Thursday 19 July 2018

Eva's take on Coco

Sorcha Crowley

New York Times best-selling illustrator Eva Byrne from Skreen is making the leap to writing in the New Year.

Spurred on by the runaway success of 'Princesses Wear Pants', a book she illustrated for Savannah Guthrie and Allison Oppenheim, Eva is taking a leaf out of their book and has her own childen's book coming out next year.

'Princesses Wear Pants' shot to No.2 in the New York Times best-seller list for children's books and stayed there for over eight weeks.

"I've been writing children's books for ages, just never published them," she told The Sligo Champion.

The fashion illustrator is about to go into publications with Abrams publishing company with a book she has written and will illustrate about, fittingly, Coco Chanel.

"It's early stages but hopefully it'll get published next year," she said.

The mother of four is currently wrapping up the second 'Princesses Wear Pants' book which will be published next September.

Eva has taken the success of 'Princesses Wear Pants' in her stride and takes great pride in her work: "I'm thrilled, absolutely thrilled about it. It's just one of those things of the right time and the right place and grabbing the opportunity when it comes," she said from her home in West Sligo.

She's worked with many companies throughout her career such as Brown Thomas ("pre-crash") and the likes of Kildare Village Shopping outlet.

She had done many educational books for early learners and Speaking English as a Foreign Language books before she was approached to illustrate 'Princesses Wear Pants'.

Eva met authors Guthrie and Oppenheim in New York and instantly clicked.

"Both are really high powered 'go-getting' women. They both have little girls and as soon as they put them into a room with pink and Disney stuff they lost their minds," she said.

Neither were thrilled with everything pink and sparkly for girls that permeates our culture.

Eva accepts there is pink in their book but "their message is that it doesn't matter what you're wearing, it's knowing that you're up to the job."

There is a distinct American twang in her accent, the result of moving to New York as a teenager. It must have been thrilling and it inspired her to study fashion illustration in the Big Apple.

It was there she met her husband, the Belfast born abstract painter Ronnie Hughes who exhibited a major solo show in the Model last June.

They moved to Skreen 17 years ago and have four children aged 17-6 years.

Eva credits the Skreen landscape with giving her the "peace" to get things done. "My youngest is a boy and he keeps asking 'when are you going to do a boy book?'" she laughs.

"Maybe when boys start wearing pink and sparkles," she smiles.

Sligo Champion