Illustrator BiosNo one...and I mean no one...drew like Edward Gorey. For more than forty years, his distinctive blend of extraordinarily detailed artwork and unsettling humor graced scores of books for adults and children alike. His work for children includes The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide (Holiday House). Adult titles such as The Doubtful Guest and The Gashlycrumb Tinies (both Harcourt) are even more popular now than when first published in the 1950’s and 60’s. His animated opening for the Mystery series continues to delight PBS fans. Several collections of his work are available, including the recently published Amphigorey Again (Harcourt, 2007). His death in 2000 silenced one of the most original and unique minds of the 20th century. The Edward Gorey House, his former residence on Cape Cod, is open to the public and can be reached at www.edwardgoreyhouse.org.
Kevin Henkes published his first children’s book in 1981. Since then, he has created both novels and illustrated books for children, among them Olive’s Ocean (a 2004 Newbery Honor Book), Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Chrysanthemum, the 2005 Caldecott-winner Kitten’s First Full Moon, and Lilly’s Big Day (all Greenwillow). Mr. Henkes lives in Wisconsin with his wife and children. “I never thought I’d be lucky enough to be a real author and illustrator,” he says. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” Find out more about Kevin Henkes at www.kevinhenkes.com.
Will Hillenbrand has spent most of his life in and around Cincinnati, Ohio (hooray, another Buckeye!). Will spends part of his time in his studio filled with marionettes and toys and part of his time in classrooms, talking with children about creating pictures. He has written and illustrated numerous books including the IRA Children’s Choice Award-winner The House That Drac Built (Gulliver), Wicked Jack (Holiday House), an SLJ Best Book of 1995, and My Book Box (Harcourt). Learn more about Will at www.willhillenbrand.com.
It’s hard enough to write “funny.” It might be even more difficult to draw “funny,” but Betsy Lewin certainly fits the bill. Recently, she’s been tickling the funny bones of both children and adults with her illustrations for Doreen Cronin’s tales of barnyard havoc: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (a 2002 Caldecott Honor Book), Giggle, Giggle, Quack, and Duck for President (all Simon & Schuster). Learn more about Betsy Lewin at www.betsylewin.com.
Arnold Lobel was one of the most beloved children’s illustrators of the 20th century. A prolific artist and writer, Mr. Lobel was the author/illustrator of Frog and Toad Together (HarperCollins), a Newbery Honor Book and Fables (HarperCollins), a Caldecott Award winner. Mr. Lobel both illustrated many books written by others and authored many books illustrated by others. The world of children’s literature suffered a great loss with his death in 1987.
James Marshall’s first book, George and Martha (Houghton Mifflin) appeared in 1972. The rollicking tale of two hippos was followed by several sequels. Marshall was a self-taught artist and provided illustrations for many other writers including Harry Allard’s The Stupids Step Out and Miss Nelson is Missing (both Houghton Mifflin), which introduced Miss Viola Swamp, the world’s meanest substitute teacher. Mr. Marshall died in 1992.
Susan Weidenthal Saltzman began her career at the Creative Studios of American Greetings in 1981. Her humorous illustrations have appeared on greeting cards, juvenile products, packaging, giftware, and children’s clothing. In 1994 Susan formed SmARTwork Studio, Inc., which specializes in whimsical illustrations and graphic design. Susan lives in the woods of Moreland Hills, Ohio with her husband Bill, identical twin daughters, and Morley the wonder terrier.
Judy Schachner started life as an extremely shy little girl who let her imagination run wild through art. After graduating from the Massachusetts College of Art with a BFA, she went to work for Hallmark, but it wasn't until she began reading books to her own children that she considered becoming an author. Lucky for us!Her books featuring Skippyjon Jones (including Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse and Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble (all Dutton)) have legions of fans. Find out more about Judy Schachner at www.skippyjonjones.com.
Mélanie Watt, the author of (as of now) four Scaredy Squirrel books (Kids Can Press), lives in Montreal with her husband and a parrot named Kiwi. Mélanie drew on her own childhood family memories to create the characters in Scaredy Squirrel: “In my mind I was trying to avoid anything that would create stress, anything that would have to get me out of my ordinary routine.” Quite the opposite, the recently published Chester’s Masterpiece (Kids Can Press, 2010), adds a third book to her series following the adventures of a cat with delusions of grandeur.
Rosemary Wells has illustrated and written children's books since 1968. Equally at home writing for children and young adults, she is the recipient of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for her YA mystery books as well as the author/illustrator of popular books for younger audiences such as Voyage to the Bunny Planet (Dial), My Very First Mother Goose (Candlewick) and My Kindergarden (Hyperion). For more about Rosemary Wells, go to www.rosemarywells.com.
Mo Willems is a six-time Emmy Award-winner and Caldecott Honor recipient. His work for children, including Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny, a Cautionary Tale (both Caldecott Honor Books), and Leonardo the Terrible Monster have delighted both kids and adults alike. His new (as of this writing) series of Elephant and Piggie early readers including Today I Will Fly! (all Hyperion) promises to continue that trend. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and daughter. Find out more about Mo at www.mowillems.com.
If Garth Williams had done nothing else but illustrate Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series (all HarperCollins), he would have established a spot in the very highest rank of esteemed children’s illustrators. That, of course was not the case. His contributions to the field began in 1944 and continued right up to his death in 1996. They included such classics as Margery Sharp’s The Rescuers (Little, Brown) and George Selden’s The Cricket in Times Square (Farrar Straus & Giroux).