The Art (Award) of the Vast Wonder of the World

Vast Wonder of the World

By Danielle Carnito, Trade Art Director

I was recently able to travel to NYC to attend the opening reception of the Society of Illustrators 2018 Original Art show, a yearly juried exhibition celebrating the year in exemplary children’s book illustration. I was so happy to be in attendance to help celebrate with this year’s Dilys Evans Founder’s Award winner Luisa Uribe, who won that award for her illustrations in our Millbrook Press title The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just.

The pictures that follow are not great I admit (I know! I’m an Art Director! I should know better! Many apologies.)

…but at least they help you to understand the amount of people who were there to celebrate children’s book illustration. I took the crowd picture (how many illustrators do YOU see?) not even realizing ’til now that I was taking a picture across the room of Luisa & her husband Francesco taking a picture across the room.

The View From Here

There were so many people in fact I had to return after the opening to actually see Luisa’s piece hanging. Here it is just to the left of the Original Art poster:

And, hanging just above a piece by no other than Maurice Sendak. To the right of the poster was the gold medal winner Jose Ramirez, and a piece by another wonderful illustrator, Mehrdohkt Amini. Luisa’s piece could not have been in better company.

As an Art Director, I don’t often get to meet in person the illustrators I hire, so it was such a pleasure to make this trip to New York to meet Luisa. I even got to learn two more reasons—or happy coincidences?—about why this book was such a wonderful experience to those of us working on it:

  1. Luisa is also a designer, which explains why she was so tuned in to leaving space for text in an integrated way with the art. (Really, I should have known. Don’t know how  fab designer Lindsey Owens and I didn’t suddenly realize this during the process…leaving non-obvious but integrated space for text in picture book illustration is such a learned design skill! We should have known.)
  2. Luisa’s husband is an avid fly fisherman—he was consulting behind the scenes and double checking that the fish details in the illustrations were true.

Back in Minneapolis after a whirlwind couple of days in New York City, I’m looking back fondly on the experience, thankful about how many people were in attendance to celebrate this art genre, admiring the work that goes into kid’s book illustration even more than I did before this trip, and looking forward to what is to come from so many talented artists.

More posts by Danielle.

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