wonderful wild-ness to the SRC booth!

We were thrilled when Darlene generously donated the original painting of the poster for the Conference. In recent years, our SRC artists have worked digitally so it was pretty exciting to see the artwork IRL!

VPL’s Jenn Lee beside original painting for 2017 BC SRC poster by Darlene Gait. Done in ink, coloured Pantone pencil, and gauche; measures 12 x 24″.

Everyone was invited to try the SRC Quiz Conference Edition, created once again by our brilliant Quiztress, Randi Robin. Prizes included a bottle of BC wine and an adorable thematically-correct Folkmanis Raccoon puppet. Stay tuned later this summer, when the SRC Quiz Conference Edition will appear here on this blog, for you to try!

An oversized reading record and some crayons provided an opportunity to explore drawing skills with the Draw Yourself in Nature Activity cards. (Most of us decided we’d best stick with our day jobs! 😉 )

A ballot box invited people to vote for their favourite theme for 2019. They were asked to choose from a shortlist (the top contenders from last year’s poll). 

The possible 2019 themes include:

  1. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
  2. Mysteries
  3. Imagination/Art

If you haven’t yet voted, please do so here! (So far, it’s a very close race!) Voting is open till Monday, June 19th.

If you didn’t make it to Conference this year, we missed you, and hope you’ll send us news and updates about the SRC goings on at your library.

Be sure to tell us your stories, too! We are now accepting submissions for the 2018 Community Story Award! Please see here for more details!

Looking forward to A Walk on the Wild Side with you this summer!

Call to Artists

Are you the next BC Summer Reading Club Artist?

The BC Summer Reading Club (BC SRC) invites BC artists and illustrators to submit qualifications to be considered for the next BC SRC Artist.

The selected artist will be responsible for the creation of artwork that visually interprets the annual BC SRC theme for a preteen audience.

This is a high-profile opportunity and exposes the successful candidate’s work to more than 200 public library locations, 180 RBC branches, and 155,000 children and their families throughout BC.

Scope of work:

  • Create illustrations for use as a poster
  • Create illustrations for use as a reading record (booklet where children can track their summer reading), including seven “sticker”illustrations (these may be derived from artwork)
  • Create seven small black-and-white outline illustrations to be used as reading record icons
  • Create seven black-and-white colouring pages (usually derived from early sketches)

To see samples of previous years’ materials, please visit and check out the BC SRC Archives.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Must reside in BC
  • Have, within the past 5 years, published illustrations for an audience of children/youth OR, if you are a new or emerging artist, be able to include two references indicating your interest and ability for this audience
  • Able to meet with the Planning Committee in Vancouver, in late August/early September
  • Able to work collaboratively with Planning Committee
  • Able to meet deadlines
  • Able to provide Graphic Designer with art in vector files
  • Able to provide a current photo and bio
  • Able to complete artwork by November 30 of the contract year
  • Able to attend a poster signing at the BCLA Conference in Metro Vancouver area in spring of contract year

Project Schedule

The anticipated project schedule is outlined below. The BC SRC reserves the right to modify these dates.

Project Phase Date
Artist meeting with Planning Committee Last week August/first week September
Artwork design September to November
Production January-February
Materials into libraries End of April
Poster signing at BCLA Conference usually late April or early May


The copyright of the Material will belong exclusively to the BCLA. The Artist retains copyright of the original artwork and grants BCLA the right to reproduce the artwork for use in any promotional materials (including electronic images).

Contract price: $1750 for artwork and signing event.

Some background:

The BC Summer Reading Club (BC SRC) is sponsored by the British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) and local public libraries throughout British Columbia, with generous support from the Province of British Columbia, through Libraries Branch, Ministry of Education, and the RBC Foundation.

The BC SRC welcomes the participation of all children and their families, and seeks to provide an accessible and fully inclusive program.

Since 1991, the BC SRC has offered children across BC the opportunity to engage in fun, free summer programming that supports literacy and literate citizenship. The BC SRC supports and promotes BC children’s literature by featuring a BC illustrator each year as the SRC Artist. Previous artists include Jeremy Tankard, Kim La Fave, Cynthia Nugent, Ted Harrison, Mike Deas, Eliska Liska, Shayne Letain,  Lee Edward Födi, Darlene Gait, and most recently, Jeff Solway.

Thanks to the talents of these artists, and those of our Graphic Designer, Roger Handling (Terra Firma Digital Arts), we are able to provide appealing and high-quality program materials for children to track their voluntary reading (reading records, bookmarks, posters, stickers).

Each day, throughout the summer, BC libraries connect children and their families with a range of reading materials best suited to their needs and interests, ultimately increasing their enthusiasm for and confidence in reading. The BC Summer Reading Club now reaches over 155,000 children in over 200 communities and neighbourhoods.

Submission Requirements:

Submissions should include:

a) A current CV (link to electronic CV/website bio is acceptable, if current).

b) Letter of interest detailing:

  1. Interest in the project.
  2. Availability over the projected time frame.

c) A description or paragraph of the potential approach that the artist would take in realizing the theme (no more than one-page). The theme for 2018 is Movement.

d) JPEG images (max. of 10) demonstrating related experience and ability to undertake this project.

To apply:

Please send your submission by email only to Complete submissions must be no more than 10 MB.

Thank you for your interest. The BC SRC maintains a list of BC children’s book illustrators and each year strives to find one whose style best matches the upcoming theme. We welcome enquiries and expressions of interest from artists throughout the year. We are currently considering artists for the 2018 cycle.

About the Illustrator

darlenegaitDarlene Gait is an Aboriginal artist from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She is a member of Esquimalt Nation the first people of Victoria, BC Canada.

Darlene grew up on a farm near the Englishman River in Errington, Vancouver Island. There she and her two sisters were responsible for taking care of the family’s goats, geese, chickens and rabbit, and weeding the huge garden. When school let out for the summer, Darlene divided her time between painting in her room and exploring the outdoors, along with her dog, and her horse/best-friend, Dusty.

Darlene credits her Grandmother Cooper as the most significant creative inspiration in her life. It was the stories her grandmother told her, stories about the history of the Aboriginal side of her family, that set her on the path to becoming an illustrator and painter.

Darlene began painting as a child and excelled in graphics, illustration and wild life painting after graduating from Vancouver Island University in 1999. Known for her portraits of Aboriginal women and children, many of her paintings reflect unity between Nations and non-Native people and produce a connection to strength of history and culture. Her design featuring the cultural legend of Orca transitioning to Wolf appears on the new BC Ferries vessel, Salish Orca on the Comox — Powell River route. One Moon Gallery, located in the heart of Esquimalt Nation, is home to Darlene’s entire collection of artwork, which displays limited edition prints and original paintings for public to view.

Darlene’s beautiful picture books include Secret of the Dance, Who is In Maxine’s Tree?, Catching Spring, Soapstone Signs, the second part, “Soapstone Porcupine” is coming out next spring (Orca Books). Her work is vivid, filled with life, and inspired by her own deeply personal connection to nature  — a perfect match for this year’s theme “Walk on the Wild Side”.
To learn more about Darlene and her work, please visit her website Darlene is available for library visits this summer. You may reach her at

À propos de l’illustratrice [FR]