Carin Berger: “Making a Life”

Artist name: Carin Berger

Featured Works: Illustrations and Cut Paper Art


Carin Berger is a gifted artist, designer, and writer. Her diverse work includes graphic design, illustrations for the children’s books she creates (above left) and even tiny specimen boxes (above right). Her work is precise, elegant, and lyrical. I enjoyed writing this about  her book, The Little Yellow Leaf, earlier in 2015:

“If your child, student, or even you yourself, are a fan of unique, thoughtful, charming stories that delight your senses with rich shapes, colors, and phrases, this book can breathe fresh autumn air into your chest and help you to take a new perspective on your challenges, listening to yourself, and the power of friendship.”

Featured Work 3: from the book Finding Spring


Sam Juliano’s review of Finding Spring in the Wonders in the Dark 2015 Caldecott Contender series:

“Berger, who has treated children and art lovers to some of the most resplendent picture books over the past decade, specializes in paper collage, which are culled crafting ephemera, including as per the jacket flap as catalogs, old books, receipts, letters, and ticket stubs.”  

5 Questions for the Artist:

1. What is art to you?

“Art is really about making a life…a life focused on creating and visual manifestation of ideas. To me there is very little distinction between the making of a garden or a lovely meal or a painting or collage. It is the same part of my brain at work.”

2. What did you make in the past, and why?

“I have always been interested in the interplay between words and pictures. My background is in graphic design, and I have designed everything from corporate identities, exhibits, annual reports, brochures and book jackets. I love the problem-solving part of designing and I bring that into my current work: picture books.”

3. What are you making now, and why?

“While I still do keep my hand in graphic design (I continue to find great pleasure in designing book jackets), the bulk of my creative energy goes into writing, designing and illustrating my own picture books. I find this satisfying on so many different levels. It marries many of the different interests that I have, combining text and pictures, creating a complete object; it allows for a playfulness and a self directed creativity; and I also really appreciate that fact that what is being made, a book, is less ephemeral…that it has a life out in the world and an ability to touch people’s lives in a meaningful way.”

4. What are your hopes for the future?

“I have always wished that I could find a way to grow what I was doing. I fantasize about theater/set design, or animating my work. I would love to collaborate on larger scale projects in which I could expand my design and conceptual thinking into interesting new creative formats.”

(5. Do you want to add anything? no)

Artist Supplied Background: 

Carin Berger is a designer, artist and author who can’t pass up a good piece of ephemera. Her cut-paper collages and dioramas are made with scraps of old books, letters and receipts. In 2006, she received The Original Art Founder’s Award from the Society of Illustrators, and in 2008 The Little Yellow Leaf was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. She has been awarded the Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Award and the Best of Show from 3 x 3 Magazine for the International Children’s Book Show. Her work has been included in numerous shows including the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators and the Picturing Poetry show at the Art Institute of Chicago. Carin Berger is also on Facebook.


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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers



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