For years, I chose picture books based on the author. A couple of years ago, I realized that often, it’s the illustrations that really draw me to picture books in the first place, so it makes more sense for me to organize my picture book reading by illustrator rather than solely by author. Here are 5 new-to-me illustrators I discovered in 2015 whose complete works I’m looking forward to hunting down in 2016.
I didn’t love the story of One Word from Sophia quite as much as other readers did, but I was crazy about Yasmeen Ismail‘s art. She has a portfolio of nine images from the book available to view on her website. Even better is Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast’s post featuring early sketches and finished spreads. Julie Danielson’s interview with author and illustrator is at Kirkus Reviews.
Mark Pett‘s wordless picture books are incredibly evocative and thoughtful. Be sure to check out his blog post on how and why he ended up creating a wordless picture book in the first place. Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast has several posts featuring Pett: a visit focusing on The Boy and the Airplane, spreads from The Girl and the Bicycle, and spreads from Lizard in the Park.
Graham Byrne doesn’t seem to have much of a web presence, though there are some images at his very infrequently updated blog. His two illustrated titles written by Claire Saxby, Big Red Kangaroo and Emu, might both make my Top 10 favorite nonfiction picture books read in 2015 list.
There was no way I could keep from falling in love with Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats. Alicia Potter’s text is lovely, and Birgitta Sif‘s art might be even better. Sif discusses her art and shares lots of images with Julie Danielson at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
The book I’ve been trying to find by Frann Preston-Gannon is Sloth Slept On. Because sloths. Instead, I got my hands on Pepper & Poe, a version of that perennially popular story of the set-in-its-ways older cat whose happy single life is interrupted by the addition of a far too lively kitten. Of course in the end they become fast friends. I love what Preston-Gannon does with the art in this story and how much emotion and personality are conveyed in through shape and size.