Ireland produced the illustrations for Jim Chapel and Carol Porter's “Five Bird Friends,” published in 2011, and “Five Farm Friends,” published in 2013.
She is currently working on illustrations for the third book in the series, “Five Forest Friends,” which will likely come out next year.
She produced full-colour illustrations using acrylic and watercolour paints for the first book and black-and-white images for the second.
For the third book, Ireland is going back to full-colour illustrations. Kids seem to enjoy the colourful artwork, she said.
The books, meant for children just learning to read, are mostly sold to school boards, and are used by teachers in the classroom, Ireland said.
Through his company, Raven Nature Education Specialists, Chapel gives science presentations at Southern Ontario schools, and wanted something to leave with teachers to reinforce the lessons in his presentations, she said.
Ireland became involved in the project because Chapel had bought some of her artwork in the past, and contacted her to see if she'd be interested in producing illustrations for the book series.
Although she only earns about $1 for every book sold, she agreed to participate because she wanted to try something new, and it gets her name out there.
“It's a huge honour to be included in this project,” Ireland said.
While Ireland is first and foremost an artist, she also aspires to write and illustrate her own children's books.
She recently wrote a draft of a book called “The Night the Animals Spoke” for her two sons, Cody, 8, and Hunter, 10, and is looking into what it would take for it to be published.
“Five Bird Friends” and “Five Farm Friends,” which cost $29.95 each, are available for purchase by contacting Ireland at 705-866-0774, [email protected] or www.animalartist.ca.
She said she'll also have copies of the books for sale at the art exhibition she's putting on at the Holiday Inn March 29-30 with fellow artist Susan Lampinen.