Author & Illustrator

Cale Atkinson

Cale Atkinson is an illustrator/writer/animator currently residing in Kelowna Canada. He claims to love tea more than sleep, which makes sense when you realize how many projects and clients he’s dealing with on a regular basis. With creative storytelling and engaging illustrations, Cale’s work has earned awards like Buzzfeed 17 Most Beautiful Books 2015, Ontario Library Association Best Bets Top 10 2015, and CBC Children’s Choice Award Finalist 2016. Cale recently spent a month in Portugal, and you can see his incredible Lisbon-inspired art on his Twitter account where he regularly updates his followers as to his coming adventures and works.

Cale Atkinson Website
Most Recent Book
Unicorns 101 book

Gallery images courtesy of Cale Atkinson.


How have you come up with your most successful story ideas?

Cale: Nearly all my ideas come out of times when I’m drawing or sketching for fun. When I’m getting lost in my own drawings I never know what ideas may arise or where the pencil will lead me. Before I know it, I’m drawing a big whale on a rainy day or a small puzzle piece on the search for his fit

Have you always wanted to write your own stories as well as illustrate?

Cale: For as long as I can remember I’ve loved telling stories through drawing. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been doing it, be it through stories, comic books or comic strips. I’ve always merged the writing and illustrating to be able to create my stories, whether in a single sketch or full book.

Do you find inspiration for characters in children that you know in real life

Cale: I really take inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. From people I see on a walk, to friends or neighbors I grew up with, everything collects in the stove pot that is my brain and simmers until an idea requires the inspiration to bubble over.

How do you know what a character needs to look like? Does the author always have an idea for that?

Cale: If I’m illustrating a book for another Author they may have some notes/ideas on the character's appearance. Overall, I try and get an understanding what the character is all about from the book itself. What’s her/his personality? Is she/he loud? Quiet? Messy or tidy? All those little details help in how I end up drawing them.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Cale: I usually start the day checking and responding to messages/emails. Next I write out a list, thinking of what things need to get done for the day and getting it all out of my head onto paper. Once I have my list, the day can vary depending what’s on the go. Most of the time I’m busily drawing and painting at my computer. Otherwise I may be down at a coffee shop trying to get some writing done on a new story or sketch out ideas.

When you’re creating a new story, do you aim for a story that’s relatable or unique?

Cale: I honestly hope for both. I try to come up with stories that have some unique quality/perspective to them, while also hoping they contain a feeling that can connect and be relatable to the reader (no matter the age). I usually start with an idea that grabs me, and then spend the rest of the time working hard to create the feeling/emotion that I hope carries through.

How do you suggest readers (parents and children alike) get the most out of your books?

Cale: I don’t think there is necessarily a right or wrong way, and hope that anyway a reader decides to take in my books, they find enjoyment or a connection. If anything I would suggest to not rush through them, take your time, take in the details, and though there may not be many words, I hope they sense a larger story beyond them.

Are there ideas or motifs in your art that you think people might generally miss?

Cale: I have a habit of including tiny/hidden details in many of my books. If you ever decide to look a little closer, you may spot something you hadn’t noticed on a first read. :)

You always seem to be doing something exciting. What’s some of your upcoming work that our community of book lovers should be looking out for?

Cale: I am SUPER EXCITED to say I have two books coming out in 2018 that I both wrote and illustrated. Off & Away will be released on June 5th, a story of Jo’s great adventure overcoming her fears. Sir Simon: Super Scarer will hit shelves on September 4th. Simon lets you in on the scoop of what being a ghost is all about, while at the same time learning what being a friend is all about. Aside from those I’m busily writing away, hoping to bring more stories out into the world.

picture Books

Unicorns 101 book
Unicorns 101
Off & Away book
courage · explorers · adventure · problem solving
Off & Away
Where Oliver Fits book
adventure · self-discovery · belonging · problem solving · being yourself
Where Oliver Fits
Little Red Riding Sheep book
Little Red Riding Hood stories · sheep · problem solving · inspired by classic literature · animals
Little Red Riding Sheep
The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold book
consequences · Santa Claus · silly · Christmas
The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold
haircuts · animals · problem solving · silly
Maxwell the Monkey Barber
Explorers of the Wild book
adventure · nature · bears · making friends · explorers
Explorers of the Wild
If I Had a Gryphon book
pets · mythology · silly
If I Had a Gryphon
To the Sea book
making friends · kindness · problem solving · friendship · being nice · hard work · loneliness
To the Sea


Vikki VanSickle
Maureen Fergus
Linda Ravin Lodding
Christianne C. Jones
Join Our Kids Book Club
Learn More