Our next exhibit is arriving just in time for the start of the school year – and appropriately so!
Visual Magic, The Art of Four Picture Book Illustrators (September 13-October 26) features four illustrators who have contributed to children’s educational publications. Janet Stoeke, Susan Roth, Jennifer O’Connell and Carol Schwartz have spent their careers creating illustrations for children’s books and even writing some of their own stories to go along with their art. They work with various mediums, including gouache, Photoshop, and even collage to express topics that range from science and nature to culture and history!

Meet the illustrators at the reception, September 16, 5:30 pm in the Caton Merchant Family Gallery. 

About the Illustrators:
With a focus on science and nature, Carol Schwartz has worked with many major publishers, including a Scholastic “Hide and Seek Science” series. Most recently you can see the small miracle of a chrysalis becoming a butterfly in Carol’s illustrations for a Tilbury House Nature Book, My Busy Green Garden, written by Terry Pierce. Carol paints predominantly in gouache, but also utilizes Photoshop for her illustrations. Her work has been selected for exhibitions throughout the USA including The Society of Illustrators in New York, Focus on Nature XIV and The Illustrator’s Club of Washington DC. She has also received honors from the The EdPress Association of America.

Susan L. Roth, NYC native, is the author/illustrator of 50 books. Her primary medium is collage. She applies this technique using scissors, tweezers, paste, and double-sided repositional tape. Some of her most popular publications include “Parrots Over Puerto Rico” (emphasizing the inescapable connection between people’s actions and the animals in the wild) and “Hands Around the Library” (a visual recreation of the story about protecting the Bibliotheca Alexandrina).

Janet Morgan Stoeke is best known for her whimsical picture books featuring Minerva Louise, a hen whose blithe optimism and inquiring spirit are never dampened by her many mistakes. Stoeke grew up in Connecticut among four siblings, a horse, a dog, frequent woodland adoptees and a pond full of ducks. But no chickens, although there were plenty of them just down the street. So yes, she is fluent in Farmyard. A painter by education, she came to the book-creating business through a contest, and has happily remained a contributor for the past 30 years. Her work has been singled out for its graceful lines, appealing palette and visual humor.

Jennifer O’Connell grew up in Darien, Connecticut and received her BFA degree in illustration from Philadelphia College of Art (now known as The University of the Arts). She was employed at Unicorn Graphics in Washington, DC before becoming a free-lance illustrator and designer. Jennifer’s picture book, Ten Timid Ghosts, is a New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller and has sold more than 780,000 copies. Her new book, The Eye of the Whale has received the Green Earth Book Award, a Moonbeam Gold Award, a Maryland Blue Crab Honor, and has been named an Honor Book by the Society of School Librarians International in the Language Arts – Picture Book category. It was a Maine Literary Awards Finalist and has been selected by RIF (Reading is Fundamental) for their STEAM list.

Artist Technique:
The visuals within a children’s book are pivotal to the overall message. Each artist has their own unique approach to creating illustrations. Susan Roth primarily works with collage using the cut and paste technique. Her supplies include: scissors, tweezers, paste, and double-sided repositional tape. This enhances the visuals by adding depth and texture through the technique of collage.

Janet Stoeke and Carol Schwartz utilize the medium of gouache, which combines the flexibility of watercolor with the flow of acrylics. The gouache method uses opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a glue-like substance. In addition to creating her illustrations with gouache, Janet Stoeke also uses a black Prismacolor pencil to outline her art. Carol Schwartz also chooses to combine media and incorporates Photoshop into her illustrations as well.

Jennifer O’Connell prefers to paint her illustrations more loosely with the medium of acrylic paint on 4-ply Strathmore Bristol paper. The quick drying paint allows Jennifer to keep refining over and over until everything ‘works’. Occasionally, Jennifer also uses pen and ink with watercolor.

List of Publications:

The Eye of the Whale
Ten Timid Ghosts
It’s Halloween Night

Parrots Over Puerto Rico
Hands Around the Library

The Loopy Coop Hens
Letting Go

What Is There Were No Bees?
How Does A Seed Sprout? & Other Questions About Plants
How Strong Is An Ant?
My Busy Green Garden