Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Artists and Their Pets

Welcome to the world, Artists and Their Pets!

Six months ago I was busy illustrating a bunch of fine art, artists, and animals for this cool new book written by Susie Hodge: Artists and Their Pets, which is officially being released today.

There are twenty chapters in Artists and Their Pets; each is devoted to an animal-loving artist. Some (like Picasso) are well-known, but others (like Suzanne Valadon, mother of Maurice Utrillo) are a bit more obscure. All of the stories are fascinating.


There are 298 illustrations in Artists and Their Pets, including the studio moments featuring Gustav Klimt, Romare Bearden and Salvador DalĂ­ shown here.

Biographies require lots of research, so every image took time and careful thought. Besides the artists and their pets, their studios and artwork had to be accurately depicted at a certain moment in time. You'd be amazed how difficult it can be to find the size of a certain painting and the year(s) it was painted... let alone how the artist, his studio, and his pets looked was when he was working on it. What kind of smock did he wear? Was he left or right handed? Which years did he wear a beard? When did he go bald? What kind of easel did she use? When did she move west? What did she look like as a child? And... what did that cat look like?

Tons of research went into illustrating Artists and Their Pets, and I loved every minute of it.

Thanks, Mom!

When I was a girl I treasured The Great Artists (Funk & Wagnalls, 1978), a boxed set of oversized soft-cover art books shown in the photo above. My mom bought the books week by week from Mr. Food—which eventually became Schnuck's—our local grocery store. It was a special promotion. Every volume was devoted to the work of a different artist: Goya, Manet, van Gogh, etc. Those books, which were written for adults, were my introduction to art. I spent countless hours pouring over them. They were a big part of my growing up.

My mom will be eighty years old in a few months. Between her upcoming birthday and the release of Artists and Their Pets, today seems like a great time to say THANK YOU, MOM! Thank you for nurturing my interest in art, one of the great loves of my life.

What a blessing to participate in a project that is designed to introduce kids to art, artists, and the animals who stole their hearts.


Artists and Their Pets was written by Susie Hodge, published by duopress, and is distributed by Workman Publishing.

Click here to order a copy... or, ask for Artists and Their Pets in your local bookstore. It should be there! :)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

"Artists and Their Pets" at BookExpo

BookExpo is happening right now at the Javitz Center in NYC. I feel like I'm there, thanks to this Instagram photo of a lovely Workman sales rep showing off duopress books. 

Violet Lemay Illustration is well represented on that table, and is in terrific company—so many collaborations of great artists, authors, designers, and editors! My art is featured in several of the books shown in this photo, including the soon-to-be-released... drumroll... ARTISTS AND THEIR PETS!

If you stop by Workman's booth (#2807), you might be able to get an Advance Reading Copy—a soft-cover version with a black and white interior. We adapted the cover design especially for the advance printing, as shown above. Eventually, ARTISTS AND THEIR PETS will be a beautiful hard-cover book with 298 full color illustrations.  Yes, 298—as in, two less than three hundred! Some of the images are tiny, but still!!

As the publication date nears, I'll post more about ARTISTS AND THEIR PETS. For now I just wanted to spread the word about the advance copies that are being given away at BookExpo. 


Click here to advance-order an actual, hard-cover, full-color, to-be-released-in-September copy of ARTIST AND THEIR PETS today!


Artists and Their Pets | written by Susie Hodge | illustrated by Violet Lemay | published by duopress | September 2017 | distributed by Workman Publishing

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Babies Around the World

Announcing the recently released board book Babies Around the World!

Written by Puck and designed by Beatriz Juarez, Babies Around the World was illustrated by Yours Truly (Violet Lemay).

As you and your baby turn the pages of Babies Around the World, you'll hop from one city to another until you have circled the globe. Your visual adventure begins in New York City and continues to Mexico City, Rio de Jainero, London, Paris, Capetown, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, and San Francisco. At every stop you'll learn to say "hello" in the local language. Fun!

A great review from Publisher's Weekly:

As he often does, my son Graham contributed a few drawings to the cause. To read more about that collaboration and details about how I made the art for Babies Around the World, click here.

Click here to order your copy of Babies Around the World today!


Babies Around the World
duopress 2017
written by Puck
illustrated by Violet Lemay

duopress books are distributed by Workman Publishing

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Science Fair Showdown!

Almost exactly one year ago I was busy painting illustrations for Science Fair Showdown, a chapter book (sixth grade reading level) written by Steven Otfinoski about three friends and their epic quest to win their school's science fair.

Diya, Sofia and Ablert want to work together to on a science fair project about clean, renewable energy. The hitch: each wants to go down a different path. Diya is interested in solar energy, Sofia wants to explore wind, and Albert—whose uncle is a mechanic—wants to learn more about motors fueled by ethanol (biofuel).

They help each other sort out specific scientific failures...

...cheer each other on to personal success...

...and ban together to compete against some rather formidable opponents in the ultimate science fair showdown.


Science Fair Showdown
written by Steven Otfinoski
illustrated by Violet Lemay
art direction by Mary Wages

To order a copy of Science Fair Showdown is special, have a look at p 30 of Pearson's catalog.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

NY Dogs in The BARK!

Thanks to Claudia Kawczynska, Editor in chief of The Bark! Claudia devoted an entire page of her Fall 2016 issue to feature NY Dogs.

Pick up your copy of The Bark today! And click here to order NY Dogs, written and illustrated by Violet Lemay for punchline (2016).

Sunday, September 4, 2016


I am very pleased to announce the release of NY Dogs (punchline/2016), a book which I illustrated and also wrote. 

NY Dogs is a humorous look at the many and varied dogs of NYC, and the valiant humans who traipse after them, picking up their poo.

Outside of a book, a dog is man's best friend.
Inside of a book, it's too dark to read.
~ Groucho Marx

In a recent interview with Stephen Colbert, Malcolm Gladwell mentioned how difficult it is to make a reader laugh or cry. Mr. Gladwell was more interested in moving people to tears than to laughter, but after having just spent several months trying to write a funny book, the laughing part is what caught my attention. 

Making people laugh is much easier in a personal encounter than on the page because laughter is an emotional response. Gladwell credited his friend Charles for this thought: "People think with their eyes (reading) and feel with their ears (listening)."

Thankfully I had lots of help with the funny business. Click here to read about the team who helped make NY Dogs funny.

And of course, click here to order your copy of NY Dogs today!

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Ream of Paper, a Box of Pencils, and About a Million Dogs

This week I am wrapping up work on a new project for punchline: NYDOGS, a 96-page gift book for adults—not kids this time—which I wrote and also illustrated.

Most pages in NYDOGS are covered with multiple illustrations. That's a doggone lot of dogs! Every single one of the little critters was drawn on regulation printer paper with an HB Faber-Castell Goldfaber 1221 pencil. Totally classic. And speaking of Old School, we went with a vintage printing technique, opting to create all of the art using only three colors: Black, PMS 485 (Coke red), and PMS 2985 (a nice, retro aqua-blue). The result is quite beautiful, although also proved to be rather time-consuming. These dogs kept me tied up in my studio for the past four months! Was it worth the effort? Oh WOOF yeah. So excited about this one. :)

NYDOGS is currently in the final stages of editing before being sent off to the printer, and will be available in bookstores in and around NYC in September 2016. Between now and then I'll be sharing more behind-the-scenes stories about the team who made NYDOGS possible. Meanwhile, click here to pre-order your copy of NYDOGS today!