Children’s Book Illustrators

The world of children’s literature isn’t all about the authors. Without the right illustrator, a book won’t fully captivate and engage a child. For kids who can’t yet read or are just learning, the pictures they see may make them love literature for a lifetime. Let’s take a look at some of the most celebrated illustrators.

Our Favorite Children’s Book Illustrators

allison bartlett Allison Bartlett: After studying illustration at Anglia College of Art in Cambridge, Allison Bartlett went on to Kingston College of Art. There she began her courses for an MA, but she began working sooner than she thought. When asked what her nightmare college assignment would be, she replied, ?A children’s book,? and low and behold that’s the task she was given. That book she illustrated was Oliver’s Vegetables, which went on to be shown at the 1993 Macmillan Prize Exhibition. It was seen by an agent, published the next year, and won several awards. She has worked as a children’s book illustrator ever since.
axel scheffler Axel Scheffler: Axel Scheffler was born in Hamburg Germany, and won his first drawing prize after entering a contest for an international chocolate company. The first book he illustrated was The Piemakers by Helen Cresswell, followed shortly by The Bottle Rabbit by Bernard McCabe. His award-winning partnership with Julia Donaldson began with A Squash and Squeeze, though they’re likely most well known for the classic The Gruffalo. It has sold more than 2 million copies and has been translated into more than 20 different languages. He’s won a number of awards, including the Smarties Gold Medal Award and the Blue Peter Award for Best Illustrated Book to Read Aloud.
barbara lehman Barbara Lehman: Originally from Chicago, Barbara Lehman studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, from whom she earned a BFA in communication design. She is now a full-time illustrator and has said that her passion has always been for children’s books versus more commercial art or advertising. She’s illustrated 8 books, including Rainstorm, Train Stop, and The Red Book, which won the Caldecott Honor. Her style involves lots of colors, rich details, and often hilarious characters. She’s stated that she enjoys illustrating for children, because she believes them to be a meaningful and thoughtful audience. She currently resides in Philmont, New York.
beth krommes Beth Krommes: Born and raised in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Beth Krommes earned her BFA in painting from Syracuse University and her MAT in art education from the University of Massachusetts. Her professional life has been rich ? she’s worked as an art teacher in public schools, she’s managed a fine handicraft shop, and has worked as an art director for a computer magazine. She’s been a full time illustrator since 1989. Her first children’s book was Grandmother Winter, and her sixth book, The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, was the winner of the Caldecott Medal. She currently lives in Peterboroug, New Hampshire.
bryan collier Bryan Collier: Bryan Collier has illustrated many children’s books, including Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, which was the recipient of both the Coretta Scott King Award and the Caldecott Honor. In fact, he’s won the Coretta Scott King Award twice ? the second time for Uptown, which he both wrote and illustrated. Uptown follows a day in the life of a boy living in Harlem. It shows both the ups and downs of this diverse neighborhood of New York City. The illustrations are done with a blending of collage work and watercolor for a textured, multifaceted look. Mr. Collier is an illustrator who’s not afraid to mix mediums.
chris raschka Chris Raschka: He was born in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, but spent a portion of his childhood in Austria, which was his mother’s homeland, and graduated from St. Olaf College. He currently lives in New York City. Chris Raschka is more than an illustrator. He’s also an author and a professional violist. He won the Caledcott Honor in 1994 for Yo! Yes? and the Caldecott Medal for his most famous book, Hello, Goodbyew Window, as well as for his book A Ball for Daisy. He’s also the author and illustrator of ?Charlie Parker Be Bop,? which introduces young audiences to Charlie Parker.
chris van allsburg Chris Van Allsburg: Many people are quite familiar with the work of Chris Van Allsburg, though most wouldn’t recognize the name. He is both the author and illustrator of numerous books that have gone on to be blockbuster motion pictures, including Jumanji and The Polar Express. He’s twice been the recipient of the Caldecott Medal, once for Jumanji and once for The Polar Express, and won the Caldecott Honor Medal for The Garden of Abdul Gaszi. His stories and illustrations are known for including magical elements that work to excite the minds of children and adults alike. Chris Van Allsburg was born in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, but currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island.
david ezra stein David Ezra Stein: The books of David Ezra Stein celebrate everything that’s wonderful about being a child: joy and simplicity. Instead of the flashy illustrations or language that some authors use, his goal is to make books that are simple yet engaging. He’s a master at subtly intermixing lessons of self-sufficiency with acceptance of change, while always being sure to keep the main goal in mind: entertaining children. He also writes on friendship and nature, in such books as Pouch!, Leaves, and Monster Hug! David Ezra Stein was born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, New York, and has always enjoyed creating unique stories.
david macaulay David Macaulay: The work of David Macculay has sold millions of copies in the U.S. and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. His list of awards is quite impressive and includes the Caldecott Medal and Honors, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, the American Institute of Architects Medal, and the Washington Post Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award. He was also the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006, which is offered to encourage outstanding creative and intellectual talent. When you browse the work of this illustrator, there will be no question that his many awards are well deserved.
david mclimans David McLimans: David McLimans is an environmental activist, and it shows in books like Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet, which deals with a host of endangered animals. It was named as one of the best illustrated children’s books of 2006 by the New York Times and won the Caldecott Honor. McLimans was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, attended the University of Minnesota, and earned his MFA from Boston University. He returned to Wisconsin and has lived in Madison for more than 25 years. In addition to children’s books, he’s created hundreds of unique masks and works as an editorial cartoonist for publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post.
david shannon David Shannon: Shannon has written and illustrated numerous books, but he’s likely best well known for his Caldecott Honor winning No, David! Other books include A Bad Case of Stripes, The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza, and How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball. He’s also worked as an illustrator on books penned by other authors, such as Audrey Wood’s The Bunyans and The Ballad of the Pirate Queens by Jane Yolen. He was born in Washington D.C. but grew up in Spokane, Washington. He went on to graduate from the Art Center College of Design and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
david weisner David Weisner: His career began when he illustrated a book by author Gloria Skurzynski entitled Honest Andrew. He went on to write Loathsome Dragon with his wife, then wrote and illustrated Free Fall, which won the Caldecott Honor Medal in 1989. Free Fall was the first book he illustrated that showed off what would become his predominant style of fantastical, dream-like picture books without words. Using only illustrations, he gets across complex stories that children can truly relate to. He went on to win an additional three Caldecott medals for Tuesday, The Three Pigs and Flotsam. He also won a Caldecott Honor for Sector 7.
david wisniewski David Wisniewski: David Wisniewski has quite an interesting career compared with other children’s book illustrators. He was born in England and attended the University of Maryland, but quit after a single semester so he could join the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. He graduated from the program and joined the Prince George’s Country Puppet Theatre. During his time with that troupe, he met his wife and eventually they started their own puppet theatre that toured at various schools, theaters, and even the Smithsonian. When his children were born, he used his unique background to begin writing and illustrating children’s books.
dr. seuss Dr. Seuss: He was born with the name Theodor Geisel, but most everyone knows who Dr. Seuss is. Seuss graduated from Dartmouth College in 1925 and enrolled in Oxford University, where he planned to earn his doctorate in literature. Instead he met Helen Palmer, fell in love, and got married. Together they returned to the U.S. and Geisel began publishing cartoons and articles for ?Judge,? which at the time was the leading humor magazine in the country. His first children’s book published was And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, which was rejected by 27 publishers before finally making its way to the hearts of children the world around.
e.b. lewis E.B. Lewis: Residing in Folsom, New Jersey, E.B. Lewis’s signature style includes whimsical watercolors that draw the reader into worlds of whimsy. He won the Charlotte Zolotow Award for his work on My Best Friend by Mary Ann Rodman, and has illustrated a large number of picture books. Some of them include The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and Circle Unbroken penned by Margot Theis Raven. Circle Unbroken went on to be set to music by William Grant Still and is performed at schools by the Chamber Music Charleston. Lewis is currently a member of the board of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
ed young Ed Young: One of the most awarded illustrators of all time, Ed Young has won more than 50 awards and honors for his work, including the Caldecott Medal for Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story From China, 2 Caldecott Honors for The Emperor and the Kite and Seven Blind Mice, 3 Boston Globe Horn Book Honors, 2 Washington Irving Children’s Choice Book Awards, and has been nominated twice for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. He was born in Jianjin China and came to America to study architecture when he was 20. He eventually decided to work as a children’s book illustrator because he wanted work that allowed him to be more expressive.
eric carle Eric Carle: Most people are likely most familiar with Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar but in fact he’s illustrated more than 65 books, which have sold more than 100 million copies in total. The majority of his illustrations include his signature collage style which overlays various techniques one on top of the other. Much of his success is a result of his understanding of and respect for children. He knows their most cherished thoughts and feelings, and he strives to create stories that offer them warmth and protection from the unknown elements of the world. He believes that children are born curious and ready to learn.
eric rohmann Eric Rohmann: We’ve seen in many cases that the illustrators with the most varied backgrounds bring us some of the most compelling illustrations, and that is certainly the case with Eric Rohmann. As a kid his hobbies included reading comic books, collecting rocks, and learning about animal skulls, leaves and insects. As a professional, he’s studied Anthropology and Biology, and has taught printmaking, painting and fine bookmaking. He’s worked as an illustrator on the work of other authors, such as Lois Lowry’s Bless This Mouse, and he’s won the Cladecott Medal for books he’s both written and illustrated, such as My Friend Rabbit.
erin e. stead Erin E. Stead: It wasn’t until she’d worked as an assistant to the creative director at HarperCollins Children’s Books that Erin E. Stead began creating her first children’s book. A Sick Day for Amos McGee was edited by Neal Porter and was picked as one of the top 10 best illustrated books of 2010 by the New York Times. Stead’s husband, Philip, is also a children’s book writer and illustrator. They have collaborated on several books together, including A-A-A-A-Atchoum! and are set to release another collaboration in late 2012. Her signature style involves woodblock printing techniques and penciling in the details.
graeme base Graeme Base: In terms of worldwide popularity and sales, Graeme Base is one of the most popular picture book illustrators and writers of all time. His most famous book, Animalia, won numerous awards when it was published in 1986 and has sold upwards of two million copies. His books tend to focus on teaching children about animals and nature, and many of them have an element of mystery. His illustrations are quite unique, and often incorporate more subdued colors, though his palette is quite large and varied. He currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and their three children.
hudson talbott Hudson Talbott: Though Hudson Talbott is an author of adult books and a cartoonist, he is best known for his children’s books. In total, he’s written and illustrated more than a dozen books. Some of the most well known are O’Sullivan Stew, Tales of King Arthur and Forging Freedom, which was based on the story of Jaap Penraat. His most famous work, We’re Back, a Dinosaur’s Story, was the basis of a popular film released in 1993. His illustrations are lush and detailed, and offer a whimsical compliment to his stories. Many of his books revolve around King Arthur and dragons.
jan and mike berenstain Jan and Mike Berenstain: The original Berenstain Bears series of books was written by Stan and Jan Berenstain. The name of the bear family was obviously based on their own name, and the fictional area in which the bears lived was also based on their own town and property. When Stan passed away in 2005, their son Mike began collaborating with his mother. Together they’ve penned half a dozen books and the series is expected to continue indefinitely. The drawings are whimsical little things, which show the bears as happy go lucky, though always getting themselves into silly predicaments.
jane o'connor Jane O’Connor: There is no question that Jane O’Connor is most well known for her Fancy Nancy series of books. She came up with the idea one night after dinner, when the first and the last lines simply popped into her head. In addition to writing children’s books, O’Connor is also the Vice-President and editor at large for Penguin Books for Young Readers. In total she’s worked on upwards of 30 books. She’s also written an adult novel titled Dangerous Admissions: Secrets of a Closet Sleuth. Her style is fun, funny, and easy-hearted. While many of her books are geared towards girls, some of them have a much broader appeal.
janet ahlberg Janet Ahlberg: Husband and wife team Janet and Allan Ahlberg created more than 30 children’s books between them. Allan wrote the text and Janet illustrated them with flair. Their books were regularly in the most popular lists of public libraries. The first three books they published were released in quick succession. Those books, The Old Joke Book, The Vanishment of Thomas Tull, and Burglar Bill were very successful. Janet won the Kate Greenaway Medal for her illustrations in Each Peach Pear Plum. They are most well known for The Jolly Postman, which has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide.
jerry pinkney Jerry Pinkney: Jerry Pinkney has made incredible contributions to the world of children’s books. He won the Caldecott Medal in 2010, won the Caldecott Honor 5 times, the Coretta Scott King Award 5 times, was a 4 time recipient of the New York Times Best Illustrated Award, has received 4 Gold and 4 Silver medals from the Society of Illustrations, and won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for John Henry. In 2000 he was honored with the prestigious Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and in 2004 was honored with the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for outstanding lifetime contributions in children’s literature.
john rocco John Rocco: One of the first professional jobs for John Rocco was working with actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg on the picture book Alice. He also worked closely with Robert Abel, who is the person responsible for some of the earliest CGI commercial and special effects. At Disney’s Epcot he worked in the Walt Disney Imagineering department and helped design many of the attractions at the park. Rocco was the pre-production art direction for the hit movie Sherk, for which he created hundreds of illustrations. His first dabble at being a picture book illustrator, Wolf! Wolf!, was an immediate success and he’s gone on to write many more charming books.
jon j. muth Jon J. Muth: Known for his painted artwork, John J. Muth is an American artist whose mediums include comic books and children’s books. He’s also studied sculpture and printmaking. In 1999 he received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for his work on Come On, Rain!, by Karen Hesse. He’s also illustrated cards for the collectible card game ?Magic: The Gathering,? and created a version of the Stone Soup fable that’s set in China. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, has traveled extensively and spent some time studying in Japan. His work for adults include illustrations for Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The Wake.
kadir nelson Kadir Nelson: Elington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange was one of the first books Kadir Nelson worked on as an illustrator, and it went on to be an ALA Notable Children’s Book and to win the Coretta Scott King Award. She collaborated with actor Will Smith to create the book Just the Two of Us, which was an homage to his son. That collaboration won the NAACP Image Award. He uses bright colors and rich imagery to get readers engaged in the books he illustrates. Kadir currently resides in San Diego California with his wife and their 2 daughters.
karen katz Karen Katz: Karen Katz draws her inspiration from a number of global mediums, including Indian miniatures, ceramics from Mexico, and various other folk art from around the globe. She’s always open to experimenting with various patterns, textures, collages, and colors. As a result, her illustrations can vary from book to book, and always have a rich, eclectic feel to them. Before becoming an illustrator, she worked as costume designer, quilt maker, and fabric artist. This diverse background has helped her to become one of the most unique artists currently working. Her first book, Over the Moon, was written after adopting her daughter from Guatemala.
keith baker Keith Baker: Both an author and illustrator, Keith Baker has created a number of much loved picture books, including Hide and Snake, Quack and Count and Little Green. He grew up in Oregon and attended Eastern Oregon State College. After graduation, he taught elementary school for 7 years, and then returned to school to study illustration at the Art Center College of Design. He’s won several honors and awards including the Parents Choice Award best illustration for The Dove’s Letter and Who is the Beast?, a Golden Kite Award for his book Big Fat Hen, and the bronze UNICEF Ezra Jack Keats International Award for excellence in children’s illustration.
lane smith Lane Smith: Several of Lane Smith’s books have won the Caldecott Honor, including Grandpa Green and The Stinky Cheese Man. The New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award has been given to 4 of his books, and the books It’s a Book, John, Paul George & Pen, and Madam President, have all been both New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestsellers. He’s illustrated books for some of the biggest names in children’s literature, including Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, Bob Shea and others. He frequently collaborates with author Jon Scieszka, and lives in Connecticut with his wife, who is an award winning graphic designer.
lydia monks Lydia Monks: English writer and illustrator Lydia Monks grew up in Northampton and dreamed of being a fashion designer. When she realized that she didn’t care for sewing, she set her sites on illustrating children’s books. After searching for a writer to collaborate with and coming up empty, she decided to write her own. Her first book was titled I Wish I Were a Dog and it won the Bronze Smarties Prize in 1999. From that time on, she’s written continuously and has published more than 40 books. She penned some of them, while collaborating with writers like Roger McGough, Carol Ann Duffy and Julia Donaldson on others.
lynne avril Lynne Avril: Many of Lynne Avril’s illustrations are done in gouache, with either blank ink or pencil line, though some of her work features a softer side done with chalk pastels and acrylic. She grew up in Montana, but has lived the majority of her life in Arizona. Her father was an artist, which greatly shaped her artistic endeavors as a child and an adult. She attended the University of Montana in Missoula, and upon graduating worked as a freelance graphic designer for many years. She’s completed over 80 children’s books as well as plenty of magazine work. Her awards are numerous and include the Schneider Family Book Award 2011.
marjorie priceman Marjorie Priceman: In total, Marjorie Priceman has worked on 30 picture books. She is both a writer and illustrator, though she’s collaborated with many other artists. Two of her books have won the Caldecott Honor, and her first book, Friend or Frog, was published almost immediately after she graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. She’s known as a picture book illustrator who uses bright watercolors, free-flowing lines, and a free spirit. She’s most well known for her book Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!, which won the Caldecott Honor. She currently lives and works in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
marla frazee Marla Frazee: There are many awards under Marla Frazee’s belt, including Caldecott Honors for A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever and All Over the World. In 2001 she won the School Library Journal’s Best Book of 2001, and she’s also won the Horn Book Fanfare, the Parent Magazine Reading Magic Award, the Golden Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and an award for Excellence in Illustration from the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California. As a child she was inspired by Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey.
mary azarian Mary Azarian: After studying printmaking and painting at Smith College, Mary Azarian went on to teach for 3 years in a 1-room schoolhouse. She’s illustrated more than 50 books, including the Caldecott Medal winning Snowflake Bentley, which was a picture book depicting the life of Wilson Bentley. Another of her most popular books is The Four Seasons of Mary Azarian. With bright, bold colors and an exaggerated touch, her illustrations have an antique feel to them. In addition to her illustrating career, she’s also written many of her own books, and she creates original prints. She currently lives in Plainfield, Vermonth.
mercer mayer Mercer Mayer: For more than 35 years, Mercer Mayer has been both a writer and picture book illustrator. He got his start more than 30 years ago with the Little Critter Series. The first book was titled Just For You, and was a huge success. Beginning in the early ’90s, his wife Gina began co-authoring the books with him. The series works to address the major issues kids have growing up through humorous storytelling. In total he has more than 300 books under his belt and he’s used a wide range of differently literary styles and styles of illustration. He grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii.
mick inkpen Mick Inkpen: As a writer and illustrator of children’s picture books, Mick Inkpen is one of the top selling artists in the world. His series The Kipper and Wibbly Pig have sold millions of copies worldwide. He’s twice won the British Book Award, once for Lullabyhullaballoo and once for Penguin Small. He won the Children’s Book Award for Threadbear and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Smarties Award three times. He won the Bronze for Wibbly Pig’s Silly Big Bear and a BAFTA for the best animated children’s feature. He typically uses soft, light colors and plenty of humor.
mo willems Mo Willems: Mo Willems is known for creating hilarious stories involving silly animals. He’s won 3 Caldecott Honors: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny. He’s also won 2 Geisel Medals: There is a Bird on Your Head!, and Are You Ready to Play Outside? His books are always on the New York Times bestseller list and he’s frequently one of the most popular authors and illustrators in libraries. His background includes time writing and animating for Sesame Street, and while he was there he won 6 Emmy Awards. He lives in Massachusetts with his family.
molly bang Molly Bang: Award-winning author and illustrator Molly Bang received her BA from Wellesly in French, and her Masters in Far Eastern Studies at Harvard. In addition to writing and illustrating, she’s worked as an educator for public health projects in Mali, West Africa, and Bangladesh. She’s incorporated the information she’s learned on these missions into her stories. 3 of her books won the Caldecott Honor: Ten, Nine, Eight, The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher, and When Sophie Gets Angry ? Really, Really Angry. The last of these 3 books also won the Jane Addams Honor Award and the Arbuthnot Award.
neal layton Neal Layton: Neal Layton spent his childhood playing outside, making catapults, and drafting pictures. Initially he planned to study science and was accepted, but decided to study art instead. He earned his BA in Graphic Design at Newcastle and went on to earn his MA of Illustration at Central Saint Martins. He works from a studio in his home that’s especially designed to be a place where he’s free to make a mess. The walls have pictures, drawings, photos, packaging, and other inspiring pieces taped up. He enjoys using a wide range of materials to complete his illustrations, including collage, photos, pencils, pens and paint.
nick sharratt Nick Sharratt: Born and raised in London, Nick Sharratt is one of the most prolific children’s book illustrators in the world. All told, he’s illustrated approximately 200 books. 40 of those, such as The Lottie Project, Little Darlings, and the Story of Tracy Beaker, were with award-winning author Jacqueline Wilson. The Story of Tracy Beaker was so popular that it was the most borrowed library book in the United Kingdom for the first decade of the 21th century. He was chosen as the Official Illustrator for World Book Day in 2006 and has said that much of his inspiration comes from the pop art of the 1960s.
nina laden Nina Laden: Nina’s father was a sculptor who was twice nominated for an Oscar for special effects. Her mother was also an artist who worked on abstract paintings, and both her parents had a big influence on her own artistic career. She was named Nina after the daughter of her father’s favorite caricaturist, Al Hirschfeld. After graduating from college, Nina worked as a graphic designer for John Harland Check Printing Company. She eventually started working as a freelance illustrator and designer. The first book she had published was one she’d completed when she was only 18 years old, Abigail’s Alphabetical Appetite.
oliver jeffers Oliver Jeffers: Oliver Jeffers wears many hats as a writer, illustrator, artist and designer. He has a degree in Visual Communications from the University of Ulster, and has worked on everything from figurative painting to picture-book making. He’s been exhibited in various cities across the globe including Dublin, London, New York and Belfast. A host of awards have been given to his work, including the Blue Peter Book Award and the Nestles Smarties Book Prize Gold Medal for Lost and Found. His work is known for using subtle narrative and his illustrations are always done with a consciousness of space.
pamela zagarenski Pamela Zagarenski: Pamela Zagarenski attended the University of Connecticut and graduated Magna Cum Laude with her BFA in Graphic Design. She currently lives in Stonington, Connecticut and has published a total of 13 books ? all of them with Houghton Mifflin. She’s working on more and hopes to publish one before the year is out. She also works as a painter, and her paintings are often shown at Whyevernot Gallery in Mystic, Connecticut. Her paintings have won awards such as best in show at numerous galleries and museums throughout the state. Her style is bright and makes excellent use of a variety of colors.
peggy rathmann Peggy Rathmann: Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Peggy Rathmann attended and graduated from the University of Minnesota. Her first published book was Ruby the Copycat, which earned her the distinction of ?Most Promising New Author? from Publisher’s Weekly in their Cuffie Awards. She next worked as the illustrator on several books for Barbara Bottner, including Bootsie Barker Bites and Good Night Gorilla. Her next book, Officer Buckle and Gloria, won the Caldecott Medal. She followed up with two more books, Ten Minutes till Bedtime and The Day the Babies Crawled Away. The second book was named one of the best books of 2003 by Horn Book Fanfare.
peter mccarty Peter McCarty: One of Peter McCarty’s most famous characters, Chloe, was inspired by his own experience growing up as the middle child in a large family. He’s both written and illustrated numerous books for kids, including the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, Henry in Love. It is in this book that Chloe first makes her debut. He’s also the writer and illustrator of Hondo & Fabian, which won the Caldecott Honor and was voted the New York Times Best Illustrated of the Year. Other books include Fabian Escapes (which was the sequel to Hondo & Fabian), T is for Terrible, Little Bunny on the Move, and Moon Plane ? which won the Charlotte Zolotow Award.
quentin blake Quentin Blake: There is no question that Quentin Blake is best known for his collaboration with Roald Dahl, though in total he’s illustrated more than 300 children’s books. He’s known as a reliable and funny illustrator who brings a unique spin to his work. He’s also worked with Dr. Seuss and Elizabeth Bowen, and has written many of his own books. In fact, he’s written 35 of the books he illustrated, and has illustrated 18 by Dahl. He was an instructor at the Royal College of Art for more than 20 years and headed the illustration department for 8 of those years.
renata liwska Renata Liwska: Most of the illustrations Renata Liwska does start out as drawings in the sketchbook she carries with her at all times. Whenever inspiration strikes her, she’s always ready with pen and paper to get her idea down. Travel is a big influence on her work, whether it’s a simple trip to a playground or adventures in other countries. She currently lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband, illustrator Mike Kerr. She grew up in Poland, which also influences some of her illustrations. She is the illustrator of The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, which made it to the New York Times Bestselling list, as well as the sequel, The Loud Book.
robin page Robin Page: Robin Page and her husband Steve Jenkins live in Boulder, Colorado and frequently collaborate together. They have three children, and in addition to writing and illustrating kids literature they also run a graphic design studio. In total they’ve worked on 8 books, including What Do You Do With a Tail Like This (which won the Caldecott Honor), How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships, and I See a Kookaburra!: Discovering Animal Habitats Around the World (which won the BCCB Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Awards). Many of their books focus on nature, and her illustrations are typically very detailed.
rod campbell Rod Campbell: Rod Campbell has written a number of famous children’s books, such as the classic Dear Zoo, which uses a lift-the-flap style to show secrets hidden underneath. He was born in Scotland, raised in Zimbabwe, and returned to Britain to complete a PhD in Organic Chemistry. His start in the world of children’s literature came when he was tasked with creating innovative books that had interactive elements. He’s also known for using repetitive phrases to help improve children’s language skills. Rod Campbell created Campbell Blackie Books with his publisher Blackie. Dear Zoo has been translated into more than a dozen different languages and remains popular worldwide.
simms taback Simms Taback: After spending his career as an art director, graphic designer, and instructor at the School of Visual Arts and Syracuse University, Simms Taback began illustrating children’s books. He’s illustrated numerous hits, including I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Space Riddles, Snakey Riddles, Buggy Riddles, and Fishy Riddles. Each of those books was written by the team Katy Hall and Lisa Eisenberg. He’s won a number of awards for his illustrations, including the Caldecott Medal for I Know An Old Lady Who Swalloed a Fly. He is the father of 3 children and has 3 grandchildren and lives with his wife in Willow, New York.
steve jenkins Steve Jenkins: Steven Jenkins is a children’s book illustrator with almost 20 picture books to his name. His book What Do You Do With a Tail Like That? won the Caldecott Honor and many of his books are bestsellers. His style is inventive and stunning, with masterful and playful use of color and space. He currently lives with his wife Robin Page, who collaborates on many of his books, in Colorado. His subjects range from nature to science, and he always tries to ensure that each book has its own unique feel from the rest. His is a unique voice amongst illustrators.
susan mitchell Susan Mitchell: It’s hard to think of an illustrator with more whimsy and imagination than Susan Mitchell. She graduated with a degree in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art, and went on to work a number of jobs, most of which had nothing to do with art. At the time her most creative job was working at a an old theatre as a scenic assistant. After emigrating from Scotland to Montreal, she followed a fortune teller’s advice and begin illustrating children’s books. Now she works as a full time illustrator with more than 15 published books. Her hobbies include sewing and making soft toys inspired by her children’s books.
tom lichtenheld Tom Lichtenheld: It’s been said that the best illustrators are those who keep their own child-like qualities, and Tom Lichtenheld is certainly an example of that. He’s written and illustrated more than a dozen books, like the incredibly popular Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, Shark Vs. Train, and E-Mergency. Both Newsweek and Child magazines have featured his books, and they’re frequently on the New York Times best seller list. He uses subtle humor and big illustrations to get kids laughing as they learn simple lessons like counting and ABCs. He frequently makes visits to schools and libraries to engage with children directly.
trina schart hyman Trina Schart Hyman: With over 150 books illustrated, Trina Schart Hyman was quite prolific. Most of her books included themes like fairy tales or Arthurian legends. During her career she won three Caldecott Honors and the Caldecott Medal once. She’s well known for being one of the first white illustrators to incorporate black characters into her books, as in the past books were either illustrated for white or for black kids. This was a matter of principle for her, and was in part a reaction to her daughter’s marriage to a black man. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania and learned how to draw at a very young age.
uri shulevitz Uri Shulevitz: Shulevitz was born in Warsaw, Poland. At one point during the bombing of Warsaw, a bomb fell into the stairwell of his apartment building while his family was home. In reaction, they fled to Paris, where they lived for two years before moving again to Israel. Uri Shulevitz joined the Israeli Army and Ein Gedi kubbutz before immigration to the United States. Here he studied painting at Brooklyn Museum Art School and began working as an illustrator for a publisher of Hebrew children’s books. When an editor at the publishing house Harper & Row saw his work, they suggested that he begin to write his own children’s books and he’s been doing so ever since.
victoria kann Victoria Kann: Perfect for little princesses who love pink and purple, Victoria Kann’s books are full of whimsical, hilarious fun. She’s likely most famous for her characters Pinkalicious and Purplicious, upon whom many books have been written. She works with author Elizabeth Kann to write the books, but the illustrations are all Victoria’s. Together they also wrote a musical, Pinkalicious: The Musical, which played before sold out audiences in New York. In addition to illustrating, Victoria Kann is also an instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She built a tree house for her own daughters so their lives can be as full of whimsy as the lives of her characters.

A children’s book illustrator can be someone who uses unique mediums to share their work with the world, or they can be someone who follows strict guidelines and follows the rules of proper form. The above list represents the best of the best from a wide range of different styles and techniques.

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One Response to “Children’s Book Illustrators”

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