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What is the SOI Original Art Show?

last updated 30 October 2017

LEAD Illustration by Jarvis

The Society of Illustrators hosts an annual exhibit called the The SOI Original Art Show, which features the best children’s book illustrations published in the US during that year. Designed to showcase the most talented illustrators of the day, this special exhibition is curated by a jury of seasoned art directors, illustrators, designers, and editors who choose artwork from the most stunning children’s books published that year to adorn gallery walls.

SHOW Left: Trade Agent Anne Moore Armstrong at the 2016 SOI Original Art Show posing with pieces by Jon Klasson and Bright Artist David Litchfield; Right: The crowd of illustrators and kid lit industry professionals at last year’s opening night

On November 2nd, illustrators and industry professionals will gather at the Museum of American Illustration to kick off the exhibition. Bright agents always attend the opening ceremony to support all of the phenomenal illustrators featured, with special warmth and pride for Bright-represented artists with work in the show.

A wealth of Bright talent is being celebrated in this year’s Original Art Show. No less than six artists from seven different projects will have artwork featured on the walls of the museum. This year we’re proud to be celebrating…


Becca Stadtlander for Look! What Do You See? (Viking Books for Young Readers)
Jen Hill for Spring for Sophie (Paula Wiseman Books)


Lorena Alvarez for Starring Carmen (Abrams) and Sleep Tight, Snow White (Knopf)


Jarvis for Ready, Set, Build! (Little Bee Books)
Yasmeen Ismail for Imagine That! Let Your Mind Run Wild (Bloomsbury)

But why is this award so important? We’ve asked our artists about awards and why they matter — about the sheer skill it takes to be recognized in this industry.

New York Times Bestselling and award-winning Bright author/illustrator Benji Davies put it this way:

“When you spend most of your days working, focussed on the darkened corner of a room, scratching away at sketchbooks and post it notes, with little but your emails and the ping of Instagram for company, it’s elevating and humbling to know that there are other people out there who are as passionate about what you do as you are. They can see what you’re trying to do — what you’re grafting at. What an award says is, ‘well done old bean, you’ve done a great job here — keep going!”

YAS Illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail, from her SOI nominated Imagine That!

The SOI Original Art Show isn’t simply a trophy to add to the case. For editors and art directors seeking illustrators for their next project, it’s a treasure trove of talent to draw upon. And as the show is open to the public, it’s also a chance for everyone to marvel at the range of creativity in children’s books.

All of our Bright agents are absolutely thrilled for all the artist featured this year. We’re simply glowing with pride at our artists have accomplished!

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