The Marvelous Creators of Beautiful Things

There’s nothing so dull as translating books that are beautifully written into a picture — the author’s already done that, so you as an illustrator must contribute something else: adorn the word, or go inside the word, or go around the word, but extend it in some marvelous way to make it a beautiful thing.
 Maurice Sendak 
(read more from Studs Terkel's interview with Maurice Sendak here)

Picture books are meant to be read aloud, to be savored and enjoyed. But while the words are being read aloud, wiggly listeners make sense of a story through its illustrations. The illustrations make the story come to life; in the best picture books the illustrations show us the new, different and magical paths these lives are taking. 

Unfortunately, like writers, most illustrators - no matter how fabulous - can't survive on book illustration alone. Fortunately, this means many of them also have amazing online art stores, so we can purchase their art, some from published stories, some not. 

As someone who knows that I will never illustrate my own stories because there are artists with much more capable hands and imaginations to handle that, I want to take a minute to celebrate some of those beautiful imaginations.  Here are a few I admire - go check them out! I hope if you are looking for new art, you'll consider some of these talented artists!

Collecting Specimens by Marsha Riti

Marsha Riti
The fabulous Marsha Riti is a freelance illustrator based out of Austin, Texas. A member of the Girllustrators (including other fantastic illustrators Patrice Barton, Amy Farrier, Lalena Fisher, Shelley Ann Jackson, Emma Virjan and Luz Marie Iturbe), Marsha is the illustrator of the popular Critter Club series, among others. Check out her Artist Site or SHOP!

Fish Ice Cream by Nessa Dee

Nessa Dee
Vanessa is an amazingly talented writer, illustrator and artist.
She also calls Austin home, making beautiful art for 
"magazines, children's books, and homes around the world." 
I couldn't agree more! Visit her Artist Site or SHOP!

Waiting by Lee White
Lee White
Not in Austin, y'all...but has a tie to Texas
through the illustrations of the superbly talented Paige Britt's The Lost Track of Time. Lee is in Portland, Oregon creating amazing art. I couldn't decide which one to put in my post as there are SO many that are gorgeous and delightful. Please check out any of the following!  Artist Blog or  SHOP! (artist shop) or SHOP! (Etsy). And...if anyone should happen to be looking for a gift for me, if Butterflies were to suddenly show up on my doorstep I would be one happy camper (it reminds me of this orange chair photo of my Squishster, and that makes me happy). 

The Snail's Daydream by Eric Fan
Eric and Terry Fan

You already know I am a huge fan of the Fan Brothers (like what
I did there? It's probably as good as "Come On, Eileen"), the tremendously talented duo behind The Night Gardener, so it
probably is no surprise that I am happily featuring their work. They have a shared Author Site but individual shops for their evocative artwork: SHOP! (Eric Fan) and SHOP! (Terry Fan). Go. Swiftly.

Alpaca by Lita Judge
Lita Judge
Art from Hoot and Peep, Flight School, Red Hat, Red additional information needed! Except that you can also get signed books, too. And original paintings. Lita's Author Site and SHOP! And if you follow her on Facebook, you'll get to see adorable posts of works in progress like Alpacas (yes!) and Beatrix, the cutest bird in my Facebook feed (you'd be surprised, I promise).

Giraffeboy? by Kyle McBride

Kyle McBride
And last, but certainly not least, the accomplished Kyle McBride. While Kyle's art is not currently for sale, he is definitely someone to watch! I imagine he and his beautiful wife, Noelle will have a picture book featured on this site at some point soon. While we wait, we can at least take a sneak peek at the art on his Artist Site.

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